I remember it was the middle of the summer 2013 sometime around July. I was working almost everyday lifeguarding trying to figure out what would happen to me once the season ended in September. Recently graduated form college I had no idea if I was to try to find a job and start a life or travel for a couple months then come back home find a place to live and go to work. I also had a girlfriend of four years who was working in Cleveland, but thats a whole different story.
I don’t know why or how, but this idea popped in my head about traveling to Australia for 6 months, leave in October come home in April and go straight back to work lifeguarding again for the summer. So I just went ahead and booked my tickets. I had no plans, no idea what I would be doing or where I would be going. All I knew is that my flight landed in Brisbane, and to fund my trip I was going to try find cash in hand jobs to even out my weekly expenses.
I had no idea there would be such a huge network of backpackers and there would be 400 backpackers applying for the same job. I had no idea the East Coast was a thing, and Sydney would be a black hole where I would run out of money. It is so easy to spend money here. I have been around the block with jobs and can do anything and everything. I now have the upmost respect for people who work shit jobs.I don't even want to talk about the farm, all I can say is that I haven't had a grape since. I have also played around in retail, built tents, stages, and floors for events in Sydney, and most recently been a scaffolder,waiter and bartender in Perth. So I can do anything.
The pay in Australia is great. I forget which comedian said this but the gist of the joke was he was talking with a photographer at the aquarium in Sydney about how the photographers vacation to New York, LA , New Orleans, Seattle. He then says the guy who takes photos at the aquarium here in the states takes his vacation at the aquarium. Which is so true, because the guy taking photos in America makes ten dollars an hour, and the guy in Sydney is making 22.50 an hour, on Saturdays time and a half and on Sundays or public holidays double pay. It is a different way of living down here which is why everything is so expensive.
You can read about some of the adventures we had written by Alex Rathy here: http://www.departful.com/category/destinations/asia/indonesia
Having no money reminds me everyday that a year ago I had money saved in the bank, a girlfriend, and a good job. The only thing about that is that everything became routine and less adventurous. When I think about how little money I have now I remind myself where I am at. I go out and have a Little Creatures or Tin Tam, see some kangaroos, and go to the beach. It reminds me why I am here.
I have learned more in the past year than the 4 years I spent at university. I may work shit jobs, have little money, but it has taken me halfway around the world, thrown me in some crazy situations, I have met a ton of friends, and I wouldn’t trade this way of living for any part of what often is refereed to as the "American Dream". I feel as this experience has completely changed me as a person and the way I look at things. I can not describe how or what is different about me, maybe to you I am the same person, but I feel completely different than I did a year ago.
On to the next country . . .