I have proved to be a very bad friend.
But I am an even worse blogger.
I have long neglected my real, and virtual life, for sake of adventure and city dreaming. I forget to write or reply in a haze of sunshine and alcohol. I have excuses – limited internet being one of them, but you don’t really want to hear them. Sorry about that.
You will be pleased to hear however, that Karma is a mighty bitch.
All winter long I sent you pictures of my Australian summer, tanned and smiling across the bays of Tasmania and the rooftop bars of Melbourne.
Autumn hit New South Wales and I quickly retreated, further north to Brisbane where I partied myself all the way into the depths of The Orange Prison (Brisbane City Backpackers for those of you who are interested – review coming soon).
On my last day in Brisbane, only the 2nd day of winter, it hit 27 degrees. That was a standard day. Anything below 23 felt like cardigan weather. I shivered at night when it dropped to a mere 16, and laughed that you simple English folk were sunbathing in your gardens at that very same temperature.
Oh, but you’ll laugh now. Because I had to leave that glorious sunshine and now find myself freezing my tits off 200km out of Adelaide on a giant mother******g sheep farm.
So here is my travelling sabbatical, only to secure my 2nd year visa. I’ve been here 3 days so far and I'm bored shitless.
I arrived to what can only be described as the filthiest house I have ever come across. My boss claimed upon arrival that he ‘isn’t the most house-proud person’ and apologised because he hadn’t had time to sweep the floor recently.
I should have taken photos, but I was too disgusted. It would have been appropriate to wear wellies INDOORS. Every surface was covered in spills, stains and an orange/brown dirt. The sink was brown, an odd colour I thought for bathroom décor. It wasn’t brown, it was in fact white, but there was a good 3mm layer of thick ginger/brown hair, left from months of shaving. It couldn’t have been touched since well before Christmas. Mouse droppings, sheep wool, grass, mould, thousands of spiders…
I know I can be prone to exaggeration, but this is not one of those moments, I promise you.
Morning 1: I clean. I clean my little troubles away so I feel safe to walk through the house and have a shower without becoming dirtier. I start my very first night shift driving a TRACTOR. I can’t even legally drive a car yet…brogans.
Morning 2: I clean. I make a start on the laundry room. I have done 13 loads of washing so far – I am still not done. I guess another 5 to go? I managed to find a pool table underneath the pile of washing…I genuinely had no idea it was there. I did however get to see the Burra Mines, the highlight of the surrounding 100km. It wasn’t that thrilling.
I did get to study 5 different types of seed, of which I only remember a few names. Canola, barley and wheat…there was a type of pea in there somewhere too I think.
I also saw a one-hour baby lamb, which was adorable. It stumbled over it’s only gangly legs chasing mama-sheep around the paddock – apparently in around 2 weeks there will be 1200 of these babes around here, cue “awwww”.
Morning 3: Still washing. Look behind the cupboard in my own room. Find a dead, desiccated mouse long forgotten stuck in a mousetrap. I call him jack.
I get to eat a lot of lamb – it tastes amazing. I don’t know a single backpacker that hasn’t craved the luxury of an oven or freezer since leaving home. Here I have both. I have food paid for me. (Well – somewhat. As you know I can’t tolerate certain tasty foods, and since arriving I haven’t been able to go to the supermarket – only 40km away – so have had to eat gluten and dairy daily. The pain, it’s not welcome. As soon as I get there I will buy enough bags of my special-person food to last me the whole 3 months.)
The lamb we eat here is the dregs – the poor sheep born blind, sick or with 3 legs (supposedly that happens). It tastes good though.
Essentially: T-Minus 85 days. Will I last? Who knows. It’s a genuine concern of mine that when I leave here I will have lost all social abilities sinking further and further into the awkward outback farmer ways.
Time and loneliness have given me room to make a solid vow: to catch up on the adventures and tales of year one so far. It’s been complicated and exciting. Honestly, I have had some of the hardest months surviving down here. But more on that later, travelling comes with many challenges and I intend to overcome them all. One of them being dedication to the hobbies and passions of my previous life. This is a time to reconnect with that and save/plan for the next leg of my trip: back to Asia. But more on that later…for now I have a roast in the oven.