Monday, 31 July 2017

Failed farming, forming a family and being branded a 'backpacker'

I didn't want to write about this, I don't think I'm ready to talk about it and the post-traumatic stress is still going strong. But fuck it. The purpose of this travel blog was to present the shit Trip Advisor hides and the brochures airbrush out.

So there I was last week, stumbling out of my bed towards the kitchen of my disused-hospital-turned-long-stay-hostel with a box of Crunchy Nut, when it happened. The unexpected encounter and danger in the dark.

When a big fucking rat brushed over my bare foot.

I screamed and mounted a table, it scuttled behind the fridge and a Japanese boy called Shun helped me to safety. Vermin violated, mentality annihilated, shoulders weighted and spirit deflated. Thankfully the landlord leapt to action to catch the little ahem.

So far on my travels I've been floating from luxurious place to luxurious place like a carefree Kardashian shitting money out my fake arse. But it's only now I'm settled into a long stay hostel in a quiet mountain town that I see how the world now sees me.

The second you pack that backpack and leave home you're stripped of any status. All past success is irrelevant and you're automatically demoted in the eyes of most.

Despite living somewhere that survives solely on the money backpackers bring to the community - as we complete our 88 days of regional farm work required to extend our visas - you see how half the locals slow down as they drive past you on the street. They stare at you like shit, judge you in your dirty workwear and talk to you like you're an uneducated, worthless, waste.

A hierarchy of social status even our employers entertain.

Last week, while halfway through our working day, we were told to go home as they don't require us anymore. Months before the scheduled season end, no time to even ask why and let down by the people that dragged us a million miles away from civilisation here on an empty promise.

A redundancy which can't be argue because you simply have no right too.

The only silver lining? The multilingual family you form with the other explorers (and rare few lovely locals) that have ended up falling victim to the same cycle. Bank balances may be low but we share what we know and corridors may lack colour but hearts couldn't be fuller. It's inevitable you'll fall, but with these friendly faces filling the bunk beds in your bedroom it's hard to really fail.

The day I arrived in this town I cried as I settled into an empty room, on my own, at the thought of what was ahead. And today, as I unexpectedly leave so suddenly unemployed after eight weeks of pruning apple trees, I cried at leaving what had gone from hell to home.

Thankfully, this time though, I'm heading off to our next farm to finish my 88 days with a car full of newfound friends. After an hour of breaking into the fucking thing because Italian lad Luca locked the keys inside moments before our ten hour drive. A great start. 

Will I ever return to my boyfriend in Sydney? Time will tell. Ughh.