You can’t imagine me mowing the fields, trimming the hedges and living close to snakes? Neither did I, but things and circumstances can change as explained in my last post and during my time in Australia, I have experienced all this and more. After we arrived in Australia without any plan where to go, where to stay and with only a small budget, we discovered workaway*: a platform where you can offer people your help with gardening, cooking and other household tasks in exchange for accommodation and food. By living with several hosts at different places, we learnt so many new things, made new friends and gathered memories we will never forget.
This idea and this kind of “giving and taking” was such a perfect start, because you don’t only work, eat and sleep, but also make good friends, hear the most interesting stories of people’s life and you get the great chance to see and experience how the usual every day life in the country you visit looks like. We enjoyed our time with every work away family very much and we are still in contact with most of the people we met. Today I would love to share our experiences and give you some more ideas how this whole things works.
Our first hosts lived in a suburb of Brisbane and after a very warm welcoming, we spend one week on their beautiful property with pool, a forest, a beautiful garden and three super cute dogs. We were helping with planting new vegetables, mowing the fields ( I am now a mowing expert :)) and we also were helping in the kitchen. In the evening we all used to cook together and have some nice and interesting conversations while enjoying a glass of wine in front of the fire (yes, in August it’s still quite cold in the nights here!). It felt a bit like home away from home and we just loved the place and our hosts. Although I never enjoyed helping my parents in the garden when I was young, I found it quite fun to get to learn again how to do gardening. But to be honestly, the gardens in Australia offer everything that makes you happy: Grapefruits, Oranges, Limes, Avocados, Mangos, Macadamia, Bananas, Cale, Cauliflower, Beetroot, Potatoes, etc. The variety of plants here in Australia is slightly more interesting than the things we usually grow in Germany 🙂 I love thinking back to the beautiful house, the lovely hospitality and of making new friends, thanks Phil, Kristina, Alice Oscar and Lucy 🙂
Our next stop was near Noosa and not far from the most beautiful beaches in Australia. While we helped in the garden for 5 hours a day, we enjoyed our own little cabin and the food we cooked by ourself. During the day we were cleaning the tennis court, which we used in the evening to play on (well we tried at least :)). We also learnt how to trim hedges, how to weed and how much work it is to keep a beautiful property in the right shape. When did you ever get the chance to clean up the gras by carrying away huge palm leaves that fall on the ground? We spent our days off doing a bike tour, watching kangaroos in the neighbourhood (some of them were so big and they were so close, almost a bit scary :)), enjoy the beautiful beach of Noosa and the great Noosa region. Thanks David and Lynda for having us!
A bit further away from the ocean, but in a charming community near Pomona, we spent another week. With the host, we leant a lot about permaculture and sustainable gardening. It was so interesting to spend time with this nice women, who lives in full harmony with nature. Waking up with kangaroos right in front of your veranda was stunning and we also saw our first snake just meters away from our bedroom. After our host explained, that it is an honour for her, to have the Python on her property and that snakes usually do not attack human unless they feel in danger, we were really fascinated by this harmless creature and watched her everyday to check whether she is still living under bush. For mulching and planting new trees, we got great food in exchange and were introduced to many nice people of her community while our first bush dance or while enjoying dinners together with guests. We enjoyed the alternative and down to earth spirit and learnt, that it doesn’t take much to be happy. Thank you Sam, for sharing so much with us!
Our last stop was near Maryborough, where we spent almost 3 weeks on a Lime Farm with Kim and David, who created a pure place of happiness and positivity. The two of them are just the most lovely couple sharing good vibes only. We learnt, how to pick limes (be protected for the huge ants, grab your kangaroo bag and take care the limes are big enough, but not yellow) and how to pack them. It was fascinating to see, with how much passion Kim and David build up the Lime Farm in a very sustainable way. They have our full respect and we hope everything will continue well. In a dry place like Queensland you also learn the value of water from a very different perspective. As rain is a rare phantom, the usage of water is very anxious and you are reminding yourself more often not to waste water unnecessarily. We cooked and laughed every evening with our hosts, enjoyed the good food, laughed, shared interests and enjoyed also the company of their two horses and dogs. Luckily we were allowed to use all the space and tools we needed to made our campervan ready to go and we even learned a bit about the work with leather. It was a pleasure to meet you and thanks a lot for your help, Kim and David.
I hope I could give you an idea of our experiences and how much value those weeks gave to us. It is so much more than saving money and do your work, it is more about learning from others, sharing cultural impressions and making friends. We are looking forward to our next workaway experience, wherever it will be 🙂
♥ The end ♥