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Friday, November 20, 2009

Where to from here..??

It's Friday evening, and the heat is passing.. Today it's raining and it's such a welcome relief. Where am I?? Well, I'm still in Nyah West. We are destined to stay here I reckon, cause we've been trying to leave since Monday afternoon, but with one thing and another, we just haven't managed to pack up the van and head off. First it was work that was stopping us from leaving. Then it was the heat that was stopping us from leaving. Then it was our lazy-mode that was stopping us from leaving. But all going well, and without any interferences, we'll be leaving Nyah West tomorrow. It's definitely time now. We've stretched our stay as far as possible and the more we stretch it, the harder it will be to leave. So we're biting the bullet and we're off to Adelaide.

Between the hot spells of weather we've been having over the past week, I've managed to make a decision. My brain might have been fried by the scorching sun beating down on it through my straw hat, but I still managed to see some opportunities come my way and make some plans and finally take some action!!

When did I start cooking up these plans? Well it was last week. We were still working on the rose farm at this point, and I felt like I wanted to go somewhere and do something alone, by myself, in the big wide world. I've been having itchy feet for a while now, and it's so easy to stay with Jason and the work. But, at the moment, I'm in exploring-mode I think. But I hadn't a clue what to do or where to go. I thought for a while to go to some spots in Oz that I haven't been yet. Then I thought of working with Jason until the new year, to save some extra dollars. But the thoughts of doing either of these, didn't excited me. I felt like I needed a challenge, I needed to do something for myself and by myself, I needed to branch out, even it was to be for only a couple of weeks. I figured I'd worked pretty hard the past months, and financially I was set for a while. But travelling in Oz for a month can be so expensive, too expensive almost, considering there isn't really any other place I'm longing to see in Oz. For the same price I'd be able to travel to Asia somewhere.. Hummm.. This got me thinking.

I hadn't a clue where I wanted to go. So I just started browsing the net last week, searching for a sign of some sort, showing me which country could offer me some adventure - a sign in the form of a cheap flight was actually what I was after.. And I found it. It took me a few days before I actually made the decision to book it and being the indecisive person I am, I could have done with some coaxing from someone here, but I actually wanted to make the decision all by myself. And I did!! last Friday I booked a flight to Malaysia!!! It was "cheap as chips", and the dates worked out so well.. I had a whole "plan" in my head, as soon as I seen the dates and the prices of the flights. I just needed some certainty, regarding work in Adelaide with Jason for the next week.. If everything was to fall into place, I knew these were the flights I had to book. And within a day everything managed to miraculously fall into place.

So what's the plan? Well, we're leaving Nyah West tomorrow, going to Adelaide. We start work on Monday, on a rose farm. I'm staying until the 1st of December. And from Adelaide I fly to Melbourne and on the same day I fly to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I'm staying until the 27th of December, flying back to Melbourne and will be going to a festival near Swan Hill with Jason that lasts until the 4th of Jan, to celebrate the new year. I couldn't quite believe how easily everything came together. It was amazing and I was, and still am, so excited. It will be amazing to travel in Asia again. I've been to Malaysia before, but had a bad experience and wanted to leave the place asap. And that's exactly what I did. I swore never to go back there again. But when this flight popped up on the screen, and the more I thought of visiting this country again, the more I thought it would be amazing to give it a "second chance". Because it is a beautiful country, with beautiful people and an amazing culture. And being in a different culture again will give me that boost again and the confidence I'll be needing once I decide where next to travel to. It's going to be so good for, doing this again. And it's going to be so different than the last time. Traveling in general gives me totally different things, than it did when I was traveling for the first time. So I know it's going to be amazing..

Everything has been taken care of, and I feel so at ease about going over there. There's not a fear or a doubt in my mind.. Just excitement in my heart..

It's the last night at the pub, and we'll be saying goodbye to everyone a little later on. We're sad to be leaving, but so happy to have been here in the first place. At the moment it's getting busier, so we're leaving before the season gets started properly, but it's been so cool. Who knows, we might be back, together. I know Jason will definitely be back at some stage. But what the circumstances will be, we don't know. But as always, time will tell!!

Monday, November 16, 2009


A heatwave that struck. Never before have I experienced such high temperatures. It has been unreal.

Today it's Monday the 16th of November. The heat has "eased", and there's a slight change in the weather - or so the locals have been calling it - but us backpackers or travellers are still feeling the heat because it's 39degrees in the shade. Can you imagine what the temperature has been before today, if 39 can be called "cool"?! Since Tuesday last week, it's been above 43degrees. Some afternoons it's hit 46 and 47 in the field. A scortcher, as the ozzies would call it.

The first day it hit, was Tuesday and it was bad and so sudden. Especially taking into account that it's only Springtime right now, not yet officially the Summer, and 2 weeks ago the afternoon temperature was only around 24 and the mornings were chilly.. Which was so pleasant, especially if you're out in the field working "hard". Within the space of 3 days, the temperature rose by 20 degrees. So it's safe to say that it knocked the whole region off their feet. And it's been the earliest and longest heatwave in this area since 1896 apparently.

For me, the heat is usually a welcome treat, but I wasn't able to cope as well as I would have hoped I would, once the temperature reached 40. Tuesday I suffered badly. We've been working through the heat, but only until 11am each day.. And on somedays we were delighted if we would even make it to that hour. So Tuesday I was doing well, while we were out in the field. But as soon as I stopped, it hit me. I didn't realize just how exhausted, drained and hot and bothered I was. The first 2 hours after finishing work that day, I can't remember. I was so overwhelmed by the heat, that I just zoned-out and couldn't communicate. I was in tears for no reason and doing anything was an effort. Once I started to feel better, I had to rehydrate.. But it was hard to keep up with the amount of fluid I was sweating out. It was an awful feeling. And after that episode I was almost scared to go out in the sun when it was hottest. Even being out in it for a few minutes was horrendous. The wind would be so hot and just the air would make it painful on the eyes.. I steered clear of the outdoors, as much as poss. I had to.

It was a long week, after that.. And we so cautiously had to go about our daily things, just to make it through each day. Thinking clearly was a struggle and making decisions was out the window. Everyone in the hostel was effected by it. Exhaustion I think was the worst. And then the nights would be hot and sticky, and sometimes it was still 27degrees at midnight. It effected everything.. Only having an appetite when it got cooler at night then sleeping in the afternoon and working only in the morning and just saving every ounce of energy. There was simply never an opportunity to revive.

This lasted for around 5 to 6 days. And now it's a few degrees cooler, but from Thursday it's to reach the 40's again.. I could go on and on about it, but I think I've gotten it off my chest for now. And the worst should have passed..hopefully.
For now though, we finished the job we were doing on time and have a different job starting tomorrow, which will only be for 3 days.. After that, the plans should start coming together and you'll be the first to know.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Perfect Time

1 week into our new job. We're working on the farm near Swan Hill, the rose farm where we worked together 3 years ago as well. We're only 1 week into the job, and it looks like it will be finishing up pretty soon. We knew it would be for only 3 weeks, but we're flying through it and will be lucky if we get another week out of it. Not to worry though. Before the job started, I was dreading getting back to work again as I was enjoying the time I was spending just hanging out, going to the library (yes, a bookworm is what I've become..haha) and going down to the river. But now that we've started work, it's so easy (so much easier than the job we were doing before this one, in Shepparton) that I'm raging it's going to be over. It's not only because the job is so easy-going, but it's also being back in the pub, in Nyah West.

Since last "reflecting" on how I was feeling about living above the pub again, I reckon I've totally settled there again and I feel so at home. I'm loving every minute of it. Actually, everything that's happening at the moment, I'm absolutely loving. The whole situation suits me so well, at the moment. Living in the pub, I've met some real inspirational people. It's full of backpackers (well not too full at the moment, as it's only the start of the working season in this area, I reckon there's around 17 people staying there now), with their amazing stories, their eagerness to explore the world and their open mindedness when it comes to adjusting to anything that's different and unknown. It's been great. I've also met some a Jasons other mates who live near Swan Hill permanently, and they have been amazing to get to know. One guy from New Zealand in particular. He is full of stories, so inspiring and he's so knowledgeable. He lives with some Koreans, and it's become a regular thing for us to go round to his place, eat Korean food and talk all night. It's the best!

The fact that we're living above the pub, has really brought home that I'm not as easily drawn into the party scene anymore. Most of the people I now find myself surrounded by, would want to be partying every night of the week. And it's so easily done too, with the pub downstairs. But I haven't been tempted the way I thought I would have been. We've a few great nights, but not as much as I thought and not as much as the rest either. And I'm sooo fine with it, it's almost like me and Jason are the "wise oldies" of the group. I'd put the Irish to shame now, with being such a lightweight: 2 beers and everyone guesses I've had at least 6, or that I've been drinking for hours. I'm not bothered though. Because I'm loving everything as it is. I love waking up in the morning, before everybody else, at around 5.30am. I love watching the sunrise, I love walking outside and it being so early but already feeling the heat in the air. I love starting the job and I love when it's time to go home too, back to the pub.. where everyone comes together again and where I always have the option to shut the door to everyone if I please. I love the starry nights in the evening, when it's clear and warm and dark with millions up millions of little flickering lights. I love the sweltering heat that makes a nights sleep one that is sticky, but the fan and the breeze coming through the window makes it all so much bearable.

Being where I am now, I'm only realizing just how isolated me and Jason were, when we were in Shepparton living in the van on the farm. When you''re in those situations you never see just how different things can be or just how intense certain circumstances actually are. Only looking back now, I can see how much I missed meeting new people and how they can inspire me when ideas are so similar. It's great. But it's only temporary, unfortunately. I was saying today to Jason that I wish we could stay for just a few more weeks. I wish we had another job around this area.. But all good things must come to an end, sooner or later. And I must admit, knowing that this situation will only be short lived, makes me enjoy every part of it even more.

As for some "breaking news".. This week, we're experiencing a heatwave. Everyday since Saturday, the temperature has been rising by a few degrees and by Wednesday it will up to 40. I haven't been in heat like this for ages. So it's going to be pretty hard going, as we're working out in the field without any shade whatsoever. So we're starting work earlier so we can finish around lunchtime. Just like today, so we can "beat the heat". It's all good though. Just as well the job itself is easy, or else there would be no hope at all!

Where I go from here, I haven't a notion. I've been contemplating and thinking and thinking (not too much though) and haven't been able to make a definite decision yet. I'll see where the next 2 weeks will lead me..