Becoming Macadamia Farmers [Second Year Visa Work]
Dry mud crunching underfoot, the satisfying sound of a nut hitting the bottom of the bucket, watching the sun disappear behind the distant hills; our first few days working on a Macadamia farm have been pretty cool to say the least.
I've always fantasized about the idea of living in the old American west, riding horses, days spent amongst the sun and the dust. Its a weird fantasy but an idealized little dream that's always been there at the back of my mind.
So to find ourselves donning farm clothes, waking with the day, working amongst nature in the closest possible way, well, it's been bizarre, sometimes hard but mostly amazing. We are living the farming dream!
Not to trivialize the amount of work that goes into maintaining a large farm (the one we live on is 600 acres) but theres an amount of greatness in that graft and struggle.
I can't imagine many people would want to live where they work, but right now, that's exactly what we are doing; living on a Macadamia farm in rural Queensland. We toil in the fields by day, and then return to our little wooden home on stilts, which has beautiful views across the sloping tree plains, across to the forest and the mountains beyond.
The work is varied and some of it plays to our strengths, some of it I'd happily not do again once we leave here.
Wood-chipping for example, involves lifting heavy scratchy branch cut-offs, loading them into the chipper, which then grinds them through and blows them out onto the base of the trees to fertilize them naturally. The spiders and critters that scatter all over the chipper base... shudder, it's making me tickle just thinking about it!
One of my more favourite jobs so far has been sorting. Working with a conveyor belt, the nuts come pouring through and I quickly have to remove rocks, debris and bad nuts. There's a degree of thought and pace that goes into it, and you definitely establish a hypnotic rhythm. I find it more mentally challenging and yet easier than the more manual labour.
Taran has spent most of his time pruning the tree's with chainsaws alongside another backpacker, and I usually work alongside the backpacker's girlfriend; a really nice young couple from the UK, they have definitely made some of the duller work far more bearable.
And we have cosy movie nights beside the pot belly stove during the week! It's homely and really pleasant.
We have a little vegetable garden we hope to build up and we live off solar power so we are all careful with what electricity we use.
We feel very fortunate to have found ourselves here.
We tried for weeks to secure some farm work or fruit-picking, and it really felt like we were just constantly missing out. And the prospect of farm work wasn't even that good. Many paid positions see you work ridiculous and unpredictable hours, being treated like little more than an annoying number.
But here, the family hosting us, they invest in your learning, in your experience, in teaching you brilliant life-skills and imparting their farming knowledge, and in return we work for free, but also share our own unique viewpoints, being from a different culture and generation.
It's a real exchange, as opposed to just a job. And we are also gaining days that will allow us to secure a 2nd year visa.
So we would have another year to explore this vast land, and will have learned how to sort nuts, prune trees, drive four-wheelers and cultivate the land. My biceps have already got bigger, so that's a bonus.
Bigger biceps and some tough outdoor skills. Nomads to farmers in a matter of two weeks. It's been brilliant.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!