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Picking Apples In The Apocalypse

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The working-holiday visa in Australia is a great option for those with ambitions bigger than their bank accounts. It offers the opportunity to explore a new country and find work at a high minimum wage. And if you complete 88 days of agricultural work, you can spend a second year in the country.
Apple Picking In The Apocalypse

Arriving in Melbourne with very little money left, Phoebe and I decide to complete these 88 days right away.  The apple season is starting in Tasmania – the island to the south of Australia – so we head down there and find a job picking apples.

Apple Picking In The Apocalypse

and then the world went into lockdown...

Now, faced with the reality that we’re stuck on a small, rural island for the foreseeable future, here is: A Brief Guide to picking Apples in the Apocalypse.

Apple Picking In The Apocalypse
Farm work in Australia is infamous for low pay, bad working conditions and unreliable management. However, all of this becomes a lot easier to tolerate when you realise that you’re some of the only people in the world lucky enough to still have a job, so this whole experience has become an exercise in practicing a positive mindset.
Apple Picking In The Apocalypse
Apple Picking In The Apocalypse
The mornings are freezing. We start work at 7:30AM and usually the apples have a coating of frost on them from the night before. You loose feeling in your fingers within about ten minutes, which makes work much slower. And you’re paid according to how fast you pick, so slower work means less pay…
Apple Picking In The Apocalypse

…but the drive to work – through the valley and along the riverside as the sun rises and the rays of light catch in the mist – is beautiful. At a time when most people aren’t allowed to leave their homes, it’s something to be savoured.

Apple Picking In The Apocalypse
Apple Picking In The Apocalypse
Social distancing can be challenging in accommodation shared between sixteen people. The owner of our hostel is an interesting character: she doesn’t seem to understand the difficulty of ‘social distancing’ in a kitchen only 15m². At about 6:30AM there are at least ten people in the kitchen, all dancing around each other as they prepare breakfast before work. And our landlord threatens to kick us out if she catches us within 1.5 meters of each other…
Apple Picking In The Apocalypse
…but I’m never bored at the hostel. I’m living with a great group of people from all over the world, and we keep each others spirits up. ‘Staying home’ isn’t such a bad thing when ‘home’ is full of other backpackers
Apple Picking In The Apocalypse
Apple Picking In The Apocalypse
Tasmania was never somewhere that was high on my list of places to visit. There isn’t a lot to do here, just charming scenery and small towns. But now that there isn’t a lot to do anywhere, it’s become a lot easier to appreciate what we have. And when this is all over, at least we’ll have another year on our visa to explore the rest of Australia!
Apple Picking In The Apocalypse

Love Our Things More

We all need to love our things more, we need to want to keep them going for longer. It is good for us and it’s good for the planet.

Read More »
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