Tag Archives: working holiday

Still up here on the farm

Still busy as ever up here on the farm. We’re done the major work with the seeding program so that’s good to be finished, now it’s time to spray the seedlings for insects and weeds. For me, my days start at 9 am and don’t finish until 8 pm or so. “Wow, late start!” you might say if you have experience with farm work. Yes, but if you’re starting any earlier it’s because you probably already have a list of things to do. I don’t get mine until the boss has a look around to see what needs to be done.

In case you’re wondering if I’ll be going overseas again, nothing is planned at the moment but I do have a few ideas in mind. It might be China again or it may be somewhere else.

I haven’t had the chance to update my Instagram feed in a bit mainly because of the internet connections out here but also because we’ve been pretty busy. I have posted a few videos on Facebook that I hope have helped to explain a little about what we’re doing over here. I hope to post those YouTube soon.

Other than that, it looks like Canada is home for a bit before things in Beijing get sorted out. Never thought I’d work the seeding program here in Canada but here I am. Who knows what will happen six months from now. And for those of you who wonder how I can’t settle down, let’s just say, China was very much a settling down for me and I didn’t want to budge, but circumstances changed. All of this I’ll have to explain a little bit later.

 

One of the newer things I learned here on the farm was how to fly a drone. My Uncle purchased a couple of drones (one crashed pretty badly) and so I’ve been trying my hand at that. I’ll be posting some of that footage soon. In case you’re wondering, it’s a Yuneec Q500 4K quadcopter. It’s taken a bit to learn how to fly but I’ve only crashed once.

That’s all for now. I haven’t been able to update very often because we’ve been busy but once I’m done here I hope to put up a slew of posts that I’ve been working on for a while.

Hope all is well wherever you are.

The Working Holiday

Ah, so you’re interested in this thing called a “working holiday”. Some holiday! I had to work! Anyway, here it is. It started in Australia, extended to Asia and then back into Australia before a return to Canada. This journey is a work in progress so you’ll have to check back for more.

Australia: (Expectations, ImpressionsSydney, Coonabaraban, Langhorn Creek, The Great Australian Grape Harvest, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Jerramungup, Alice Springs, Uluru, Daly Water, Darwin, (The Tractor Gallery)
Indonesia: (Bali) Sanur, Nusa Lembongan, Ubud, Kuta; (Java) Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Bromo
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Taman Negara, Malacca, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Georgetown
Singapore: Singapore
Thailand: Krabi, Hadyai, Songhkla, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Pha Ngan, Bangkok
Myanmar (Burma): (Expectations, Impressions, Getting Going) Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay

The Working Holiday

Ah, so you’re interested in this thing called a “working holiday”. Some holiday! I had to work! Anyway, here it is. It started in Australia, extended to Asia and then back into Australia before a return to Canada. This journey is a work in progress so you’ll have to check back for more.

Australia: (Expectations, ImpressionsSydney, Coonabaraban, Langhorn Creek, The Great Australian Grape Harvest, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Jerramungup, Alice Springs, Uluru, Daly Water, Darwin, (The Tractor Gallery)
Indonesia: (Bali) Sanur, Nusa Lembongan, Ubud, Kuta; (Java) Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Bromo
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Taman Negara, Malacca, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Georgetown
Singapore: Singapore
Thailand: Krabi, Hadyai, Songhkla, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Pha Ngan, Bangkok
Myanmar (Burma): (Expectations, Impressions, Getting Going) Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay

An Introduction to Busking

Kobzar in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Kobzar in Kyiv, Ukraine.

As a follow up to my post about Some Uncommon Jobs Abroad in which I mention busking, I thought I’d elaborate on the subject. Stretching from ancient history right up to the present time, “busking” or, more commonly known as “street performance,” is a popular and cheap method for artists in all disciplines to display their craft while honing their skills and reaching new audiences at the same time. By putting on a good show or, maybe, simply playing a few songs, you can earn a few coins to keep your travels going.

Starting out with a basic idea of what you want to do, you need to build a show around your talent. Many performers make it look as if they’ve already had donations by placing a few coins or bills in their performance case in front of their “pitch”. For musicians, learn a few songs beyond the regular ones (which include the Beatles, Bob Marley, U2 or The Eagles) will help immensely in securing those hard to earn coins. Classical music is always in fashion and will garner some attention, although there is a picture of some famous guy playing some famous piece and no one pays him anything. Tough crowd, I guess. Some folks prefer the karaoke route, either singing or playing over top of a bed track. The djembe is also a popular percussion instrument though they can be cumbersome to carry around and, really, if you’re just going to play one instrument and not put on a show your results will vary greatly.

If you’re just going to play one instrument and not put on a show your results will vary greatly.

Street Performer 001
By Pastern (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Some cities require busking permits since they are highly sought after. “Pitches” that require a permit typically also have a time limit to allow for multiple performers throughout the day. London, Paris, Sydney, New York, all require permits in some parts of the city. Other cities have yet to be regulated: Bangkok, Seoul, Kiev. Some places hardly ever see musicians so most people would probably be confused by your presence. Musical busking and backpacking go well together since all you really need is a guitar or a drum and a few good songs. Maybe even painters can carry their stuff easily enough.

Costumes are a good idea and will help you stand out from the crowd. There is a huge difference between performer who looks as if he just woke up after a night out drinking and a well groomed, neatly dressed performer. (Though, that’s not to say that the well-dressed folk didn’t imbibe a few or more the night before.) Those performing magic or optical illusions enhance their performance with costumes. Then again, for some a costume would just get in the way. Check out this drummer…

YouTube Preview Image

What about money? I’ve talked to a few people about their experiences busking and the general consensus is that some days are good, others aren’t. Having a product, such as a CD or a painting, might help, though it comes with added security problems. CD ripping and burning technology has gotten to the point where most home made CDs can be played by anybody, although a professionally produced disc looks better. However, if you’re just starting out you might just need to get your work out there and see if it gains any traction before committing to the larger cost of a professionally produced disc. And with the availablity of the internet, offering extras by way of free downloads or blog posts about your travelling can be a great way to entice people to purchase your work. Last but not least, if you do make it, those first albums you made will become rareties and collectors items in their own right.

The general consensus is that some days are good, others aren’t.

Finally, if you’re just starting out as a busker you might be intimidated. I’ve been advised that all you need to busk is good weather and a good attitude. Don’t worry and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s all a part of the learning process. Many famous musicians got their start on the streets, one of the most famous examples is Cirque Du Soliel based out of Montreal, Canada. The worst mistake is not to have tried in the first place!

Many famous musicians got their start on the streets, one of the most famous examples is Cirque Du Soliel based out of Montreal, Canada.

If you’re looking for some idea of what it’s like to busk around the world, check out The Busking Project. They travelled the world and interviewed hundreds of performers. Their Vimeo page hosts a bunch of clips of performers. Soon they will be releasing a DVD and a book about their journey.

All this is well and good so you might be wondering, Steve, why don’t you busk?

Well, I have. In Poland I tried my hand at it and made all of 3.50PLN (about a dollar) and a lollipop. I wasn’t really expecting to make much since it wasn’t a busy day and it was cold. I simply wanted to see if I could do it. I found that after 30 minutes of playing my djembe, I got bored. Sure, it was neat to be playing on the street but I felt I needed to do more than just play one drum. The quest continues to figure out what that is.

If you’re interested in busking around the world you can read my post about Some Uncommon Jobs Abroad.

The Three Golden Rules of Working on a Farm

Working on a bike.
Working on a bike.

Sooooo, you applied and received your working holiday visa and now you’re headed to Australia, or maybe even Canada, in an effort to rustle up some work, hopefully well-paid. Well, good on you. Now, how can you ensure that you keep that well-paying job and, at the same time, increase your chances of getting another job? Below I discuss three “golden rules” given to me by my uncle when I worked on his farm.

First, understand that getting a job is not a right, it’s a privilege. Approaching any job with that mindset gives you the proper frame of mind for tackling any task you are asked to do and, more importantly, any mistakes that may occur. And there will be mistakes, it comes with the territory. Do your best to minimize them and, if you do make a mistake, take action right away.

Second, although I’ve written these rules with respect to working on a farm, they can be applied to just about any job out there.

Now for the three golden rules of working on a farm.

Rule #1: Don’t make work for the boss

This one is important because you, as a farm hand, are there to make life easier for your boss. If you break something, such as a fence post, angle grinder, or tractor, you’ve just made more work for your boss, not necessarily because he’s going to be the one to fix it (though often times he’ll have to), but because it delays greater work project. It’s true, there’s always work on the farm and that’s usually because something was broken and needs to be fixed. That being the case, when you mess up, don’t be afraid to confess. It’s better to say something earlier than wait for Mr. Boss Man to find out later on. Finally, if something does break, just remember that it is a farm and your boss didn’t become smart by not making mistakes. I’m sure if you asked those around him you’ll find out some of the things that your boss broke in his early days.

Rule #1a: Don’t make work for the boss’ wife

I received this one from my employer’s wife in Australia and it is equally as important as Rule #1. On some farms you might have someone make your meals for you and this should be seen as a privilege. It makes sense since you, as a farm hand, will be out in the middle of a field working and won’t have access or the time to make your own lunch. Treat this with respect. Further, after dinner, it’s not a bad idea to help clean up. Some folks will say you don’t have to but it doesn’t hurt to do a little more than expected than a little less.

Rule #2: Don’t run unless there’s fire

This rule, of course, should be taken in context. Things fall, animals charge, operators can’t see everywhere around the machine they’re driving, oil streams out of an engine, etc. There are times to hustle but, more often than not, running just adds risk. Although I try to follow this rule pretty closely, especially when rounding corners or with large machinery, some bosses will yell at you if it looks like you’re taking your time. Use your best judgment and be careful, but, please, unless it’s an emergency, don’t run.

Rule #3: When in doubt, stop and think

Oh the things that could be prevented if this rule was ingrained in the brains of any worker. “When in doubt, stop and think” is very important on the farm. You might be required to drive big machines that, with the slightest touch, can knock out power lines, fences, stake a cow (~$700 worth of hamburgers) or worse. If you don’t know if you can take the tractor through the gates (Australia has lots of gated paddocks but in Canada it depends what kind of farm you’re on), stop and think, “Can I make it through?” If not, consider your options. Bear in mind that if you don’t stop and think you might end up breaking Rule #1, which is don’t make work for the boss.

Bearing the above three rules in mind will greatly increase your success and make both your travels and work enjoyable. Good luck, have fun, and stay safe!