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It's all about money

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 8 February 2011 | Views [278] | Comments [1]

Don’t ever think something is well organized because some altruist is passionate about it. Ultimately, it is always money that it boils down to. Let me quote an example. The National Harvest Trail (“Work your way around Australia”) has been developed because it is a great way to earn a lot of money with thousands and thousands of backpackers who come to Australia each year.

It is quite simple.

Australia needs a lot of flexible labour to plant, harvest and pack all different kinds of fruit and vegetables all year round. This demand is not always very well predictable as nature is nature and not a robot.

The backpackers  instead need money, a cosy place to stay, some people to socialize with and the opportunity to travel.  Give it to them and the will be happy.

The National Harvest Trail combines the two and does it in such a way that everybody gets the biggest slice of cake.  Or that is what I believed before starting a career in Australian farm work. Not long ago, it slowly dawned upon me that maybe “the Australians” (for the lack of a better definition) get the lion’s share, at least financially speaking. Let me explain.

In order to stay in a working hostel, you have to pay for your accommodation. In some places you pay up to 30 AUD per day for a bed, the use of the kitchen and restrooms and leisure facilities such as pool table, ping pong table, TV set and swimming pool. You would pay this price or even less in a normal hostel. Apart from that, you have to pay for your own food and other expenses, which is fair enough. All these backpackers in need of money happily accept the 180 AUD per week (or more) thinking that they will easily earn that in one day’s work. So far, so good.  If only there were enough work.

In fact, it sometimes happens that  hostel owners calls more backpackers than they actually might need. For the hostel it pays off anyway as the backpackers, even if they are not working, still have to pay the rent. What is more, in some hostels backpackers are not allowed to work for somebody else than the farms which are connected to the hostel.

It is the backpackers who might lose out (financially) if they don’t calculate carefully. In some places the backpackers get just enough work to pay for their weekly expenses but not enough to save some and go on travelling.  What is more, if there is a nice atmosphere in the hostel, backpackers are tempted to stay longer than expected, even if there is hardly any work at all. So you hang out all day, have a good time chatting, reading, watching TV, eating, drinking, borrowing the other’s laptops and waiting for the next day to work again. You treat yourself to being lazy one day. After all, you will be working hard the next day.

But maybe there is no work the next day either and another lazy day begins …




Liebste Marlene... ich liebe deine Erzählungen und deine Geschichten - alle. Mach weiter so... genieße deine Reise. Wir denken an dich... morgen treffe ich mich vielleicht mit Marco,wenns sich irgendwie ausgeht. Ansonsten alles Liebe... Feier schön (wahrscheinl bist du schon beim Feiern). Noch einen großen Geburtstagskuss und bis bald Verena

  verena Feb 11, 2011 4:28 PM

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