Go out in the world and fuck it up beautifully. – John Waters
Australia Outback Labouring
3 years ago, with no money to my name, I lent off a friend and booked a one-way flight to Australia. I’d heard about well paid agriculture work in the outback, so I headed there in hope that I could save to travel and pay off my two overdrafts from university.
Work was hard to come by, and for the first couple of weeks I struggled a lot. I felt extremely anxious as I watched my bank account dwindle even further into the red. I was seriously considering heading home.
But I didn’t lose hope. I persevered, and eventually fell on my feet, landing a temporary job for harvest as a grain labourer.
No Aussie wanted to take this job, and granted. Imagine it: shovelling grain in the blistering 40 degrees heat, day in day out, 7 days a week, for up to 15 hour a day. Add into the mix, living 100km from normality in a shed on site with just the bare necessities at hand.
It was an experience that wasn’t for the faint hearted.
Australia marked my first real time travelling, so everything was new and scary. When I started the harvest, I remember feeling incredibly homesick and questioning my path. I’d just turned down a job as an investment banker, and just 3 weeks later I was living in the middle of the outback working as a grain labourer with a bunch of 50+ year olds.
The feelings started to subside when I met a great guy who was nicknamed “Kiwi Mike”. He was a veteran. He’d been on the job for 30 years and his weathered face was proof of that.
From day one he took me under his wing and made the harvest a fun and memorable experience. He taught me the ropes, told countless jokes and even showed me a couple of magic tricks.
It wasn’t long until he started to open up, telling me about his dreams and plans for the future.
He wanted move back to his homeland of New Zealand, buy a plot of land, build a small farm, then spend the rest of his life adventuring the country, visiting family he hadn’t seen for years.
His dream was simple and beautiful.
Finishing Up Harvest
With Kiwi Mike’s help, I somehow made it to the end of a gruelling 3-month harvest. On my last day, we were celebrating with a few “stubbies”, when Mike came up to me and said:
“Dan, you’ve inspired me with your bravery to get up, leave and adventure into the unknown. I’ve grinded this job out for 30 years to pay off my mortgage and get that security. I’m glad to say, the struggle is over. I’m going to retire next year and head back to New Zealand to set up my farm and travel the country visiting my family.”
His words meant a lot, and I left the harvest with my head held high, happy and hopeful that Kiwi Mike would follow through on his dream.
An Unexpected Turn of Events
About 6 months later, I was adventuring Northern Thailand when I received an email. It wasn’t good news. Kiwi Mike had suffered a heart attack and had been found dead on the job.
It was a huge shock, and in that moment, it dawned upon me that Kiwi Mike’s dreams of a future in New Zealand had also died with him.
Gone. Unrealised. Just like that.
Wake up, the time is now…
I reflected on Kiwi Mike’s death for months and months.
Why did it happen to him?
Why didn’t he get to live out his dreams?
Why did he work so hard for a future that he didn’t get to experience?
I wrote pages and pages in my journal, attempting to answer these questions, and came to my own conclusions. Here’s an extract from my journal in May 2014:
We cannot control the course of our lives. We think we’ve got a good grasp of life, and delude ourselves into thinking that our destiny is in our hands; but it’s not. Nature is more powerful than man will ever be, and has proven time and time again that one day doesn’t exist. Postponing our dreams for the security of the future is living in hope. The safest time to act on any dream is right now.
We can only be 100% sure about what’s happening here, right now, in the present moment.
Don’t let life pass you by in the hope that you can life out your dreams in the future – you can’t be so sure. We are not immortal and it’s inevitable that circumstances will change, time will pass, and eventually, your health will begin to diminish too.
So what are you waiting for?
There never will be a perfect time to act, so the next best time to act is now. And if fear is holding you back start with a simple question such as:
What is the smallest step I can take right now in the direction of my dreams?
Whether it’s a 2 minute walk around the block, a 10 minute brainstorming session for a new project, or putting away £10 each week for your travel fund, good habits always starts small. Don’t overload yourself with too much and remember there’s great momentum and intention in just getting started.
Sometimes life isn’t fair, but it shouldn’t take death to make us realise the profound importance of the now.
This event was a turning point in my life, and I hope by sharing Kiwi Mike’s story that it will encourage you to get out there and start living your dreams.
Thanks for reading,
Daniel Beaumont, Monday 4th January 2016.
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
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