Tonalità

Di tutti i colori

del mondo

che risvegliano i sensi

e riscaldano l’anima,

l’Australia.

Sunset over Freo

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Working Holiday Visa – Astenersi perditempo!

Ecco, io sono proprio stanca di leggere e sentire lamentele e piagnistei di persone che, a mio avviso, non dovevano nemmeno richiedere il Working Holiday Visa per venire in Australia !

Ultimamente sono spuntati inchieste, video, articoli e commenti che denunciano una realtà deformata di quella che nasce come un’esperienza e non come uno stile di vita.

Il Working Holiday Visa (WHV) non è per tutti. Se vi va di capire perché, vi invito a soffermarvi a leggere la mia, di esperienza.

Proverò a riassumere in pochi concetti la mia avventura in Australia iniziata il 12 settembre 2012, proseguita con un secondo anno di WHV e che continua attualmente con un 457 Sponsored Visa (Secondary Applicant).

on the road Australia
On the Road

 

VIAGGIARE E LAVORARE IN AUSTRALIA

Decisi di venire in Australia per due motivi:

1) Scoprire il Continente australiano come viaggiatrice: conoscere la sua magica natura e capire la connessione con le figure ataviche del Tempo del Sogno aborigeno

2) Lavorare nei campi, a contatto con la natura, lontano dalle metropoli. Mettermi alla prova e scoprire i miei limiti.

Farm Carnarvon Australia
Campi di capsicum (peperoni)

 

In altre parole: volevo fare un’esperienza insolita di crescita della durata di un anno. Da Project Manager in una grande metropoli europea quale Parigi a contadina a Carnarvon, paesino rurale nel Western Australia.

Insomma, sono passata dalle conf call su Skype con importanti aziende sparse tra Los Angeles e Tokyo a raccogliere peperoni sotto il sole cocente australiano. Sono quadrilingue da 15 anni ormai, ma è stato uno shock per me dovermi sforzare per esprimermi e, soprattutto, capire un diversamente inglese parlato dagli australiani.

Ma così è andata… e vorrei tanto poter ripetere l’esperienza!

Sono atterrata a Perth il 12 settembre 2012. Nel giro di due settimane, con quello che sarebbe diventato il mio compagno di viaggio, abbiamo comprato un van, percorso i primi 900 km di costa del Western Australia, imparato le regole basiche per viaggiare on the road e per campeggiare ed infine raggiunto Carnarvon.

Tutti si dirigevano verso Margaret River, nessuno andava a Nord. Noi abbiamo seguito l’istinto…ed abbiamo fatto bene!

Alloggiavamo all’Outback Oasis Caravan Park e i pochi backpackers che vivevano lì in tenda ci demotivavano dicendo che era finita la stagione delle banane e quella dei manghi sarebbe cominciata dopo diverse settimane. Insomma, che lavoro non ce n’era…

Va WHV Australia
Il nostro Toyota Hiace del 1982 (Ozzy) nell’Outback Oasis Caravan Park a Carnarvon

 

FORTUNA E DETERMINAZIONE

Abbiamo comunque cercato nelle varie farm che si estendono sulle lunghe North River Road e South River Road. Un po’ per fortuna e molto per determinazione, il secondo giorno di ricerca abbiamo trovato lavoro.

Senza passare per nessuna agenzia.

Senza chiedere l’intercessione di nessun ostello.

Senza l’aiuto di nessun amico/conoscente.

É iniziato così uno dei periodi più belli della mia vita…nei campi, vivendo in un van, tra insetti e lucertoloni giganti, lavorando duro e sporcandomi il corpo intero di quella magica terra rossa.

Farm Carnarvon
Le mie condizioni a fine giornata 🙂

 

FATICA E FELICITÀ

Io ho fatto le farm. Gli 88 giorni. Ho sudato il mio secondo anno in Australia e ho amato le condizioni e le situazioni che ho vissuto. Non è stata una passeggiata, ma nemmeno è stato un incubo.

Ho imparato la bellezza della natura e il ciclo di vita dei prodotti della terra, senza saper nulla di agricoltura. Ho imparato che tutto è possibile se si ha volontà e determinazione.

Ho iniziato sistemando le fascette (cable ties) sulle fila di peperoni. 24h ore in 3 giorni a fare squat. Altro che palestra!

La settimana successiva bisognava sistemare le foglie delle piante di melanzane per mantenerle dritte. Qualche giorno dopo toccava togliere le erbacce…con la zappa!

Ho fatto 4 mesi in due farm e in quei 4 mesi ho:

  • Raccolto peperoni, angurie, melanzane
  • Pulito i campi dalle piante morte (post-raccolto) e dalla plastica nera
  • Rimosso i tubi del sistema d’irrigazione
  • Costruito i sistemi d’irrigazione ex novo per i successivi raccolti
  • Preparato il campo per la semina
  • Seminato campi di zucche ed angurie
  • Pulito campi di banane
  • Lavato i prodotti prima di impacchettarli
  • Impacchettato uva, mais, angurie
  • Pulito i campi dei residui di plastica e portato il tutto alla discarica della zona
  • Rimosso file di arbusti zappando la terra per ore intere
  • Costruito bidoni per la raccolta di angurie con cartoni e pallet
  • Sistemato le liane dei vigneti
Farm Carnarvon Australia
Raccolta dei peperoni

 

WHV tractor
Sul trattore

Il sole scottava, la crema solare si consumava, il cappellino con visiera si impregnava di sudore, il corpo faceva male, la pelle veniva bruciata dal sole, i capelli diventavano biondi, si beveva almeno 4 litri di acqua al giorno, ci si fermava un paio di ore e si pranzava tutti insieme in una stanza piena di polvere e ragnatele, si condividevano i frutti della terra con i vicini di tenda o con gli amici che lavoravano in altre farm.

farm Australia Carnarvon
Lunch break!

Si preparava il barbecue la domenica mattina, ci si rilassava il pomeriggio in piscina, si faceva una passeggiata al ventilato Pellican Point, si andava a fare la spesa scalzi all’IGA o al Woolworths (supermercati australiani), si veniva svegliati dai pappagalli alle 5:30 del mattino e ci si addormentava con il canto delle ranocchie che popolavano i bagni del campeggio la notte, ci si incrociava nel campeggio con Luli, la lucertolona che passeggiava libera nelle piazzole, si combatteva con le blatte e con le cicale giganti, con i ragni che spuntavano ovunque…ma era proprio questo il bello!

Van WHV Australia
Lunch break 2

Ecco cos’è l’esperienza farm. Venivo pagata 20$ l’ora, versando regolarmente le tasse, vivevo in un van, in un campeggio, lavoravo sotto il sole caldo (oltre i 38º non si lavorava), utilizzavo utensili mai usati prima (tenaglie, zappe, pale, fascette, tubi di gomma, forklift…), alzavo pesi che oscillavano tra i 7 e i 15 kg… ed ero felice! Non mi sono MAI sentita una schiava, né umiliata né offesa.

Van WHV Australia
Pulizia settimanale

L’esperienza farm fa parte di un iter di formazione che solo le persone con la testa sulle spalle sanno come affrontare.

Weather Western Australia
Hot Hot Hot!

Mi rendo conto che tanti ragazzi che arrivano in Australia con un WHV pensano di poter continuare a fare la vita agiata che facevano a casa con i loro genitori. Molti di questi giovani richiedono il WHV, si fanno 14000 e rotti km per oziare e fare il minimo indispensabile, convinti di “godersi la vita”… Ma il WHV non serve a questo.

L’ESSENZA DEL WORKING HOLIDAY VISA

Il Working Holiday Visa è un visto che il governo australiano concede ai cittadini provenienti da altri Paesi che desiderano lavorare e viaggiare in Australia per un anno.

Io lo concepisco come un anno sabbatico, ma non per i perditempo.

 

Ecco, per intenderci, il Working Holiday Visa è da considerarsi un po’ come l’esperienza di viaggio che i giovani rampolli dell’aristocrazia europea intraprendono nel Settecento in Europa: il viaggio diventa occasione di crescita ed anche di formazione. 

 

Sicuramente non è un visto che ti permette di trasferirti in Australia, bensì ti da la possibilità di viaggiare e lavorare nel Nuovo Continente per un anno (cosa che non potresti fare con un Tourist Visa).

E basta con queste lamentele che la farm è pesante, che le condizioni di vita sono disumane e che vieni sotto pagato. Non sei obbligato a farle. Se vuoi richiedere il secondo WHV devi svolgere 88 giorni in zone non urbane lavorando:

o nell’agricoltura

o nelle miniere

o nella costruzione.

Di cosa vi lamentate?
È vero che ci sono elementi che alterano la legalità del sistema: esistono sicuramente dei farmer (agricoltori) che non rispettano il salario minimo, che pagano a cottimo, che fanno lavorare i ragazzi in condizioni misere, ma è pur vero che ad accettare queste condizioni sono gli stessi ragazzi. Si può sempre rifiutare e cercare altrove.

È altrettanto vero che esistono backpackers disposti a pagare per farsi firmare i documenti che attestino di aver fatto gli 88 giorni. Bisognerebbe denunciare questo e quello.

THE BEAUTIFUL PARADOX

Chi scrive è una persona che ama l’Australia dell’Outback e del bush ma che ha difficoltà a trovare il suo equilibro nell’Australia urbana. È un Continente che offre cose che l’Europa non riesce a dare più: una vita decente e dignitosa, del tempo libero per sé, lavoro, spazi da condividere e natura a non finire… Ma l’Australia è anche un luogo troppo giovane, senza cultura né storia; quasi senz’anima.

L’Australia è un paradosso, ecco. Un bellissimo paradosso.

12 Apostles Australia
Great Ocean Road – Australia

 

Gingero

Nascondigli sotto il mio naso.

Agguati dietro la porta della cucina.

Conversazioni multilingue e rituale dei 5 minuti di pazzia pre-dormita.

La casa è vuota senza la tua personcina.

Mi manchi e continuerai a mancarmi…

IMG-20150504-WA0000

20150406_222359_LLS 20150502_170124 20150504_120752 IMG_20150407_191702 IMG-20150406-WA0022 IMG-20150410-WA0004 IMG-20150413-WA0008 IMG-20150417-WA0001

The sound of Freo

There are many things in life that make you feel alive. There is one thing, in particular, that makes me feel more than alive.
It’s something that I cannot control, it just shakes me from the inside, my heart beats the rhythm of joy, my eyes cry tears of happiness, my hands sing the lyrics of an universal language.

I can feel my soul wide open, embracing all the human beings, and the nature and the entire world. This thing is the Music.
It’s the muse of my journey through life, the painter of my days and the spirit of everything.

12 minutes of freedom, strength, hope, happiness, joy, love, bliss.
12 minutes of pure life.
OCEAN – John Butler

Stable but lively 2015!

Let’s hope it’s going to be a stable but lively 2015!!!!

Aims for the New Year:

– Continue writing on this blog

– Write a book about my trip around Australia

– Travel to Thailand

– Visit my friends in Madrid

– Speak Portuguese (properly)

– Spend some holidays with my family

Happy New Year to you all!

2015
2015

Merry Xmas from Rottnest Island

The 25th of December is a pleasant recurring event to spend with your family and friends. If you live more than 14.000 km away from your homeland, don’t despair! Just turn this festivity into a celebrating moment of enjoying life.

Rottnest Island, aka Rotto, is Perth’s playground,  just 25 minutes away from Fremantle (about 90 from Perth) by ferry. Rotto is the choice for many families that want to spend their summer holidays on the WA’s paradisiacal island.

Rottnest Island -  Birdseye view photography
Rottnest Island – Birdseye view photography

Rottnest Island offers plenty of coastal activities including boating, fishing, swimming, surfing, diving and snorkelling thanks to its amazing beaches and bays.

Western Australia has the highest per capita boat ownership in Australia, and Rottnest Island is a favourite destination for ‘boaties’. As a contribution to the conservation of the Island and the provision and upkeep of facilities, anyone entering the Rottnest Island Reserve (including the marine reserve) is required to pay an admission fee.

boaties in Rotto
Boaties in Rotto

Also, there are free guide walking tours offered by the Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association, even if I have to admit that discovering the island on two wheels is the funniest way to spend the day in Rotto.

Bikes in Rotto
Bikes in Rotto

You can bring your bike from home or hire one from the Rottnest Island Pedal & Flipper, the largest facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere with over 1,300 bikes and specialty equipment available for hire. You can hire your bike for 30$ per day, helmet (mandatory in WA) and lock included. Passport or Driver’s License are required to be shown.

Rottnest-Map
Rottnest-Map

Rotto is also the home of the cutest animal in WA: the quokka. They look like mini kangaroos and love socialize with humans. Along with quokkas, you can be acquainted with king’s skink lizards (very curious amphibians).

King's skins lizard
King’s skins lizard

 

Cute quokka
Cute quokka

Rottnest Island also hosts two species of snakes: the Southern Blind Snake (non-venomous burrowing snake), and the Dugite, a slender, dark brown, venomous snake frequently seen during the summer months, often lying on the road obtaining warmth from the sun and bitumen. Dugites are timid and non-aggressive, but they should always be treated with respect and caution as they are venomous.

Every year, the OFS backpackers hostel organizes a big day in Rotto on the 25th of December. A whole day full of outdoor activities, tasty barbie and lots of fun to share a magic moment with an unconventional family composed of people from all over the world. The motto “Home away from home” is perfectly reflected with the OFS in Rotto and your Christmas Day looks more like the Italian Ferragosto (Feast of the Assumption – 15th of August) when people organize picnics at the beach enjoying a summer day (off from work!)
Even if you feel alone, let Australia embrace you.
Merry Xmas to you all!!!
OFS in Rotto
OFS in Rotto

Thirthy

Turning 30 is a sort of achievement for everyone. Somebody celebrates it by getting married or having a baby, some others by buying a house or a car, someone else by discovering another piece of world.

Actually, I belong to the last category as my life still looks like a paradox for the majority of my family and friends. Sometimes, it feels like a paradox for me as well, but I just keep discovering other spots in this part of the globe, such as Denmark, in WA.

Denmark is “just” 420km from Perth and it’s a very small village of 2,400 inhabitants approximately.

Downtown Denmark
Downtown Denmark

This quiet and cute village is surrounded by the Valley of the Giants and its secular trees, the crystal waters bays of the Indian Ocean, known as the Green Pools, and the Wilson Inlet, an inner lake.

View
View

 

Stairway to heaven
Stairway to heaven
Elephant Rocks, Denmark
Elephant Rocks, Denmark
Elephant Rocks, Denmark
Little bay at Elephant Rocks Pool
Elephant Rocks, Denmark
Can you spot the elephant?

Wilson Inlet is the inner lake that, with William Bay National Park, offer an alternative landscape of the area for those people who love the mountains and prefer being surrounded by plants, trees and leaves.

Wilson National Park
William Bay National Park
Wilson Inlet
Wilson Inlet
Honeymoon Island, WA
Honeymoon Island, Wilson Inlet

I discovered the Bibbulmun Track, a long distance walk trail in Western Australia that runs from Kalamunda (east of Perth) to Albany.

Bibbulmun Track
Bibbulmun Track

The Bibbulmun Track can be considered the Aboriginal version of the Camino: it is almost all through state forest, national parks and other reserves, with only a few small sections of farmland. It consists of 58 sections and is marked at regular intervals with triangular pointers, most of which have an image of the wagyl , a mythical creature from Aboriginal Dreamtime stories.

Wagyl
Wagyl

Discovering is the essence of getting old.
Getting old is the way to take your time and embrace your life.
Thanks Australia

Thinking.

A little bit of Maths in WA

Two days ago I was comparing WA’s population with the Italian population: all I could say was “WOW!”.

Let’s start by saying that Western Australia is Australia’s biggest State …and also the most isolated one.

Western Australia map
Western Australia map

Figures show that, over a 2,645,615 km², only 2,432,706 people live in WA…it’s less than 1 inhabitant per km2!!!!

WA population density
WA population density

We don’t have problems of space here! Just take a deeper look at the map of WA and see that, a part from Perth, there are no big cities in WA but only small cities quite far from each others:

WA map
WA map

Perth, apart from being the capital of Western Australia, is also one of the fastest growing cities in Australia. Western Australia’s wealth boom has been driving people to the region lately, in fact since 2013 over 2million people have lived in it.

The list of the most populated Western Australia’s cities out of bbbbbb are, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014 census figures :

Bunbury (168,189)
Geraldton (37,811)
Kalgoorlie (24,614)
Busselton (23,517)
Albany (17,661)
The rest of the cities have less than 10.000 people and are the places where you will find the most stunning and wildest landscapes in WA.

Just let’s go back to the comparison and let’s consider Italy’s population now:

ITALY - Population Density
ITALY population density

Yeah, that’s what I was talking about, a couple of days ago: over 60million people (30 times more than WA population) are living in only 301,338km2 of land (8 times smaller than WA).

And it’s just then that you compare and realize how our living conditions in Europe are just the opposite.

The last, but not the least, you start understanding that to survive here, all your parameters must change and get used to the Australian sizes!!!!

An ordinary Australian cricket - normal size
An ordinary Australian cricket – normal size…Aaaaaaargh!!!!!!

Random Routine

I started a new job a couple of weeks ago and my random routine has changed again. This is the reason why I couldn’t sit down and write all the posts that I have developed in my mind.

Changing job is something that easily happens in Australia, if you want it to happen, of course.

I am not saying that you can get whatever job you want, but, compared to our European standards, it is definitely easier to start another occupation. It’s like if people are not scared of changes in their lives.

I remember, in Darwin during my road trip around Australia in 2012, that lady at the Post Office. She was probably 45 or maybe even 50 and, while I was giving her instructions to send a box overseas, she just told me to be patient with her as it was her first day at the Post Office and she was not aware of all the conditions and prices for international shippings.

I  gave her my best smile as I was amazingly surprised of hearing that…but at the same time in my mind I was like “WHAT?!?!?!?! But that’s fantastic!!!!I wonder if my mum (who’s living in the south of Italy) could ever change her job at her age.”

Since I landed in Australia, I have changed so many jobs that I had never experienced before. Considered that I took a gap year off in 2012 and at that time I was working to keep traveling, I have to admit that since October 2012, I have had such different jobs that I listed them for not forgetting any:

– Farm worker (doing EVERYTHING: seeding, weeding, picking, cleaning veggies, cleaning the fields, preparing the soil for the new cultivation, renewing the irrigation systems and dispatch the used materials to the landfill, packing fruits and veggies…and eating a lot of mangos!!!!)
– waitress
– market stall vendor
– cleaner
– babysitter
– stevedore
– mystery shopper
– sales advisor
– freelance copywriter

What I enjoyed the most was discovering the roster: having different shifts every week offers you a lot of possibilities for your free time!

The roster is the weekly timetable used to define each employee’s shifts. Every week the shifts change according to the employee’s availability (of course) and the business’ needs. The good thing is that the shifts can be changed among the employees and it gives a lot more flexibility to manage your free time.

A typical roster :)
A typical roster 🙂

Now that I am back into an office, my random routine has changed again and I cannot be happier for that.

But, again, this is a choice based on my personality and my (unstable) desires of experiencing all the things listed on my (unwritten) bucket list.

I feel like walking on every possible surface: red smooth land, hot stones, fragile little shells, freezing snow, hills, mountains and golden beaches. Everything is new, everything is different but I’m not scared of that.

The paradox of Australia is the paradox inside of me: the desire of building something without getting stuck in it. So…just keep walking!

Sandy feet
Sandy feet?!

Working and networking

Sunsets are always stunning in Freo at this time of the year. I feel the wild sensation of stopping wherever I am to stare at the sun going down.

No matter if you are driving your car or if you are seating on the train. You just wish to stop and hold that precise moment forever. The power of nature…

Sunset Freo
Sunset – Thanks Lisa for this amazing pic!

So, apart from this lovely postcard from the coast, life here has been quite busy and full of new challenges. The glorious achievements of this week: going to the swimming pool on a daily basis and, finally, back into a real office working on a new project with new colleagues!

Here’s another paradox in WA. There are plenty of possibilities for young and not-so-young people but, if you do not have previous experience in WA, the first step towards your professional settlement is the hardest to reach.

In WA, overseas professionals related to the Communication or Marketing worlds struggle a bit to find a job. Perth is the only metropolis in Western Australia offering a wide range of job opportunities. Other places like Broome, Port Hedland, Kununurra, Tom Price, Geraldton and so on are way smaller and offer jobs for labourers mainly. Actually, an overseas labourer has a higher chance to get hired the first 30 days upon its arrival in Australia compared to a common employee. In fact, you can be an experienced marketing coordinator and struggle a bit more compared to, for examples, welders, miners, builders or landscapers…This is because mining, gas & oil, construction, fishery and agriculture are the main industries in the State of Western Australia.

You can easily see in the streets of Perth dozens of offshore workers and FIFOs (Fly-In-Fly-Out) in yellow-and-blue coveralls just after finishing working. Some flights from Perth heading up North are composed only of FIFOs workers!

When I moved to Australia, I believed that things were similar to Europe here. I mean, work is work wherever you go. But WA, again, is different from the other coast and from big cities such as Melbourne or Sydney.

Advertising, Marketing, Communication, Design, Events, Human resources, etc…are fields less requested compared to the jobs available for labourers. Also, if you compare the positions available in Melbourne or Sydney with those ones in Perth (in the mentioned fields, for example), you’ll notice the difference.

On www.seek.com.au there are plenty of pages with many positions available in Melbourne or Sydney… and just a couple of pages for the Perth area!

Anyway, the amazing thing of living on this side of the world is that everything is laid-back and quicker to achieve (professionally speaking). But being with the right people in the right place at the right moment is what makes the difference here in Western Australia. That’s the reason why it is important to get in touch with people from your same background in order to generate new connections and increase your networking. There are many associations in WA which are related to different professional careers.

I just found this amazing one called PerthYoung Professional, but there are many others: you just need to browse! Perth is like a social network: the more people you know, the more chance to be noticed and, in this case, to get a job interview you have.

Sunset over Perth
Sunset over Perth

To sum up:

– Having previous work experience in WA
or
– Having a valuable contact able to endorse you and to introduce you into the professional world
or
– being able to use the Web and enhance your networking

are the essential rules to respect if you intend to find a job in WA.

Easy, uh?! 🙂