Orchard Life

by David on March 25, 2010

One of the gazillions of rows of kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty. They currently retail for 7.99 a kg.

One of the gazillions of rows of kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty. They currently retail for 7.99 a kg.

Well I’ve been in Te Puke picking kiwis for almost two weeks now. The work is difficult and the hours are terrible, but I have income. It feels good not to be in “slow bleed” mode — I can actually plan further travels now.

At work I go across the vines down the endless aisles of kiwifruit. I pick about two hundred kiwis per basket, and fill a basket about every five minutes. By the end of the day I will have filled about eight large bins myself, for which I get paid about fifteen dollars each, and which will each sell in stores for about eight hundred dollars. I am a pawn in this equation, but willingly.

The work is tedious and physical. We have to keep our speed up or we get singled out and eventually fired. Our group is actually quite good and our positions are quite secure, but there is always the thought of falling behind. Whenever I start to gripe internally about the thanklessness of this work, I think of history’s slaves. Instead of getting razzed for being slow, they got whipped. And there was no paycheck, no worker’s rights, and no possibility of resigning. I can’t imagine.

I’m staying at a hostel with a few dozen other seasonal workers. Most of us are backpackers stopping for a few months to replenish the coffers. I’ve made friends already, and since I’ll be here for a few months there is a sense of stability here I haven’t had since I left. I can actually buy groceries in bulk.

New Plans

Well I’ve been in New Zealand for four months now, and I’ve traveled North, South, East and West. There are only a few places I want to go that I haven’t been, so when I’m done working I will start a new country.

Australia didn’t really appeal to me when I conceived this New Zealand trip. In comparison, it just seemed more expensive, hotter, more spread out and less diverse geographically. There was too much in New Zealand to see.

But now I’ve done the rounds in NZ, and I’m really excited about hopping over to Oz. I want a fresh country to explore. Most of the travelers I’ve met have just come from Australia, and they rave about it. Something clicked about two weeks ago and I suddenly I want to visit really bad. I figure I’ll go at the beginning of June, spend three or four weeks traveling up the east coast, and then come back to Auckland.

I had originally planned to spend a year away all together, but that would mean I’d be returning to Canada in November, just in time for the darkness and depression of winter. The thought fills me with dread, and I don’t want to be miserable when I get home. I want to look forward to the gorgeous Canadian summer, so I’ll be coming home sometime around the beginning of July.

I do love the travel experience, but I have a growing yearning to get back to regular life. I want to build my blog. I want to resume learning French. I want to see my friends again. I want to begin the rest of my life. I feel like I’ve been delaying a lot of parts of my life that I want to develop. I’ll be 30 (!) this year and I feel a strong enthusiasm about returning to Canada with new eyes. I appreciate Canada more than ever, having been away from it for five months.

I also want to plan my next trip :)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: