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 :)


Regan March 25, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I think one of the important things about plans is remembering what you were trying to achieve when you made them in the first place, and that they can change drastically and it’s a good thing. :)

Speaking as a kiwi, Australia is a great country, lots of fun places to visit, and beautiful scenery. It definitely feels vaster in scope than NZ. Hope you enjoy!

David March 27, 2010 at 12:59 am

Great advice Regan. It’s interesting to think back to the initial planning stages of this trip, and what I thought New Zealand was like. Things are never quite what you expect, simply because we can’t predict the future!

Char (PSI Tutor:Mentor) March 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm

That picture is gorgeous! like a starry sky or blossoming flowers.

What an opportunity to live in the moment~ daunting.

Yay~ your coming to the Outback, am sure you won’t regret it. There is a couch/mattress in Cairns your welcome to camp on ~:-)

David March 27, 2010 at 1:05 am

Great! The scope of my trip depends on how much I’m able to save here. The ideal plan is a four-week overland trek from Sydney to Cairns. Cairns is quite far up there though. I don’t want to leave out Sydney either. There are a lot of options, I might fly into Brisbane, head north to Carins, then fly to Auckland with a few days stopover in Sydney. I’ll figure it out.

Char (PSI Tutor:Mentor) March 30, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Ok~ where your path takes you then. Backpackers trek back and forth and you can just chuck in for petrol to grab a ride, they advertise at hostels. There is a car company that you only pay petrol for and you drive their vehicles back to Cairns or Sydney or wherever~ I’ll scope for the link.

And if you help my housemate and I with our French we will ply you with ice-cream ~:-) so food won’t be an issue either.

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