Tag Archives: Australia

Jackaroo / Jillaroo Down Under

jillDuring my backpacking time in Australia, I decided to do some real Aussie stuff and get an insight into the jackaroo/jillaroo lifestyle. A jackaroo/jillaroo is somebody who lives and works on a sheep or cattle station – and well, there are about 70 million sheep in Australia, but only about 23.6 million people! Online, I found this horse breeding and sheep station farm near Bingara, in the northeast of New South Wales, called “Garrawilla”. After I had contacted John and his girlfriend and helping hand Natusha, I booked my train and bus tickets, packed all my stuff, and was definitely ready to go on an adventure!

I was warmly welcomed at the bus stop by John with “Hello, my little German!” and after we had had dinner together with Nat and Jorjah, a jillaroo-to-come, we drove to his farm, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The next day, after a good long sleep, I finally saw where I would be living for the next few weeks. Surrounded by large fields, hills, and about 400 horses scattered everywhere, Garrawilla began to make me feel tiny, really just like the “little German” I was/am?, apparently – it was just so huge! After our typical porridge and coffee breakfast on the terrace at about 8am, John and I usually started work (which didn’t feel like work at all) by driving the horses to the yards with his ute (a four-wheel drive pickup), his not-always-working motorcycle or quad. You know, it takes quite a lot of courage to stand cramped together in between 30 horses, only holding a stick to guide them to different places (I think my heartbeat was about 200 the first few times!).

JohnsUteBy telling me all his stories about his family and friends, his various jobs on the farm and all the bloody Germans he’d met, John taught me many useful, important things about how to treat horses properly. He always illustrated his wisdom with real-life examples: often myself. I can tell you, getting dirt smeared in the face or being poked in the bottom with a pencil is not the nicest way to start your day! For the next few weeks, we would make young horses used to wearing a halter, teach them to lead and give and also get them to have a saddle on for the first time. Breaking in horses was one of the main tasks on the farm. Apart from that, we did some fencing (a pretty hard job, really), drove in and sheared sheep, fed all his working dogs and rode the horses, of course!

John also offers tourist rides in town along the Gwydir River, but we also did a lot of horse riding on the farm itself. Not only to check on the horses in the fields and hills, but also to drive them in or teach them to be ridden. But the greatest feeling was cantering across the Gwydir River, water splashing everywhere and the wind blowing in my hair.

jack.

Then, at some point, I didn’t feel touristy or foreign anymore, but I had found a place that felt like a second home. My inner cowgirl had found her own level. On Garrawilla, you get that once-in-a-lifetime experience with great people and amazing things to learn, and, as John told me when we went on our first ride: “As long as you don’t break your neck, you’re gonna be fine!”

If you want to collect memories like these yourself, visit their Facebook page: Jackaroo Jillaroo Down Under.

Author & Pictures: Rebecca Pichler

Up and away

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself” – Danny Kaye

I was bitten by the travel bug the second I first travelled around Europe in a trailer with my family as a small child. I’ve already seen a few corners of the world, but there are still lots of plane tickets for me to buy! Traveling has definitely made me a better person and I’ve heard lots of people say the same thing about themselves. But what exactly is it about traveling that seems to change people for the better? Let’s take a look at some of the positive aspects…

Traveling can make you become…
…more modest
20150823_145145

Going to other countries makes you realize how small we, as humans, are in such a big world and how grateful we should be for being able to experience its beauty – just think of all the breath-taking landscapes that can be found all over the world! Nature is so much more powerful than humanity and it is our duty to do everything we can to protect its beauty because, after all, we’re just temporary guests on this planet.

…more open-minded

You meet so many different people on a journey, with different backgrounds and beliefs that shape who they are and what they think the world should be like. All these people have their own story to tell and if you listen carefully you realize that, even though language, skin colour and religion might differ, in the end, we’re all the same and that all these stories have an impact on you. I’m much more open towards other cultures now – and isn’t open-mindedness and tolerance what our world, which is characterized by fear, prejudice and walls, really lacks these days?

…braver and more independent

20150823_193302I was very homesick when I first started traveling on my own, but I became more independent with every journey and now, I’m braver than ever before. This includes approaching strangers for advice, relying on my intuition in situations where I feel lost and as well taking risks sometimes! While I was freaking out about all the possible dangers awaiting me in an unknown country a few years ago, I realized that things always figure themselves out somehow and I’ve always returned home safely.

…more balanced

While I have some doubts about myself from time to time (like a lot of us, I guess), I’ve experienced plenty of situations abroad that made me realize that others’ perceptions of me totally differ from my own. Meeting new people abroad gives you a chance to break free from the role you’re stuck in at home and this, in return, helps you to grow and develop a better self-image. So, go out into the world, be yourself, touch some people’s lives, so the experiences you have change you forever!

What are you waiting for?
20160623_144346
It might sound like a cliché, but it’s actually true: traveling can help you find yourself and become a better person and, most importantly, world citizen! If you let cultures, places and people abroad affect you, I promise you won’t be the same on your return. So, if you’re lucky enough to get the chance to travel don’t hesitate – pack your bags and be prepared for a life-changing and eye-opening experience!

Author & pictures: Henrike Wilhelm

It’s not about the money

We all know this problem: the desire to discover new places in the world, see as much as you can, but without much cash. So what do most backpackers do? They save their money on food: fast food, instant noodles or sandwiches. Anything that‘s easy to prepare and that fills your tummy.

But when I was in Sydney, I discovered a place where you can get really good restaurant food, even on a small travel budget. Lentil as Anything is a non-profit-making organisation which runs six pay-as-you-feel restaurants in Australia. Their philosophy is that everyone should have the opportunity to eat out and be social, regardless of their financial situation.

When you enter the restaurant, it’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The furniture is simple but modern, designed with much love and creativity. The walls are covered with paintings and other artwork. Every table has a menu that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, depending on the time of the day. You might expect that the low costs mean it’s automatically self-service, but I was more than surprised that after a few minutes a friendly waitress came to our table to take our order.  We felt like guests at her house and she was inviting us for dinner.

The people working in Lentil as Anything are all volunteers or long-term unemployed. Or backpackers. For two weeks of helping out in the restaurant, backpackers can get free accommodation and, of course, a warm meal. And the meals are not only more nutritious and diversified, but also much healthier than a Big Mac Menu at McDonalds.

One aim of the restaurant is to promote multiculturalism, which is also reflected in the food. It’s basically a mix of everything. One customer is having Indian curry for breakfast, while at another table people are having scrambled eggs with bacon. And, of course, there are vegan meals too. And if you‘re still hungry, you can order the banana pancakes with syrup (which I can only recommend!). Before you leave, you can think about how much money you want to spend and put in in the box. And if you want or if you can’t spend anything at all, then you simply don’t put anything in the box.

Now you may be asking the same question that came to my mind after visiting this place: how can the place survive? Can, in today’s society, such a model make enough money to pay the rent, utilities and stock? Apparently it is. The philosophy has been working for over thirteen years now and in the last five years three new restaurants have been opened.

Surprisingly, people who visit the restaurant are not only homeless or backpackers, but also families with a normal income, who get the chance to take their children to a restaurant to enjoy good food more often. And that‘s how donations are collected.

So, for your next trip remember that a small travel budget does not necessarily have to mean that you can’t afford to eat out in a restaurant – the pay-as-you-feel philosophy is becoming more and more popular in all parts of the world, and who knows, maybe there‘s a similar place at your next destination 😉

Author & pictures: Carina Lamb