How Personal Growth Can Be Found By Becoming a Farmer

To first start this post off, I encourage you to step out of your normal surrounding to try anything new and make a habit of it. Life can become such a routine and too many people are continuously looking to future events for happiness. Let me tell you, stop right now! Waiting for the next holiday or buying the latest technology for your next fix of joy is not the life you should be leading. Start with small attempts first. Sign up for a pottery class, scope out an area of your city you’ve never been to or call up a friend for a coffee you had a falling out with. Steadfast moves of trying new endeavors keep life fun and interesting. Removing yourself from habitual environments opens opportunities and provides diversity in life. With this, personal development starts to flourish because you’re stimulating life and embracing change. Just remember, make it a practice!

For the past year, I have been travelling and living in parts of Australia. Although travel alone has provided personal development, so did my new job as a farmer. For two months I worked as a eucalyptus harvester in a small town outside Tamworth, New South Wales. The job provided accommodation in a spacious visitor center, with aIMG_7031 massive kitchen and a great wrap around porch. Living in Australia backcountry offered untroubled solitude and a great panorama view with my morning tea on the porch. Living in the front paddock of my new space was, Candy the camel. I claimed her as my new pet and would visit her on my days off to feed her cheese and carrots.

Travellers in Australia know, to gain a second year Working Holiday Visa in the Land Down Under, one must commit to 88 days of farm work. Through word of mouth, the common consensus I received from farm work was, it sucks. With my situation, I had no interest extending my visa; my goal was to experience something new and see if a farm stay really did suck. I must admit, it wasn’t the best job I’ve had, however, I committed myself for two months and learned a considerable amount. Let’s just say, it was a great character building experience.

Provided stability to challenge myself

The harvesting job provided me a consistent work schedule and ample amount of down time. I was situated in a small town of 400, meaning; there wasn’t much to do. This new timetable was something I wasn’t used to because I had been travelling for so long with an open agenda. With that, I gladly took advantage of this rare steadiness in my life and started a 30-day challenge. My task was to strengthen my writing and guitar skills daily. After one month of carrying out the challenge, I noticed how my commitment was becoming a healthy habit and I could see my abilities strengthening.

*TIP* If you’re a musician travelling, I recommend buying a half size travel guitar! They are painless to carry and can easily be used as carryon. Consider this little 6-string baby as a travel buddy, Yamaha CGS102A Half-Size Classical Guitar – Natural.

Learned new ways to deal with difficult co-workers

The eucalyptus work crew consisted of myself and 2 other people. With tightknit conditions, it was unfortunate my supervisor was a bit annoying to work with. He no doubt was a nice man, however, he talked only about himself, chatted way too much, would not ask one single personable question and took all matters personally. In the first IMG_7101couple days working alongside him, I was mentally drained. By nature, I am an understanding person and I knew the reasons why he acted the way he did, but this man was starting to push my limits. I learned the best way to keep my inner peace was to continue being polite, answer when spoken to and keep to myself. The job wasn’t permanent and I continued to comply with this notion to keep me from lashing out.

Added unique skills to my resume

My work experience before the farm consisted of 9 to 5 desk jobs and retail sales. These skills don’t particularly illustrate “farm” worthy. I knew this job was going to be something out of my comfort zone and I was eager to discover new skill-sets. In the daily life of a eucalyptus harvester, I drove tractors and trailers around the plantation, collected branches to shred them in a bin and drove a forklift. This was definitely a hands on job and I enjoyed learning how to drive a range of vehicles. Now I can go home and drive my family’s tractor with ease!



Strengthened my manual driving skills

In Canada, a majority of people drive automatic vehicles and I am one of them. That said, I learned how to drive manual in my Dad’s, 1969 Porsche 911. Can I add, it was the sketchiest car to learn with because the car is a vintage beast. Dad’s car is a summer vehicle and we don’t get a long hot season in Canada. Therefore, IMG_7106my manual skills were rusty. All tractors and vehicles used were manual, so I improved my skills quickly.

Increased my fitness

I committed myself to this labor job during an Australian summer. The definition of this scenario means, working in 40-degree heat and draining sweat out like the Niagara Falls. In the first week I learned rapidly to push through it all even though I was exhausted. My aptitude was steadily increasing by climbing up and down 15 foot bins, running around collecting branches and throwing them in a shredder 8 hours a day. Coming home after a long period was becoming a treat to cool down and relax! Normally I’m a night hawk, but after my first week, my head was hitting the pillow at 8pm. By the end of two months, I lost a few pounds and noticed I could lift heavy items with ease.


Olivia Goheen

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