Sunday Musings

It’s Sunday afternoon on my last full day at the vineyard. The sun is shining in a clear blue sky, it’s about 72 degrees (22 for you Celsius folks), and the all-to-familiar wind is blowing. Tomorrow I’ll hitch a ride to the town of Traralgon, where I’ll hop on a train to Melbourne, spend the night in a hostel, then fly to Auckland on Tuesday. I don’t have much to write about today so that’s exactly what I’m going to write about. I’ve realized that it’s impossible to blog about experiences when you’re having none.

The world of work exchange involves both the host and the traveler taking a bit of a gamble. As a traveler you want a safe place that’s clean and comfortable, hosts that are friendly, and work that is interesting. As a host you want a traveler who is sociable, capable of doing a variety of tasks, and has good life skills (i.e. can function without mom). Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and it’s not uncommon for either party to end the partnership early. You hit the jackpot as a traveler when the work is rewarding and you have a host who will invite you along for errands into town, introduce you to friends, or offer up a trip to a local landmark.

I’m wrapping up seven days at the vineyard, which was about four too many. I learned some interesting things about winemaking but the work was mostly boring, unskilled labor that anyone could do and there were no field trips. I’m at a disadvantage because I don’t have a car, so I can’t venture out on my own, and I’m traveling solo, so there’s no one with whom to commiserate about the mindless work. There are mountain bike trails nearby that I’d love to explore but the available bikes (which my host has graciously offered) are either kid-sized or deathtraps that would no doubt lead to another insurance claim. What I wouldn’t give for just one of the bikes that’s in my garage back home!

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. This week will be the cheapest of my entire trip. The family is great, the meals are good… there just isn’t anything to do! On Friday I left the property for the first time since the previous Sunday afternoon to attend the kids’ basketball games. Talk about cabin fever. In the future I’ll be a little more selective of where I spend a precious week of my short adventure.

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4 thoughts on “Sunday Musings

  1. Uncle Bob says:

    We learn as we go. You will remember this week as you will all the others, but differently. The common labor tells you it was a good investment for your education. It will help you with your choices when you finish your travels and start thinking about the next step in your young life. Time is precious and I wonder what adventure waits for you out there – go see

  2. Judy says:

    Scott you are truly experiencing the circle of life. The great thing is life really isn’t completely linear. You make choices and if they don’t work out, you pause , regroup, and make your next choice. The regrouping part has no timeline….sometimes days, sometimes months. Blessedly in your case, you are not taking years . Time for reflection (even if it seems mindless, usually is not. Ever the pollyanna, I would choose to believe if your experience among the grape vines had been full of adventure, you might feel you were done with your expedition…now you have found another door. In the words of my favorite Beatle “be here, now”…be aware of your choices and know there are lots of us that have your back!

  3. kyfried says:

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, Bob and Judy. I was frustrated yesterday because my host asked me to clean out about 50 five-gallon buckets that are used to hold the picked grapes on what was supposed to be my one day off. The buckets were stuck together and had to be wrestled apart and the sticky sweet residue attracted literally hundreds of flies (you know how I feel about them). That task took me to my breaking point and made me question what I’m doing (“I have two college degrees, damnit!”). No worries though… more experiences await!

  4. David says:

    And it is your continuing education that is making you want to extend this adventure. You were able to leave the mundane and go on this adventure BECAUSE you are bright, and curious, and educated. I wonder what percentage of the world population would be in your position. That’s not meant as criticism, just fact. You worked very hard to get to a position of being able to do this, and are getting degree number three as a result. The vast majority of people I know were envious when Judy and I went to Cincy or Pittsburgh for a visit when Graham and Matt were students in those cities. You learn to do what you want to do by realizing what you don’t want to do. And speaking of sticky grapes, what would you have done on your (supposed) one day off, if you would have had that day off, and did not have a car, or a decent bike, or a companion? It’s all about taking risks, and adapting. And you probably have new questions in your arsenal when contacting the next work person. You’re learning more about sooooo many things that are soooo much more important than fighting flies. And you know that you are, which is also a pretty cool thing to learn. I’m ever so proud of you, and, while I always tell you to have fun, I always know how more than that you are experiencing. Heck, you could have more fun than you could live through by staying here and hanging out with Uncle Bob, and Uncle David. And you were smart enough to know that we were not the only thing in life worth pursuing. So have fun, learn what you don’t want to do (as well as what you do want to do), be safe, and watch out for all those middle earth critters in New Zealand. How flippin’ cool! Love ya Unc

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