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.