The beginning of a great journey
I went to Australia in 2005, when I was only a twenty year-old Frenchy wanting to experience life away from her family and country. I initially just went there for 4 months to study English in order to go to an Australian University later on. During that time, I met many backpackers who told me about their great experiences traveling and working in Australia. So instead of going directly into studies, I decided that I also wanted to make my own adventure. There were dreams I wanted to realize and I thought that Australia would be the place!
Thus, after passing the IELTS test, I came back to France, and within a month, I took my working holiday visa, jumped into a plane back to Brisbane where I’d been studying English. This has been the best decision I made in my life!
I was scared as it was the first time for me to be completely on my own. My parents did not agree with me travelling when I should be going to University, so they told me they won’t support me if I needed money. I would have to assume myself completely! This was a trigger for me to ask everybody I met about where to find work in Australia and what are the quick options. Obviously I was told about fruit-picking, which is one of the most common jobs for backpackers, but I was not completely satisfied with the idea.
I’m passionate by nature and wildlife. I knew that Australia has a lot to offer in this area and I wanted to find a job or maybe a career in this field, but I did not know where to start.
Like most backpackers I started my journey in a big city like Brisbane where it is easy to find common jobs such as waitressing, cooking, sales, etc. I started working for a popular travel agency called “Peter Pan” handing promotion flyers to people in the street. While handing the papers I saw many offers for scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and I felt really passionate to do it. That was it; I was determined to work on the Great Barrier Reef. I went back to my friends and told them I wanted to work on a boat, but most of them told me that it is very unlikely to get this type of jobs. Apparently there were so many backpackers at this time of the year and they all wanted to do it, so it was highly competitive. They told me that with my little work experience, I may not get a chance unless I waited several months in one place. Then I would have a small possibility to work on a boat. While most of my friends went on looking for common jobs in job agencies and fruit picking places, I decided I would do it my way... which is DARING!!!
Thus, I headed to Airlie Beach, determined to see the Whitsundays Islands. I did not have the money to go there so I thought I would volunteer on a boat to get a free trip. Instead of going through the boat agencies who register people to volunteer on boats (which can take several weeks before you get a position), I went directly to the boats asking the staff if they needed extra help so I could come with them. After 4 days I finally got a positive answer. They told me that I would be taken if I could work with them to renovate the sailing boat so it could be ready to go back into the water for a trip the next week. DONE!! This was a great deal as I got paid for it and I got to meet the people who, later, took me with them to help as a cook assistant on a trip to the Whitsundays Islands. Finally I had my first experience volunteering on a boat, so it was time for the next step: a full time job on a sailing boat in Cairns!!!!