Goodbye, Melbourne

I lived in Melbourne for 4 months, and fell in love with the architecture, buskers, public transport, and art scene. It is a beautiful and liveable city; this year it was voted the #1 most Liveable City in the World.

I had a myriad of well-paying jobs, from being a kitchenhand to babysitting to cleaning and nannying for kosher Jewish families – we were living in Caulfield North, the Jewish neighborhood. With persistance anyone can find a job there. I’d reccommend Melbourne to any traveler seeking a job, or just for a quick visit.

My favorite places include Federation Square (so many free museums there!) The State Library of Victoria, Degraves Street for a bite, the Botanic Gardens, and just wandering around the graffiti laneways.

WWOOF and HelpX: Seeing the World One Farm at a Time

The light filters through the branches of the plum tree, each leaf outlined in a brilliant yellow from the just risen sun. We are reaching up, stretching to pluck the abundant purple plums above us.

In about an hour, we’ll all join together for our first meal of the day; muesli, homemade yogurt, and fresh fruit salad, made with fruit we picked earlier in the week.

I’m on an organic stone fruit orchard in Australia, volunteering with five other travelers from around the world. After breakfast, we gather in a shed for our next job. We laugh and tell stories around a table as we carefully slice fruit for the solar drier. Once our four hours of volunteering are over, we convene with the farmers and share a big communal lunch.

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The rest of the day we have free to explore – we can borrow bikes, go for a walk around the neighboring orchards, relax and read books, or talk and play games with our new friends. At dinnertime we reconvene for a group meal, which we take turns each night cooking. Tonight, the Japanese travelers are trying their hand at a quiche, and I overhear them asking the older couple from Switzerland for advice about how to make the perfect crust.

Every day, I am learning new, practical skills for free. More importantly, though, I’m meeting like-minded travelers intent on learning from each other and giving back to the world. We are WWOOFers – Willing Workers on Organic Farms.

To read the full article, check out http://wondergressive.com/2013/09/23/wwoofing-seeing-world-one-farm-time/

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Graffiti Laneways in Melbourne

Melbourne has dozens of graffiti laneways to explore. Luckily for me I had my camera when I came across this one. The entire alleyway had been painted light blue the night before I saw it, and artists had already leapt at the opportunity to cover the blank canvas.

The blue explosion was a bit of a controversy. Some others in the street art community complained that the artist had covered up some important work. I thought it was quite spectacular to walk through. Unfortunately, when I went back a few days later much of the new graffiti had already been tagged. Glad I got there in time!