Harvie from A Farang Abroad is just “a regular guy who decided to go traveling without a plan back in 2012.” He spent a year living in Thailand working as a teacher, then moved to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) late 2013. His style of travel is immersion, staying in one area for a longer period of time, and backpacking on a budget of $1,000 per month. He shares vital information on how to apply for the WHV in Australia, how to save money while living here and how to make $18,000 in just 3.5 months in his e-book, “How to Get Your 2nd year WHV in Australia”. Here, Harvie shares some of his insights on living and working in Thailand and Australia, which you can purchase for just £4.39 (approximately USD$7).
What prompted you to move to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa?
Well after spending a whole year in Thailand, I headed over to the States and Canada for a brief family holiday. On my return to England, I had arrived in September which meant winter was upon me. I had the option of either working in England, icing the frost off my car every morning, hardly getting to see the sun…or I could go to Australia.
So a few weeks later, visa in hand, I got a one way ticket to the Gold Coast. I didn’t have too much of an idea of what I was going to do when I arrived other than complete my 88 days regional work to obtain a 2nd year WHV. I didn’t have any jobs set up, or any direction of what my next move was.
I did have a lot of money saved up, so I was never in a rush to get a job, but Australia is not cheap if you want to travel and move around and ended up finding a job within a few days. I would suggest to anybody to go get a car if you are travelling with two or more people, it is really required if you want to see Australia for what it is.
What’s the biggest difference between living and working in Thailand compared to Australia?
Well to start with getting a job in Thailand is not easy, the only option available to most people is to become an English teacher. The pay rate for a starting teacher will be around $900-$1100 a month. The work is not always easy and sometimes you can be overworked and expected to do way more planning and structuring than you would in a western school.
In Australia, jobs are much easier to find, however more people are coming to Australia on a WHV meaning it’s starting to get quite hard to land a job. The minimum wage in Australia is from $17 upwards, so you can easily surpass the $1,000 mark you earn in Thailand in a week or so.
The prices in Thailand are much cheaper, a beer is $1, a taxi is not going to cost more than $3, the food is very good and $1.50 a plate. In turn Australia is quite expensive, a 10-20 minute taxi ride will cost you in the excess of $25, beers start from $5> and food in a restaurant are quite pricy also.
I lived on a budget in Thailand for around $1,000 doing everything I wanted, I have lived in a rural area of Australia in Gatton and spent $511 in a month, doing nothing but eating and working. Im sure if I replaced Gatton with Sydney I would be spending at least x4 that amount.
Describe some of the most challenging experiences you have had working in regional Australia on the WHV?
The most challenging has to working is the heat, it can get so hot sometimes, that you feel like you are going to pass out. Sometimes if the farmers are nice, they will end the day before it gets real hot, other farmers will make you keep working. You really need to dig deep on them days to get though the day. Otherwise they may not ask for you to come again.
Spiders, spiders and more spiders! I had a job picking pumpkins, and at least 3 times a day I would bend over to pick up a pumpkin only to find a red back spider! I also came across a snake once when picking onions, I leaped off the ground and ran away screaming for my mummy. I would always suggest for you to wear gloves and long sleeve trousers tucked into your socks, you never know what creepy crawly is going to come and get you.
Give us some examples of jobs available to travellers on the WHV? Have you done any of these jobs?
I have done the following jobs:
• Picking – onions and pumpkins
• Packing – pumpkins and tomatoes
• Planting – sweet potato
• Feeding Cattle
All of these are pretty self explanatory, the typical person on a WHV will usually end up doing a picking job. This can be good to very hard, totally depending on the fruit and the farmer you work for. Packing work is the best, as you are inside a shed, and the pace is relaxed and casual, it seems girls mostly get these jobs.
If you are skilled with driving a tractor or a forklift, you will get a job very quickly here, otherwise as I have learned from experience, thousands upon thousands of people are struggling to get work to complete their 2nd year WHV. The work is here, but they are going about looking for it in the wrong manner.
Outside of farm work, bartending, waiting, cleaning cars, warehouse, factory, call centres, mechanics, welders and everything else In between is on offer for people on a WHV. Just be sure to manage your expectation, due to only being allowed to work a maximum of 6 months for one employer, the chances of landing a dream office job are usually unlikely.
Where to next and why?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I really want to go South America next, but the airfare from Australia seems way too much, so I think the chances are I will go to either Vietnam or Taiwan next. Why? Because I want to try the food!!!
As for Australia, I am currently driving from the Gold Coast upwards, I am currently in Brisbane driving north, next stop, who knows.
Disclosure of Material Connection:
Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.