Host: Country Downs Station
Yesterday you learnt about Brandon’s experience at Country Downs and what he liked, what he disliked, and about what he got out of his time with us. Today, I am introducing another fabulous traveller that happened upon us in late 2014 and helped us out. I would like you all to meet Maike from Germany, who also spent her entire 3 months with us in order to obtain her 2nd year Working Holiday Visa and also became immersed in our everyday lifestyle – she even spent a traditional Aussie Christmas day with us and for a non-seafood eater (except fish), Maike gave it a good hard crack at eating oysters and prawns. We still laugh at the photo we got of Maike when she tried her first fresh oyster! To say the least, I believe she would kill me if I put that photo on Central Station haha!
What I found interesting about both Brandon’s and Maike’s blogs was that they both hated the same thing, raking and mulching. I must admit, at our place with all the trees around, it is an absolutely thankless task that I did tend to palm off to any unsuspecting volunteer… hehehe!
Living and working on a station? Getting dirty hands, bruises, and broken hair because of the sun? Yeah, no, no way!
Well, this is what I thought before I travelled, before I met Nikki and Kurt Elezovich, and before I was living on a station.
Growing up in the metropolis of Berlin on the other side of the world, I would have always refused to do that whole ‘traveling/breaking out of my comfort zone’ thing. I had a strict plan for my life and my future: Primary school, High School, studying Graphic Design at University, first job, nice big apartment, getting married and having kids. I stopped my plan two and a half years after having my first job.
At that stage I thought about my life a lot, I was doubting everything and I felt like I was slowly dying inside (maybe it was a ‘quarter-life-crisis’, I don’t know?). I was stuck in my life, I wasn’t happy at all, and the most of all, I wasn’t happy in my ‘comfort zone’. Why? Because I realised that there is so much more in this world, so much more to explore and to get to know, to live, and to learn things about real life!
Anyway, I knew I had to change something. I packed my backpack and after half a year traveling through the beauty of Western Australia I applied for a ‘helping-farm-hand-job’ at Nikki and Kurt’s cattle station – Country Downs Station – to get my 2nd year Working Holiday Visa. My first 2 weeks on the farm were quite exhausting and I was doubting myself a lot; the heat, working in the heat, no mobile phone reception, not many people to talk to, no cafes or cinemas around the corner, the weird noises at night and the noises of the guinea fowl in the morning and of course, Kurt’s super ‘stralian accent… haha. Only a slightly different lifestyle than I had before!
But in saying this, Nikki and Kurt were always really nice and made sure that I was ok and gave me practical ‘survival tips’. After getting over the self-doubting and getting used to the heat, I woke up early one morning with a swollen lip from a mosquito bite and bruises on my entire body. I just ended up laughing out loud so hard, about myself, and about the last 2 weeks. I got up, stretched and said: “Whatever! Straighten your crown, carry on and tuffn´up princess! It´s f*%$#n awesome to be here!” (and yes I said it in English!).
Survival Kit in the Bush.
These three months were amazing. I learnt so much about myself, about Australia’s nature, and life in general. I have done so many things I would have never expected to do and I am proud of what I achieved. I can drive a tractor now, loading up hay bales (although once I had a little disagreement with one bale 😉 I ate the freshest meat and veggies you can get on this planet, I lit up the bush to do a ‘controlled burn’, I loaded up cattle on a truck, I got to know how to use my body language to ‘communicate’ with the animals, I adopted a calf called ‘Doctor’ and raised it, etc. One thing I still have problems with though, is collecting eggs from underneath a hens bum, I don’t know why, I just can’t do it, and mulching – damn, I hated that!
Me and my boyfriend, John!
All those things might sound odd to some people, but it was and it still is so impressive how someone can always stay positive. Even when there are hard times at the station, both Nikki and Kurt always try to make the best out of it. Before being at the station, I was always whinging about unnecessary things, like that I bought the wrong mascara or that the check-out in the supermarket is overly crowded – ridiculous!
I wrote this article for myself, to reflect about that time and to remind myself about what really counts in life – and also for other people, who may have a prejudice against that kind of lifestyle in general – but mainly for people who don’t know anything about struggling, surviving, and staying optimistic at the same time. Don’t always complain about what you don’t have or what you do have. Be happy and proud of what you achieved so far. Stop nagging about the weather, you can’t change it anyway. Start to see the beautiful things in life even if it’s only a little bee collecting pollen. And if something went wrong, well bugger it, start again and make it even better! And the most important thing be happy and be yourself. Don’t hide yourself behind a mask.
I am proud to say thank you Nikki and Kurt, William, and Rory, for the experience I had at Country Downs. I think that you guys don´t really know how happy you made me and still make me.
Thank you for being amazing friends with hearts full of love xxx Maike
Shenanigans with the boys.
‘Doctor’ and me cuddling.