After surviving at cycling in the outback, I arrived in Alice Springs which was the biggest city located in central Australia. But I didn’t feel safe that I saw many police officials on the street and a police station was huge for the small size of the city. When I was at a supermarket, an aboriginal asked to buy a beer for him. I pretended I didn’t understand. My host told me his MTB was stolen and his girlfriend was sexually harassed on the street after moving in here last a few months. I thought maybe I would not stay here.
The next morning there was a beautiful blue sky and the city center looked so peaceful, unlike yesterday. At the end of the day, I went up Anzac Hill and looked at the beautiful city surrounded by the outback and covered by the sunset. If I just head to the north, tropical area, I would miss the outback so much. So, I decided to stay in Alice Springs for a few months and then head to Perth, West Australia.
There was heavy rain on the third day. I strongly felt that I had the special power to bring the rain. The next day the water was flowing on the river. My host told me “If you see the water flowing on the river more than two times here, you become local.” As soon as I arrived, I became half local already.
It was a very special day that many people went out and enjoyed the muddy river.
I enjoyed it by passing the river on my Lucky bicycle.
When I went to Jump INN bar, the road was covered with water. It seemed there was some problem with drainage. I sent the photo to my friend and said “Look. It’s my second time to water flowing. Am I local now?” The friend told me it won’t count.
I left my resumes everywhere but I couldn’t get any chance to have the job interview. I checked the local Facebook group, too. One of them finally called me and they hired me at the interview. I bought things to wear at the work. There was a big and cheap warehouse that I was so happy to save up money. Australia was really expensive country that I cannot imagine to survive without this kind of cheap warehouse.
I had worked in many different places in Canada with Canadian Working Holiday nine years ago. I remembered that I did enjoy so much working in the kitchen. So this time I worked in the kitchen as well. I had worked in four different kitchens in Alice Springs.
The challenge was the Australian Labor Law; It was not mandatory to pay extra for overtime, weekend, holiday, late-night, and so on. It was just depending on the employers if they want to pay extra or not.
If I worked for over six hours, 30 minutes must be deducted for the meal break. For example, if I worked from 9 am to 3 pm but I couldn’t have a meal break because it was so busy, but still, 30 minutes must be deducted. Sometimes I must be criticized if I go for 30 minutes break when it was busy. “You are selfish that you just had the break.” But if I don’t have a break, I won’t get paid for it.
Usually, the shift came out one or two days before the weekend. What I didn’t like was if it was not busy, they suddenly sent workers back home. I felt an employer used people as a robot, not human. This law was so good for the employer, but not for me. I wanted to make stable money to pay for a house, food, and others and save up money for traveling. But whenever I was sent back home suddenly, it made me disappointed and frustrated. This kind of job was called Casual.
Full-time worker didn’t get money by the hour, but by salary. In my experience, the employer used full-time workers more than 38 hours (The employer didn’t pay extra hours after 38 hours) and tried to save up money by giving fewer hours to Casual. (It depends on the place, I am just telling my experience)
So it became competitive for casual. If you want to get more hours, you must be good. I was naturally slow at eating, preparing, cycling, and so on. But I was different at work. I did want to show off how good and hard worker I was as I liked winning. So I could get more hours and better working shifts than other casuals. However, I didn’t like this unstable job.
There was one interesting fact that many people didn’t pay the tax. They called it Cash job. They just got cash after work without reporting to the government. Not only foreigners but also local Australians worked as a cash job. It was so common that I thought a cash job was legal seriously for a long time. When I was offered from the one of work “I will pay you half cash and half paycheck if you want” But I just denied that I didn’t want the illegal thing. When I talked about denying the offer, a friend told me I am stupid. There were three questions following me always in Australia; How come so many people didn’t have a guilty conscience with cash job; How come this country stays as rich when so many people don’t pay tax; Why Australian government doesn’t try to catch this illegal action.
Although work was stressful, I did enjoy my outback life. I loved watching birds. The blackbird on the picture was rare that I saw only one time.
One day I just realized that I had lived at a very similar place when I had Working Holiday Visa in Canada. The city was called Yellowknife and the population was only around 18,000 but it was the biggest city at that area and many aboriginals lived there just like Alice Springs. And even the state name was the same as NT. Yellowknife was in NT (Northwest Territories) and Alice Springs was in NT (Northern Territory). TWO NT in my life! What a coincidence!
There was a mountain biking trail around the town. When there was a festival, a group of mountain bike let people use MTB for free with a guide. It was fun out there. And one of them let me use his single gear MTB at the other day. I didn’t know that people cycled on the mountain trail with a single gear. Actually, it was working well that I didn’t have any problem to cycle with it.
Another friend let me use her full suspension MTB and I enjoyed more.
I rented a room in a share house. The mattress was hurt me and I found some cheap one around ($90) online. But this bed was similar in that the springs were hurt my back a bit. (Later I sold it for $60 when I moved out.)
My flatmate had a dog. The dog was about to be put down, then my flatmate saved it just right before. If she was late, the dog would be not here. What a lucky dog. The name of the dog was Ally coming from the town of Alice Springs.
I really wanted to buy secondhand MTB but it was not easy to find the right size in this small city. The new one was too expensive. Then I found it after a month that this Full suspension MTB was only A$300 (U$215) which was the best deal. It was so good. These days MTB’s wheels are 27.5″ or 29″. But this was 26″. Except that it was the perfect bike! I felt so satisfied to see my two bikes line up.
There was a garden which was untouched at the behind of the house. So my flatmate and I decide to plant something like vegetables and flowers. We went to Bunnings, Hardware store. I had realized the gardening stuff was expensive that it was cheaper just to buy a vegetable at the supermarket. It was really fun to plan for the first time.
It was winter that night was quite cold. So I covered with the plastic which was coming from the mattress I just bought.
There was a mountain which was called Mount Gillen that I went hiking. It was amazing scenery that I could see all around.
My flatmate had a car that we drove 100 km far to this beautiful place for the picnic. It reminded me of Oasis in Oman which looked a bit similar.
Although the population of the town had only 25,000 people, there were many events going on always maybe because it was the biggest city at the central and people had to pass this town to go to Uluru, one of the most popular attractions.
Finke Desert Race was a big event that people raced on a motorbike and others at the outback which was the biggest race in Australia. They had some show at the town.
I went to watch racing with a friend the day before that we set up tents and drank beer.
The next day I could see races just right front.
The end of the race was here.
There was another event, camel racing. I was so excited to see it for the first time. But it was different than I imagined. It was not racing but more like entertaining people. Many people came out for the picnic.
None of them based in this town but they came here to play to entertain us. This town was busy to entertain people always. Another popular event was a boat race on the river. But there was no water. So people stood on a boat they made and run with their legs.
One of the friends invited to the game as he had an extra ticket that it was fun to watch them playing.
I had to cross the railway when I had to go out. Usually every Tuesday there was Jam night at Jump Inn and I used to go there from time to time. But I was stopped by the train often before going there. And it was really long train that I had to wait and wait.
This was a socializing place I used to go to. The beer was expensive but anyway it was a good place to hang out. There were not many bars in the town to hang out. I used to go to Monty, Epilogue, and Jump Inn, those three places and I saw similar faces always, which was the destiny of the small town. Sometimes I went to another bar like Rockbar and Bojangles; but mostly Jump Inn, Monty, and Epilogue.
Jump Inn ran the hostel together. One night I heard that there was a person traveling by a weird bike. I really wanted to ask so many things but I couldn’t see the owner of the bike. This owner must be the crazy one I guessed.
The most fun thing in Alice Springs was going mountain biking. This was a special gift to be here.
But I had a flat tire several times on the front wheel. When I tried to change the tube, I had realized there was another thick plastic cover.
I thought I put a slime enough amount. But after I had another flat tire, I decided to use all of them, and finally, it stopped having a flat tire.
It was a very rocky area. When I fell off, usually I hit the rock. One time I fell off badly with my knees on the rock that I couldn’t stand for a while. Luckily there were no broken bones and I could cycle again after having some rest. I didn’t have insurance that I tried to cycle carefully, which bothered to improve my skills. I stopped often when there was a big rock as an obstacle on uphill. I felt that it was a bit hard to learn mountain biking by myself.
I made the video of Gopro8 which I just bought. But I found the problem that when I used hyper smooth, the quality became bad after uploading on youtube.
Since I tried climbing for the first time in Finland, I tried to do it when I get the chance. There was indoor climbing at YMCA that I used to go climbing there. It cost every time to hire shoes and harness. So I decided to buy them for $100.
The town was small that it was easy to gather especially with people having a similar hobby. There was the guy who had bouldering at the garage. A few times I went there and climbed but I liked more climbing a high wall as I didn’t have much skill for bouldering.
My other favorite thing was the outdoor climbing.
Climbing at the outback was not easy cause grab was not easy as it was soft like sand and the surface was simple flat often.
But still, it was so fun to climb and watch the view of the outback at the top. The thing I really like climb was that I could see I was getting improved. For example, there were some cliffs I couldn’t climb before at outdoor and indoor places. But when I went two or three times more on the other days, then I could climb to the top and it gave me so much feeling of achievement.
Flatmate was burned out from her work that she got one week off for the holiday. While she was away, I took care of Ally. When I walked with Ally, the kids came to her.
Sadly, she was so exhausted with the work that she decided to go back to her country. She graduated from Australian University and she had a professional job. But her job was so hard that she worked without having lunch sometimes and worked too many hours day and night.
I had to move out as she had a lease break. I helped her a bit to pull out weed for inspection. I couldn’t see the vegetables and flowers growing big. Maybe one day if I have my own garden, I will try to plant.
The friend from a climbing told me she had an empty room which I could rent. So I moved into her house. She enjoyed slacklining. She had two dogs but I missed Ally which was so friendlier to me.
Slackline was fun. I had seven steps for the first time and she told me this was amazing progress. Actually Korean had a traditional folk slack line where people will go high up on the line and jump and dance there.
Who knows my ancestor’s job was this.
The previous working place was not good and I didn’t get more than 30 hours. My goal was to save up money to travel with my mom and have extra money for my trip. So I decided to look for other jobs.
Luckily I found two jobs. I started working from 7:30 am till 5:00 pm. Then my other job started from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Even I worked at the weekend at a different time. I couldn’t work more than two months cause I was too exhausted as it was a physical job seven days a week and the people I worked together were too bad, which was very common because there was too much tension with the pressure that people can become so mean to each other at the kitchen.
I had worked at a total of four different places and I had seen disgusting things which I couldn’t write down here. It didn’t matter it was an expensive restaurant or just fast food. There were so many cockroaches as well in some places. When you eat outside even at an expensive restaurant, forget about hygiene. I thought the street food would be cleaner cause you watched them just right in front so they would be more careful. You must not expect perfect vegan or vegetarian foods cause it was all mixed on the hand, chopping board, knife, oil, and so on. I found one thing that there was pork fat oil. If you want to stay vegan or vegetarian, make sure to ask what kind of oil they use when you order chips.
At the last place, I worked was a big hotel. I got a promise that I would have nearly 38 hours a week. But I saw I got less time after a few weeks cause someone who had my current job just returned.
I went to the head chief and talked directly about this problem. Then I got my full-time hours back.
The last place I worked in was here. I was a kitchen hand but I wore chief clothes and other colleagues and customers called me “Cheif”, which I liked.
When it was busy, it became chaotic. When dockets were lined up, I became too nervous and anxious. I had only two pans, but how I could cook all those quickly? Always when there were too many dockets, some customers must come to complain angrily.
We must respect people working in the kitchen cause you cannot imagine how much pressure there is at the inside of the kitchen. Especially we must respect people working at a fast-food store like McDonald’s and KFC. People disrespected them like “If you don’t study hard, you will end up working in Macdonald”. But do they know the working pace is crazy fast that they are so hard workers at fast-food stores? I bet people who looked down on them can never work at their crazy fast working pace. I loved working in the kitchen but there were too much stress and disrespect culture; Look at Golden Ramsey..how mean he is. it’s no joke.. imagine your boss is shouting at your face in front of everyone every day; I won’t work in the kitchen anymore but I will respect people who work there cause they are deserved to be respected as a hard worker with a big pressure working environment.
Before one month my visa expired, I saved up enough money for everything I needed. So I didn’t need to work too hard that I kept only breakfast chief. My new house didn’t have any green grass but it was just right in front of the outback that I loved it. I went to work at 5 am and back home at 2 pm. To finish work at 2 pm was so good that it was like I had a full day left still. It became hotter that I swam after work, then drink beer while watching outback.
Sometimes I went to my favorite place, Anzac Hill, and thought of things.
Why did I fall in love with NT of Canada and NT of Australia? I thought it was because of the harsh nature. My working holiday life was similar in Canada and Australia. But there was one different thing. When I was in Canada, my English was really bad cause I had never been out of my country before. But Canadians were so kind that they didn’t care about it and they invited me often. My English was improved compared to 9 years ago in Canada, but I was not much invited here in Australia. Most of the friends I made were Asian or European here. My Aussie friend told me he had a difficult time to be invited when he moved here. Maybe it took more time to be a friend in Australia.
It made me miss Canada that I drank their beer. If someone asked me which country I would like to live in after I’ve traveled the world, I would say Canada maybe because it was my first country to visit overseas. If I visited Australia first, my answer would be Australia maybe?
This outback was the most unique thing in Australia and the most thing I loved here.
There was some heavy rain. I thought I would see the river again and become a local person. But people told me it would not turn to the river and they were right. To see the river was not an easy thing. However, it was good to see rain in the desert.
When a car was broken, the police officials were pushing it. It was funny to see that I took the picture of it. In Australia, a cyclist must wear a helmet. If not, the fine was over A$400 (U$383) and it was strict. But Alice Springs was kind of exception that no one cared. Maybe because officials were too busy to care about it. If I saw people wearing a helmet in the town, they were mostly a tourist. Another funny thing was if I saw people wearing the net in the town to stay away from flies, it was also more like a tourist.
In Alice Springs, Liquor Store was very strict. (You can buy alcohol only from a liquor store in Australia) Always there were two police officers in front of the liquor store and they checked ID cards randomly before letting enter and ask home address or job sometimes. And people must scan the id card to buy the alcohol at the counter. I heard there was a limit on buying. Also, the opening hours were very limited compared to other Australian cities. The big liquor store next to the supermarket closed on Sunday even.
Aboriginals had been suffered from oppression and it caused the problem like drug addiction and alcoholic in Australia. I didn’t hear of such a crime with aboriginals in Canada. But Australia was different. Cars had broken windows often by aboriginals here. Even they broke the window of the bank one time. I was bullied by them one night on the way back home from the work. I went to the police station and he said he could report it for me. I was surprised cause I was totally ignored to report when I was bullied in Melbourne. I didn’t report aboriginals kids cause it looked like they were only around 12 years or 13 years old. I just asked officials please check the street often at night. But still, Alice Springs was safer than Melbourne for cycling cause I was more bullied in Melbourne by young Caucasian males. I had found young people in Australia can be really wild. I had understood it somehow cause Australia had a harsh deserted big land and it could make some people like that.
Although I heard about many bad accidents in Alice Springs caused by aboriginals, I didn’t experience a big problem that I loved my life here.
Justice For Walker.
There was an accident happened that an aboriginal was shot and killed by a police official. So people were protesting in front of the police station.
I was wondering how many people joined Justice For Walker while following Black Lives Matter.
I had bought several things before leaving; the phone, Gopro8 (I lost gopro4 a few months ago), and a bicycle computer.
I got the contact from an English writer a while ago. She told me she wanted to write about my stories in her book series. So I had an interview with her through Skype and then correct a few things through email. Finally, my stories were included in her book. The name of the book was this; Fantastic Female Adventurers: Truly amazing tales of women exploring the world.
I bought MTB for A$300 (U$212), but I sold it for A$450 (U$318) that I was happy to make extra money for it. But then I had to pay all this A$450 for tax return. I had realized I had to pay tax for my work from Uber Eats.
The government returned all the tax if the payer made less than $18,000 a year. But Working Holiday Worker was the exception that we had to pay tax although we make less than $18,000. I missed Canada again cause they returned the tax if I made less money. But actually, I heard in Australia they returned the tax to Working Holiday Visa holder before but they changed the law in 2017.
To extend Working Holiday Visa in Australia needs to work at the farm for three months; to extend for third-year needs six months to work at the farm. But usually, at the farm, they don’t pay per hour but pay per basket and many Working holiday visa holders make less than minimum wage at the farm. I have felt the Australian government doesn’t protect the labor rights of the Working Holiday Visa holders behind sadly.
I bought the guitar to practice in Alice Springs. I sold it as well before leaving. This was the second time I bought the guitar on the trip but it was so difficult to learn by myself. Even I paid for the app to learn the guitar but still, it was difficult. One day I would play beautifully. I was about to sell Climbing shoes and harness but a friend told me there were many beautiful places to climb in New Zealand. So I decided to keep it on the way to New Zealand.
I got a bicycle box behind of my bicycle.
I made the video of the street to remember. Usually it was busier. But it was hot day that there were less people on the street.
Before leaving Alice Springs, I went to my most favorite place and looked down at the town. I stayed for six months which was two times more than my plan.
I had been in Australia for over a year. My Working Holiday Visa was about to expire that I would go to New Zealand for a month. Then I would come back to Australia to travel with my mom for the New Year.
Alice Springs gave me lots of different memories. I would remember Alice Springs was the best place in Australia just like I remembered Yellowknife was the best place in Canada. It was time to say goodbye with the outback and take the airplane to New Zealand.
Days in Australia = 365 Days
Distance of cycling in Australia = 8,713km (5,414mi)
Expenditure in Australia = US$13,718.97