Becoming an Expat

Knowing you only have one life to live, would you pass up the opportunity to live and work in Australia for a year? Neither would we and that is why we’re officially soon to be American expats! 



Our first trip to Australia together in 2011.

For those of you who have read our previous blog posts, you know this is an exciting moment in our lives as we are one big step closer to fulfilling our goal of taking our “Honeymoon on the Harvest Trail” in Australia. If you haven’t been following along, check out our introductory post I murdered my American Dream with a Shoestring.

We first learned about the Harvest Trail while traveling through SE Asia in 2011/12. We met loads of other travelers who had already spent their year in Oz or were on their way there; all with the same purpose of earning money while exploring Australia and being a stone’s throw away from countless tropical island paradises.

We’ve recently been approved for the Australian Working Holiday Visa (subclass 462). To be eligible applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 31, so we had to get on the application this year as Jordan turned 30 the day before our wedding back in September and we want to do some backpacking before we go work back-breaking jobs.

We applied on January 1, 2014. In addition to the associated fee (not cheap), we were required to provide proof of high school graduation (Candace) and obtain chest X-rays (both) showing that we don’t have Tuberculosis. Apparently our 3 months spent in the Philippines made us more susceptible.

On February 6 our visas were granted! WOOOO!

Now approved, we have up to 12 months to enter the country and can stay for up to 12 months, leaving and re-entering Australia any number of times. The only caveat is that Working Holiday Visa holders can’t work for one employer for more than 6 months at a time. According to the Australian Immigration website, the visa programs encourage cultural exchange and closer ties between arrangement countries by allowing young people to have an extended holiday supplemented by short-term employment.

Australia still considers us young at age 30!? Phew! I think a wrinkle just filled back in on my forehead.

At age 30 in the U.S. you’re expected to be clawing your way up the corporate food chain by working way too many hours to pay for your oversize home, sport utility vehicle (SUV) and expensive hobbies.*No judgment if that’s your thing.

Regardless, the way we interpret this visa is that Australia wants young labor workers to come work the jobs that their rightful citizens don’t want – like being a farm hand on the Harvest Trail. We. Are. In.

As Jordan would say, “Don’t threaten me with a good time!”


Mango Farms in Darwin.

Of course I realize that labor work is by no means glamorous or easy, but I’m quite looking forward to exiting the rat race and being humbled by working with my hands and putting real sweat in a real bucket.

After doing some research, we’ve decided to fly into Brisbane in Queensland on November 24. It will be the end of the pumpkin season and transitioning to mango season. Did I mention it will also be the beginning of the Australian summer?

These Pacific Northwest-bred wanderers are in for a serious weather shock. As I mentioned we’ll be backpacking for a few months first, so we’re hopeful we’ll acclimatize to the heat a bit before we head over.

Any readers have suggestions for good places to find farm work in Queensland or tips for heading over there in the height of summer?  Do you have family and friends in Oz that we should connect with? Feel free to share any and all insights in the comments!

**Originally posted to Blogger on February 28, 2014**


3 responses to “Becoming an Expat

  1. Hallo Candace, this is your aunt from Auburn, Ca. I am happy for you that you and your husband can have all these experiences. Oskar and I always enjoyed traveling and we have wonderful memories of our trips. Stay safe and healthy and best wishes and hugs from Irene and Oskar.


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