Working holiday with the family

Submitted: Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 12:38
ThreadID: 100895 Views:1681 Replies:9 FollowUps:13
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Hi all,

We are about to head off on our big trip round Aus in may.
I have been very excited about it but having a few last minute reservations.
First issue
Our eldest son (5) when asked if he is excited about the big holiday he says he doesn't want to go on a big holiday. As he has started kindergarten this year I am worried we are doing the wrong thing dragging him round the country when he should be making new friendships and settling into school.
Has anyone been in this situation? Comments please good or bad.

Second issue
Finding part time work which suits my skill set. I have dozer, excavator, skid steer, HC truck and all forestry machinery licences. Having owned and operated my own earthmoving and labour hire business since age 18 (now 30) I realise it's not easy to take on operators for a week or two then have them move on!
Any suggestions for part time work and places to look would be greatly appreciated. I am willing to try my hand at anything but at this stage I am thinking of a week or two per month if possible.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 13:14

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 13:14
Don't waste time get going.

First Issue He will meet lots of other kids as you travel. Once he sees our great country he will change his mind. He is probably fearful of the unknown. Make sure you have some electronic games and DVD's

Second Issue. Cattle stations is where I would concentrate. They always have projects on the go which do not need a long commitment. Their main requirements are people who have commonsense, are safety conscious, and can work unsupervised. Your skill set would indicate you have these in spades. You could also try caravan parks and any ute's you see on the track. And the most oblivious place is the local employment agency which is the front bar of the local pub.

Have a great trip, every family I have ever met on the road don't want to go home.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

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Follow Up By: sam h6 - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:07

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:07
Thanks mate. We have thought of cattle stations as a possible work option. I have grown up on farms and would love to see hows its done in the outback. Is it best to try to contact the stations well in advance or just look them up when we are passing through the areas. Yeah I have heard the local bars are a great place to start, I may have to give it a try!
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Follow Up By: sam h6 - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:09

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:09
Thanks mate. We have thought of cattle stations as a possible work option. I have grown up on farms and would love to see hows its done in the outback. Is it best to try to contact the stations well in advance or just look them up when we are passing through the areas. Yeah I have heard the local bars are a great place to start, I may have to give it a try!
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 21:49

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 21:49
A farm boy, that means you are resourceful as well. No I would not contact them before its all to hard you do not want to be tied down to dates to be at certain places. I am retired and 70 and I do not want work. If I am in the outback, which is often, I am very wary to mention my rural experience and having a truck licence as it sometimes ends up me being pressured to help out for a couple of weeks. You would well know that a couple of weeks on a farm could very easily run into a couple of months. Your biggest problem is not getting work but leaving. Mate you may never want to come home. I hope SWMBO likes the outback.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 14:22

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 14:22
Hi Sam,

Your five year old can't possibly understand enough about what a "big Trip around Australia" actually means, so what he is saying is probably a reaction to the unknown or maybe he is reflecting some reservations he may have heard someone else express.

There are usually plenty of other children out on the road and they all seem to have a great time, and the parents all say the kids are learning heaps. So please, just reassure your son that he will have a good time and then go for it. At his age his formal education will not suffer, especially if you use the time in the vehicle to play games that build his language and number skills.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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Follow Up By: Rebecca H - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:33

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:33
Thank you! I am Sam's better half lol (ie the mother of this 5 year old) and you have hit the nail on the head. He is reflecting the reservations of his grandmother who is stressing about missing him! I'm also a teacher so not worried about the academic side of his education :)
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 21:34

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 21:34
Hi Rebecca,
Sounds like you have the bases pretty well covered, so this grandmother reckons you should go for it. It is quite normal for us adults to have a few qualms when we are about to embark on a big new venture, and children are quick to pick up on that. Maybe you can arrange to Skype your sons grandmother every so often so she doesnt miss him so much.

Young children are very adaptable provided they feel reassured by their parents. They will follow many paths and develop many skills to develop into a well rounded adult. Getting a good formal education is a very important path, but so is developing curiosity, independence, creativity, imagination, observation and the list goes on. Those are some of the skills that you can help him develop while you are travelling. When he comes back home to regular school you might be very pleasantly surprised at how much he has effortlessly learned while you have been away having a great time.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
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Follow Up By: Member - Burra - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 23:08

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 23:08
Hi Rebecca,
Having done the same with my kids, you would be surprised with what they pick up. Once we came home they were disappointed we were not moving on.

Now they are 14 & 16 and don't wont to travel, glad we did it when they were young.

On an outback station the kids were able to join in a school of the air day, not too many kids could say the same. We had to tell the oldest's kinder teacher if he came out with these stories check with us first because he was probably telling the truth and other kids were gob smacked.

Enjoy, wish I was travelling again
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Reply By: baz&pud (tassie) - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 16:07

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 16:07
We have had a couple of families travelling Oz with young children, stay with us for a few days, and they have all said that the kids have grown up so much with the experiences they have encountered.
As said before, young ???? will meet kids of his own age, or there abouts, and in due course will wonder what he was worried about.
Enjoy the travelling, it's a great country out there.
Cheers
Baz
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Reply By: dindy - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 17:06

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 17:06
Sam H6 you have basically answered you own question given that you are prepared to do this. Your son will have the best education he can get on the road instead of being thrust into a regimented controlled 'learning enviroment' with dubious outcomes. You will have the opportunity to be directly involved in your children's formative education as well as their developing socialization skills. All your kids will learn and experience things they will not at the local kindergarten.

As for your work be up front with people, do what you say you will do and don't restrict yourself. Become a jack of all trades so to speak and work will come to you.
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:46

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:46
Great words Dindy :-)
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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Reply By: Rockape - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 17:45

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 17:45
Sam,
can't help with the young one but from what I have seen many kids actually do better and become more outgoing.

In the larger places and provincial cities labour hire firms will be your best bet. In fact some are Australia wide and you can tee things up from one location. Once you get a good rep they will push you forward.

Small towns will just be a matter of asking to see if anyone needs a hand. Often they only need someone who is willing to work for a week or two.

Have a good trip,
RA.
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Follow Up By: sam h6 - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:12

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:12
Do you have any labour firms that are worth a try. I have been trying to get into the mines through a couple of them for months now with no success.
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 20:23

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 20:23
Sam,
don't worry about getting into mines. Just put yourself out there and if you end up in a mining town then you will most likely get a job if you work for someone local.

Forget mining if you want to enjoy your partner and the kids. Just have a look at this big land. If your destiny is mining, it will happen at some stage.

Try someone liked skilled and explain what you are doing and how flexible you are. I.E. you are willing to stay for a season of harvesting etc.etc.
Cane season, They are always looking for haul out operators and they will give you the basic training.

RA.
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 20:26

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 20:26
Sam,
I should have said Skilled engineering
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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 18:19

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 18:19
Your son should enjoy the trip and do very well so long as you spend time doing things that are interesting and enjoyable for him - not too many long days driving! You need to encourage him to meet other kids at first - a scooter or bike would be a big help, as would a dad who starts up a ball game! He will learn a lot from the trip so long as adults take the time to show and explain things to him.
He doesn't need much formal schooling at this age but it is a very good idea to organise some formal learning time (not necessarily always at a table!) so when he eventually goes to school he will be able to slot in with his age group. Talk to teachers at your local school and find out about suitable readers etc and the skills expected. He will learn easily and quickly with one on one assistance and can be proud of reading road signs etc. Don't forget the importance of his parents reading to him - nothing else does more to encourage his learning abilities! So stock up on some quality story books and search out interesting materials on places you visit - Tourist Info Offices often have great illustrated pamphlets etc and books of local stories about pioneering life etc which can provide you with ideas. You will find many opportunities to develop his number skills -counting animals,playing games as you travel like who sees the most red cars, working out distances etc.. If your travels last longer than a year consider enrolling him in Distance Education so you are within the law and can receive appropriate teaching materials for the later grades to help you.
Have a great trip! Lynne
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Follow Up By: sam h6 - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:21

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:21
Thanks lynne,

What you have said is spot on for sure. My partner is a qualified early childhood teacher and we have been planning for all the formal education and so on. We both still wonder though if it's going to have negative effects on him forming social groups and friendships which are so important in the long term.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Lynne - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 21:17

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 21:17
It sounds like you are very well prepared for your trip on all fronts. You are probably worrying too much and getting nervous as the time approaches and it all becomes real. It is actually good for kids to become a bit adaptable and open to new experiences. There is no rule to say you have to make all your lifetime friends before you are six! You will be giving him all sorts of skills that should give him confidence and resilience for the future. At this age his real security is his parents and he will be happy wherever you are. Later the issue of social groups and sporting activities etc may become important but you have several years yet before you need to really worry. As you are planning to work you will be staying in the one place for a week or more at a time and he will have lots of opportunities to mix with other kids. You will find that you will keep meeting up with other familes at different places as you go - you won't be the only ones travelling and working! You will all make great new friends and have your horizons widened. The advice to avoid the mines and look for work on stations and in small towns sounds very good from a social aspect for you all.
Relax and enjoy! If you get tired of too much travelling you can always take a longer job for a while! There are lots of opportunities out there once you try! Lynne
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 22:24

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 22:24
Sam. At home you do form social groups and friendships and then you are in a comfort zone because you know everyone. Where you are going he is going to be faced with other new kids all the time. He is going to learn the social skills of getting on with a wide variety of other people which is not the negative effect you fear but a huge positive. With any luck he will get to meet and play with aboriginal kids and learn something of their culture and the fact that they are similar to us in many ways but don't have the same opportunities. As Lynne has intimated your fears are groundless what you are doing is the best thing you can do for your son. Another thing, how many hours per week did Dad and Son have together prior to the trip. Now think about how many hours a week they will have together while you are travelling. So much of Dad's influence will be of enormous value to your Son and it won't do Dad any harm either.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
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Reply By: Member - Russler - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 22:05

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 22:05
Best thing in the world is to take kids out and get some real world (life) experience. Along the way get in some of the 3 R's, eg. get them to write a journal, or if not ready for that then get them to describe something they remember and you write it for them, and they read it back. Can't be too hard to chuck in a few numbers along the way, even if it's as simple as counting windmills (or dead roos, heaven forbid, and have a laugh at the same time) and work up from there.
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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 10:36

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 10:36
Of course his grandmother will miss him! Turn the conversation to positives like how much he will learn and develop. Make sure you organise to send her lots of drawings and post cards and emails from your son. She will soon be boasting to all and sundry about his talents and adventures and feeing included in your life. Lynne
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Reply By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 20:20

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 20:20
Sam h6 & Rebecca,
Some 40 years ago we took our kids to central Aust and up to Katherine George Etc Etc for 4weeks , Now 45 & 40 they remembered the different gorge's when I showed them photos from my trip last year. Also teachers noted they had a far greater interest in general subjects.
In 2010 my daughter let us take their 10 & 12 old sons to the Kimberly's. Must say that was one the highlights of my life seeing things through their eyes,
Sam as an old fart I'm always asked if I want some work. My answer is sorry I have too much to do and see.
Have a wonderful trip and I'm sure tou will remember this experience for the rest of your lives.
Phil H
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