Travel

Bite your tongue to keep the job: Canadian backpacker

Ayaka Miura cutting vines in the sweet potato fields on Grange Road. Photo: Mike Knott wet3108b
Ayaka Miura cutting vines in the sweet potato fields on Grange Road. Photo: Mike Knott wet3108b Mike Knott

CANADIAN backpacker Simeon Meier doesn't have a lot of respect for Australian employers and backpacker hostels.

The 27-year-old lived and worked in Bundaberg from mid-May to October last year on a variety of farms and was a night manager at a local backpacker hostel.

While he didn't have any problems getting paid, he said if you wanted to hold on to your job, you had to bite your tongue and not say anything. "If you're not giving 120%, the farms will just tell the hostel that they don't want you back," Mr Meier said.

He admitted working at a sweet potato farm was the "most back-breaking work of my life".

"The first day of work my back was in spasms and it took me about two weeks to get used to it," Mr Meier said.

While there were easier jobs out there, he said they might only be a couple of hours a week, so it wasn't enough to survive on.

When asked why backpackers bothered staying if they weren't happy with the work or the hostels, he said the problem was that it wouldn't necessarily be better anywhere else

"People that have full-time work just bite the bullet and put up with it," he said.

Finding accommodation elsewhere meant trying to check in with other hostels to see if they had any vacancies.

"But they don't have a waiting list, so you have to try and get in while the office is open, which is hard if you're working all day," he said.

Mr Meier was a night manager for about two-and-a-half months, a role he says was supposed to be a two-person job.

"I started at 5pm and babysat the hostel after the owner went home for the day, doing a bit of cleaning. During winter there was about 20-30 people, but in the busier times up to 70-80 people," he said.

He received half off his weekly rent for doing the role.

Mr Meier is working in Sydney now, working as a labourer laying wooden floors.

"I'm just working to save enough money to head home," he said.

"Australia is a beautiful place, with amazing beaches and I came to see all of that and get some life experience, but I just have a laugh about it now."

Topics:  back, editors picks, exploitation, four corners




Third man arrested over Mundubbera murder

Gary Ryan died on Tuesday after being stabbed multiple times. Police have launched a homicide investigation.

Third man arrested over the murder of Gary Ryan

Coffee shop wants to reopen in Bundy

TOP DROP: Zaraffa's barista Taylor Doyle.

Zaraffa's advertises for franchisee

Latest deals and offers

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

Bindi's boyfriend helps release huge croc

Chandler (far right) helped the jump team.

Chandler Powell helps catch Duncan the croc

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m