Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Irish Rover - Part 4

Some of the folks that comment regularly here missed my
previous post - as there were RSS issues
one of my few serious posts ever :-( scroll down to the previous post or click here

....continued from Irish Rover - Part 3 - Part of a series of posts recalling my wandering ways.

Having worked like a dog for 12 months straight after arriving in Australia in 1991 (without a holiday), I had more money in the bank than at any other time in my life. I decided to chuck in my job so I could explore the vastness of Oz. I went backpacking up the east coast which was an amazing experience.

This pasty white Irishman had seen nothing quite like this before. White sand, turquoise water for mile after mile of coastline. The nightlife in the hostels was great with a diverse cross section of people from all over the world.

I stopped in a small undeveloped town called Mission Beach near the Great Barrier Reef and did the diving / snorkeling thing which was incredible. I ended up staying there for 2 months and worked in a hostel. For 2 hours work a day, I got free dinner and free accommodation in a dormitory. I went white water rafting, abseiling, skydiving, you name it I did it and of course I had the occasional wee tipple as you do.

I continued the journey and visited Darwin, Kakadu, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Adelaide, Melbourne and eventually back to Sydney. The trip took about 6 months in all but I've always regretted not making it to western Australia.

I rejoined the rat race and worked for another 9 months before TWO significant immigration issues had a major impact on my life.

First, a phone call from Australian immigration.

Hi Paddy,

We notice you've over stayed your visa ........

...long story for another day, but short story is I left Oz within 7 days (not a happy camper) but the alternative was a detention centre with Chinese boat people.

Second, a letter arrived from the US embassy.

Dear Paddy,

We are pleased to inform you that your application for a lottery visa to work in the USA has been randomly selected by our computer and if you complete the necessary prerequisites and paperwork you will have the opportunity to enter and work in the United States of America.

Sometimes by a stroke of luck, as one door closes, another opens and so it was in this case.

....to be continued

Tags: ..Irish immigration, ..

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TCL November 18, 2008 10:30 pm  

I hope entry into the U.S. did your wandering and your career some good. But do you still see entering the U.S. as good luck? It seems like we Americans are especially keen about the rat race we've been talking about lately.

Baino November 18, 2008 10:40 pm  

Haha you jammy bastard. I thought a working visa was 12 months with no more than 3 months employment at a time! Talk about tweaking the system then getting offered the US! Born under a four leafed shamrock you were! Mission Beach is still there, not so underdeveloped but not commercial either and trust me, you've seen more than I have!
Although you did well to avoid being locked up in Villawood . . .

Quickroute November 18, 2008 10:41 pm  

@ TCL: thankfully yes - both wandering and career had a boost - although it wasn't all plain sailing or easy

Quickroute November 18, 2008 10:48 pm  

@ Baino: damn you - you know more than the immigration officials I dealt with - promise you won't grass on me?

Nick November 19, 2008 3:25 am  

That was a lucky break getting the US Visa at just the right moment. Equally lucky overstaying your Oz visa for so long. As for Western Australia, Jenny was disappointed by Perth a couple of weeks ago and said there wasn't much to it.

Quickroute November 19, 2008 8:21 am  

@ Nick: I was very lucky indeed. I hear a lot of UK retirees head to Perth and nearby but maybe it's a bit too quiet and remote for some

Xbox4NappyRash November 19, 2008 1:28 pm  

Is it wrong that I'm kind of disappointed that you didn't end up in the Chinese detention ship...

Broke But Still Drinking November 19, 2008 3:28 pm  

Do you think the hostel is hiring? I think I could use that info right about now. I'll work 2 hours for room and board.

Quickroute November 19, 2008 4:25 pm  

@ Xbox: That's it! - you're off my xmas card list
... especially since I don't know your address and I don't send xmas cards

@ Broke: Don't go back to work - it's over rated

Anonymous,  November 20, 2008 2:36 am  

does this mean you can never enter Australia again?

Jonah K. Haslap November 20, 2008 10:51 am  

Please define the term "wee tipple."

VE November 20, 2008 11:09 am  

Waaaah....I wanna spend 9 months in Australia too!

Shaunj November 20, 2008 2:02 pm  

How r ya?

Sorry my shite browser (opera)doesn't detect your comments tab so it is impossible to leave a comment unless I use stupid IE. Oh well. Keep the stories coming. Bring back the memories they do.

PS: would you recommend Argentina as a honeymoon destination:)

Quickroute November 20, 2008 2:35 pm  

@ Jonah: Welcome back! Wee tipple = small drink

@ VE: try 2years and 9 months - that's how long I stayed

@ Shaunj: I use Opera also but have no issues - what about if you click on the post title first then look for this text

"Post Your Comment (looking for the old comment form?)"

We got married and honeymooned down here so I can certainly recommend it - shoot me an email using the 'contact link' (top left) and I'll give you some tips/info

Quickroute November 20, 2008 3:46 pm  

@ Conortje: I got a two year ban but have been back since

Arjewtino November 20, 2008 4:48 pm  

Oh, how I miss you, Buenos Aires.

I'm glad I found your blog. Say hi to my grandma for me.

Fida November 20, 2008 8:22 pm  

One lucky Paddy! I am sure you come up with more! Can't wait to read more :-)

Megan November 21, 2008 10:56 pm  

Oooh! We're next! We're next!

wandermom November 22, 2008 4:08 pm  

lucky bugger.
but then again, it seems like everyone I know/knew got a green card back then - including me :)

Quickroute November 23, 2008 9:29 am  

@Arjewtino: Welcome & Grandma says hi back

@Fida: Thanks for popping in - yes lots more to come

@Megan: your turn indeed

@Wandermom: yes - everybody I knew who applied got the lottery if only the $$$ lottery was so easy

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