Tag Archives: money

Things I Have Done To Make Money

As I approach the first “grown up person job” in a while, I thought it might be fun to look back on some of the crazy different jobs I have worked and other things I have done to make money to fund my travels…. Some of it is pretty funny so enjoy!

  • 14  years old…. 1st job… KFC. Did it so much some nights I would come home and dream of putting chicken into a box with tongs… nuff said!
  • Singing in pub bands. First pub band was Freefall and some of the best times of my life. Started at 17, still somewhat ongoing. On and off I have played more gigs with bands such as Alphanumeric, Platinum Datsun,  Multigroove (Melbourne) and quite a lot of acoustic duo work.
Typical Friday evening pub gig at the Royal Oak Hotel in Launceston, Tasmania, with my good friend Andy.

  • Driving a 50 ton suspended crane in an aluminium smelter. 12 hour rotational shifts in the baking furnace baking carbon anodes to be used in the electrolysis process. Dirty and hot work.
  • Farming… cabbage harvesting, poppy seed harvesting, broccoli harvesting, organic farm work, more poppy harvesting….
Eastport Organics Farm, Newfoundland, Canada where I gardened and weeded for a week or so for food and accommodation.

  • Laboratory technician for a biotech company. Mostly sterilization, chemical solution preparation and dish washing.
Hanging out with my good mate Cyril the Skeleton in the lab.

  • First Year Chemistry Department at Monash University. Fingers in so many pies here…. Laboratory demonstrations, tutorials, exam marking, practical design, preparation of chemicals, troubleshooting, the one on one help centre.
One of my lab classes at Monash University in the First Year Chemistry Department.

  • Folding children’s clothes at a kids clothing shop.
  • Selling watches and handbags
  • Selling hair and make up products at Aveda.
  • Singing in the drag bars of Toronto as support for Drag Queens or as a part of ensemble shows. I swear this was one of the most fun jobs I have ever done! Too good!
Another Christina Aguilera number in Crews and Tangos, one of my favourite Drag Bars to sing in.

  • Medical testing…. I have written a blog post about this. I spent a lot of time doing non invasive brain function tests for the hospital research centre.
Chilling in the the medical research lab with my EEG cap on ready to do some testing on perception of musical tones

  • Walking flyers and posters around the neighborhoods.  I have done this for at least a good 3 months every day.
  • Online reviews of cities and hostels.
  • Driving forklifts, doing crop reception and sweeping and shoveling for poppy harvest.
  • Substitute teaching and short term contract teaching involving every single subject you can possibly think of including kindergarten music.
A surprise some of my year 7 students left on the board for me on my last day of teaching them for 3 weeks.


  • Can collecting and bottle return… (may or may not have stolen cans from campground recycling bins throughout eastern Canada to fund our accommodation and petrol bill.
  • Online surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Cleaning and managing the front desk at a backpackers hostel.
Cleaning at the hostel was dirty work. The “Friendly Morning Cleaning Lady” left lots of interesting notes, like this one with regards to the handsoap in the mens shower…..

  • Promotions and marketing…. now this is a big one because each of the jobs I do are different. Many many sampling programs for things like milk, shampoo, icy hot packs, cans of Nestea and Quakers bars. There is also lots of hustling different contests. Below we will specify some of the more ridiculous jobs.
Looking like a Ghostbuster while distributing free hot chocolates to the masses in winter.

  • Driving a popsicle van for 3 weeks.
Tuesday and Wednesday 011
Chillin’ in my popsicle van and distributing the joy of flavoured ice.

  • Dressing up in ridiculous costumes such as Shaun the Sheep or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
Dressed as Timmy the Sheep and trying to hide from all the kids during break that were pulling on my tail and grabbing at me. Hard and hot work.

  • Placing stickers on men’s urinals in pubs so they can pee on teams they don’t like.
  • Filming a commercial for Edo Japan as the Edo Elf.
Out on the streets as the Edo Elf. This guy told me all kinds of fun stories about his days in the Masad…. ummm… yeah right…. not quite sure about that one.

While this is a non-comprehensive list as I am sure I have probably forgotten something, it is still pretty ridiculous and funny. What is the worst job you have ever had? And better yet, is there anything here you’d like to know more about? Happy reading and I look forward to your input! 🙂

Guilt-Ridden Travel: Why I Struggle With My Own Guilty Conscience

One of the hardest things for some people to fathom is that much of your fate in life is determined by the cards you are dealt when you are born. If you are fortunate enough to be born into a westernized culture you will find you will have access to money, jobs, ‘things’ that are deemed to give people status and feelings of self importance and worth in the world because ‘they made something of themselves’. On the other side of this, if you are born into a country that is developing, majority of the people don’t have money, don’t have opportunity to make money and live in incredibly poor conditions.

My guilty conscience again kicked in as I am laid up on a massage table in Bali. $6 for an entire hour of massage. It is really nothing. I worked very little to make that money. I probably made it while I sat there supervising kids doing silent reading for ten minutes. My masseuse Anna is telling me that she works on commission. Of the $6 I pay, she receives approximately 70 cents. If there is no customers, there is no pay. She works 14 hours a day, 7 days a week with no break.

This whole conversation came about when she asked me if I was married. I told her no and she told me she got married a week ago. I asked her if she had a party with her family. She told me that she didn’t have time. Work gave her an hour off to go and sign the papers and then she came back to work. Her husband works down the road as a builder. They have two children that live three hours away in the village with her brother as they cannot afford to send their children to school in Kuta as it is too expensive. They are lucky to have jobs that allow them to afford to be able to send their kids to school at all because many people can’t afford it. They don’t know what they are going to do now though because her brother is very sick and has been in and out of the hospital but they now can’t afford to send him back to the hospital. Rising numbers of tourists in Bali has increased the cost of healthcare here and so it is too expensive to see a doctor.

As I lay there getting my massage I take all of this in. I get relatively cheap healthcare in Australia. I have a job that pays me enough to live comfortably and send any kids I have to school. I don’t have to send my kids away to live with other people so they can get a better start at life. I don’t have to work 14 hour days 7 days a week. And if I want to get married, I could probably get some time off from the boss to organize it if I wanted out of the 20 paid vacation days that most Australians are legally entitled to a year. And yet all we do is complain. And I feel guilty about that too.

I lay there and ponder what it is I can do about it because as much as I want to just open up my wallet and say ‘take my money, I can make more, I don’t need it’, I know that this is not a good fix in the long term. So I made a decision. I can’t help everybody. But I can help Anna by going back every day that I am here, getting a massage to keep her in work and her boss happy and giving her a hefty tip at the end of each massage. At least for this month, she will have a little extra in her pocket to help with the bills without feeling like a charity case.

What is more, this understanding makes me more patient with the onslaught as I walk down the street. “Transport!!”, “You buy sunglasses, one dollar”, “manicure??”. I understand that with each call out, there is somewhat a desperation to survive and make enough to keep their families going. I met one girl who moved from Java to here at twenty because there was no money in Java. So she moved to Bali so she could make the measly $70 USD a month that classes as ‘good money’ here. She couldn’t survive at home with her family.

My options are limitless as I flounder about the world hiking mountains, sitting on the beach and doing whatever I please. In an Australian sense I don’t really have that much money, but in an Indonesian sense I have about a lifetime of their wages sitting in my bank account so how am I supposed to feel OK about this? How am I supposed to feel OK about being on a perpetual holiday when these people get no days off work until they die and sleep only 5 hours a night every day as even sleep isn’t a luxury they can afford? How am I supposed to feel about drawing the lucky straw in this life when billions of others didn’t? Guilty. That is how I feel. My conscience weeps every single time I see something like this and I know that this is reality for so many. I am merely more than just a privileged western tourist staring into the fishbowl from the outside with all my money. And then I will go back to my privileged world and not think about it anymore because it is too hard and uncomfortable to think about. If I was them, I would hate me so much. And yet they don’t. They have a graciousness about them that well surpasses the graciousness of most people I know that have money.

I can’t change the whole world on my own. I can’t change the greedy nature of mankind. I would if I could but there are some things you have to accept that you just can’t change. But maybe, just maybe, I can help one person at a time and try and make my difference that way. Maybe by imparting kindness on all people I meet and choosing where I direct my dollars I can help to make small differences in the lives of few. If everybody in my situation made the effort to do this, then maybe we could make a difference to hundreds and even thousands of people to make their lives a little easier. So I challenge you! Be aware. Don’t sweep it under the rug because it is too big or uncomfortable to deal with. Choose something small and start making a difference there. Because it is with small steps, not giant leaps that we change the world. And the world really does need changing.