A thousand lives : my time as a house painter in Darwin

One of the things I love about traveling is all the people you get to be. I have been away two years and I have lived a thousand lives. Worked so many different jobs, been in so many different families, met and became friends with so many different people.

This is going to come across as incredibly snob and princess like but I was so happy to get the chance to do those odd jobs. When I was a student I didn’t work at McDonald’s, didn’t do the dishes in some shady pizzeria. The worse job I had was probably being webmaster for a really cool company.

So when I got to Australia and suddenly I was a waitress, a maid, a barista, it was like being somebody else. Adapting to your surroundings, always.

When I arrived in Darwin, Australia, it was near the end of a 10 months round trip across the country, and I needed money.  The ex-husband of the women I was babysitting for saw me one day in my “work pants”, covered in old paint, and hired me on the spot.

I spent 10 days with him, painting the inside of a WHOLE HOUSE. It was one of the most physical job I’ve ever done. We were working 10 hours a day. I did every single freaking ceiling on that house, and my arms were so sore it was uncomfortable to sleep. I LOVED it. John was completely insane, “on” 24 hours a day. Always on his way, always working some deal, always a cigarette between his lips. Laughing his barking laugh and making jokes and being busy so busy. And I was one of the guys. I was working like a maniac, being tough, dripping sweat, aching in my bones. But none of that mattered because every night, after the hours of hustle and hard work, John went and got a pack of Bundaberg. We sat on the back porch, lighted up a cigarette and opened up those rum and cook. My muscles were sore, my hands dirty with paint, I was stinking and famished. But that rum in my stomach was sweet and the hot Darwin night air was all around us. And we talked about life and we laughed exhausted laughs and it felt amazing. Physical labor has its perks, I was feeling productive and like I deserved a rest. My brain was mellow and I was just at ease. I loved that life of mine.

Sunset in Darwin

Sunset in Darwin


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