Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

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Freaking Out

Written April 10.

I’m freaking out. This is actually the closest I’ve been to a panic attack in quite some time. And it comes from the re-entry into normal civilization and life.

I’m in Adelaide. It is April 10. On May 14, my mom arrives in Melbourne. The drive between the two is about 10 hours. So in essence I can assume that I have 1 month until she arrives. That means one month in which to do something.

I could spend the month traveling around, sightseeing, touristing, and generally relaxing. It would give me time to really see Adelaide, the countryside of South Australia, possibly some of Western Australia, and then the countryside of Victoria before getting back into Melbourne for her arrival. That would continue my trend of not having a job. It would also continue my trend of slowly but surely eating away at my savings. I could dip into longer term savings to fund it. I could plan to get a job for a few months after she leaves and make the money back. But therein lies the problem.

I keep saying, “I’ll work tomorrow. I will pay for it later.” I haven’t had a job since I got here. I have burned through thousands of dollars. My budget has stretched remarkably well through a combination of my being frugal, my lowering my standards (sleeping in a park), and the absolute kindness of others. But the finances, however slowly, are still going away. And I need to replenish them at some point. I don’t want to just use this year as a time to lose money. I want to make some of it back.

And in my month, what am I to do? Try to get a job in Adelaide? Two? Work hard, work long hours, wait tables and serve as a barback? Make decent money but nothing great to build up the coffers? If I make $16 an hour, taxed I’m at $12 an hour. At 40 hours a week, that is $480/week. Not great if I also have living expenses. Assuming I get a job tomorrow and have 4 weeks, less living expenses, that is $1200 I can put in the bank.

Then there is my original plan. Go to a mining town. Get into the industry. Make bank. This plan worked a lot better when I had a few months to kill to do it. The town I’ve been told to use as my base is 2000km from here. Driving there will take 23 hours and $260 in fuel. Then the same coming back. And that is the better option. And then I have about 3 weeks to find a job, work as much as possible, and leave on hopefully good terms so I can come back. Assuming that I get a great job, one that pays twice what I can expect in a city, then I’m making $30 an hour. Taxed, I’m down to $23 an hour. With 40 hours a week, I’m making $920/week. Living expenses are generally included, but I can take my expenses of getting there right off the top. So now I’m down to a possible $2240, assuming I get a job as soon as I rock into town. This is still significantly better than my likely city options. But there are a lot of uncontrolled variables. I am driving into a place I don’t know 2000km from here on the hopes of breaking into an industry I don’t know to make an amount I’m speculating on. If it doesn’t work, I’ve just eaten a $600 gamble.

My heart is racing. I have restrictions to work around. I’m happy for the things that are to come. But between sickness and delays and laziness, I’m starting this process about 6 weeks later than planned. And the difference between 10 weeks and 4 when it comes to finding/working/quitting a job is monumental.

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This entry was posted on May 22, 2012 by in Australia, South Australia (Adelaide).

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