Israeli backpacker ‘stuck’ in Bright reflects on travel in pandemic | The Border Mail

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A fictional television show about two daughters who reunited after 20 years and took on their father’s cattle station, was the thing that first sparked Israeli national Ofer Shamir’s interest in travelling to Australia. “As a teenager I really liked ‘McLeod’s Daughters’,” Ms Shamir said. “I really wanted to come to Australia, so when I got the chance to, I was like ‘ok, that sounds like a good idea’.” Ms Shamir has been living in Bright for about two months, after arriving in Australia in January last year. She sat down with The Border Mail for a chat and reflected on her first year Down Under during a global pandemic, finding work and accommodation, being unable to visit family and government support. The 29-year-old said she was “lucky” to find a job quickly, working at a dairy farm in central Victoria, before the COVID-19 lock down started in March. “I was planning to do my three months, but it ended up being quite a bit more,” she said. It was there that she met her partner, before they both moved to Bright for his job and Ms Shamir took a job picking chestnuts at a local farm. Like many others, Ms Shamir said she and her partner had struggled to find affordable rental accommodation in the area. “They are close to non-existent, pretty much, there’s nothing. Though Ms Shamir said she chose to be here, she felt a little “stuck”. “There was a lot pressure to go back home when everything started,” she said. “I decided I had my plans, nothing’s going to change them, I’ll adapt to whatever happens. “I can’t go back to visit, which is the ‘stuck’ part, because I would love to go back to visit after almost three years now away from home.” Ms Shamir said it had been a “rough” 2020 in Israel, and that she was grateful her family was safe. “Most of them are from the country, from a very small community that closed itself off pretty much when things got bad,” she said. IN OTHER NEWS: When asked whether she thought there should have been more Australian Government COVID-19 support for backpackers, Ms Shamir said no. “Each one of us has (our) own country and had the choice to go back to (our) country and apply for whatever that country gave, not every country gave as much support as Australia gave,” she said. “The Aussie government, they gave us extensions, so you could work for a whole year instead of only for six months. “But at the end of the day, I don’t think they need to give money to backpackers just as much as I don’t think my country doesn’t need to give money to tourists. “I don’t expect Australia to support every tourist in the country.” Ms Shamir said she liked Australia’s “chill” lifestyle and “welcoming” people, but wasn’t sure whether she’d like to live here permanently. “What I like about Australia, except for the fact that it’s really pretty, you can do any job and still be able to live respectfully,” she said. “That’s not something that I’m used to, the fact that you can be a tradie, or a picker or a farmer or anything like that, and still be able to live a good life and save up a little bit. “People take it for granted, but it’s not (like that) where I’m from. “My whole family is in Israel and that’s the main issue.” Ms Shamir has a second year backpacking visa and plans to renew it for another 12 months next January. She said she hasn’t done much travelling yet, but would like to drive up the East Coast. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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