One of the perks (if you can call it that) of my job is that I have the ability to undertake work in regional parts of WA. At first glance, it does sound pretty awful; having to go out for weeks at a time, temporarily living away from friends, family and creature comforts and working overtime to get the work done…
But it really isn’t as bad as what people think it is. For one thing, our expenses are paid over the duration of travel, so there’s no out of pocket costs. And we accrue excess hours, which we can use to take time off without having to dip into our leave entitlements (hello extra-long holidays!). Plus, if it’s planned well enough, there is scope to combine pleasure and play over the longer stints.
Within reason, obviously.
This week, I got the opportunity to travel to a little country town in WA called Wyalkatchem.
(Video via Snapchat: One minor stuff up – still getting used to talking to a camera lol)
Wylie, (for short) is approximately 187 kilometres north east of Perth with a population of under 600 (est. 2013). It’s one of the smaller wheatbelt towns, so it’s pretty quiet in terms of traffic and travellers.
The highlight of my week was visiting the Wyalkatchem Community Mart (Railway Terrace, Wyalkatchem). Open on Thursdays and Fridays, I found some really beautiful crystal sherry glasses which were $1 each. #Winning! Every dollar spent goes straight back into the community, which is a great initiative in the little town.
And the people? Well, they were really lovely. It is an extremely friendly town and after my week-long visit, I’m half inclined to buy a house there. It has a strong sense of community with minimal (if any) anti-social behaviour. I mean, it would be a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a tree change and hide away from the world for a little while…
I can’t really say that there was a lowlight during my stay, I mean, the place is so lovely overall. But, if I had to say one thing, it would be that I was probably a bit sick of having dinner at the pub every night. Not because of the venue or the food (it was good value for money), but because pub food is notorious for being unhealthy and quite heavy. I’m not used to eating hearty meals, so I was craving a massive salad by the time I got home.
FYI, I have not weighed myself since getting back – I’m pretty certain I’ve gained a few kilos. But hey, that’s pub food for you!
I think the thing I enjoy the most about having to work away is getting to know regional areas of WA, and talking with people within the community. I like meeting new people and discovering information that I wouldn’t have known had I not been there in the first place. Wylie, for instance, was voted Australia’s tidiest town in 2003. They also have a local resident who runs 7 different businesses and a NAB who has been in town (and same building) for over 100 years! How crazy is that!
As much as I enjoyed the atmosphere of Wylie, I was still there to do a job. It was difficult to contact my superiors, as there was no phone reception for Optus and talking to local businesses about how trade is going is not an easy thing to do… especially when it’s well known that country areas are suffering financially at the moment. I really do feel for them and I wish that the government would help out towns like Wylie, because they are really the hardest done by when it comes to support.
Wyalkatchem is a such a neat and tidy town that I’ll be recommending it as a place to visit. I had a blast and I know I’ll be revisiting this place in the near future.