For many Britons, shopping at Tesco or popping into a cheap pastry shop is second nature, but for Lauren Jones, originally from Birmingham, these are some of the things she misses most about home. The 25-year-old spoke to Express.co.uk about what it’s like to live and work in the Barossa Valley, a few miles from Adelaide in South Australia.
Lauren flew to Australia from her native Birmingham in late 2019, just before the pandemic struck.
She spent the first few months travelling, before moving to a more permanent spot in South Australia.
Although alone, Lauren quickly made friends, saying: “When I got to Melbourne, there were hundreds of backpackers and it was super easy to make friends, but I didn’t really meet many Australians.
“However, when I moved up to South Australia, it was just Australians, and because I was in the countryside, I mainly made friends at the local pubs.
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“That’s one thing about Aussies – they are some of the friendliest, most chilled people,” she added.
Lauren works in a winery and she often spends her days off reading and learning about wine. But it isn’t always as luxurious and sophisticated as it sounds.
She said: “I love my job because it’s so interesting and I learn something new often, but it can be gruelling being on 12-hour shifts, six days a week.
“But last year I made my own wine, which was amazing.
“Also, there is work all year round, but I mainly work the season so I can take as much time off as I want after the season has finished, which is in April, May, June.
“There’s plenty of work because I work for a really big winery. However, because it’s so big I get stuck doing the same jobs repeatedly and it can get very repetitive.”
Lauren’s job is as a cellar hand, but when she first worked in an Australian winery, she did everything.
She explained: “The first season I did was amazing. It was a really small winery, small team, and I got to experience every aspect of working in a winery, from picking the grapes to crushing them, and doing all the additions and then putting it into a barrel.”
She added: “It’s chilled out here and a lot of people tend to just go with the flow of life.
“Also, there are some really beautiful spots, both in the country and the cities.”
However, she stressed that “it gets really f***ing cold in South Australia for winter and it’s horrible because there is nothing happening.
“Also, everything is really spread apart so you have to have a car because there is barely any public transport once you leave the city. I wouldn’t recommend coming to Australia without a driver’s licence.”
For Lauren, the main – and most negative – difference between Australia and the UK is “the lack of diversity”.
She claimed: “In Birmingham, there is a huge cultural hub – people from all over the world, different nationalities.
“Here? It’s predominantly white. Like, I’d say, 90 percent white, which is obviously sh***y.
“I really miss the cultural diversity from back home.”
Lauren listed other aspects of the UK she misses, saying: “I miss Greggs, so so much.
“I miss my family loads, I miss the Christmas celebrations and holidays that are exclusive to England like Guy Fawkes.
“I also really miss pubs and the social side of the UK. Also £3 meal deals.”
She added: “I miss the lack of dangerous animals and insects too. Sometimes I wake up and there’s a spider that could kill me in the bathroom or hiding in my shoe and I absolutely loathe it.”
Lauren’s main tips for others looking for a new adventure or home on the other side of the world?
“Mainly just come and experience it,” she said.
“It’s a good place to earn money, make friends and do new things, but also don’t be worried if it’s not your ‘forever’ place.
“I was only meant to come out for four months and had such high expectations because I’d heard so many people say they had the time of their lives here and never wanted to leave. And whilst I’ve enjoyed it and had some great times, I definitely wouldn’t live here for the rest of my life.
“I do have an Australian boyfriend to factor in now though, which is hard. But I’m sure it’ll be fine.”