Well, it's official! These seven people have the best jobs in the world. They won Australia's "Best Jobs in the World" contest, where they were looking for everything from a wildlife caretaker to a chief funster.
Each of the jobs takes place in a different state or territory of Australia and involves a six-month contract with a salary package of A$100,000 (US$92,000) including all accommodations, food and expenses.
Their initial application involved a 30-second video and a test of their ability to generate buzz. (Watch the winning videos.)
Then, they headed to Australia for a one-week test — call it the Olympics of tourism. The events included — no, not balance beam and uneven parallel bars — reviewing Perth's best restaurants, attending VIP parties and festivals in Sydney and feeding the kangaroos on Kangaroo Island.
Competitors hailed from all over the world — 196 countries, to be exact — but the chief funster job went to American Andrew Smith. Andrew will be charged with the task of instigating fun all over New South Wales, essentially to be a professional partier for six months and then write reviews and Tweet about it.
Andrew is the social media manager for an international travel show sponsored by Google based in Dubai but he's always continent-hopping. His website is wheresthefun.at, so you know he means business about fun!
Rich Keam won the job of taste master, where he'll get to eat and drink his way across Western Australia. Keam told Western Australian news site WA Today that he was absolutely "gobsmacked" about winning (yep, he's British) and offered these four travel tips: 1) Wear sunscreen, 2) Always have clean pants, 3) Keep all your senses open — everything you can feel, hear, smell and see, and 4) Try everything and live in the moment.
Canadian Greg Snell landed the spot of wildlife caretaker, where he will be doing everything from waking up the kangaroos to swimming with dolphins and sea lions in South Australia.
In his winning 30-second video, Snell said he had a "very serious ambition to be a baby penguin supervisor" when he grows up. The baby penguins behind him looked totally supervised.
Ireland's Allan Dixon won the coveted title of outback adventurer. In his winning video, Dixon admitted that when he was eight years old, he got lost on his local beach. Well he must've learned a thing or two from that experience because he'll now be embarking on six months of outback adventures through the Northern Territory!
Brazil's Robert Seba won the job of lifestyle photographer in Melbourne and France's Elisa Detrez won the job of park ranger in Queensland.
A seventh job was awarded by Virgin Australia to American Cameron Ernst, who will fly the length and breadth of Australia as the airline's new "high flyer," and reviewing his experience.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy congratulated all the winners and said the real winner was the natural beauty and diversity of Australia which has been promoted all over the world thanks to the competition.
But, if we're being honest, the real winner is Australian tourism — and the economy.
"[P]artners like Virgin Australia and STA Travel [are] reporting increased bookings and Tourism Australia [is] seeing a significant spike in international interest in Australia's Working Holiday Maker program," McEvoy said in a statement.
STA Travel reported travel bookings from the US doubled during the contest from a year earlier, bookings from Germany jumped 42 percent and bookings from the UK increased 17 percent.
Tourism Australia also plans to take it further, promoting "working holidays" in addition to regular vacations for anyone who missed out on one of the "Best Jobs." The Australian Working Holiday Facebook page already has about 475,000 "likes" and about 52,000 people are "talking about" it.
The winners will start their jobs sometime between August and December and they will be tasked not only with eating, adventuring, wildlife caretaking and fun-making, they will also be blogging, Tweeting and making videos of their experience to promote Australian tourism.
I'd just like to add: If any of you need to call in sick, I'm available to fill in as a temp!