It is not hard to look for inspiration or a reason to go travelling. I literally Googled “travel” and this was one of many, many images.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. If you ask me whether I think you should go travelling, there is a 98% chance I am going to say yes.
However, I feel like not many people mention that moving abroad is hard.
Side note: This is little old me, as an English speaker, going to an English speaking country. I salute those of you who live in a country and have to speak an entirely different than your mother tongue. Seriously, I am amazed by you.
Going away on an adventure is all well and good, but trying to build a life for yourself in an entirely new country takes some work. It is stressful, lonely and overwhelming. Personally, I think you’ve got to have a certain grit to do it. Also did I mention how stressful it is?
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If you’re thinking about coming out to New Zealand on a working holiday visa and want some tips rather than read my personal account, I’ll going to write some here. (Link provided later)
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Here’s a little insight into my thought process for my first fortnight in Wellington: I need a job, I need money, what am I going to do if I don’t find a job, will I have to leave Wellington and try somewhere else? Maybe I could work for accommodation or try farm work? Oh God, farm work, I am not prepared for that. I need to find a job.
You get the idea.
On top of all of this it was the run up to Christmas; it felt so strange and upsetting being away from friends and family at that time of year. I’d never been homesick in my life and I was startled by the rawness of the wanting.
At one point I genuinely thought I’d have to go back to England and get my old waitress job back to continue saving and get back to travelling later. With this thought came a resounding No.
I don’t want that. I want to stay here
I could feel my heart crumbling at the idea of going home so soon, Christmas and holiday homesickness aside.I became weirdly reassured I was doing the right thing by staying.
I threw all of my energy in to making a life for myself in Wellington.
My first priority was getting a job. After travelling with no income for the past two months my funds were slowly and steadily depleting. In order to stay, I needed to have money coming in.
I had no laptop so spent hours in an internet cafe – the stereotypes of gamerboys and weird old men far too real – getting my CV and cover letter sorted. I handed out 20 in one day, 10 the next and 10 the next. As well as submitting online applications here and there.
I knew I wouldn’t hear back from them all but I did get responses, which was encouraging. I had one interview which led nowhere, followed by four trial shifts at various establishments. One of these involved a baffling few hours where I thought I was there for a waitress shift but instead the owner wanted me to wash dishes and help prep food. She told me off for cutting a panini wrong and later in the shift said she was hoping I could help her cook as the chef was going on holiday.
The second major concern was finding a place to live.
For two weeks I lived in a hostel. It was here where I met A and B. I want to take a moment to send a lot of love to these two. They kept me sane throughout my frantic stress – including a time I cried at bar, during happy hour of all times – and I can honestly say I’m not too sure what I would have done without them.
I may as well also give a little shout out for my 913 boys – I had such a laugh with them the couple of weeks we all shared a room. Cheers guys. Though I probably could have lived without hearing some of J’s more scandalous stories from Japan.
The hostels were filling up for Christmas and despite making fast friends with people, I was absolutely desperate for my own room and space. I signed up for property websites, texted an absurd number of people to arrange viewings but wasn’t really getting anywhere.
I kept going. I kept handing out CVs, I kept looking online for flats.
In just two days, I went from an unemployed hostel resident to living in a flat a 10 minute walk away from my new job.
A girl on one of my trial shift mentioned that a room was free in her apartment for the next few months. A couple of days later I went to look at it, liked it and was liked by the girls. It didn’t take long before I moved in. I was taken aback by how simple the whole thing was, especially the move itself as the new flat was literally up the road from my hostel and all I had to take was my backpack.
The day after I moved into my flat, I had a trial shift at Foxglove.
I went up to the manager’s office after the shift and he immediately offered me a job. I couldn’t tell you how good it felt – that sheer wave of relief flooding through my entire body. I was in a such a happy daze but managed to splutter out a thank you and accepted the offer.
Like I said, moving abroad is hard and it takes work. I don’t want to sound like one of those posters but here I go: if you want it to work and you do everything you can to make it happen, it will work out. I’ve seen this proven time and time again.
If reading this and you’re thinking you can do it, please go for it. You and I both know it will be one of the best things you ever do.