Saturday, 9 July 2016

6 Months in New Zealand

Last Tuesday was my six month anniversary of being away from home and in New Zealand.  I wanted to do a post about it but never got round to it, so here it is.  It's a lot of disorganised verbal diarrhoea that when I was planning the post in my head, sounded really good, but re-reading it, it's just babble.

When I think back to Dec 28th 2015 it makes me laugh.  Once I got on the plane my tears mostly dried up and I sat there sniffling and trying to get the redness off my face, I felt quite calm and collected.  Not quite excited, but calm and in control.  I landed 36 hours later and Amy picked me up and we went for a walk up One Tree Hill with her friend Stef and the sun was shining and I felt like I was on holiday.  After we went for a burger and brought it back to her house and as I sat eating it, I suddenly felt really homesick and sad and 'what the fuck have I done' and I nearly almost couldn't eat the burger but it smelt so good I shoved it all down anyway.   I think that's the only time I felt a bit wobbly about my decision to come out here - and I can count on one hand the amount of times I have had a bad day since being here (and they mostly all involve boys, so that'd happen anywhere!)

I've got to say I am very proud of myself.  I never thought travelling was for me - when I did the 6 week stint in Asia a couple of years ago I was ready to come home after 4 weeks and annoyed at living out of a backpack.  I have very much surprised myself.  But my style has adapted and I know what I do and don't like.

I didn't have much of a plan when I first came out here but in my head I was going to buy bus passes and travel from town to town and stay in hostels for maybe a few weeks then get a job in Auckland. The moment I bought my car in Picton everything changed - so many possibilities opened up and I felt much more independent and free.  Meeting the Dutch guys changed things further, they introduced me to NZ camping which I have now fallen in love with, and I would now rather sleep in a tent than a dorm room.  We often wouldn't know where we were pitching our tents until 4pm that day, normally I'd freak out about not having a plan but it's perfectly do-able over here.  I was quite happy with my routine back home - maybe happy isn't the word, comfortable maybe.  Out here I have slept in over 30 different beds, owned 2 cars, had 4 different jobs and called 3 different places home in the space of 6 months. I have learnt I am very adaptable to change.

I have also learnt I actually quite like people, which was a bit of a shock to me!  Back home meeting new people was almost a chore - I guess I didn't feel hugely comfortable in my skin and for some reason when I met new people I assumed I didn't have much to give and they wouldn't be that bothered by me so I would automatically put up my guard and not be bothered by them either - I just wasn't very open to meeting new people.  Out here, I have HAD to meet new people otherwise I'd have been very lonely indeed - and I think I have made more friends in the last 6 months than I have in my entire life! I have humans I can call my friends in Austria, Holland, Germany, Norway, Spain, New Zealand , America and Australia. I've kept in contact with many of them and the best part is I keep bumping into people I know as NZ is so small - the other day I bumped into a girl I went clubbing in Dunedin with, in Waiheke! It's a small place.

Working in the cafe and shop in Glenorchy also made me realise I like working with people - I really enjoyed customer interaction every day.  New Zealand has also opened me up to a whole new culture - people are so nice and trusting out here and in return you slowly become that way too.  I will never forget the hospitality I have received from people like Wayne and Jayne (haha, that rhymes) - absolute strangers opening their homes up to other strangers to make their lives easier - I definitely want to repay the favour to other travellers when I am in a position to do so.

I am getting quite settled in Auckland, which I don't really want to do.  It's amazing how quickly you adjust to new situations and get comfortable - there's so many places I want to explore and travel to, which when I was travelling seemed do-able, but now I am settled I am thinking 'ahh but now I have a room, and furniture, and a car, and a job' which is what put me off travelling for so long in the UK - all the things that were tying me down (that actually weren't tying me down at all - it was just my attitude to it all).  I need to remember that I can just quit everything at any time and leave again - I've done it before and it was easy, so I can do it again! But it is so easy to find obstacles in your way when you have a roof over your head and good friends to root you in place.  I also need to remember it's so easy to make friends when you're travelling - because of the very nature of what you're doing, you come into contact with people who you automatically have travelling in common with, and these people all tend to be open minded like yourself, so you don't come across any idiot bigots, and everyone wants to make friends with you because they also don't know anyone.  It's great! If only it were that easy to make friends back home!!

Leaving the UK was the best decision I have ever made and I am slightly scared to go back - I know out here I have grown as a person and become so much more confident than I ever was back home, just little things like I rarely feel nervous about stuff anymore - starting a new job was a breeze - I just take things in my stride now and worry less.  I think I am way more chilled out and more of a 'yes' person.  I am concerned that when I go back home I'll just revert back to my old self, but hopefully I won't!

Anyways I know the blog and my facebook have made it look like New Zealand is the best place ever, so I thought it is only fair to be honest about a few things.  Here's a quick list I have made of things that aren't so great.  Be aware - it may change everything.

Things New Zealand isn't great for


  • Chocolate biscuits.  No one does a chocolate digestive like McVities.  The NZ versions just aren't the same,
  • Traffic lights.  They don't seem to be intelligent, and are just on timers. You can be waiting for bloody ages for them to change as they don't seem to take into account traffic flow. 
  • On that note - people going on green lights. Everyone is too chill here so the light'll go green and they'll sit there for a few seconds before taking off. HURRY UP I AM FROM LONDON AND ALWAYS IN A RUSH
  • Central heating.  THERE IS NONE! WHAT! This place gets cold for 6 months of the year. (Well the South Island does, and North island gets a little bit cold for a little bit).  A lot of the houses aren't even insulated properly and everyone has portable electric or gas heaters, Madness.
  • I never thought I'd say this, having suffered London transport for 6 years, but...I miss it!! Auckland and NZ in general has nothing of the same quality and breadth.  If you want to travel over the bridge to the North Shore (a mere 20k), you have to get about 5 billion busses and pay $10, get a taxi, or drive yourself.  Oh or a boat, but then you have to get to the boat station in the first place.  If you want to get from my house to south Auckland, you have to take 2 trains and it can take up to 2 hours depending on train times.
  • Historical architecture. Or just architecture.  Everything's new.  The only thing I do like is the old wooden villas, they're cute.  But I do miss European cities and old English villages with stone walls and straw roofs.
  • Squash (the drink).  Just doesn't exist over here unless you want to spend a fortune in the international aisle.  I want my Robinson's dammit! 

3 comments:

  1. Well I don't eat choccy biscuits or drink squash, so I think I'm OK with the other things x

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  2. So true about the choc biccies and something that REALLY annoyed me is I couldn't get custard in a tin... I have not even wanted custard since leaving so not sure why I was so angry about it! But I am so glad you don't regret your decision and this post makes me so happy :) xxxxxxxxxx

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