I had visited New Zealand and Australia as a backpacker a couple of years ago and in particular really fell in love with New Zealand.
It wasn’t until I was out there that I learnt from fellow travellers about the working holiday visas in both countries. Before I even left New Zealand, I had intentions to return. It was all I could think about when I got back from Australia and applied for the NZ working holiday within a few days of arriving home.
Within a year I was back in Auckland, shaking off a local boy I had acquired from a few months working in the UK, I knew it was the right decision. I had one month of working for a family in Auckland (long story) then decided to do some more exploring around the South Island with a German backpacker girl before settling back in Auckland.
This is just the beginning of what I learnt at the beginning of 2017 to get me to where I am now at the end of 2019. For anyone wondering or in case my (one day) daughter wants to follow her quirky and hippie mum, here’s my words of wisdom/advice/teachings.
Life can be really challenging but also really amazing. I remember in New Zealand I was staying in a hostel and very sick, in lots of pain. I had to get myself to a hospital where I was admitted. I ended up being fine but at that moment I was very scared, was alone and obviously support of friends and family would have made the situation less negative. In those moments, you reach down and find all your inner strength and utilize it to get through. Looking back, it could have clearly been a lot, lot worse and I recognise people have had it worse, however I wouldn’t wish that time on anyone.
You will meet people from different cultures, religions, beliefs, all with a story to tell. Some of them people you will remember forever, imprinting their words on you, some you won’t think about again.
Energy never lies. If a person, situation, place, whatever feels ‘off’, then it’s probably because it is. Travelling and living abroad, safety is paramount so avert if you get that vibe.
You will learn that the one person you can 100% trust and rely on, is you. I’ve been in situations going through painful break up and getting made redundant. That period of my life made me think, wow what else? This is a lot. In those moments to be honest I just wanted to do nothing and dwell on my feelings but then I realised the only one who could change the situation was me. In focusing on myself and getting a new job I could also recover from the broken relationship. Be sad and then take action. You have to keep moving no matter what.
Sometimes it takes toxic and abusive relationships to really look inside yourself to see who you are and what your putting up with. You decide what you tolerate. You decide when it’s over. We are all in the driving seats of our own lives. I put up with so much until one day unfortunately I quite literally got the sense slapped into me. I’ve left it all behind me as part of my past and a very big lesson. I will never be in a relationship with someone that doesn’t value my worth.
You will come ‘home’ and it will feel foreign to you. You have grown too much, experienced too much of the world and learnt and grown so much within yourself. People at home will be doing the same comfortable job, in the same comfortable relationship. We all have our own individual paths, some are paved differently. It’s about not judging others and inside focusing on what your path is and the actions needed to get you to where you need to be.
I’ve also learnt that we are all making it up as we go along. Life is truly a journey. Those that try to escape the realities of life, heartbreak, trauma, pain are saying no to life. Being vulnerable is a strength. You get your heart broken and swear off relationships forever then what do you know. Someone walks into your life and your scared to open up and get hurt again. By shying away you could be blocking a beautiful blessing into your life. Trust yourself and know that pain is part of life.
You will learn there’s more good people out there than bad. Throughout my time abroad I’ve even given my laptop to someone I barely know. He turned out to be a good friend of mine in Bali. He took it back to Seminyak whilst I was in Ubud, looked after it for me and on returning, gave it back to me. I went with my gut instinct and it paid off. Listen to your intuition, its your internal GPS.
Be who you really are, be proud of your scars and honest with your imperfections. I know I’m not perfect, none of us are. However, every day I aspire to be as kind and open to those around me, if you spread good energy then the good energy will come back to you. Sometimes I struggle to be the person I want to be, kind and calm, I normally find if I am struggling emotionally with something or not in a good place I take my emotions out on others. I’m conscious of it and working on it.
When I was younger I was encouraged that life’s recipe was do your A-Levels, go to University, graduate with a decent degree in something, get a 9-5 office job with a manager you fucking hate, meet someone, move in, get a mortgage, blah blah blah. I don’t believe in that anymore. One day, when I’ve met the right person I would like to have a family but I’m sure as hell not going to wait around for it. I’ve met people following that path too early on in life and now they’re 40/50 years old with divorce, debt and lots of regret. Some of life decisions, some I met wish they saw more of the world when they were younger. The key to remember is that it’s never too late. To travel. To learn a new language. To study. I don’t believe this time limit that society likes to stamp on us.