Whenever people first hear about what I’m planning, the first question they ask is, “Why?” My automatic answer is, “Why not?” They nod their head and then ask, “But why New Zealand?” This is what I’ll attempt to explain in the next few paragraphs.
In order to clearly explain how I got this idea in my head, I must begin by mentioning that I recently completed a solo, five week backpacking trip through Europe. In those five weeks, I learned more about myself than I did through my four years of college! My Europe adventure was not only a learning experience, but it was a lot of fun too! Probably too much fun, actually, but I won’t get into that here. One of the simplest things I learned on that trip was how much I love landscapes and the outdoors. After staying in city after city, I finally arrived in Interlaken, Switzerland; a small town nestled in between two large lakes and surrounded by the snow capped peaks of the Swiss Alps. Truly, it is the most beautiful place I have ever been.
Once I arrived home, it didn’t take me long to start thinking about the next new place I’d like to visit. I was mowing the lawn when New Zealand popped into my head. Not really sure how or why, but the thought arrived nonetheless. As most of us know, from watching The Lord of the Rings movies, NZ is renowned for its beautiful and diverse landscapes. As I sat there, absentmindedly steering my way around the lawn, I tried to come up with any other location I’d rather visit. A couple of places came to mind, but none of them topped my interest for NZ. It takes me over an hour to finish mowing, so by the time I was done I was pretty excited to start researching options for a visit.
It turns out that camper-vans are the most popular way to travel for an extended period of time in NZ (FYI, I’ll be using NZ as an abbreviation for New Zealand from now on). This looked intriguing, but kinda expensive for a person on my budget. As I was searching around online, I found a blog written by a guy from the US who has been living in NZ for the past 3 years. He explained that he first arrived there on a visa; the Working Holiday Visa to be specific.
You can find a lot of information about this particular visa here, but basically it enables 18-30 year olds to live and work in NZ for up to one year. “One year?!” Yes, one year. For me, it sounds like the perfect way to save up enough money and have enough time to see everything in NZ that I want. I’m spending a lot of money on the plane tickets, so I want to make sure I get it all in!
It takes me a long time to make a decision, just ask anyone who’s gone shoe shopping with me! I mulled over NZ for about a month before telling anyone about my idea. Only within the past two or three weeks have I actually allowed the possibility of this trip to NZ to become a realty to me. Now, thanks to this blog, it’s become more and more real every day. I’m making daily, small choices based on the plan that I’m leaving in six months to live in another country! Choices like skipping the grande mocha at Starbucks because I’d rather use that money to buy a plane ticket.
I’ll be applying for my visa in a few weeks, and I’ll be sure to let you know how the process goes. If you have any questions or advice for me, leave a comment!