In case the title didn’t give it away already, I’ll be boarding a plane in two weeks, bound for a year-long working holiday in New Zealand! What is a working holiday you ask? A working holiday is actually a visa offered by certain countries that permit travelers to undertake employment in the country issuing the visa. Many of these working holiday schemes cater to younger travelers (ages 18-30), allowing them to live and work abroad for up to 12 months (sometimes more). The types of work are usually limited to casual temporary jobs, but it helps with supplementing travel funds while abroad. Plus it allows you to experience living in another country!
Whenever I tell people of my plans, most respond with interest and enthusiasm, but a question I often get from everyone is: why New Zealand? Well, for starters, I’ve always had a weird obsession for the small, island nation. Everyone seems to have that must-go-to place on their travel wish list, and New Zealand is one of mine (Australia being another big one, which is conveniently right next door!). From what I’ve seen in pictures and heard from others who have lived or traveled there, it’s amazing. The people are friendly, the country itself is gorgeous…to me, it sounded like a place that I could see myself fitting in pretty well. Outdoor activities are a popular pastime there, and for someone who loves the outdoors it seemed like the ideal place (who can say no to all that stunning scenery?).
Tourism is also a pretty big industry there, which is another reason why I chose New Zealand for my working holiday. I have had prior work experiences in this field and I thought it would be easier to get a job there. It’s a potential career field I’ve considered and I think it would be worthwhile getting my foot in the door a bit more while I’m there.
So why am I doing this? There are a number of reasons actually:
1. I’ve always wanted to live abroad. Don’t get me wrong, I love America and it will forever be my home, but I’ve always had a longing to live in faraway places; to experience cultures different from my own. I believe in traveling slowly, so a year abroad gives me plenty of time to really get to know New Zealand.
2. I’m not ready to settle down. Sure, I can always take the usual 9-5 job, get married, buy a house, have kids, and settle with the two week vacation every year. But I’m at a point in life where I have the freedom to travel boundlessly. Why take that for granted? You only live through your 20s once and I want to use that time to continue growing and learning.
3. I never studied abroad. It’s true. Studying abroad was something I always wanted to do in college, but never got around to doing it. I was always too worried about somehow not being able to afford it, how it would affect my studies, and in general, just kept putting the thought aside until it was too late. I’d hate to live with that regret, so a working holiday would make up for that (and at a cheaper cost too)!
4. To experience the challenge of traveling long-term and independently. All my life I’ve lived in the realm of a comfort bubble. At home and at school, I have my circle of friends and family for support. I have my routines. Everything around me is familiar. I don’t know anyone in New Zealand and really won’t have a clue on what it’s like until I get there, so my goal is to step out of my comfort zone and embrace doing new things that I normally wouldn’t at home.
5. Because I can. Simple as that. One of the most common words of wisdom I’ve received from older people is to “travel while you’re still young,” and I intend on following that advice wholeheartedly. I’m young. I’m unmarried. I’m not yet tied down by many of the typical responsibilities that come with age. Thus far, I’ve been blessed with good health. I would much rather do the things I want to do now while I still can, than risk waiting until I’m older and potentially being incapable of doing so.
I’ve been planning this trip and putting aside money for a long while now. It’s rewarding seeing everything fall into place. I’m eager, anxious, and excited all at the same time, but most of all feeling satisfied to finally begin the adventure. So thanks everyone for your love and support! I’ll be updating with new blog posts and photos, so stay tuned and check back every now and then!