Just over 1 month ago, on the 2nd November, I hit the 2 year milestone. 2 years since I left my job. 2 years since I left the UK. And 2 years since I decided that having a plan for life was not really what I wanted. Life twists and turns in many unexpected directions, and sometimes it is just a case of saying “fuck it!” and going with how you feel.
Those 2 years have thrown up a variety of challenges, from almost succumbing to a miserable death by a parasitic gut infection in Tanzania (maybe a slight exaggeration, but it was still bad), having our scooter breakdown in the middle of nowhere in various countries, to sharing a house with a cross-dressing, crystal meth addict in Melbourne. Life is full of fun, interesting and somewhat bizarre scenarios.
After 5 months of exploring countries in Africa and Asia, 15 months of working and travelling in Australia, I now find myself 5 months into working in New Zealand – Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud. With sun that can scold you in a matter of minutes (due to a severe lack of o-zone layer), some of the World’s most spectacular scenery, and a population of people who never learnt to pronounce their vowels correctly (my name is Ed, not Id, thank you!), New Zealand has been an exciting new opportunity for both myself and for Soph.
My work in the travel industry continues, as does my despair at some of the people who have somehow managed to successfully board a plane in their home country and have made it half way across the world… some of whom, I do think, barely even know how or when they got here and in which country they have disembarked their flight. “Uuuuuhhh, it is so expensive here… why do I have to pay to do this… can I do that for free… oh I thought it would be closer to Auckland…” Seriously, get a fucking grip, you’ve come to New Zealand, one of the most visited countries in the World and you are bitching and moaning about seeing some of the World’s most spectacular sights and experiencing some of the World’s most unique activities. Why exactly did you come here…?
OK, minor rant over with.
Life in New Zealand is relaxed. There’s not too many people that appear to be working hard or overly stressing themselves, however through first-hand experience, the people working in the tourism and hospitality industries are definitely among this hard-working minority. In 2016, 1.8 million tourists descended on New Zealand’s shores. Considering that the population of New Zealand is only around 4.7 million people, that is quite a large number of tourists for one relatively small country to handle. Nevertheless, even with an almost horizontal laid-back attitude, New Zealand prevails as one of the top tourism destinations in the world.
From hiking across glaciers, to white water rafting on the largest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, New Zealand has all the adventure boxes ticked. For the less adventurous New Zealand is also the home of Lord Of The Rings, with Hobbiton genuinely being the sole reason that some people come to New Zealand… crazy! Not to mention the Maori people – with a fascinating cultural history and without doubt the World’s best known war dance; the Haka, as well as the dazzling geothermal environments of the North and enthralling mountain scenery of the South… what’s not to love about New Zealand!?
Aside from a recent weekend away in the Northland / Bay Of Islands region, Soph and I have had limited opportunities to explore New Zealand, however we have thought it through and set more of a plan in motion to ensure we get to explore more over the coming months.
Next up is the Christmas season, that comes with the festivities of the summer period, that you only get when you are on the wrong side of the World. As the weather begins to head up towards the 30 degrees mark and the days become longer and longer, the last thing I would normally think of is Christmas. Christmas should be cold and miserable (weather wise, that is!), not hot and sunny – the world is literally upside-down. With a splattering of free events, food festivals and the like popping up across Auckland, the summer is here and should (hopefully) be a cracker!