New Zealand Was Just What My Heart Needed <3

13116189_10153739901176633_1418154079406326814_oIt’s been almost three months since I’ve arrived in New Zealand and unfortunately it’s coming to an end. As I sit here in a Starbucks in Rotorua (I know, how original) and write this post, I reflect on the last few months. It was just what I needed when all I wanted to do was sleep all day in the middle of Chicago’s bitter winter after getting laid off from a job that I never wanted in the first place.

Mid-February I arrived in New Zealand with a visa that allows me to live and work in the country for up to one year. Having already experienced something similar in Australia, I didn’t have a strong desire to experience it again. And, also, having been laid off from a job back in the states made me really stop and think about how I kept going for the same type of boring office work environment. The type of job that can’t keep a creative soul like mine still and makes be feel like I’m suffocating. The type of job that brought no value to my life and always kept me 5 steps away from my life goals.

And, the next thing I knew, I was in New Zealand searching for flats in Wellington and getting ready to look for an office job once again. I felt like I was making myself do something I secretly didn’t want to. I appreciated the experience I had in Australia and the jobs I did while I lived there. I just didn’t want to work in New Zealand. Of course, I realized this after I packed a massive suitcase full of clothes I didn’t need, applied for my tax number, set up a bank account and spent one week looking for flats.

After my last job in the states, I wasn’t sure if I could handle being in yet another office environment – even if it was in a different country. Sure, I could’ve done something different – worked in a cafe or as a waitress. I could’ve worked on farm or tried woofing. But I just wanted my time to be my time. It sounds selfish. Perhaps even irresponsible. But I didn’t want to go by anyone’s schedule. The only schedule I followed were the bus time slots taking me from one amazing destination to another.

10553655_10153618989131633_2699638488970758126_oI enjoyed taking the bus everywhere. I bought a flexipass from InterCity, which was quite affordable. The seats were comfortable. The scenery was breathtaking. New Zealand is a small enough country that taking the bus from one destination to another doesn’t take too long. I didn’t fly anywhere within the country. I just took ferries and buses and it was amazing.

I ditched Plan A (work and find a flat), got rid of some clothes and just traveled (secret to my happy heart). I loved every minute of it – even when I was hiking up a mountain that went uphill the entire time and I was dripping in sweat and out of breath. OK, some moments I didn’t love so much.

When you’re hiking and run into these guys.

When you’re hiking and run into these guys.

I temporarily left my massive suitcase in Wellington and picked up a mini suitcase as I traveled around the South Island for about a month. And I absolutely loved traveling light for that month. It was annoying to do laundry so often but it felt so freeing that I didn’t have to struggle carrying my stuff up and down stairs or take 5 hours to pack and unpack or decide what to wear.

I enjoyed being in control of my travels, schedule and time. Take a nap in the afternoon? Sure, why not? Take a hot yoga class followed by a smoothie? Yes, please. Hike a glacier that’s slowly disappearing and won’t be here in ten years? Sounds cool. Spend a few hours in a cafe drinking cappuccinos and writing pieces for that book that I’ve been working on? Sounds perfect. Go on a date with a random boy I met on Tinder who turned out to be obsessed with me and wouldn’t stop texting me? Er, maybe I shouldn’t have done that last one.

The point is, my time was my time. And I didn’t want to spend it stuck in an office behind a computer all day. I didn’t want to spend it behind a counter messing up someone’s coffee beverage or on a farm hoping that I wouldn’t run into a spider or some other creepy crawler. I wanted to do what I wanted; when I wanted.

And I did.

Hiking the Franz Josef Glacier.

Hiking the Franz Josef Glacier.

I made friends and we went on hikes together. I saw an amazing sunset in Kaikoura. I checked myself into a fancy-pants hotel in Dunedin for two days to get away from all of the amazing people I’ve been meeting, slept in a giant bed and treated myself to a facial and hot stone massage. I indulged in 12 days of hot yoga while chilling in Wellington (a city I’ve grown to love). I enjoyed walking around Christchurch and observing how they’re working to rebuild the city after the major earthquake that occurred a few years ago, destroying the city.

A postcard picture I took of a sunset by the ocean with a seal on a rock posing for me in Kaikoura. Seriously, what is this place?

A postcard picture I took of a sunset by the ocean with a seal on a rock posing for me in Kaikoura. Seriously, what is this place?

My time was my time. And it was beautiful. It was freeing and enlightening. It helped me gain clarity when I felt really confused.

I’m a bit sad that my joinery is coming to an end, but I’m also getting to that “I’m exhausted” point, so perhaps it’s a good thing I’m taking a travel break. And, also, my money won’t last me forever – that, too.

I found myself happier than I have in months prior to this trip. New Zealand was just what my heart needed.

Have you been on a trip recently? Or planning a trip? Tell me about it!

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  1. So glad that you made the trip and that it turned out so beautifully. Your photos are gorgeous!

    Best of luck in your new adventure to where ever it is.

    Best wishes.

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