One of my favourite quotes is by the poet Rumi;
“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you.
And do not worry that your life is turning upside down.
How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”
It’s one of those quotes that you read, and you’re like “Oh wow, that’s deep”; but, it’s not until you really apply it to your own life that you’re like “Oh shit, yeah”.
It was May 2017 when Kels and I packed our lives into our backpacks, that was over 300 days ago. In some ways it feels like longer, and in other ways it feels as if it were only yesterday. We have experienced so much together in these last 10 months – living in a van, working on a dairy farm, being beach bums, living in a tent for a month and hiking almost every day – oh and getting engaged! It’s been an absolutely wild ride – one I would not change for the world.
We have truly been living a life full of adventures, filling our souls up to the absolutely fullest capacity. We worked very hard to save money for this adventure, and have taken absolute advantage of this incredible opportunity we have created for ourselves.
However, since the beginning of February we have taken on a much different type of adventure than the ones shown on Instagram. No longer are we climbing mountains every day, googling the nearest public toilets nor spending hours on hours at the beach. Since February we have decided to settle a bit. We both absolutely love the time we spend exploring; but, we began to crave a bit of comfort. We longed for our own bed, having a gym routine again and being in control of our diets. That – plus our bank account was starting to cry out that it was hungry.
This is where our decision to move to Auckland, New Zealand came from. We figured being the biggest city in NZ (with over 1.4 million people), we might have the most opportunity to find jobs (and start feeding that hungry bank account).
Kels had to fly back to Australia in order to secure a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa (and to work on selling our Van which was still in Brisbane). In the meantime, I took a bus from Wellington up to Auckland on January 31, 2018 and stayed with my dad’s cousin (my first cousin-once removed – we googled it). I set out spending my days glued to my laptop scouring the internet for job postings and perfecting my resume.
On February 8, 2018 Kels flew back into New Zealand and joined me in the job search. We were so so lucky to have such incredible family members who let us crash in their spare room as we tried to get out feet under us (Thanks Marie, Steve and Fam). We spent hours searching for jobs, writing cover letters and trying not to be stressed out of our minds. Kels and I decided to buy a car to share, that way we wouldn’t have to rely on others and public transport to get us around. We bought a little blue Toyota Vitz (also known as a Yaris in Canada). We’ve named her Moana because she is the colour of the ocean – but we just call her MoMo.
It was a massive relief to have our own ride- it was one thing checked off of our to do list; but, it was also fricken scary because that was another chunk of money out of our bank account and still nothing coming in. At this point we still owned our van back in Brisbane, Paul and Kate (who are absolute gems) were helping us out by taking over the van viewings so that Kels could begin his NZ job search.
Once we got the car, things slowly began falling into place. I got offered a job – so I am now working at STA Travel as a Travel Agent (hit me up if you need help with your travel 😉 ). That first paycheck was an incredible feeling. Our next step was to move out and find our own place.
The renting process here in New Zealand is SO different than what we had experienced in Canada. There’s renting agents and it’s so much more competitive to find a flat/apartment. We literally had a flat viewing, and like 20 other people showed up at the same time. Apparently that’s totally normal!
We ended up struggling quite a bit finding a place; we probably viewed over 10 different flats. Some were great, so we would submit an application; only to get turned down. Other places we viewed were absolute SHIT. It was honestly so stressful. But, on Thursday March 1, the stars aligned and we went to view a place late after I was off work – and put a deposit down on the place that same night! We moved in that Saturday – words cannot describe how awesome it was to have our own place again!
Kels continued to interview and finally accepted a job at a supplement store. He also accepted an internship at the first Crossfit gym that open in NZ. We have jobs, a car and a home. We both had gyms to call home as well. Our van back in Australia sold (such as MASSIVE relief for our bank account). Two months to the day and we finally feel as if we have settled. Auckland finally feels like home.
If you haven’t spoken with Kels or I lately, I doubt you would know the crazy struggle that Kels and I have gone through these last two months. I’m not saying our life is terrible – it is far from it! But, moving to the other side of the world and basically starting from scratch has not been easy. It’s been a wild ride, we tried not to resist the changes that came our way. When we got turned down, be it for jobs or a home, we tried not to let it worry us that life was turning upside down. We did our very best to let life live through us.
We are so very grateful for all the help that we have received along our journey in these last ten months since leaving Canada. Thank you to Jan and Reagan for providing us with a home in Brisbane. For Paul and Kate for welcoming us into their family even though we have zero blood relations. For my Grandma and Grandad for a home in Nelson, and Brent and Lorene for all the support. Thank you to my sister Margaret for welcoming us into her flat in Wellington and providing support when Kels and I had no idea what we were doing. Thank you to Steve and Marie for being our parents as we figured out how to survive Auckland. Thank you to my parents as well and Kels’ parents to all the love and support from the opposite side of the world. And thank you to absolutely everyone else who has sent us a text asking how life is, bought us a coffee, asked around for jobs for us, provided a listening ear or a bit of advice. Thank you everyone for your help and support – Kels and I wouldn’t be where we are today without you. We hope to be able to pass along the good karma we have received.
Anyways – there’s a scattered and brief catch-up of the last few months!