And why I’m not ‘giving up’ or ‘a failure’.
I think most people on the travel circuit or with friends who travel have heard the story of the friend of a friend who goes backpacking for 3 weeks, meets their future partner and never comes home. Well, I planned on being away for a while, at least a year but more likely 18 months. Or, that was my plan.
But now I’m here. And my idealistic bubble is, well, just that. A bubble. Things aren’t working out the way I had envisaged. The moving abroad, living in a space I can call my own (in a cute room) ✔️ but the ‘working’ part (kind of a big part), is not happening.
I was probably a little naive, idealistic and optimistic about the way I visualised it happening. Probably because I (unrealistically) thought, (maybe hoped) employers here would see that I’ve just worked in London for 9 months and would be pretty excited to hire me. (I know. But, I am an idealist at heart).
However, I’m also very logical at times too. And logically (and economically) it’s not worth me spending 3 months looking for a job to find a 3 month temp position. There are a couple of non-negotiable points I should mention: 1. I’m not willing to compromise on the job area, it has to forward my career or else it’s just setting me back. 2. I don’t want to be based in Auckland, look, this is probably silly but I just didn’t vibe with that place and I wanted to be out of the city after London.
So, my overall aim of ‘furthering my career while living abroad and then travelling a bit afterwards’ has not been achieved, but, and this is a big but… At least I tried it. I mean, I packed up my life and moved to the other side of the world (literally) where I didn’t know a single person, I found a cute place to live and actually did it!
Obviously it’s not how I wanted things to be, but, by leaving now, I can still travel around both islands, head to Bali for a week or so and then head home, hopefully while there are still jobs in my field.
And, I can say with confidence: I am never going to look back and say ‘gosh, I wish I never packed up and moved to New Zealand if only to try it’. I’m never even going to think it. I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I quit my job, I’m glad I left London, but I’m also glad that I’m not staying here compromising on my career goals.
At the end of the day, I’m happy I tried.
So, I’m coming home. And I know what I want. I knew what I wanted for New Zealand before I came here, and essentially that’s what I want at home too. Being here has made me realise that actually, over the past couple of years, I’ve been building a pretty good life for myself but I never really appreciated it. I have loads of really great friends, I’ve travelled (with some pretty awesome people) to places new and old, and I have become much happier in myself.
I’ve also realised that perhaps for me, travelling isn’t just about the place, it’s about the people too. And that’s the same with any place I guess. But because I’ve been so… Detached for the past few years, and transitional, including accepting that ‘people come and go’, I haven’t given myself the chance to put a few roots down and be happy with that.
This years travel has taught me that. Last year (2014) I was lucky. I met some amazing people on group tours around Asia. I’m still in touch with some of them today, in fact, some of them have become my best friends and it’s almost 2 years since we first met.
I’m not giving up. I’m being realistic and I’m making a decision. I haven’t failed, it just hasn’t worked out the way I planned (what’s a plan anyway?! It’s just a rough draft). I’m changing my goals. I want to see as much of New Zealand and do as many things that I love while I’m here. When I leave, they’ll be no regrets here or at home.