Reflections On My Travels

So this is a long overdue post! I promised it a while ago and as per usual life got in the way and i lost motivation and time. So here it finally is, less of a story of my travels as much as it was planned to be, and more of a reflection on the last year of my life.

So lets flash back to the summer of 2016 when i quit my perfectly reasonable job in IT and decided to travel to the other side of the world, to what i expected would be the sunny, chilled and beautiful New Zealand. In reflection, only really one of those was the case and it certainly wasn’t the weather! I packed up my little life in London, dragged my boyfriend straight from finishing his masters degree and we took the grueling 24 hour trip to paradise.

We had a 2 day stop over in Hong Kong and met some incredible people who would stay with us throughout our trip. Hong Kong beautifully broke up the flights and was a lovely start to the adventure of a lifetime. I wish we had the money and sense to have done a similar stop over on the way home because 31 hours straight travel was ridiculous. Not impossible, obviously, but definitely not something i will be signing myself up for any time soon.

When we arrived in New Zealand, we were faced with a few things we hadn’t really considered. First and forever the most shocking was that it wasn’t always sunny and hot in New Zealand, in fact the weather is basically England on a much more extreme scale. We arrived in Auckland on a gloomy overcast day, to check into a dorm room in a hostel just off the main street. It didn’t occur to us that we would be in a dorm, or that obviously that’s what happens when  you stay in a hostel. So that was a travel shock, the reality of having to share every inch of space and time with strangers. We quickly moved to private rooms in hostels after leaving Auckland, to minimize the awkwardness for us and for everyone else.

So our travels really began when we boarded that bright green tour bus that would be our home away from home. We traveled north to the brighter bay of islands, where we got to see dolphins and sit on the beach and really experience those minutes of holiday and travel. Including the diabolical alcoholism and mischievous activities in the early hours, which made great conversation on the bus the next morning. We made our down the north island to wellington. We sand surfed, caved, luged, spent a night in a Maori village, sat in a natural hot pool on the beach and of course basically drank ourselves out of pocket.

We arrived in Wellington to pouring rain, and yet it felt like we had come home. We spent the night in a hostel before spending two weeks with a distant relative of mine, who became like our mum and took care of us when we needed someone. That will be one of the things i treasure, building that relationship and having that love of family even when you are as far away as you can get from home. Wellington is where we set up our lives, made friends, got jobs, moved into a little flat, really lived like the kiwis do. And it was one of the best experiences of my life. That little flat will forever remain in my heart, as will the people and those gorgeous streets and views as you walk through Wellington and along the harbor. There are some bad memories of there, but they are by far outshone by the joy and beauty of the city and of my time there.

So after several months, it was time to pack my bag and go solo for my adventure down south. So i said goodbye to my jobs, to my friends, to my boyfriend and boarded a ferry to the south island. It was, without a doubt the most amazing and important thing i have ever done. The amount i grew within myself is impossible to describe, the relationships and bonds you can create with people in such a short time is life changing. You will be pushed to truly do what you want, to be responsible for only you and to deal with the consequence of what you do and want. You will push yourself into doing things you would never have imagined you would do, like skydive or learn to surf or crawl into bed with people who you barely know but love.

So New Zealand, you were stunning, absolutely the most beautiful place i have ever been and think will ever go, photos of you don’t look real and i cannot describe your immense totally consuming beauty. You were a challenge for my heart and my head, but most of all my liver. You were completely and utterly the best decision of my life and i cannot thank you and everyone who made you what you were for me enough ❤

Home

So I have been home for almost 2 weeks now, and after months of pining to be back, I can’t wait to go again! 

The inevitable dread of starting back at work, at having to live at home with my parents again, of having to balance my social life and do all the other adult things is already wearing down on me! 

The only benefit: the fact it’s summer. The hot weather and promise of a holiday in a couple of days is the only thing dragging me through the harsh reality of being back from my travels.

Holiday blues are real, and they are punishing. 

7 Weeks

In 7 weeks today I will be back on British soil. I will be home. I will get to see my friends and family and my adventure on the other side of the world will be over. 

I should feel sad, I should be yearning for more travel. But I am not. I cannot wait to see my mum, to be in my house, to see my friends, to walk around my hometown, to see the lights and hustle and craziness of London. To see my dad and my sisters and get back to reality. 

I have had an amazing time, it has been the biggest learning curve of my life other than university. I will be forever thankful that I did this, that I saw this place, that it let me be a part of it and it a part of me. But it will never be my home, and my home is calling for me. My heart is yearning for the familiarity and safety of my world.

As the time draws nearer I may wish I was staying, but with 7 weeks to go my eyes are only fixed on the finishing line. 

My 1 year suitcase – a packing guide for a working holiday

A working holiday is a big commitment, even more so is working out how to pack your life into one suitcase. So here is my essential packing list based on what i wish i had brought and what i wish i now didn’t have to lug around.

  1. If you never wore it at home, you wont wear it abroad. The reality is you live in the same clothes week in week out, because they make you feel happy, comfortable and confident. You won’t want to wear that skimpy red skirt that you’ve had in your wardrobe for a year and only worn twice because every time you put it on you feel a bit self-conscious and end up changing. You will not want to experiment.
  2. Bring more shoes. I only brought 3 pairs of shoes with me, a pair of heeled boots, which in the 4 months i have been here have been worn a maximum of 12 hours in total. A pair of trainers, which i lived in while on the actual travel portion of my working holiday so far. And, finally, a pair of brown ballet flats, which since i have stopped travelling have been my go to. I wish i had a pair of waterproof flat boots, or brogues, or had the insight to bring a black pair of shoes when i got myself a little job.
  3. Bring a canvas shopping bag, you know the ones, they are always giving them away free. They will be a god send, they make the perfect day bag for a little walk, a beach day, to transport your book or some snacks rather than lugging your big holdall bag.
  4. Black clothing, seems boring and dreary for the fun-filled adventure of your life, but the reality is at some point you will run low on funds, maybe even completely out and need to get yourself a retail or waitress job to tide you over. They seem to always require you to wear black trousers or a skirt and either a black top or a white one, so save yourself having to buy them out here and then work out how to stuff them in your suitcase to get them home again and pack them before you go.
  5. And, on that note, remember to bring an interview outfit
  6. Warm clothes, now i sound like your mum nagging you about the all important coat and jumpers, but i guess sometimes we forget that hot countries have winters too and that it still gets cold at night.
  7. Cosmetics, stock up on all your beauty essentials as they will have to last you the year, all your ‘cannot live withouts’. They most likely wont stock your favourite brand or if they do it’ll cost a bomb and you’ll end up begging your family to pay extortionate fees to ship them over to you.
  8. Don’t forget your laptop and make sure you stock it up on TV shows to binge, wifi can be sparse and expensive, so having a catalogue of things at your disposal will be a godsend!
  9. More than one towel… i made that mistake and always had nightmare trying to wash my hair with nothing to wrap it in, most hostels at a price will loan you a towel, but to save those precious $$$ just bring an extra
  10. And finally, socks and tights, they always go missing, you always need them and they are the most boring thing to spend your money on!