There’s A New Kid In Town
“Everybody’s talking ’bout the new kid in townnnn” …Eagles anyone? That’s a great song.
It seems as if I’ve adopted a new name since landing in New Zealand. Whenever I meet someone new, without fail, I’m always introduced as ‘Megan-From-America’. It’s not a bad thing, as it holds truth, but it is quite funny that literally everyone says it.
I’m currently sitting here in my new home in West Harbour, Auckland as I type this. I’ve already finished my coffee for the day and the view from the lounge is spectacular. The bay is rather calm; reflecting the blue sky like a mirror. The marina is sitting behind lush greenery and the masts from all the sail boats stick up like toothpicks just below the city skyline. The City of Sails has never looked so inviting.
I’ve been in Auckland for three and a half weeks now and so far it’s been great. I’m staying with a friend I met on a European Topdeck tour back in November of 2013. In case you aren’t familiar with Topdeck, it’s a tour company for 18-30 somethings. They do all sorts of itinerary’s around the world. Check ’em out if it tickles your fancy!
That’s the thing about travel, you never know who you’re going to meet. I never expected to meet a friend I’d end up becoming flatmates with 2 years down the road, almost seven thousand miles away from home. But here I am.
Why Did I Come To New Zealand?
Last year, I was working in Montgomery, Alabama at a pretty well known theater. I have a background in Cosmetology and for the duration of my career, I’ve been working in a theatrical setting, working on wigs and make-up. It’s a super fun job that I’ve had a lot of fun with… However, Alabama wasn’t for me.
I grew up on the west coast. I was born in Los Angeles, California and then moved to St. George, Utah when I was really young. California has always felt like home, even though I grew up most of my life in Utah. I was living in San Diego just before I got offered a contract in Alabama and just in case you aren’t aware… San Diego is ‘America’s Finest City’.
I don’t mean to offend anyone from there, but I hated Alabama. The weather was awful, it was dirty (I literally saw some guy toss piece after piece of trash out his car window while sat at a stoplight. Had I not been afraid of getting shot, as this was the south, I would have said something), and to be honest, there wasn’t much to look at.
I grew up in some of the most beautiful parts of the country. In Utah I lived among the red rocks and canyons, just 4o miles from Zion National Park. As for California, I’m not saying it’s the cleanest place either, because that would be a total lie, but you can’t deny that the scenery and weather are pretty hard to beat.
Anyways, what I’m getting at is, I wasn’t happy with my job. Thankfully, it was contracted work and after the contract was up, I got to leave. During the duration of my stay, my best friend, who lives in Austin, TX, and I planned a European trip. I figured I’d earned it after spending seven months in a place I loathed.
We did about a month trip, traveling through Amsterdam, Paris, England, Scotland, and Ireland. We had an amazing time and I’m sure I will elaborate more on that trip in the future, but coming back to reality after that was really hard.
I didn’t have anything planned for when I got back. No job, no home. I ended up staying with my parents in Utah before ultimately deciding to go to L.A. I went and stayed with a friend and her sister in their apartment in Koreatown and immediately started to job hunt, but to no avail. I then decided, living in L.A., paying outrageous prices for rent, working minimum wage wasn’t really going to cut it anyway.
So, I went back to Utah. I didn’t know what to do next, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy there. All my childhood friends had moved away and I didn’t really know anyone there anymore. Sure, there were high school acquaintances I’d see around town, but we weren’t friends and it was always awkward running into them.
I made a post on Facebook shortly after coming back, just asking anyone if they knew someone who was hiring since I had no other leads. I guess I was hoping some of my theatre friends could help me land another job elsewhere, but nothing really came up. My friend, Tammy (from Auckland) made a smart little joke about how her work was hiring and how I should come there. I immediately fell in love with the idea.
After all, this summer, while in Ireland, I thought about getting a Working Holiday Visa for there and coming back. The only thing that was stopping me was the fact that I didn’t know anyone in Ireland and that made me a bit nervous. So, when Tammy mentioned coming to New Zealand to stay with her, I just kind of had my heart set on it.
One thing you should know about me is that I’m very impulsive. I don’t think things through as much as I probably should and when I make up my mind, there’s pretty much no going back.
I didn’t want to settle back into another boring routine in the U.S. anyway! I wanted to continue traveling. I wanted to see things, people, and places I never had before.
So, here’s what I did. I looked into getting my Working Holiday Visa through one of those online companies and started to map out costs. Here’s the thing. I’d just gotten back from Europe and didn’t have any money. So, I got a job. (Finding a job in Utah is a lot easier than L.A. just in case you were wondering.)
Since I was going to be living with my parents for the next few months, I told them my plans of potentially going to New Zealand, and they were pretty excited for me. My dad’s always wanted to come to NZ so he was a bit jealous, but now he has a reason to go!
Over the 3 months I worked at this job, I saved up as much money as I could and did my research for NZ in the process. I ended up finding out just how easy it was to get a Working Holiday Visa on your own, so I ended up doing it all myself. There was no point in paying a company to set this up for me, when it was rather simple and FREE to do by myself. (I will definitely be making a post about New Zealand Working Holidays in the future to help anyone looking for advice!)
I could have definitely worked longer to save more money for coming here, but I’m impatient and let’s be honest, 3 months of straight work and no friends is not good for the soul. That’s literally all I did. Go to work, come home, sleep, repeat. I was miserable but I kept the end goal in mind.
And now here I am, in a new part of the world, not waiting around for something exciting to happen in the mundane, cycle of life; but chasing the things that I want.
My point to you is that, travel doesn’t have to be impossible. Believe me, this is coming from someone who lives on a very tight budget, yet I somehow manage to get myself to some amazing places.
Make a plan, set some goals, and do whatever you have to do to reach them. I’m letting you know it’s worth it.
You will meet the best people, make the best memories, and learn more about yourself than you ever thought you would.
Until next time,