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Published: February 19th 2014
The unknown road
I thought this one was fitting.
My initial plan was: do update about Hobbiton; do update about driving in NZ and post some of those funny sign-posts I photographed; do update about working at Punchbowl near Auckland, referencing to some of the adventures around Auckland.
Then do updates about each day of travel of when I was doing this mad dash across the North Island to meet the ferry deadline (and why).
Then my impressions of the South Island, when I was doing this slightly mad dash around it in order to get to Queenstown on time (and why).
Then my experiences working in sleepy Roxburgh and neighbouring Ettrick. And of course stories about all the amazing people I've met!
But somehow I keep delaying it. It doesn't help that my laptop regularly overheats when I view too many pictures (I mean when sorting my photo's! Honest!), or that getting back from work is usually followed by a low-energy stupor. Then again those are excuses, because having a thousand unsorted pictures and a million stories you want to tell is kinda intimidating to me, since it's more personally significant than most people could realise without having had the same experience, and I'm not
As someone said on another trip up a mountain: "Stop looking for the highest point Ronald; you are it."
sure how to convey the significance without sounding too airy-fairy.
Anyway, I've only got 10 days left on my 1-year visa (of which I thought I'd only use 5 months!), and some people are expecting me back, so here's the big announcement for those who haven't heard it through the grapevine yet:
As in: I'm going to Australia next. Not for a short holiday, but in all likelyhood a year, maybe even slightly longer depending on circumstances. More on that later.
You see, one can only get a working holiday visa for New Zealand and Australia if you're 30 or under. I'm now 31, and 13 days from becoming 32. However, almost a year ago, when I had been in NZ for 2 days, someone told me to get an Australia visa because it's worth it. Me, not being overly sold on Australia (desert vs paradise; deadly animals vs none of that in NZ; Mad Max vs Lord of the Rings) decided to get the $350 thing anyway, one day before my 31st birthday. Because at Nerida's suggestion I looked at the fine print: after you get a visa, you have 1 year to enter the country, and the visa is valid for a year from that point onwards.
And it's good to have options, right?
Well my time in NZ has done me good: for one I finally figured out what I want to do with my life (I think), and I finally have a clear vision of how to achieve it (kinda). In fact I dare to say that during my time in NZ I've found happiness. I've been much happier than when I was failing at my first study, working in my parents shop, working at a call centre, or even when I was doing work on my level at the Child Protection Agency.
No, picking fruit isn't intellectually stimulating, but being (financially) rewarded for doing hard work cleverly feels good.
The sunburn/rain isn't everything, but I do enjoy working outside way more than in an office.
Supervisors for menial labour aren't always the most sympathetic managers, but merely getting 0.25 hour less pay for coming 10 minutes late instead of being scolded is a much more relaxed way of working. At least some places do this.
The main thing is that I learned a lot about myself during my stay in NZ, which is surprising to me because I've done a couple of long trips hoping to 'figure things out' yet coming back from those I was left more with cravings for escapism, which is what those trips actually were.
But working on orchards gives you a lot of time to think. For example, to realise more fully I've always enjoyed growing stuff (part of the reason I sought out orchard jobs). It's the simple miracle of life, put to work for the benefit of mankind, maybe even nature herself. And the independence of knowing how to grow your own food!
So now I'm going to Australia. Not to see much things, or do particular leisurely activities (though I still want to do some things like snorkeling the reefs, if deadly jellyfish/octopi/sharks permit), but I want to go to Australia to work. Work and gain valuable work experience, and hopefully save up enough money so I can return to a study once I get back. I hope I can hold out long enough to save enough, because I really am missing my friends a lot by now. And okay, my parents/family too, a bit 😉
The study? Horticultural management. Thinking of the HAS in Den Bosch, because of it's ties to PlantLab
. It's not university level, but I want something with clear practical applications this time. I want to get my hands dirty.
So see ya guys around, and what I said about NZ applies to Australia as well: if you want to come and visit, I'll be more than happy to drive you around! 😉
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