Turns out I changed my mind about sticking it out in Christchurch. Every job application I submitted rejected me. I wasn’t hired for a seasonal position with the Department of Conservation, as a data specialist at an outdoor clothing company or a cashier at a grocery store. Countless WWOOFing and housesitting listings never even responded to my messages. I also applied to several HelpX and Workaway listings with no success.
The rejection didn’t take long to get to me. I began to feel self-doubt and regret about going to New Zealand. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for living abroad. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew.
A few days of wallowing in self-pity was followed by a couple days of anxiously making decisions. I needed to decide whether or not I wanted to stay where I was and continue being rejected. Or cut my losses and just buy a ticket home.
I decided on the latter. I figured instead of spending all my money while being rejected, I would spend all my money while seeing as much of New Zealand as I could. Then I would return home, happy that I had the opportunity to spend three months traveling solo through New Zealand.
Three whole months of doing exactly anything and everything I wanted to do each day.
New Zealand: Christchurch, Castle Rock Reserve, Lyttleton, Riccarton, Southshore, New Brighton, Oamaru, Dunedin, Invercargill, Bluff, Te Anau, Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound, Queenstown
Once I decided to go home, I made up my mind to see a handful of places that I would regret not seeing. Dunedin, Bluff, and Queenstown were on that list. Since my timeline to get to these places (plus a few more) was cut short, I booked a couple sight-seeing tours.
Typically, I prefer to travel independently. I like taking my time getting around on public transportation, which can lower the cost of traveling. I was short on time, though, and changed to a ZERO FUCKS outlook on how I spent my money.
The whole freedom to do what I wanted at my own pace thing is new to me.
I REALLY liked it. I want more of it.
I started thinking about how I could make that happen. I’ve always wished for a job with more flexibility. I took some baby steps this month to help make that a reality.
An opportunity (that I could not refuse) was presented to me that will help me move in this direction. I’m going to be the Content Manager for The Budget-Minded Traveler! I’ve been contributing blog posts for about a year now. Then I took over managing the new BMT Instagram account, which is a community sourced account.
So, I repost photos by followers who use the designated hashtag or tag us in their photos, and I engage with followers on a daily basis. I will also be moderating the Budget-Minded Traveler Facebook Community group. I’ll be approving member posts and interacting with threads.
I’ll pick up more responsibilities once back on U.S. soil. I couldn’t be more excited for these changes in the type of work I’m doing!
See highlights from previous months here.
Challenges & Self-Care
I really struggled with my decision between going home and staying in New Zealand. For weeks I tossed the pros and cons back and forth like I was playing tennis.
The feeling of spending money while having no income really caused some anxiety for me. I felt intense pressure to begin working immediately. There were times that days would go by and I wouldn’t leave the house in Christchurch. I would spend whole days filling out online job search profiles and tinkering with my resume for each individual position I was applying for.
After weeks of no results, it led to a brief depression. I gave up on applying for jobs and just loafed around the house feeling defeated. I’d read, watch tv, cook meals, and showered but I just was not interested in anything else. I was afraid to spend money on anything but accommodation and food.
This didn’t last longer than a couple weeks because I got really bored with it. So, to get myself out of the rut, I started exploring anywhere the city bus system would take me. It was a win-win because it didn’t cost too much and it got me out of the house.
Photo adventures are always an instant pick-me-up. So, I always carried my camera. I also made sure to treat myself to nice (affordable) meals out while exploring. The rest of the self-care I took part in was the traveling itself.
The rest of the self-care I took part in was the traveling itself. Letting go of my expectation that things would fall into place once I arrived in New Zealand was especially freeing. The resulting disappointment I felt when they did not work out soon disappeared, too.
What I Read in March
Take Your Life Back: Finding Freedom Through Location Independence by Leah Davis from The Sweetest Way. She’s a travel blogger and an expert on location independence. This was one of those baby steps I took this month to learn how to gain a more flexible work style. She recently added more helpful information to it, too.
A Guide to Live More Awesome by Jimi Hunt from Live More Awesome. He speaks frankly and openly about his personal experiences with mental health highs and lows. He lived through a horrible depression and looks back on it seriously but with a touch of humor.
More Next Month
So, I’m headed back to the U.S. in early April. I’m hoping for an easy transition but expecting to battle jetlag pretty hard. I’ll dive into content management and begin to serve seafood to tourists and manage social media at the same restaurant I’ve worked at (off and on since I was 19) back on Cape Cod.