Here we go, the very last blog post of New Zealand. How on earth are we here already? The last 11 months have been the most inspiring, crazy, emotional, exciting 11 months of my life. I’ve made memories I’ll never forget, I’ve made friends I’ll forever cherish and I’ve grown so much so, I don’t recognise the person I was when I arrived in New Zealand on the 11th of October 2018! That person can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, because he’s dead.
I thought it’s only right to finish off this chapter of my life with a beefy blog post, rounding up the last 11 months and putting together one extensive post to outline the ups and downs of New Zealand and truly how incredible it’s been. So without further ado, let’s roundup my time in New Zealand.
// The Day I Arrived \\
I arrived In New Zealand on the 11th of October 2018. I had given it all up. The job, the friends, the life I once new, was gone. I had no idea what my life would be like moving forward, I didn’t know the challenges I would face, the bridges I’d have to cross or the journey of self discovery I was about to embark on. I landed, showered and head down to the beach. Well, what else do you do when you touch down in New Zealand?
This person I once was is gone. I remember stood on this beach on that very first day feeling so relieved that flight was over but so very scared about what was about to unfold. My life was now up in the air without any direction. I was thousands of miles away from home… and oh boy, did I feel it.
// That First Rotorua Trip \\
After being in New Zealand for a few weeks I felt a little lost. I had no structure to my life. I had to fill my days when I had nothing to do. I felt like I should travel but didn’t know how to. I felt way out of my depth. So I bit the bullet and decided I’d head to Rotorua. This was the place that stood out most vividly in my mind from when I came to New Zealand as a child. This was where I decided would be my first solo road trip.
I booked an Airbnb for a few days and took in the 3 hour journey down to Rotorua. I arrived early morning and head straight for the lake. I sat there, on a beautifully sunny day and looked over the lake. What was a beautiful place on a beautiful day, was clouded by the utter loss I was feeling at that point. I was regretting my decision to come to New Zealand. I didn’t want to get out of the car, I didn’t want to go around tourist destinations on my own. With nobody to share it with. It was at this point where I really realised I was alone.
I plucked up the courage and got out the car. I explored the lake, Te Puia Geyser Park and forced myself to have a good time. What started as a pretty shit day, turned out to be a pretty good trip.
// Bali \\
What I didn’t realise was Bali was about to be my biggest journey yet. I thought moving to New Zealand was hard. Try flying to Bali, a country that doesn’t speak English, on your own, to meet with 10 strangers and spend 2 weeks with them. Yeah, this was a sensory overload.
I flew to Bali in a Digital Workshop with creators, Jonny Melon and Jonas Hornehoj. What started as a really daunting experience soon turned out to be the experience that changed my life forever. I met some of the most incredible, creative and likeminded people I’ve ever met. I made friends for life, learnt skills I’ve taken with me wherever I’ve gone and without this trip to Bali, I wouldn’t have met Gracie which means Australia would never have been possible for me. I owe a lot to Jonny and Jonas and those 2 weeks were some of the most life changing I’ve ever experienced.
// Road Trips, Upon Road Trips, Upon Road Trips \\
I’ve always been a fan of the road trip or two but the end of 2018 – beginning of 2019 turned out to be the season of road trips. It started when my friend and old colleague, Alex flew over from the UK for his friends wedding. We embarked on a road trip to Taupo, Rotorua & Tauranga. We climbed a mountain (more of a big hill really), we descended waterfalls and we explored parts of New Zealand I had never seen before.
Then it was time for my family to come over for my brothers wedding (see next point) where we went on my biggest trip yet. Driving from Auckland all the way down to Queenstown. Stopping somewhere different each night, seeing everything New Zealand had to offer.
Then came a road trip to the most northern point of New Zealand which was something totally different. Northland, New Zealand is like no other part of the country.
Then to top off the addiction of road trips, Rachel & I head off to Rotorua for one last time. Back to where it all began. It goes without saying, road trips have been a staple part of my time here in NZ.
// The Wedding \\
The reason NZ was even a thing. My brother and is now wife, Jodie got married. In February of 2019, they tied the knot at our home in Auckland. Surrounded by the closest friends & family, everyone in our lives were united and came together to witness the marriage of Reece & Jodie. Without these two, my life wouldn’t be what it is today. My dream wouldn’t have become my reality and I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today. For sure, a highlight of the year!
// The Friends \\
How could I not mention the friends made. I’ve made friends on this trip with people I never would’ve met otherwise. People from totally different walks of life, from all different countries and backgrounds. The people I’ve met in the last 11 months are people who’ve made an impact on the rest of my life. It’s because of them, my time in New Zealand has been so special.
Take my leaving party for example. A couple of people at work clubbed together and hired a Male Stripper for my leaving do. For anyone who knows me, knows this is my idea of hell. But the thought and love that went into making my goodbye so special, is something I’ll never forget.
I don’t know how many times or how many different ways I can explain how much I’ve enjoyed myself or how good of a time I’ve had. To anyone thinking of giving it all up and travelling the world, this goes out to you. Just do it. Give it up, take the leap and get out there. As cliche as it is, you’ll never look back, you’ll change so much and you’ll never spend a moment regretting it. It’ll come with its challenges but once you’ve overcome them, you’ll be forever grateful for the decision you made.
It’s been the best time of my life and I’m so excited for this next adventure.
Australia… here I come!!
| By Harrison |