As I haven't posted much recently I figured I should probably update those of you who are still reading my blog as well as offer some of my thoughts on travel.
I've been in New Zealand since the beginning of August and after spending just over a month traveling the North Island WHICH WAS AMAZING we arrived in Wellington. Since then, it's been up and down trying to find a good job. I'll admit I nearly gave up and was ready to head home which would have been stupid as I would've started the job hunt just the same. In the down time we've explored parts of Wellington and spent many afternoons reading books by Michio Kaku along the waterfront parks.
The Working Holiday Visa I think needs to be addressed though. It is not easy to find a steady job especially in Wellington. Temp work is aplenty but if you have plans for something more, it is harder to find than you may think. Let me get a few things straight:
1. New Zealand is amazing and yes everyone should come here at least once.
2. If you are arriving on the work visa, don't just come here expecting to land a full time job within a few days. I did and I have met so many others who have had to leave because they didn't bring enough funds to support themselves for longer than a few weeks.
3. New Zealand is more expensive than you think.
4. Most of the employers on job boards like Seek or TradeMe are looking for permanent full time workers which technically someone with a Working Holiday Visa can not be employed by. It makes it a lot harder to find jobs for those of us who did come here expecting to find a single job we could work for the duration of our 12 month work visa.
5. I as well as many people I know have applied for jobs that we are way overqualified for yet we get no phone calls or hear anything back. I have called many a prospective job asking if they've considered my application and been told bluntly they would rather hire someone with residency/citizenship after finding out I was on the work visa. I was also told that if they don't succeed finding a local they may consider my application, but only after. That was for a grocery store stocking the shelves. Another time Vodafone called asking me to come in for an interview for a phone sales position. While asking a few simple questions over the phone about my job history it came up that I was on the 12 month Working Holiday Visa. The phone rep said if I got residency I should reapply but at that point he would be removing me from the list of applicants. I asked why and after clearly fumbling to find a good answer he stated it would take too long to train me, then promptly hung up. That was of course after I had told him I worked leading a team selling cell phones for the last 2+ years. Guess what? Vodafone is a cell phone company. The equivalent of Verizon.
6. To be fair, I did begin the job hunt during elections where (apparently) a law was changing that made employers want to hold off hiring anyone until the elections were over. Of course not every employer is going to toss your application just because it states you have a work visa. Business such as temp centers are great for finding work as it's usually short term work. The only problem with them is you have so much competition as it seems everyone begins their job search here in Wellington. Also, I understand it is easier to find work outside the capital city. Many fellow travelers I have met here have found short term bar work (but they had prior experience and I know that helped) as well as construction jobs in Christchurch. Take everything I said with a grain of salt, but just be smart about things if you arrive expecting a steady full time job to be waiting for you on a silver platter.
Now, I don't want to come off complaining in any way at all. I love New Zealand and Tiffany and I are actually considering applying for residency. The people are very friendly, the air is clean, and if you love the outdoors you'll be hard pressed to find a better playground. I'm truly glad I got through the job hunt and it probably made me appreciate being here a little bit more. I just think those of you considering the work visa should keep some of that in mind and just be smart about things.
So, back to the whole update thing. I have been working for accommodation at Nomads Hostel in the Wellington CBD for 6 days a week since mid September and recently I did land a really great job working for New Zealand Rent-a-Car at the Wellington Airport. Matt and myself work together running the Wellington Branch and it can get a little hectic with just the two of us but I'm learning heaps about working in the tourism industry and gaining really valuable work experience. It's one hell of a nice change coming from the big box corporate environment that I spent nearly 7 years working for at Best Buy.
Its 45 hours per week just at New Zealand Rent-a-Car but I couldn't be happier. In total I've been working 63 hours per week with sometimes one day off. As this probably sounds like a slow form of suicide I promise it isn't.
I constantly meet fellow travelers who have just got done working like mad for the last 12-18 months and are now going on a multi-year world trip, or are returning home with a load of cash ready to start a business or buy a property. Whether its farm work or hostel work I am beginning to see why so many people are doing things this way.
So many people in the world don't travel and while I understand traveling through an Asian country on a Tuk-Tuk in 100% humidity isn't for everyone, there really is a lot you should give a try at least once. If you are in your mid-20's like me or you are close to retirement I can't urge you enough to put on your adventure jacket and go somewhere new. It doesn't have to be on the other side of the world, you can start by just going to a different postcode. You don't have to quit your career and leave for months on end, just start with a long weekend. We are curious by nature and once you make that first step you might discover something in yourself that lives outside of that office cubicle or computer screen we all seem to stare at for hours on end.
I guess what I'm trying to say is there needs to be a balance between achieving financial success and finding who we are and being able to do the things we love. America in general seems to forget that there is more to life than just work, a big house, and a nice car. What about the experiences we can look back on at the end of our life? How many people do you know who truly love their job?
There is a whole world out there and if you take breaks from working yourself into the ground, you might be surprised where it leads you.
Now that I've gotten that all that deep stuff off my chest, considering this is a photo blog, here are some pictures of the last couple months around Wellington.
Tiffany and I drove out to Owhiro Bay last week and spent the whole day hiking along the coastal walkway. We nearly made it to the wind farm on the other side of bottom of the north island and before it started raining on us, we could even see the South Island. In all it was about a 15km hike. Most of it was in 100kph winds which made it all the more fun! At about 4 in the afternoon we decided to start back as it turned from mist coming off the hills to heavy rain. On the way back we found two seals relaxing on the rocks in the rain. This guy (below) I don't think even saw us. He kept falling asleep and then jerking awake only to fall back asleep again. The few pictures below this fur seal is from our hike before the weather turned bad.
Looking South from Owhiro Bay you can see the Milky Way tilted on the horizon and the LMC and SMC above it. In the bottom the Coal Sack and Southern Cross can be seen as well. The white streak just left of the center was a meteor that burned so bright I swear I could see shadows on the rocks just for a second. I was lucky to catch it on film as I didn't see any others the rest of my time out there that night. This southern sky is pretty magical.
I plan on posting one last blog post during 2014, highlighting my favorite 12 images i've taken this year. Check back in a week or so for that one. I can't wait to see what 2015 brings.