Getting there and getting stuck in

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Travel tips from New Zealand

Emma Searles has been chilling out in New Zealand for almost two months now, quite a change after the stress of preparing for the trip and organising her life into one suitcase. Now happily settled in and working Emma has some tips for new arrivals.

If there was a ratio to discern the time we took on our preparation for living in New Zealand versus the time we spent packing up our lives in the UK and getting ready, it would be 1:10.
We applied for our visas, got approval and spent the next six months saving up, packing up and letting every company, relative and neighbour know our intentions. The week before we left was spent manically packing and labelling boxes, saying our goodbyes and trying to figure out exactly what we most needed from our house full of stuff to put into our one suitcase each. Yes, it was a stressful time.

I think my point is that we lost sight of what we'd actually do when we got there. Touching down in New Zealand was an amazing feeling and not just because we'd spent three days on and off planes to get here. It is a terrific feeling to know that all the preparation is over, all the ties of responsibility and normality are gone. Then life can truly begin.

We received priceless tips that we
wouldn't have gotten from travel guides...
My advice, if wanted, to new arrivals who (like us) will be here for a year or two is to get out as much as possible. We did this on foot so we got our bearings really quickly and saw what Christchurch had to offer.

Next we started to ask questions of anyone who would listen; tourist info, YMCA, hotels, restaurants, theatre, library, etc. We received priceless tips that we wouldn't have gotten from travel guides, such as where was a good area to live. Job ideas like buy The Press on Wednesdays and Saturdays, use Trademe and Seek on the web although agencies are a really good bet and offer the flexibility visitors look for. Also, look out for local events advertised around the city or in the papers.

We recently went to an art exhibition spread out over a farmstead. It was a beautiful location on a warm day as we casually strolled around the site, eating brownies with tabla music in the background.
After seven weeks here, we're starting to feel much more settled. We bought a second hand car so we can explore further afield now and get out to more events. Now we have jobs so we're getting into the Kiwi way of life. Plus I've joined drama and dance clubs to meet people and do things that I never set time aside for back home. It is a different pace of life and while some things may seem too relaxed compared to home, it's really nice to just slow down and appreciate what's going on.

It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end
- Ursua Le Guin

- Interested in hearing more about Emma's New Zealand working holiday adventures? Let us know in the comments!