A few weeks ago we launched our very first Mini Interview Expat Series. We were (and still are) on the look out for expats who now live in New Zealand. If you want to get involved it is still not too late!
A long-standing reader of ours got in touch soon after we launched the expat series with his own story! Nate Edwards is 26 and a Civil Engineer originally from Kent in England. His story of how he came to NZ, settled here and continues to live here was so inspiring we just had to make this the first guest post to kick off our mini interview series! Who else thinks that his message is powerful?
Please note: We are working on putting together the results of the mini expat interview series so watch this space for the post over the next few weeks – and it is not too late to get involved! All opinions are welcome!
This is Nate’s story:
So there I was on New Years’ Eve…
about to enter into 2015 just plodding along with all aspects of my life as I was in 2014. I couldn’t bare the fact of wasting any more of my prime years (my 20’s) not doing what I love and instead slaving away paying taxes and bills then counting down the years until retirement. I did have one slight problem, I didn’t know what I loved doing. After a brief informal conversation with myself, I decided to move to Australia. So on New Years’ day, I started applying for my Australian Young Engineers Working visa.
Eight months after deciding to leave, sell up and quit my job, I thought I’d take a break in my career and do some adventures. Most of these I usually made up a few weeks before and then found myself persevering through it. Some of my adventures included: Cycling 5000km across Europe, riding motorbikes through India and Asia, Kickboxing fight in Thailand, and climbing to Everest Base Camp.
So after about a year or so of drifting around, I found myself on a remote Philippines island where I met a German lady. She had previously been to New Zealand, she said it was beautiful and that I should go. Two days later I jumped on a flying machine from this, a rather dull remote island and spent 48 hours traveling via five separate flying machines – cheapest route to Auckland, NZ.
I didn’t like Auckland;
The city was well, like any other city and not what I expected from New Zealand – others will disagree. I then swiftly headed to the South Island and found myself in Christchurch. Now, I wanted to work at this stage, I was pretty tired of wandering, I wanted some routine and, more significantly, funds. I thought this city would be an ideal place for an intermediate level qualified Civil Engineer but Nah, it was too depressing for me, and not exactly what I had in mind for New Zealand.
I wanted a beautiful place, somewhere quiet and somewhere that would make me content. I was in contact with a company positioned at the top of the South Island. They had been struggling to find any engineers to move up there, as I later found – it’s not really a town a single young POME would typically move to… according to the locals. In the end I got an offer from this specific company, in fact, at this stage, I had 4 offers on the table with 2 in Auckland, 1 in Christchurch and 1 in this small town, Blenheim. Now for this decision, I literally went with my gut feeling, it was a difficult decision to make but I had the ball in my court, I could, for once at least, make a decision based on what I felt was best for me. I was free, I had no commitments and was able to be anywhere I wanted – I had freedom to find happiness and decent job offers.
So I loaded my trustworthy $2000 Honda automobile with my somewhat limited life belongings and drove 4 hours to a place where I worryingly realized that I might be for quite some time – this was hard to comprehend after being on the road for over a year.
So now here I am in this little town, loving my job, training at Crossfit, and enjoying not making the same mistakes that I had made in my previous life back in London – mainly buying silly materialistic things. I love pure beauty, nature, the outdoors and being allowed to do so many different activities. I now have many friends to enjoy hobbies with, have a beer or two, or go on adventures with.
Probably the weirdest and wonderful thing, at least for me, is that I now have a girlfriend; she was actually my receptionist at work so she was in fact one the first girls I met in Blenheim. I never thought I’d have someone to share my travels, adventures with but now it appears that I have. We are now involved in a sailing racing series, we train at Crossfit together 4x a week, hike mountains, go on bicycle trips, wild camping adventures and have similar travel goals which include sailing the world.
In New Zealand, I can snowboard in the winter and sail in the summer.
The weather, where I am at least, is incredible. Blenheim is, in fact, the sunniest place in the country. It’s also the place they grow grapes to make some of the world’s best wines – which is even better when you have cheese!
Now is the time for one of those bullsh*t motivational one-liners/paragraphs that people often say. This, however, is true for me and only those that have done it would know. I always go on my gut instincts – I don’t regret anything because I just do it. I truly believe that it always works out; it’s just your brain that is hardwired to refuse change or stepping into the unknown.
If you’re unhappy with home, life or work, then make somewhere else your home, try New Zealand – simply sitting at home thinking ‘what if’ is soul destroying.