The view from here
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Find out what it's like to live on the other side of the world for 8.5 years--in this case a Canadian living in New Zealand. - Meg, Week 1
Welcome to our series of Travelher's Most Frequently Asked Questions! This is the first topic in our weekly feature, originally published as daily posts on our social media channels and then compiled here at the end of each week.
It was hard when I first moved to New Zealand from Canada. It took about a year to get to where I felt like I was on solid ground. Everything was new and I had to figure out all the day-to-day stuff like where to get groceries and get a haircut, how to take the bus and open a bank account, PLUS make friends, find work, navigate the New Zealand way of life and stop thinking about home.
Also, Kiwis spell things differently, go barefoot all the time, and talk funny😋 Kidding of course, but you do feel like an outsider when rugby is on every TV set and all you want to do is watch the hockey playoffs (or "ice hockey" as the Kiwis say). And when I do go home, it's hard to paint a picture of what life is like here (unless the person has visited--which is my favourite thing!) and it often feels like they don't even try to get it. Maybe it just seems too far away, but it is frustrating.
So you end up feeling a bit like you don't fully belong to either place and I think that is the hardest part.
I found my way to balance it after time and effort, and while I still leave a little piece of my heart whenever I go home and I get the occasional pang of homesickness, I have accepted and embraced the bittersweet reality of loving people and places all over the globe.
Now, after 8.5 years here, I'll be doing it all over again. Next month, I'll be moving to the Solomon Islands for 2 years.
It's not a place I had even really considered visiting before, but my partner got offered a great job there and after checking it out in December, we decided YES on a new adventure.
It is a developing nation in a remote location, so it is going to be a big change with its share of challenges.
Some things I'm excited about: a whole new place to explore, meeting new people, learning about a new culture, hiking, scuba diving, tropical weather, seafood, fresh fruit, island serenity.
Some things I'm worried about: tropical illnesses, going stir crazy, litter everywhere, cultural clashes (ie. women's place in society), finding my fit, cyclones, and earthquakes.
I intend to keep the business going from there and am looking at other possible options like volunteer opportunities and maybe some remote study.
All and all I am SO excited and in full preparation mode, plus soaking in as much of New Zealand goodness as possible.
Getting ready to leave this place for a couple years and I can't help but think of all the reasons I love it.
Not only is this country stunningly beautiful with an endless amount of landscapes to explore, but it also gave me multiple opportunities to learn, create and grow.
Kiwis are as laid back and funny as they come, but they are also incredibly sharp with a striving spirit. I couldn't be more grateful to have met such hardworking, intelligent and giving people--and indebted for the chances they gave me.
Kiwis undersell virtually everything--and continuously over-deliver. This covers things like gorgeous scenery and fun experiences... but that also includes how difficult something is going to be... like scuba diving near rocks in choppy conditions or hiking 18km 😅 "No worries, mate."
For now, I'll end with my mad respect for the New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern and her incredible leadership, kindness, and authenticity. A much needed source of light on a dim world stage!
Until next time, travel on! - Meg
Author - Meghan Advent
Meghan is a co-founder and the head editor of Travelher. She has been to all 7 continents but her travel bucket list never ends. From March 2020, she will reside in the Solomon Islands with her partner Jason and her cat Kahlua.