Well, I’ve done it. Hello New Zealand!
A few weeks ago I left the beautiful ‘Rock’ to move to this amazing place on the other side of the planet, and I hope to return next year a better person for it.
Moving to a new country is an equally exhilarating and terrifying experience. You’re chasing dreams and ‘the new’, you’re throwing caution to the wind and taking a risk most will never have the ‘cojones’ to make, but it often means leaving behind loved ones, moving from a job in which you’ve become settled and from the place which you call home. And don’t even get me started on parting with Guernsey milk…
Still, I really believe everyone should live abroad at some point in their life. ‘Why’ you say? Because the experience will shape you like no other. You will go through some of the happiest and scariest moments of your existence – if done right. It’s all about tears of joy and frustration, meeting new faces and testing your limits. I mean, who wants to stay still forever? Not me, darling!
My first time living away from home came as a bright eyed (I want to say bushy tailed?) 19-year-old. I wa
nted unpredictable adventure, dusty soles and colourful horizons. After days of careful preparation; of squeezing malaria medication, hand sanitiser and hand-powered contraptions into my mountainous rucksack, I arrived in Malawi – where I would spend the next five months teaching English and travelling around east Africa. I quickly caught malaria (and recovered, thankfully), became accustomed to the small cottage with no electricity or running water and fell in love with roast goat!
The lesson? Like a chameleon, you will adapt to your new environment and eventually relax into a new rhythm. It may take a while, but trust me.
At 24, I thought it was time for a new expedition. I’ve been working at the Guernsey Press for the past year (you may have seen me popping up in the news pages and occasionally peeking into the food review section), but for the next six months or so you’ll be getting a little glimpse into my life in the land of the kiwi bird.
Everyone told me what a beautiful country New Zealand was, and guess what? It is! The landscape is ethereal, like something out of the Lord of The Rings, which comes as no surprise seeing as the movies were shot here. Dingdingding. The only way to describe it is magical. Lush, green hills fill the horizon, while little rivers and giant lakes take you by surprise around each corner. No, really. It feels like you are living in a green screen set. Movie rental stores haven’t been shut down here yet and hatchback cars are hard to come by, so there is definitely the sense that the country is still living in the early noughties. But that all adds to the charm.
The journey here was mammoth, but far less painful than I had anticipated. It’s essentially 24 hours of il bel far niente – the beauty of doing nothing. You sit, then you sit some more, you eat endless amounts of food, read for hours with no interruption, drink complimentary wine and gorge on endless movies featured on tiny Borrowers size screens.
Long distance travel is like a post-Christmas detox, you’ve just got to suck it up and crack on. It will be a slog at points, but a necessary one. You’ll be fantasising about your bed as much as mince pies in January, but mainly it’s about getting in the zone and seeing it as enforced relaxation.
I’m currently based in Hamilton where my fiancé David is completing flight training, but fear not readers, for there shall be many shenanigans to report from our adventures across this awe-inspiring country. I’ll also be working in various local industries while I’m out here so will give you a glimpse into that too.
Until next time, here are a few long-distance travel must-haves for you, readers. I hope you get planning your next adventures!
Until next time,
Love, Jessamy – the Kiwi Bird. (This article appeared in the Guernsey Press on 10th October 2015)
My top long-distance travel tips!
- Ear plugs – because the snoring coming from three rows behind is not cool.
- Eye mask – even when the cabin lights are dimmed, nothing gets you into sleep mode like a decent eye mask.
- Flight socks and a pair of warm socks – the former to avoid swollen sausage ankles due to the pressure, the latter to battle against freezing air con.
- Dry shampoo and small hair brush – to keep the mane in check. You don’t want to arrive at your destination looking like you’re fresh from the fields of Reading festival.
- Large scarf – or preferably one that could be masked as a portable blanket/rug. You know the sort. Flights get cold, and I mean Arctic cold. I also try and nab a spare blanket pretty early on.
- Good book – great for waiting around in airports and making the time go by. I read The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley.
- A decent playlist – because who doesn’t want to gaze out the window and pretend they’re in a movie. Nope, not me!
- Empty bottle – If you are taking lots of connecting flights you can’t take your water through security each time, but most international airports have water fountains and cabin staff on board will re-fill your bottle.
- Chewing gum, toothbrush/toothpaste – to keep things fresh.
- Lavender Oil – I find this really relaxing and it aids sleep.
- Tissues – essential for so many reasons.
- Hand and face cream – air con can dry up the skin on your hands and a little dab (my favourite is the Body Shop hemp hand cream) really freshens you up. It’s also really important to keep your face hydrated (I use La Roche-Posay factor 50 day cream and Olay 3-point regenerist serum)
- Warm clothes – to keep you cosy.