3 Days Later I’ve Made a Life-Changing Decision
I’m looking out over Wakatipu Lake … I’m ready
Back in January I found a Christmas card laying in the lobby of my apartment building, addressed to me but with the wrong apartment number.
It was from a beautiful woman I’d become friends with when we both worked for an American restaurant in Melbourne Australia. She was travelling, I was studying abroad. She was a go-getter, a party girl, an awesome chick with blue mermaid hair. I had my head in the books, didn’t go out, a quiet little book worm.
An unlikely duo.
Friends for life.
I stayed in Melbourne to keep studying and working.
She moved to New Zealand.
Getting a Christmas card in the mail with a handwritten note is refreshing in the age of technology. Why spend money on a stamp and envelope if you can just send a Facebook message right? Well, buried in the midst of her Christmas well wishes was a sad piece of news, and a request.
She’s leaving New Zealand at the end of May and I needed to come visit her before she left.
Now, I’d been saying I’d go visit for about 2 years, maybe 3 years, ever since she got there, and it was just one of those things you say you’ll do but you always end up with prior commitments or you don’t the funds or any number of other excuses.
Time was up for excuses.
I sat on it for a while, trying to weigh the funds in my head. I work hard, I just don’t make a lot because I let my freelance design clients bully me into smaller wages, but that’s another story. I worked hard at my day job too, busted my ass for the company I work for, but for a year have had my working hours rolled over and over and over onto the next pay period, resulting in my only getting a fraction of my pay each week because they didn’t actually have a budget for me, but that’s also another story.
I only had a short window to get my ass over to New Zealand and see this bitch before she ran off to the UK for the Spice Girls reunion, then back to the US to handle some business, then down to South America for a few years of travel with her partner.
Well I pulled off a minor miracle. I got myself some round trip tickets to Queenstown, where she lived, for only $300 bucks and was able to pay for it with Afterpay thanks to Jetstar having a heart.
She works in a hostel, so offered me a spot on her floor to crash for free for my stay, another expenditure taken care of, check.
Now for funds while I’m there. I started to freak out and then resounded myself to just hanging around town and eating Maccas while I was there. I looked at some adventure tours and thought that maybe I could squeeze in one.
Well, one thing was for sure though, I was on my way to NZ. I’d even asked off work and told my clients I was going out of town (not that they respect that much *eyeroll*).
My friend came back and told me she had the whole week booked, but wouldn’t tell me with what, only that I only needed $250 for everything excluding food.
The Gods smiled on me, and sent me to the Owners Corporation of my company who offered to let me invoice them directly for four days of supervising two guys inspecting the structural integrity of about eighty apartments at one of our locations.
They paid me within 2 business days.
I was set.
I had everything I needed, and my partner loaned me some money to spend that I could pay him back with when I got back.
I got here on Monday afternoon, and it’s now Friday.
I’ve seen the Remarkables.
I’ve been to Isengard.
Been around Wakatipu lake.
Learned about Moa birds and Haast eagles.
Camped in a tiny house made out of a an old tiny bus with a horse named DJ Mango hanging out next to the tiny porch in Kurow.
Went horseback riding through creeks near Omaru.
Seen so much of Middle Earth and the Misty Mountains. (I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan)
Been to the Moeraki Boulders.
Went up a Gondola to the top of the Queenstown Skyline for dinner.
Seen a whole variety of filming locations for some big movies, like Wolverine, Mission Impossible, The Hobbit … so many!
I’ve also looked into moving to New Zealand permanently.
It just so happens, that while I’ve been busting my ass trying to get a PR in Australia, I was more suited to New Zealand the whole time. The scenery, the industries, the climate, the people, the art …
I’ve been up to Auckland before in the past, and Wellington for a day trip, but I’ve never felt more at home than I have on this trip. Being in New Zealand just feels right.
It’s changed my perspective on life.
Within three days of being here I’d already made the decision that I need to move here permanently.
The only thing I need to make it happen on a skilled migrant visa is a job offer in my industry. MY industry. Something Australia doesn’t offer people in my field. I’ve looked into getting my motorcycle license for transport, going back to flight school to get a helicopter license because if I lived here, why the hell not. I started to learn to fly years back, I come from a family of pilots, I just didn’t finish.
Now seems like a good time to finish.
I don’t know what I hoped to accomplish or teach you with this story. You can take from it what you will.
What I’ve learned is that we only have one life to live, and if I hadn’t come, and instead was sitting back in Australia on my couch, in my tiny student apartment fussing over my bills, I wouldn’t have taken this huge step forward in my life, in my career, in my ambitions or in my dreams.
I write this while sitting in a little hole-in-the-wall cafe called Atlas, overlooking Wakatipu Lake. Tourists are out doing their thing. The jet boats are going and I just watched two para-sailers go up. (That was outside the budget, this time.) I can see an airbus going in to land at the tiny airport.
I’m waiting for the tattoo parlours to open, because I intend to get artwork done in every country I visit, but this occasion is especially special and deserves a one. While I do I’m filling out a pile of postcards to send back to my favourite family members in the USA.
Take the chances you think you can’t take. We’ve only got one life to live.
JLRose is an American fantasy writer, 3D artist and game designer living in Melbourne, Australia. She’s spent the past three years working on the first full-length book of The Galean Universe and has released the first short story of The Lockwood Mini-Series.