Exactly one year ago we landed on New Zealand soil, after around 20 months of travelling slowly across Europe, Asia and Oceania. Our routine over those two years consisted of rising with the sun, or lazing around until the last few minutes of breakfast was served, climbing barefoot to gaze upon grand temples, snorkeling four times a day with turtles and having our pick of tens of restaurants where dinner would cost $2!
It was a life filled with adventures, but one we knew would end in New Zealand as our destination. In the weeks leading up to landing in New Zealand we constantly day dreamed about the life we wanted and what options were achievable. If we couldn't find jobs that would grant us a visa, our next option was to work (using our working holiday visa's) on farms, to save more cash to travel a little more.
But as our luck would have it, we worked hard to achieve what we wanted and it is exactly what we imagined, maybe even better! It has taken most of this year to feel comfortable and get settled in home and work life, but we now enjoy all of the time we spend in this beautiful country.
A lot of people ask why we chose to live in New Zealand and there are many reasons. Some of the more straight forward answers would be that it is part of the common wealth and so we are easily able to live and work in New Zealand as Brits. It's also an English speaking country and so us lazy english speakers fit in well! But apart from that, we so badly wanted to live here because of it's beauty and culture. Here are my top four reasons why I love living in New Zealand!
Landscape and scenery
Hands down the best thing about living in New Zealand is always feeling like you're on holiday and you never have to travel far to feel/see it. The North Island feels like a tropical island paradise, whilst the very South of the South Island (the Southern Alps) feels like Narnia at winter time. Every weekend we are able to jump in the car, escape the busy City of Auckland and visit somewhere new. We are never too far from the coast, and our favourite beaches are Piha and Bethells beach, just 40 minutes away from us.
Slower pace of life
Around 4.8 million people live in New Zealand! Compare that to England, where the land mass is roughly the same, but a population of 55 million. That means there is less traffic (although I must say the drivers here are shocking!), less travelling or long commutes to work and most of all less need to be constantly on the go. With less traffic and people on the road (outside of Auckland) we can quickly make a getaway and explore until our hearts content!
I find we both have more time on our hands to do what we enjoy and ultimately see each other more. We have both found working life holds less pressure too. In the past we have felt pressure to work our way up the career ladder and create a status, because of what people told us. Here there is much less emphasis on status. In both of our work lives, people put more emphasis on what they enjoy out of life because there is less 'go go go' mentality. We make time to see the sunrise or sunset because we don't feel rushed, we make time for the mornings and generally feel slower because we are surrounded by it!
The outdoors lifestyle
We are now suddenly outdoors people! In the UK the most we got outdoors was to the same two nearby lakes on a Sunday afternoon. In New Zealand almost everyone we know gets outdoors each weekend, it's just what they do. I suppose they have the climate for it too! Being outdoors is encouraged from an early age and so we embrace it too. Adventuring to new places, walking the coastlines, camping, hiking and even taking evening strolls to the local beach to get our dose of the fresh New Zealand air each day.
Culture & People
New Zealanders are extremely proud of the Maori heritage and culture. The Maori language is taught in schools and I see more and more adults trying their best to learn. You feel the culture on the streets whether that be from murals and traditional statues, the stories you find around the countries landmarks or the connection with nature everyone has knowledge of. As for the people, we couldn't have felt more welcome here from the day we landed!