There I was sitting in a chair inside STA Travel in Covent Garden, awaiting for a man named Jon to finish helping the person before me. It was a chilled October evening, though climbing up the steepest stairs I’ve ever faced to get out from the underground had me sporting a slight sweat.
I had sent a few emails to Jon prior to this meeting, and the man who had greeted me as I walked in was just as friendly as the one I had been conversing with. He then approached and asked me to come on over. I was interested in the working visa schemes STA Travel offered, however wasn’t 100% sure where I wanted to go. I had visited before, about 2 or so years ago, as my love for North America wanted me to move to Canada. After being told that an application for a working visa would be a couple hundred bucks and that only 1000 visas for Canada were released yearly, I started to have my doubts. Not long after, I was then told that if my application wasn’t successful, I’d have to reapply, spending another few hundred on something that could once again not work out. Well that sucks, I thought.
2 years on and my hunger to travel only grew stronger. The dream of going to Canada or even California, I knew, wasn’t a realistic one. So what could plan B be?
As Jon started to explain the different programmes STA offered one lit the light bulb that was shining above my head. “A 2 year working visa for New Zealand”. Lord of the Rings had taught me that New Zealand was a place that offered breathtaking natural beauty. Hey, if it was good enough for Legolas to live, then it was good enough for me.
A few days after our meeting, my thinking cap had gone into overdrive mode. I liked the idea of teaching English abroad, and also their travel plans that would allow me to explore parts of the world that I could only dream about. But still, one idea took it’s permanent placement in my mind, “How about a 2 year working visa for New Zealand?”. My mind was made up. New Zealand I’m coming for you.
By the end of my next visit to STA Travel my working visa had been purchased. Jon advised me that once I had completed my application that was sent via email, it could take up to a month to find out if it had been accepted. The next day I completed the application. The fact that it only took approximately 20 minutes to complete, I was under the impression that the more serious questions questions would be part of the next stage of the application.
Fast forward 4 days.
My phone buzzed and there it was. An email to confirm that my application had been accepted. Four days, that’s all it took. No more questions, no stipulations. I now had a year to enter New Zealand. Holy…fuck.
Fast forward to the start of this month (February) and the flights have been booked. Yep, you read that right. Moving day will be September 1st, 2016. Sitting in STA Travel with my new adviser named Joe (Jon recently left the company for a new position), once searching for available flights we played with the option of flying out to Dubai, spending two nights there and then continuing to Auckland. However this invited a roadblock. By doing this it didn’t allow me to book an open return, which means that should I need to go back to London within a year a flight would be there ready for me. I felt that this was more important in the long run. But hey, I get to spend a few hours in Hong Kong instead!
Now I have you all caught up, I’m sat here in my room on a Sunday evening thinking how blessed I really am. To have this opportunity available to me and the support my family have given me leaves me with such a warm feeling in my heart. The moment I told Joe to book the flights was the first time in the whole process that I’ve felt nervous. I guess that’s because there’s now a set date. I’ve started to feel guilty that I’ll be leaving my family. Feeling guilty that I will be halfway around the world from them and my close friends. What they’ve reminded me is that it won’t be forever and thanks to Skype my family will still be blessed with my face and voice on a regular basis. At least that’s what I keep telling them.
The next step?
I’m not too great at this.