I’ve been travelling around New Zealand now for about 3-4 months and I’ve met a lot of people who are here on Working Holiday Visas. Travelling like this is seen as the ‘dream life‘ by many, that’s what’s sold to us and that’s what we expect when we get off that plane ready for adventure.
One thing that has been a common thread with everyone I’ve spoken to though, is this feeling of having ‘failed‘ if they decide to go back home early, or if things don’t work out the way they had originally planned.
For some reason, we have it in our heads that if we pack up and go back home, people will judge us, or be at the airport waiting with signs that read:
“Welcome home, you couldn’t make it work in another country”
I have no idea why because more often than not, your friends and family would love you to be at home with them again, so why would they judge you for coming back early?
Saying goodbye in spectacular fashion
I’ve been thinking about it a lot whilst I’ve been here and there’s a few reasons why I think we Working Holiday travellers might feel this way.
Before we left the country, we probably had a ton of goodbye parties, meals and farewell drinks. If we go back early, will people feel like all of those goodbyes were wasted? Will they be like…
“So we threw you this goodbye party but you’re back already?”
Or the other side of the coin is that we’ve built up this idea and this plan in our head so much, that we could potentially find a new life in a foreign land, when it doesn’t work out we are ashamed to get back on the plane and admit it wasn’t what we hoped for.
The truth of the situation though, is that when we decide to try and live in another country, we are jumping into the unknown. There is no way, no matter how much we plan, that we will be able to definitively say whether we will enjoy living there.
It’s not just about how pretty the country is, or about how friendly the people are, there are so many other factors in play. I came to New Zealand because I wanted to make a big change in my life, which is exactly what I’ve done, but I’m not 100% if it is the right fit for me yet. I thought I would have settled down by now, that I would have at least started to feel like I was living here, but I don’t, I still feel a little out of place, anxious and on edge.
You’re not the same person you were yesterday
The one thing this whole experience has taught me is that you are never the same person you were yesterday. The thoughts, feelings and dreams past me had, do not fit with present me and her ideas and plans. Things change, people change and it’s ok to surrender to it and go with the flow.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to reach our biggest dreams and goals, that when it doesn’t go to plan or we simply change our minds, we are filled with guilt. I’ve felt this so many times I’ve lost count, but I need to stop being so hard on myself and accept that it’s ok for me to change my mind.
Every single day we change, not just mentally, but on a molecular level. Something might happen that alters the way we see ourselves or the path we are on. Our priorities might shift or what we have learned up until this point has made us think a little harder about what would actually make us happy.
We grow as people, in our bodies and our personalities. Our likes and dislikes change, our taste buds change and our ideas of the perfect life will constantly change.
It’s ok to change your mind and most importantly, it’s ok to SAY you’ve changed your mind. If we stayed on a straight road for our entire lives we’d be bored to death. We need these pot holes, bumps and sharp corners to keep things interesting and it’s about time we all learned to embrace and accept that part of life, me especially.