In couple of weeks I will be flying to New Zealand. To the other side of the world. Literally.
Everything happened pretty fast – few months ago I was talking with my ex roommate about working abroad, and he mentioned something about deal between Croatia and New Zealand, and how soon we will be able to get a work permit, and how it would be shame if we don’t go. He spent last few years in Canada on Working Holiday visa, so probably he knows what he’s talking about.
One morning, few months later, he sent me message from Toronto: “Roomie, applying just started!”
Half an hour later, still half asleep, I applied for a Working Holiday visa for New Zealand. Maria too, even though she was still asleep.
Three weeks later, our visas were approved, plane tickets bought, and this article written.
WHY AM I GOING?
Reason #1 – nothing keeps me here in Croatia.
Maybe it sounds too harsh, especial considering that I have my family here, friends and familiar places. But its the truth. Its nice to see your family and hang out with them, but we can live one without the other. Years spent on the road taught me that. Plus, there is skype.
I love to see my friends, but five years of absence does some damage. They continued with their stories, got married, and apart from few closest friends, I don’t have a lot to talk with people. I was assured of that every time I meet someone, and they ask me two same questions: “What are you doing home?” and “Where are you going next?”. I feel like a stranger.
And familiar places, they will be here one day when I come back. Sometimes you need to leave to appreciate them even more. One more lesson Road taught me.
Reason #2 – I want to find a job.
From recently, I can call myself a writer. I wrote and published my book, it was accepted by the readers, its turning into a bestseller, reviews are amazing, I held numerous lectures in front of bunch of people – I did something with my career.
But, thats not enough. Days are too long, and thats always a sign for panic – I need an everyday routine, commitment, a job.
Yes, I can probably find work in Zagreb. Even though if I disregard the fact that unemployment in Croatia is 18% (in New Zealand is 5,6%), and youth unemployment close to 50% (!), it feels like I will hardly find work here that a) I will love, b) will be a challenge and a motivation, and c) will allow me to live independently of my (or my girlfriends) parents, and not be hungry.
New Zealand is one of the best places to live, not to mention lack of corruption, nepotism, and employers not paying the money you earned – which is, unfortunately, everyday situation in Croatia. Minimum wage there is $14,5, which means its 4-5 times higher than in Croatia. And life expenses are maybe double. The rest is mathematics.
Reason #3 – I don’t want to be a writer.
Yes, I could stay in Zagreb, and live from writing. If I spend 8 hours a day writing, I could write about a lot of topics, publish articles in newspapers/magazines, dedicate myself to writing books, make a career out of that. But – I don’t want to. Writing is not my passion, I don’t love to be on my laptop all day long, typing letters on the white background of a word document. I need people, conversations, sun. I don’t want to force the words, I want to love them, with no commitment. To have an open relationship with them. Not to overdose myself.
Reason #4 – I don’t want to be a travel writer.
Probably the most logical thing for me would be to continue with what I do the best, and what I have the most experience in – travel writing. But there is a big problem with that – I don’t feel like traveling any more. At least not in that extent.
I got tired of moving all the time, meeting bunch of people, intense friendships that last ply couple of days, relationships that end along with your tourist visa.
I want to lay low for a while, stay put, build something. To have a quality, not only quantity. And for that – I need a place to call home.
Reason #5 – winter is coming.
Do I need to explain this into details, having in mind the name of my last project “1000 Days of Summer”? Yes, there is winter in New Zealand, but it will be okay – I am still to experience winter outside of Croatia. With a half year grace period.
Reason #6 – I’m going to New Zealand!
If someone asked me couple of years ago which country I want to visit the most, I would probably answer New Zealand. Actually, when I was in Australia I tried to get a tourist visa, but I needed to wait for months, so I decided to change my plans and hitchhike a boat and sail to Africa.
Plus, everyone that came back from NZ was enthusiastic with the country, nature, people. Enough reason to go and check if that is true.
WHAT WILL I DO THERE?
I have no clue.
But I have couple of ideas.
- get a job, work, earn;
- write a book “1000 Days of Summer”;
- get some material for potential 3rd book “1000 Days of Autumn”;
- travel through New Zealand.
In that order.
What could be interesting for you guys – I will write about my life there. Take pictures, record videos. How it looks to live and work abroad, how people find their ways in a foreign country – I will describe all the details on my new adventure – SOUTHERN EXPOSURE. Like that TV series, just on opposite side of the globe.
I will publish everything on my new web page tomislavperko.com, so feel free to subscribe to my newsletter, whether you are looking for new interesting stories, whether you are interested in beauty (and ugliness) of New Zealand, whether you want to go there soon on a New Zealand Working Holiday visa.