My son, Chris, leaves this week to travel with a one-year work visa in New Zealand. I teeter totter between admiring his adventurousness and freaking out because my baby will be on the other side of the globe!
He sold most of his possessions – with the exception of his (what I call) extraordinarily large collection of fishing rods, reels, and lures. (On a side note, my husband was pretty excited when he got temporary custody and rights to use it.) He gave notice to end the lease on his uptown Minneapolis apartment, sold his car, and is ready to be a vagabond, or as he has coined, a VagaBurgan.
People ask where he gets his sense of adventure. I have no idea. My husband and I both like a good vacation, but after being gone a week or two the comfort and familiarity of home sweet home always feels good. I think today’s technology likely plays a role in enabling us all to be more worldly. With a few google searches, we can now learn nitty-gritty details about places that “back in the day” we would only know what the Encyclopedia Britannica told us. Anyway, he’s living his dream, and that’s pretty cool.
Why New Zealand?
He had always wanted to take a year to travel various countries after he graduated from college, but a job that matched his passion with his education was too good to turn down. Now after 2 1/2 years on the job, he’s ready to venture out on his travel dream. Flying from country to country gets expensive real fast, and he figured his budget would allow only about six months of travel. So he researched options that would still allow him to live another culture for a full year. He came up with a one-year work visa in New Zealand.
Here’s a few things that attracted him to New Zealand:
- It’s an English speaking country. He wasn’t overly fond of his 5 years of foreign language classes.
- It’s conducive to lots of outdoor activities such as mountain hiking, kayaking, fishing, biking, snowboarding, etc.
- Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand. That’s more of a fun fact versus reason to go live there. Point is, the mountains, waterfalls, and vineyards are gorgeous.
- He applied and was granted a work visa. Decision made!
Keeping in Touch
Not that I’m cool as a cucumber right now, but if it weren’t for WiFi providing easy communication, I’d really be a mess! Through my tears in saying good bye, I hinted that he might beef up the periodic nature of texts and calls to momma. The mom in me wants to know he’s safe and I want to see what he’s up to. The whole family installed WhatsApp so we can message and do video calls.
At this point he doesn’t plan to blog or post in social media during his adventure. Yet of course friends and family (and inquiring minds) want to know how he’s doing and be able to somewhat follow his travels. He agreed to share photos with me so I can post them in a monthly-ish post. So check back regularly to see what my kiwi* is up to!
Being a parent of an adventurous grown adult child is…well, adventurous. Although I miss him already, I’m looking forward to living vicariously through him from the comfort of my own home. And we now have a great reason to travel to New Zealand later in the year!
* Why is a person from New Zealand referred to as a kiwi? Wikipedia explains it like this:
Unlike many demographic labels, its usage is not considered offensive; rather, it is generally viewed as a symbol of pride and endearment for the people of New Zealand.The name derives from a native flightless bird; the kiwi, which is a national symbol of New Zealand.
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Recommended items to pack for your New Zealand Backpacker Trip
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New Zealand Travel Series:
- This post! New Zealand Travel Adventures as Told by Mom
- New Zealand Work Visa: First Few Weeks
- New Zealand Adventure: Working at a Vineyard
- New Zealand Adventure: Exploring the North Island
- New Zealand’s Northland: Hiking & Picking Kiwi
- Omanawa Falls: New Zealand Adventure
- Mt. Ruapehu: New Zealand’s Epic Winter Playground
- New Zealand Travel Adventure: It’s a Wrap!