Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Big News: Endless Summer!

So, the nature of my blog is going to be changing a little, for the following reason:

On September 18th, Matt and I will be moving temporarily to New Zealand!

Yeah! For real! There's so much I have to say about this that I hardly know where to start! So we'll go with this:

We are enrolled in the BUNAC Work New Zealand program, which manages 18 to 35-year-olds traveling to NZ on a Working Holiday Visa. The program provides support with finding housing and employment, as well as with logistics like setting up a bank account, getting a phone, etc. Our visas will be good for 12 months, and are repeated entry visas, meaning we can leave and enter NZ on the visas for as long as they are valid. We will be fully eligible to take any legal employment while we are there. We are currently scheduled to return to Portland at the end of May next year, but we can change our return date without much trouble, should we need to come home early or if we decide we just can't leave yet!

We've actually been thinking of doing this program for a long time. We originally planned to go last fall, but what with being laid off, relationship difficulties and a number of other factors, it wasn't right. This time around, we are both in a good emotional and financial place, we are looking forward to not dealing with winter in Portland, and living somewhere where mild-weather surfing is at our doorstep. For me, I am getting antsy to travel and shake my sillies out, and Matt wants more experience in the surf industry. We're in our twenties, we don't have anything in particular tying us down, and we want to see some of the world, and really experience it, not just be tourists. This is an answer to all of those things. And, it just sounds like fun.

Why New Zealand? Because it's rad. It's a beautiful country with kind people and a lot of job opportunities, surfing everywhere, an exchange rate that's in our favor, and when it's winter here, it's summer there! Oh, and I've been there before, so I can attest to all this. Here's proof (January 2007):

 Me and my friend Provo in Wellington

We plan to be back at the beginning of summer here, in time to get summer jobs at least. Matt is undecided as to where he wants his career to go from here, so he's still figuring out the long-term stuff. Next September, I will be entering the Masters of Public Health program at Portland State University. Some of you may remember me talking about taking the GRE and applying to PSU- I was accepted this spring into the Health Promotion track and have deferred my admission until fall term 2011. If all goes well, I will be able to go to school full-time, which means graduating with my MPH in the spring of 2013. Much of what happens when we return to Portland depends on our luck and work situation in NZ, which in turn will determine our financial situation upon our return.

As for leaving our employment here in Portland, Matt has a temporary job for all of July and August, so that works out very well for him. Me, I will be quitting my job. I had spoken to my supervisor a few weeks ago, right after we bought our plane tickets, and yesterday at our staff meeting I announced my departure to the rest of my coworkers. It was one of the harder things I've ever had to do.  I truly love where I work (a non-profit refugee resettlement program), and my coworkers are some of the best I have ever had. It will be really gut-wrenching to leave, but I will be ending something great to move on to something else great, so I can take comfort in that. I will be working right up until the end. My last day at work will be Tuesday, September 14th. As for our housing situations here, I should tell you that Matt moved in with me, effective the third week of June! So that has been a big change all in itself, but his lease was up and there was little point renewing it when we are leaving the country in three months, and this way we will both save money. I will be terribly sad to move out of my awesome apartment and leave behind my beloved garden, but again, all good things must end, and at least it's so we can move on to another good thing.

I have been wanting to let everyone in on the big news, but like any other big announcement, it is prudent to wait until everything is sorted out and official, which for us meant getting formally accepted into the work visa program, determining travel dates and buying plane tickets, and giving notice at work. So I couldn't even really say anything about Matt moving in and extra motivation for budgeting!We are still working on the final visa applications, and facing the mountain of work that is moving out, storing our belongings, leaving the country, and tying up all the loose ends involved.

As for the nature of my blog, I will still be focusing on simple living, but this will also become a travel blog. There is little doubt that we will be living simply and frugally during our travels, so that will still be a major factor here. But be prepared for lots of photos, updates, and sagas about our wanderings all over the Land of the Long White Cloud. This will be where my family and friends will be following along, as they have followed my blogs during my past travels. It is a new thing for me to broadcast my travels to a wider audience in blogland, so I hope you will all support that and understand that I am also writing for my family and close friends. I hope to still be a resource to those in the world of simple living, and I really hope you come along for the international ride!
Ahipara Beach, Far North. I'm fifth from the left.

If you have any interest in my previous travel blogs, here are the links (before I knew how to upload pictures into a blog- just a warning!):

My semester in London, fall of 2004:

Trip to New Zealand with my good friend Provo, January of 2007:

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