Two months passed by. I was running away from Queenstown and I got into the car with these three Argentinians. They were so nice. They even tolerated my attempts to say random stuff in Spanish. That was a bloody long lift as well- Wanaka to Nelson.Oh dear..
So we started looking for a job together and ended up in Rimu Grove. A little vineyard in between Nelson and Motueka. Run by this awesome dude Luke.
Tas nebūtu stulbi. Protams caur darbu var iepazīt citus cilvēkus. Saņemt vēl padomus un varbūt tev radīsies sava ideja par to kā tu gribi pavadīt atlikušo gadu Jaunzēlandē.
Plus, ja tu laika gaitā sakrāsi 3mēnešus fermas darbu, tu varēsi gada beigās tik un tā pagarināt savu vīzu uz 3 mēnešiem. Līdz ar to ja iebrauc Novembrī. Vari palikt Jaunzēlandē uz divām vasarām!
Ja nu tu tomēr esi pilsētnieks/pilsētniece, sākt piemēram Christchurchā ar nebūtu stulbi. Džeki vienmēr atrod kko labāk pelnošu celtniecībā. Forša bad-ass meitenes arī protams. Pilsēta gan joprojām ir ne tai labākajā kondīcijā pēc zemestrīcēm. Līdz ar to ne tā skaistākā vieta Jaunzēlandē. Bet ja ir mašīna tad okeāns un kalni ir tepat aiz stūra.
Un godīgi sakot, es pati strādāju vasarā, bet es arī riktīgi noballējos un atradu jaunu hobiju. Darbs nebij mana prioritāte, bet man ļoti patika strādāt ārā saulītē! Kiviju laukā ar foršu kompāniju un mūziku ausīs. Un es esmu Rīdziniece!
Lauku darbs gan man nelikās tik vilinoš ziemā. Lai gan vietās kā Nelson, saule rādās visa gada garumā un dienas laikā dažreiz pat uzsilst līdz tiem 20 grādiem! Un protams Ziemeļsalā ar nav tādas riktīgas ziemas. Naktīs gan vienmēr ir auksts.
Man gan ziemā gribējās būt kalnos. Es nokļuvu vienā no aukstākajām un slapjākajām vietām-Arthur’s Pass. In the middle of nowhere.
Strādāju diezgan chill kafejnīcā. Man ļoti patika. Un riktīgi noveicās jo varēju slēpot par brīvu blakus mazā, bet riktīgi challenging ski field’ā. Kas ir riktīgi dārgi tādās pilsētās kā Queenstown,kura ir super skaista. Bet pilna ar tūristiem, backpackeriem un stresainiem darbiem. Kā arī ļoti dārgu accommodation’u. Es nezinu kā cilvēki tur pagūst ko iekrāt.
Bet ja esi baigais ballīšu cilvēks go for it! Mans ieteikums gan būtu Wanaka. Mazāka kā Queenstown. Daudz vairāk saules, ne tik daudz tūristiem un tikpat super dabu apkārt. Drošvien viena no foršākajām pilsētiņām kādā jebkad esmu bijusi.
Lūk tādi ir mani ieteikumi plus/mīnuss. Es biju tik ļoti apburta ar Dienvidsalas skaistumu, ka neko daudz Ziemeļsalā nevaru ieteikt. Auckland un Wellington kā jau pilsētas. Ļoti noželoju ka netiku līdz Raglan. Man šķiet man tur patiktu.
Beidzot nolēmu pulbicēt dažus ieteikumus Working Holiday’am Jaunzēlandē. Latvijā nedzīvoju jau trešdaļu savas dzīves, tā kā lūdzu piedošanu par katru piekto anglisko vārdu un visām pārējām gramatikas kļūdām. Mani ieteikumi neskar palikšanu Jaunzēlandē uz dzīvi, bet gan īslaicīgu iztrakošanos.
Kur lai sāk?
Sākt Christchurch’ā ir laba doma. Šajā pilsētā ļoti daudz backpacker’i beidz savu ceļojumu, itsevišķi vasaras beigās. Līdz ar to miljons iespējas iegādāties labu, nedārgu busiņu ar iebūvētu gultu.
Ja Jaunzēlandē ierodies bez naudas, tad silti ieteitku pāris nedēļas/mēnešus norukāt un iegādāties sev transportu kā tikko ir iespēja. Itsevišķi ja ir vasara.
Ceļot UN strādāt apkārt Jaunzēlandei, dzīvojot busiņā, ir pilnīgi normāli.
Darbs. Un atkal tā mašīna, mašīna.
Es saprotu ka varbūt meklē kādu bar-job’u vai pat darbu ofisā. Bet es domāju piekritīsi ka tik tālu doties un neizmēģināt ko jaunu būtu bēdīgi..
Es pati esmu ex-baņķieris. Uz Jaunzēlandi plānoju doties uz mēnesi. Unless, atrastu savas profesijas darbu Auckland’ā vai Wellington’ā. Līdz, paldies dievam, sapratu, tā būtu bēdīga dzīvesstila migrācija bez jaunas dzīves pieredzes iegūšanas.
Mašīna tev dos brīvību atrast jebkāda veida darbu. Mana mīļākā pieredze bij strādāt vineyard’ā (Nelson’as reģionā, mēģini izvairīties no garlaicīgā Blenheim). PLUS hosteļi Jaunzēlandē ir super dārgi.Algas salīdzīnot ar Austrāliju- mazas. Es atkārtošos- lielākās izmaksas vienmēr būs naktsmājas. Un ar mašīnu tu burtiski izdzēs šo izmaksu. PLUS mašīnu ceļojuma beigās varēs atkal pārdot nākamajam backpacker’am! Varbūt pat nopelnīsi.
Tai pat laikā man ir jāatdzīst.. man NEBIJA mašīnas Jaunzēlandē,jo nebij tiesību!un es NENORMĀLI nožēloju ka man nebij šīs brīvības tik forši apceļot šo skaisto zemi. Mans transporta veids bij-autostops. Tā kā arī nedrīkstu žēloties. Piedzīvojumu pietika un ceļojot viena, protams uzrodas draugi ar mašīnām. Bet man ļoti patīk būt neatkarīgai un būtu noteitki izbaudījusi savu ceļojumu Jaunzēlandē daudz vairāk ja būtu pašai savs transports!
Kas jānokārto pirmās nedēļas Jaunzēlandē?
Pirms braukšanas nestreso. Ņem pēc iespējas mazāk kā jau uz jebkuru ceļojumu. Jāatzīst gan viss outdoor gear ir ļoti dārgs. Drēbes arī. Bet iepirkties second-hand veikalos ir pilnīgi normāli te, pat vietējiem.
Christchurch’ā gan vienmēr ir hosteļu trūkums, tā kā apmēram nedēļu pirms ierašanas, kaut kas būs janorezervē.
Būs vajadzīga arī adrese, lai dabūtu IRD nummuru. Tā kā palikt hostelī pāris dienas šī iemesla dēļ ir nepieciešamība. Negaidi vēstuli no viņiem atpakaļ. Dodies tālāk un uzzvani pa telefonu, lai dabūtu savu IRD nummuru. Tas pats bankai. Iedot savu hosteļa adresi. Ar to pietiek! Pat ja paliec tikai pāris dienas. Nu būs laikam jāpaliek kamēr bankaskarti saņem, bet neatceros lai tas aizņemtu ilgu laiku.
Kā tad es izdzīvoju bez mašīnas ārpus pilsētām?
Varu dot konkrētu piemēru par to ko es darīju pagājušo gadu novembrī Jaunzēlande: es hitch-hikoju no Arthur’s Pass (mazs village kur pārziemoju kalnos) un devos uz Golden Bay (Nelson region). Jo ļoti gribēju izmēģināt klinšu kāpšanu. Nokļuvu Hangdog kempingā klinšu kāpējiem, kur 3 mēnešus nodzīvoju teltī. Satiku superīgus cilēkus. Iemācījos kāpt. Un strādāju Kiwi laukā (tur ir vairāki, ja ir vēlme noteikti atradīsi kādu darbu ap šo laiku vai rudenī. Vienkārši dodies turp, meklē menedžeru un prasi vai nav vajadzīgi darbinieki. Kā arī pilsētiņā Takaka ir pāris cafe job’i, bet tikai vasarā).
Drošvien izklausās ļoti hippy-shnippy. Tā arī bij.Mani dzīves labākie mēneši!
Auto-stopēt ir pilnīgi normāli Jaunzēlandē. Un kempingā satiku foršus cilvēkus, dažiem kuriem bij mašīnas un kuri strādāja turpat kur es. Vienmēr ir izeja.
Tā kā ja esi kautrīgs/kautrīga un nekad iepriekš neesi auto-stopējis/usi. Noteikti iesaku! Ļaujies piedzīvojumam!
Lūdzu komentējat ar tālākiem jautājumiem. Man būs nenormāls prieks atbildēt!
Before New Zealand, I decided to go for a meditation retreat in Thailand. I was interested in the retreat due to a book I read on depression. And meditation as an equally, if not a better way to deal with it than drugs.
Luckily, I don’t have a depression but that got me curious. I’ve also been curious about the lessons of Buddhism which this Vipassana retreat delivered in a healthy, non-dogmatic starters’ dose. Anyways Buddhism is not even a religion, as there is no god to worship. And Buddha identified himself as a physicist, not a religious leader.
So after 3 months of spending every single day together, I and Andra went our own ways. All of the sudden I felt so alone. I thought this is the worst time ever to face my demons. I was afraid my loneliness would take over me and I will end up crying every day.
Day one of silence was shit. We had to wake up at 4am. Straight to the mediation hall. Meditate for hours and then have breakfast. Meditate. Lunch 11am- the last meal of the day. Well, at least I’m gonna come out of this a skinny bitch, I thought to myself.
On day three I felt a bit more human again. And every day it was easier and easier to meditate. There were barely any distractions. We were in a jungle on a tropical island. We were fed delicious food. For the first time in my life, I noticed how much better I felt when eating so much fruit and vegetables. Oh and you actually don’t starve if you eliminate animal products and that third meal of the day?
My biggest distractions – a new roomy and the chair lady.
The New Roomy
The very, very first day when we still talked, I heard some Russian. The woman who spoke it moved in my room out of the blue on the second day of silence. And that was after my little victory dance, celebrating that I had the premises all to myself. Damn it.
She had that sad, angry Eastern European face. She never smiled. Well, in all fairness nobody did the first half of the week. I guess I was the only weirdo.
I felt the benefits of such intense meditation almost straight away. I felt like Bradly Cooper in the Limitless. Ok, maybe not that dramatic. But my mind was really clear. I had an abundance of energy. I wanted to become a nun.
I observed these negative thoughts of having a roommate. And of course, it didn’t matter a day later. Actually, I was happy there was someone else to scare the scorpions away as I sheepishly took the top of the bunk bed.
Once the silence was broken, all of the sudden I saw Irina in a completely different light. This super nice, beautiful yogi DOES know how to smile. In one day I connected with her to the point that I would happily make an effort to see her again one day.
Needless to say, I was super embarrassed about all my stupid judgments beforehand, when this Russian Mother Theresa ‘broke’ my peace.
The Squeaking Chair Lady
I noticed this older lady in a group. It was definitely not her first time at the retreat. She seemed super dedicated. Like her, I chose a place right in the first line of the meditation hall. I knew I had to have everyone behind me since I love to spy on people and therefore I’d get distracted easily.
And then one day, this lady put a squeaking chair RIGHT in front of my nose, my practice. My chakras, my auras, my whatever everything! I’ve been doing so good. It was almost the end of the retreat. And suddenly this wave of thoughts of this Madame and her chair took over my mind.
And so I observed them as I was supposed to. And then I thought- No I will ask her to move when we’re done. And so I observed the thought. Squeek. I can’t do this! Use the sound. I hear, I hear, I hear. Squeek. I will throw that chair out. Thinking, thinking, thinking.
And then I never did anything about it.
On the very last day of silence, our teacher invited anyone keen to come up front and share their experience with others. One after another, all the chatty volunteers said more or less the same thing. Described same difficulties, doubts, joys, and relief.
It was one of the worst days of the retreat. I enjoyed the silence so much. And all these stories just started that endless chatter in my head again. I was not able to fall asleep that night.
Then my Madam with the squeaking chair took over the stage. She described herself as an ex-workaholic from the Netherlands. Almost ruined her health by working so much. Had a hip operation and therefore really needed that chair in order to continue her practice.
Needless to say- I was relieved I didn’t tell her off.
I wish I could say, I took away so much from this retreat. That I meditated every day since then. That I never ever made quick judgments about people again. That I now take the time to think things through rather than react to whatever life throws at me.
But of course, one week of silence is not a quick fix one might hope for. And as much as I want to go to that kind of a retreat again, I know it will have a minimal impact on my day-to-day life.
It was an amazing experience and an opportunity to see the benefits of the meditation myself. But a retreat didn’t make it a daily habit. And making it a habit is what really makes a difference. Even if just for five minutes a day. Continuous effort. A little bit better every day.
I remember passing by a huge indoor climbing wall at a sports centre in Cambridge. I thought to myself- that’s crazy. Climbing is so hard. How on earth people do that?
I don’t even know why I thought it was hard. I never ever tried it before. In any case, those high walls and ropes didn’t attract me at all. Instead, I was inspired to go rowing. Which turned out not so cruisy either. Well, everything is hard when you are a dutiful, out of shape business student really.
The most common question asked since I came back to Europe. Every time I get this question, I ask myself that same question. Why didn’t I?
And indeed, why wouldn’t I wanna settle on an island? Find a job in Auckland. Learn how to stand on a surfboard? I’m becoming less and less ambitious about my surfing career..
Then start a business in South Island and enjoy the mountains whenever I please?
From what I heard it seems pretty straight forward- you just need to find a sponsor. Even travellers working in cafes get sponsored by their employers. And if you are a nurse, they will roll out a red carpet upon your arrival. In these terms, kiwis seem to be super welcoming unlike the big island just west of them.
But I left. Actually, when I went to NZ, I only planned to go there for a month. I missed my sister. It felt wrong to be so far away and go work for a bank. I already had a cubicle waiting for me back in Europe. Yeay. And me working on a farm? Right.
I thought Queenstown must be the answer. But it was full of English teenagers/ wannabe snowboarders. And Latvians. And Brazilians. And everyone else. And shitty customer service jobs and overpriced dodgy rooms.
Planning is stupid. I ended up picking grapes. Those were my hippy beginnings. Those were good times. This is where I worked for probably the best boss I will ever have. A chilled–out dreaded rock climber who told me about a climbing campground just an hour away from the vineyard. I somehow managed to end up there half a year later despite almost leaving NZ like 100 times.
And so a chain of short-term jobs lined up and with it people who never intended to make this island their home. All of the sudden you feel a bit more normal in the company of other lost souls. No place is better than the next one.
And once you’ve got a taste of travelling on the other side of the world, it’s impossible to resist the rest of it.
Work on a farm? I asked again this super adventurous English guy who planned to do farming in New Zealand. No way. I’m a banker. I earn real money. I didn’t study to work on a farm.
By the time I reached New Zealand, I was luckily less stupid. I ended up realising I’m so far not in order to earn money. I’m here for new experiences. And that does not include a shitty customer service job in Queenstown either. At least not in a touristy town like this squeezed village, when just next to it you lies gorgeous Wanaka with all the space in the world and far less rain.
And after working at Rimu Grove vineyard that was it for me. I could do anything. I didn’t care. Until I got depressed.
I ended up working and living with people I didn’t like. It drained the energy out of me and I was ready to go back home. I was actively looking for excuses for why I should leave this beautiful corner of the world. Winter, too much travelling, miss my sister. Anything.
Before leaving I still had some things to check off my list, though. So I got together with Vikki and set off for a winter road trip.
South Island is stunning in winter. I froze my ass off at Milford but I wouldn’t trade it for any other day. Vikki turned out to be my cure. The bundle of energy that I truly needed. You can google any landscape in the world. But sharing ideas and experiences with other people is the true beauty of travelling. At least for me.
Vikki has a degree, but had a clear idea from the very beginning- she was not in New Zealand to import her French lifestyle. She was going to do woofing- work for other people in exchange for accommodation and food. Aiming to learn practical skills that we are no longer taught at school or university. Money was not the aim. Experience is what truly mattered to her.
I found that really inspiring. Her love for Wanaka was contagious as well. And then the Mountain Film festival with two last tickets for Alex Honnold’s presentation happened. He so bad-ass.
Next thing I know, I’m not depressed anymore. I too want to try new things. Get out of the comfort zone. I don’t wanna go back to Europe and get sucked into the routine and lifestyle I think I’m ‘supposed’ to have.
Unfortunately, Wanaka by that time was buzzing with CVs of desperate backpackers. I was too lazy to fight for some 20-hour cleaning job and an unheated kiwi room.
So I ventured off to the middle of nowhere in the mountains. That’s good enough for getting out of the comfort zone right? Well hello there, Arthur’s Pass. New Zealand, I ain’t goin nowhere.
As I travelled through Asia, I got my Working Holiday visa for New Zealand. I couldn’t believe this was happening. 100 places for Latvians each year and I got one of them.
I didn’t really have a plan. It was time to leave Asia because I thought I was running out of money. I wasn’t really. I just still had that ‘you-need-tons-of-money-travel’ mindset.
In Auckland I met this guy who was selling his car with a surfboard. Deamn. That was the moment of enlightenment. I should have gone home, gotten my driver’s licence and return to NZ. But I was on the other side of the world! Fail.
Taking the bus was not cool. I wanted the freedom. I was still under the illusion I could learn how to surf. But New Zealand is not Thailand- packed full of people, making a living out of getting you from A to B. It’s remote. It’s the furthest place on the earth from anywhere. Who would wanna live on an island full of beautiful beaches, volcanoes and nice people anyways?
I had the money to buy a car but NO driver’s licence in a country peeerfect for your first van-life experience. Epic fail. Going to Gisborne rather than Raglan was a fail as well.
Then I met this super nice American chick who suggested I try hitch-hiking. So I stuck out the thumb for my first ever 15-minute lift.. Two seconds later a car full of three big kiwi guys pulls over..
Seriously? Wasn’t it supposed to be a nice old lady? Is this the moment where you say ‘thank you. But no thank you.’? But I suck at saying no. So I got into the car. Facepalm. And then these guys ended sick worried for me as I got dropped off at this super dodgy hippy hostel. The irony.
Turns out hitch-hiking is dead easy.
And so I continued to travel New Zealand in other peoples’ cars. Hitchin throughout the country. Thanks to super friendly kiwis, other travellers and one very interesting hippy, who decided to make a stop at the top of Takaka hill. Get his guitar out and sing a song or two. That was the beginning of the best summer of my life.But that’s another story.
By the time I reached New Zealand’s third largest city – Wellington (I think) it was clear, that it would be stupid to get an office job and live the same kind of life just on the other side of the world.
One month passed by on the North Island and I decided- OK South Island, show me what you got..?!
Winter is coming. World famous Queenstown surrounded by beautiful mountains will be the place where I’ll settle for a while. And then, going to Queenstown, full off wanna-be teenage snowboarders, dodgy rooms and crappy jobs, turned out to be another epic fail.
So I stuck my thumb out again. A car full of Argentineans heading to Nelson pulled over.
I was lucky. Two languages were being programmed in my head since day 1. How did I learn the other four? Well, it definitely took some effort. And by effort I mean:
1) Ditch the language course
Best time waster ever. I took German for 5 years at school. Thanks to the teacher hated not only the language but anything associated with the country. A couple of years later I made only German friends in England and ended up in a German language course. Again. Plus I paid money for it. Ok, here’s why it was not a total failure this time round:
My motivation was sky high. I was a bloody ambitious Eastern European girl back then. That equals to a lot of willpower.
I mastered a similar language, which was Dutch. In this case, a language course was a ‘Germanic language system upgrade’. Dutch is easier than German.
Eventually, I moved to Germany where I could practice the language. Germans are great at ignoring your poor language skills and chatting away in Deutsch as if it was the common tongue. No practice = no language.
2) Come clean
Dutch landed me my first high-paid job although I couldn’t ‘downgrade’ my German back to Dutch. It was very painful; I had to talk my twisted version of the language to angry private investors. Plus, those Dutchies with their monies. I wanted to cry every day.
I am no more fluent in German or Dutch. I haven’t used the languages for at least 2 years. And I have no intention to live there. So what was the point learning them? In the nearest future will there be any point of learning any other language besides English? I don’t know. But it is a very rewarding activity. Like learning how to play an instrument, I imagine.
3) Make a fool of yourself
Learning a language is for the confident people or the super ambitious people. That’s why I’m on a break at the moment.
One day you’re on the top of the world after ordering a croissant in France. The next day you want to die because you confused the word teammate with the playmate. There is no other way. It will be awkward. Unless you get drunk. Or at least tipsy. It’s true. Fluids make you fluent at least for a couple of hours. That is all you need for a productive practice. So go hit the bar and find some foreigners to talk to.
Whilst some of my friends from back at school spoke with intimidating British accents, from day 1 it was clear that I had absolutely no brains for grammar to start with. So pretty low chances to learn one of the most screwed up languages of all times- French. But 10 months of attending a regular Belgium school and living with a Belgium family did the magic. I still randomly use le Francais quand je speak.
Don’t go to the country just for the sake of learning the language, though. I know no one will do that. That’s an advice for myself.
I had zero interest in Belgium, except the fries and the chocolate obviously. Eventually, all I wanted to do was to hang out with my Latin American friends. And so I ended up learning the basics of Spanish. The downgrade (Spanish is easier than French) works when you start from scratch.
So I’ve been back in Europe for a while now. My fears have come true. I got a 9-5 job, and I feel the pressure to marry someone and make some babies. And although I just turned 26, over the past couple of months my family has made sure I feel like a 30-year-old something. Andra was even graciously reminded by a relative that all women have an ‘expiry date’. What a great time to be alive.
Leaving Europe for two years, though, has given me an opportunity to come back home like a tourist or an alien? I’m observing the behaviour of my parents and their parents and our relationship with each other. And suddenly I get that ‘aha’ moment – so this is what has made me- ME? Damn, I AM getting old and crazy here.
The fun part, though, of being a tourist back home, is to realise what a beautiful place I’m from. I haven’t seen that many decent size cities with so much nature and water and greenness around. I love Riga.
In any case, I’m trying to convince my ambitious self that it has been very healthy to do nothing for a couple of months. No travelling. No jobs. No adventures. Just a ‘few’ embarrassing attempts to get my driver’s licence, a bit too much Pinterest and the usual dose of family drama.
Or I’m just trying to justify my lazy bum here. Probably the latter.
Anyhow, I’ve been extremely good at running around like a headless chicken since I can remember myself. Never embarking on that dangerous and extreme journey of self-reflection. It’s scary to start digging.
Travelling especially has been a great excuse not to look within and confront whatever mess I find there. I acknowledge that.
Yes, I have been travelling for all the wrong reasons. Then I remember all the awesome people and the lessons given along the way. And I conclude- I think I’ll be alright, as I unfold the map.
‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.’ – Marcel Proust