It’s been a year since I left New Zealand in search of an adventure… Following on from part 1 about finding out what backpacking is like, here is part 2 about where my adventures have taken me.
Above image: No head room required! I’m happy here. (This photo was exaggerated slightly.)
Stopping the travel, and settling down in a little yellow loft.
Finding a flat was tough! Very expensive rentals, in not very nice areas. We were also needing a place that was fully furnished, which was a bit difficult to find.
During one of our more desperate days of flat-hunting, I sent my boyfriend (now fiancé!) a picture of a flat as a joke.
I jokingly sent it because it was essentially a small loft with a very low, peeked ceiling.
But he thought it might actually be perfect. So we went to see it.
It was affordable, fully furnished, near the train station, and in a beautiful rural village over-looking a church (and horses!).
We went to see it once, and the next day we decided to take it.
I don’t remember being happier than the day we moved in. What an achievement and a huge relief.
It is silent and serene, except from ‘bell practice’ at the church every Tuesday evening. There’s a doctors, a butchers, a bakers (no candlestick maker*), a school, a hairdressers, a corner shop and a train station. And that’s about it. Perfect for us! 🙂
*As a side-note, my mum just started taking a candle-making class. She should live in our village to complete it.
Job agencies suck.
Meanwhile, after about 30+ job applications and months dragging on, I found myself signed up to every job agency in Bournemouth and surrounding towns. No joke.
Let me tell you, do not rely on job agencies! They are sales people who are looking for commissions, not positions.
They will hype you up with promises when you’re at your lowest and most desperate, then they never deliver. So depressing.
My job search criteria was: Anything!
Full time, part time, temp., near, far, retail, writing, PR, secretarial… You name it!
And still, despite promise after promise, no job agency was able to place me.
So I continued to apply for jobs off my own back – not once did the agencies get me an interview, might I add.
But eventually over a few months I got myself interviews at two call centres, a PR position at a hospital, and a customer service role at a bank – and all of the jobs were offered to me! *Confidence boost!*
After much deliberation, I decided to choose the temporary bank job, which paid the best and most accessible via train.
But just when I thought my work life was sorted, it all went down hill. The process of getting a job in a bank is actually massively long-winded!
I was starting to get worried again, that I would never get a job.
So I carried on applying for other positions in case this allusive bank offer fell through.
Low and behold – I actually got an interview for another job. (Awkward!) Even better, it was as a position for a blogger! This was too perfect. ? (And such terrible timing!)
The position was basically my dream role, and it was a mere 20-minute train ride from where we now lived – compared to what would be an hour-long twice-daily trip to the bank job.
I applied for the writing job, and got asked to come in for interviews. Meanwhile, I was still waiting on the bank to do their security clearances.
Now it was a race against the clock – I was hoping the bank wouldn’t get back to me after all – at least not before I heard back from the writing job.
Almost six weeks had gone by since accepting the bank’s job offer, when one morning, the bank emailed saying, quite briefly:
‘Please start tomorrow at 9am.’
I was crushed. I wanted to see if I got the writing job first! So I was stuck in a difficult spot: turn down the bank job and cross my fingers that I get the writing job. Or just take the bank job – I had accepted it after all, but it would mean losing out on a potentially perfect writing job.
I didn’t reply to the bank, and ignored their phone calls for a few hours while I frantically called the writing job to ask if I had got it or not. I needed to know asap because the bank was on to me! (Quite sure I was close to tears, begging them to rescue me from a temporary bank job).
Thankfully, after a bit of backwards and forwarding, they said I had got the writing position!
I emailed the bank right away and said to stuff their job because they took too damn long! (In not so many words… But they were understanding enough.)
It’s funny when you don’t live at home, or have parents to hold your hand, how much satisfaction you get from doing adult things on your own. It can involve nerve-wracking decisions though!
Home sweet home
Being near my loved ones (specifically my fiancé!) makes me happy.
Writing makes me happy.
Horses make me happy.
Having a place to call my own makes me happy – and the privacy that comes with this is something I will never, ever take for granted.
Nothing has made me feel better than the feeling of being loved and being safe. After the travelling I’ve done, knowing what makes me happy is the most valuable lesson I’ve learned.
I thought travelling would make me happy, but in fact, travelling taught me what else makes me happy.
I’ve realised nothing feels better than a warm bed, a hot shower, financial security, being safe and relaxed, and having privacy (no more hostels for me!).
These are the things I looked forward to during my time travelling… Haha, ‘time-travelling’…
Despite my disappointment of the reality of backpacking, travelling has given me confidence and incredible stories to tell. I am glad I have travelled and completed my travel bucket list at such a young age.
Quite frankly, if I had never got on that plane to the UK a year ago, I would have spent the rest of my life regretting it. I would have let my imagination run away with itself, thinking that the grass is greener elsewhere.
But I now know conclusively: it is not.
For a while, I had to remind myself that wanting to stay in one place is not a bad thing or a failure.
In fact, I can’t help but think that staying in one place is quite a human thing to do. We built settlements and villages and communities from a very early stage in human evolution. (I think.) Everyone needs a place to put down their roots.
In any case, I feel completely satisfied with the amount of places I have visited. But finding a home in rural Dorset with my fiancé is the most fun I’ve had in my time away.
Needless to say, I do leave the little yellow loft on occasion, but not to go backpacking for weeks on my own.
Rather, to go on incredible adventures with my favourite person, whether it’s to Iceland or to go on a four-hour stroll, I can conclude that travelling is best with company. Having a home to come back to afterward, is equally as amazing.
My new year’s resolution is to keep things the same.
I want everything to stay exactly as it is, at least for this year. I want to stay in my little yellow cottage-loft, in my lovely little writing job, with my wonderful fiancé. These few things make the best adventure – and I don’t need a heavy backpack for this one!
Thinking about it, if the bank position didn’t take so long. Or, if we settled for a flat elsewhere, my life in England would have changed so much. It feels like everything was just waiting for us to find them, and all this hard work was required in order for us to find our perfect life together. It could have turned out very differently very easily.
Staying patient and positive was difficult, but everything clicked into place almost simultaneously in the end. I had no idea my brief backpacking adventure would end this way, but I am so pleased that everything happened in exactly the way it has.
What a journey.
Life’s better with company. Everybody needs a co-pilot. – Up in the Air