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  • Writer's pictureTai John

365 Days in New Zealand

Today is September 3, 2023. September 3rd marks one year of my living in New Zealand. I left my home of 24 years & arrived in Auckland, New Zealand September 3, 2022. It's so wild to think that I've been living, learning, & growing overseas for a year now! It's amazing to say that I've crossed off one of my forever life goals, to live & work overseas. Of all the places I never expected it to be New Zealand but hey, that's where my journey brought me & as I've seen from reflecting on this past year, New Zealand was the inevitable chosen place for good reason. If you've been following any of my posts directly from my blog, Instagram, or Facebook you know it's been one hell of a journey for me over this past year & I mean that in the best way possible.


As I'm winding down to my possible last 6 months here, as my VISA will expire in March 2024, I really wanted to reflect on the past year I've had, but also look towards where I would like to go. This is something I've really been struggling with a lot lately because I feel almost as if my time is running out to decide my next course in life. I've been feeling as if I have to have this intricate blueprint of my life & always know what's next, but some close friends & family reminded me that there is no such thing as a blueprint for life that we are all supposed to follow & no one's journey is the same.


I've come to understand that instead of being pressed about not having it all figured out or not having a set plan for what's next, I need to focus my energy, efforts, & attention on being present & nourishing the now. I'm never going to get this part of my life or time back so I have to enjoy it while I am able. The future will be here before I know it & I don't want to have regrets about not enjoying or living my life because I was too focused on what hasn't come to fruition yet. I really had to sit back & see that I have been wishing & praying for years to be able to have the experience I've had overseas & God delivered in His timing & in His fashion. With that in mind, I wanted to reflect & share a brief list I've compiled of things I've had the pleasure to experience during my year here thus far.

  • 1st Hostel experience

  • 1st time working in the hospitality industry

  • Scored my first accommodation fairly quickly after a few weeks of hostel living

  • Flatted in 3 accommodations, 1 of which is my first solo apartment

  • New Zealand is mullet-ville--never seen so many mullets in my life

  • Visited Australia (my fave) after 6 years

  • Ate a hamburger after never having one since a bad childhood experience

  • Fell in love with pork ribs

  • Got my NZ Drivers License

  • Drove on the LEFT side of the road for the 1st time & learned to drive up and down MANY hills, mountains, steep, winding, & gravel roads.

  • Made my 2nd big girl purchase & bought my 2nd car by myself

  • Met my best friend

  • Fell in & out of a relationship w/ a Kiwi

  • Healed in new ways

  • Experienced the Shotover Canyon Swing (will never do it again)

  • Got connected with nature in ways I never would have before... lots of hikes

  • Developed a love-hate relationship with winter & the cold in general

  • Learned to defrost the ice off the windows & doors of my car

  • Paid the price for peace & privacy (adulting)

  • Lived alone in my own place

  • Got my 1st New Year's kiss

  • Celebrated 30 years young

  • Celebrated Valentines w/ a S/O for the 1st time

  • Dressing way more casual & more often than usual (w/ my usual splash of flair)

  • Learned to always bring a jacket regardless of the current weather & temperature

  • Started saying "Aye" more than "Ya'll"

  • Almost died via ocean waves

  • Almost got a broken neck/concussion via see-saw

  • Experienced the joys of eating ice cream year-round

  • Learned how to properly pronounce the letter "Z" it's pronounced "N'Zed"...yea I know...

  • Gained a new love for honey, especially when strawberries are dipped in them

  • Fell in love with hot pools

  • Ingested way more coffee than usual or normal for myself

  • Got tricked into eating venison

  • I still can't read military time

  • Went skiing again for the first time since I was about 5 years old

  • Really gained my footing regarding being more independent than I ever have been & taking charge of my life.

The difference between my perspective & mindset today compared to when I first arrived on September 22, 2022, is comical. Read my first post in New Zealand, Kia Ora from New Zealand for yourself & see what I mean. That's all the more reason why for the next six months my focus is on the present & ensuring I do everything to maintain peace, & balance, & create happiness on my own. By December, I should have a better idea of what I want to do next whether that be to remain in New Zealand longer or adventure on, only time & my intuition will tell but no stressing.

My current blueprint is not defined by my age, my peers, competition, climbing the ladder at work, going to school or back, getting engaged, getting married, starting a family, or buying a home. Not yet, maybe someday, who knows. What I know is that I'm still not in a place in my life where I'm ready to settle for anything. I haven't felt that calling yet. There's still more of the world I want to see, more experiences to be had, & people to meet. I decided that while I'm working on a backup plan, I'm going to continue living my 30-year young life unapologetically over the next 6 months & beyond until something lures my intuition to be still. Stay tuned & keep your tea cups ready, more tea is brewing!


Enjoy a complication of some of my favorite moments from my 365 days in New Zealand


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