So the reason I’ve been a touch quiet of late is largely because I’ve taken the leap and moved from the UK to New Zealand. Yup, first Brussels and now Wellington – I have the taste for this living overseas lark now! Such a move involves quite a lot of mental energy and, oh the paperwork! Needless to say, NMC has had to take a back seat for a little while, whilst I got my sh*t together. After starting a job, buying a car and a house, and trying desperately to get my head around the fact that when people talk about summer holidays, they mean late December and January, rather than August, I am feeling back on track and ready to share some pearls of wisdom with you once more. You lucky things you.
So here are my top five reasons for why you should most definitely try living overseas at least once:
1. You can reinvent yourself
Moving to a new country where you don’t really know anyone can be daunting I grant you. It’s not for everyone. But there is also something extremely liberating about that. You can be whoever you’ve always wanted to be! Well, within reason. I’m not suggesting you move somewhere new in order to change your entire personality, but, as I’ve found, it is SO MUCH EASIER to parcel out your particular brand of crazy over time when you’re meeting new people as they don’t know any better.
Want to be known more for your healthy lifestyle than your previous boozy shenanigans? Abracadabra! It can be done! You simply embrace your new lifestyle of choice and neglect to mention to your new friends and co-workers that you were previously more at home on a barstool than a paddleboard. (Obviously I am just using a random example plucked from nowhere, not resembling myself. At all. Just saying.)
2. You can’t help but learn new things
Living in a new country and meeting new people actually requires you to learn new stuff. There’s no avoiding it. People will tell you places to visit and bars/restaurants to try out without prompting, simply because you’re a new arrival. And you’ll go to them, because, well, why the hell wouldn’t you? So all of a sudden whilst you had 3 go-to restaurants wherever you lived before (where you probably ordered the same thing – come on now, that can’t just have been me), you now have a full repertoire of breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner options that you can choose from, depending on your mood on the day and the type of cuisine you fancy.
Oh yeah, and you’ll probably pick up new language skills. Since I’ve been here over the last couple of months, I’ve mastered counting, foodstuffs and colours in te reo Maori (the Maori language) and learnt a number of fundamental kiwi-isms. Such as: Jandals – another word for sandals, Hokey Cokey – basically honeycomb, Manchester – the weirdest way I’ve seen bedlinen described EVER, and togs – swimming gear. I’m practically a local.
3. Get a different perspective
Getting away from the day to day routine gives you the best possible chance to work out what, and who, is important to you. There is simply nothing like moving overseas to give you a bit of distance and clear the mind. After the initial excitement of moving, getting settled and exploring your new surroundings, I’ve found that I have a far better idea of what I want to do, see and achieve over the next couple of years and have more confidence to turn down the things that don’t align with those goals. That’s quite liberating.
4. Discovering new shops
This is something that probably won’t surprise you…but I have indeed been enjoying the discovery of new interior stores across New Zealand. Particular faves currently include the Indie Home Collective (I have my eye on the stunning Zimbabwean Binga baskets in the photo below), Collected by LeeAnn Yare, The Axe which has recently opened in a nearby suburb and is choc full of Scandi style loveliness, and the new, ethically focused, Bohome+Roam which focuses on brands that work with artisans in Mexico, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Peru, Turkey and India.
I was a little bit concerned that I would struggle to get my hands on a wide range of globally inspired homewares in New Zealand, but so far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
I’m also looking out for Pacific island treasures, such as Maori wood carvings, artwork, and woven baskets – keep your eye out for future posts on these if you’re interested.
5. Make new friends and connections
This is one of my favourite things about living overseas. Yes, even more than discovering new shops. It may take some time to establish new friendships, but even just meeting a wider variety of people is extremely rewarding and opens your eyes to new perspectives and experiences. I’ve loved getting to know my new work colleagues and being outside of my comfort zone has meant that I’ve got chatting to more people than I would have in London. Shop-owners, taxi drivers, an elderly couple we met on Somes/Matiu island that introduced us to some native birds…
Of course I miss my friends and family, that goes without saying, so now my job will be to convince them all to move over here…problem solved!
Have you spent any time living overseas? What did you find to be most rewarding?
Happy travels, and shopping