Learn from the best somebody once told me. It came to mind a couple of weeks ago and it made us realize that we know friends who now live all over the world. And who best can tell us how we need to prepare ourselves before our departure. Therefor also a new category called: Friends abroad.
Our first friend who graciously accepted our request to participate in this category is the uncle of Jolien. His name is Ben and he lives in New Zealand. We have asked him 10 questions to learn from.
Why did you emigrate to New Zealand?
First of all it was not just me because I was together with Marga. We have travelled for three years, from 1985 to 1988 and worked in Southern Europe, North and West Africa and in parts of the Middle East. After we returned in the Netherlands we could not settle there anymore. Too much people, too much pollution, too much rain! So we started to look for new places to live and this place became New Zealand.
Why did you decide to go to New Zealand?
Actually because of the points mentioned above. There were only 4 million people living in New Zealand in 1990 and the country is 8 times bigger than the Netherlands (read: a lot of space!). There is hardly any pollution; nature is beautiful, the climate is good and there were great job opportunities.
What do we need to see in New Zealand?
ME! of course haha. But also Rotorua and the entire South Island. Especially Abel Tasman National Park and Milford Sound. Christchurch and Dunedin on the east shore. Here you also find a lot of Seals and on Otago Peninsula you can see Albatrosses and Penguins. There is just so much to see on the South Island. And when you like action, then you need to go to Queenstown. Also ask you cousin Joost where we went when he was here.
What is a must see in Abel Tasman NP?
It will take you about 3 to 4 days to walk through the park. This is what a lot of people do.
What do you the most from the Netherlands?
Friends and family of course. Even do the world have become a lot smaller (think of Skype) but it is still different.
What is the most difficult part of living abroad/travelling in another country?
When you want to live in a foreign country you need to realize that you need to start over from scratch. At work, find new friends, etc. That is something else than travelling in a foreign country. I do not know what is difficult about travelling in another county. Maybe the fact that you need to drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope I will still be in New Zealand! A sign that I still like it here.
What did you learn about yourself while living abroad?
First of all you need to be prepared to start over. Where you come from is not that important anymore because you need to prove yourself all over again. And you need to be open to starting a new live with new friends.
What do we need to keep in mind while on the road?
Make sure you stay healthy and always follow your feeling. If it does not feel okay, do not do it and leave. And you will spend a lot of time together and you will only have eachother. This can be a good thing for your relationship but it can also go wrong. I have seen couples you could not handle this.
Why do you look forward to our arrival?
First of all it will be a blast to have you here. This is for all of my family but also because I would really like to show you why I love New Zealand. WHy New Zealand is the country I choose for.
Thank you Ben! Great tips which we can use. You can count on us coming to you in 2017. We will stay in touch and thanks for you stories!
“Friends abroad” is inspired on “Bloggers on the road” of Hasta la Proxima.