I've been doing a lot of thinking about what my next move is going to be in terms of moving abroad at the end of the year and it's brought me to two very different outcomes, both of which I could see myself doing.
First, my original plan is to apply for the working holiday visa for New Zealand and move at the end of the year. It would give me one year in the country to live and work, much like I did in Ireland this past year. I really love the idea of living in New Zealand for so many reasons. Firstly, the weather on the south island from what I've been told is much like the weather in Dublin. Cooler, wetter, and rarely stifling, all things that make me especially happy. I love that I'd have a year to travel around New Zealand because in that year, I feel like I could definitely see the entire country. Also, it's extremely close to Australia as well which would mean I'd have the opportunity to do some travelling there as well which would be fantastic.
I'd also have access to parts of Asia which would be such an awesome opportunity. I'd probably have the opportunity to do at least one or two trips to places like Japan or Thailand which would probably be the coolest experience I've had thus far. There's so many reasons spending a year in New Zealand would be a very good thing for me.
My second idea is getting my TEFL licence and using it to teach English abroad. My plan with this is to get the licence and start by teaching English online so that I get a feel for what it's all about and whether or not I could see myself doing it long term. If I decide I really enjoy it, there's so many opportunities to take English teaching jobs abroad in places like Japan, India, Taiwan, and parts of the middle east. This would be an experience like no other in my opinion. I would never have thought about living in a place like Japan because I was originally overwhelmed at the thought of having to try and navigate a new written AND spoken language. However, now that I've spent a year living abroad and travelled to some countries where English was not the first language, I've seen that it's totally manageable to live in a place where I don't understand anything. It's an opportunity to try my hands at learning to read, write, and speak an entirely new language during my stint as a teacher. Plus, I'd have access to so many Asian countries if I was living over there.
I'm torn between these two options. Both would offer me access to parts of the world I wouldn't be able to financially get to otherwise and both would provide me with a year of new experiences. For now, I'll focus on getting my TEFL licence and go from there I guess. What's the old saying? The world is your oyster or something like that? We can go and do whatever we want if we put our minds to it!
I was having a chat with my sister this morning regarding some things in her life that are bothering her and I came to the conclusion that I too have some things that I need to hash out. Particularly, my FOMO about living in Dublin. For those of you who don't know, FOMO = Fear of Missing Out. I have serious FOMO about everything I'm missing out on back in Dublin. It's such a weird feeling building a life for yourself somewhere for a year only to walk away from it and pretend like everything is A OK being back home.
Don't get me wrong, it's been such a blessing being able to see my family and friends more often, I certainly don't take that for granted. What I'm missing though is everything I had access to being in Dublin. I was actually just talking about this the other day with some of my coworkers who are about to take trips to various tropical destinations, it's so difficult not being able to just decide I want to go somewhere for 2 or 3 days and being able to do it. I had access to all of Europe and for such an unbelievably low amount of effort. It was as simple as deciding I wanted to go, taking my vacation days, and jetting off for hardly any money whatsoever. I just don't have those opportunities back home in Canada and I'm feeling the travel bug immensely.
I think what I'm most torn up about is how I'm going to make 2020 memorable in any way when it's being compared to the best year of my life. How do I even begin to make this year compare? How do I do something so memorable that 2020 doesn't just fade into history without being in any way, shape, or form, exciting or memorable? It's a tough challenge for sure, one that I still haven't figured out how to approach. I've been home now for 4 months and the novelty has now worn off. I'm constantly missing my life back in Dublin while also trying to figure out what I can do back in Canada to make sure that I have another exceptional year.
I'll tell you, this experience living abroad was definitely a blessing but it's also shaping up to be a bit of a curse as well. I'm determined to to hash out how I can make this year special. I just don't know how yet..
It's officially 2020 now which means it's time to say goodbye to 2019 and all of the good, bad, and in between times that came along with the year. For me, 2019 was actually one of the best years of my life on so many levels so it's a difficult year for me to leave behind but it's also great motivation to try and make 2020 an even better year!
First of all, I spent most of my 2019 living in Dublin which was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. Ireland is a phenomenal country full of people from all over the world. I had the privilege of meeting some of the coolest people and learning about their experiences through living at the Hostel. What started off as a nerve wracking experience blossomed into one of the most unique and enjoyable living experiences of my life. If you would have told me I'd be sharing a bedroom with anywhere from 4 to 8 people for an entire year prior to this, I definitely wouldn't have believed you but as I said, it ended up being such a wonderful experience. I met so many amazing people there that helped shape my 2019.
I had an amazing job back in Dublin working for a 400+ person hostel which again, allowed me to connect with people from every part of the world and every walk of life. I can't express enough how cool it was to chat with people from different parts of the world and bond with them through our experiences in Dublin as expats or travellers. Meeting so many interesting people is such an insightful experience because you really learn that there is so much more going on throughout the world than what you think you know. I worked with some amazing people too, some that I'll hopefully stay connected with and get an opportunity to meet up with again one day somewhere in the world.
I also did some seriously amazing travelling throughout Europe. I visited places I never would have dreamed of having the opportunity to visit had I not been in Dublin living this new experience. Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Scotland...the list goes on and although there were times that I felt like I should have seen more, I am ever so grateful for having had those experiences.
2019 taught me a lot about myself. So many things I accomplished this year, I did so entirely on my own. Moving to another country where you know absolutely nothing or noone is a feat. Adjusting to a new climate, new city, new experiences, all of it, I did it all on my own. Flying around Europe and navigating a new country once or twice a month was intense but also such an inspiring experience. Not only did I get the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful countries in the world, I got to do so alone. I grew as a person more this year than I could have ever imagined and I will forever look back on this experience as one of the best in my life thus far.
2019 was by far my best year which is putting 2020 in a challenging position right from the get go but I intend to make it as amazing as possible and will continue to grow and learn new things every day.
I hope you all had an amazing 2019, an amazing New Years, and I wish you all a happy, healthy 2020 full of new experiences, happiness, and most of all, no regrets.
New Years is almost upon us and unlike most years where I refuse to make any resolutions for fear of not living up to them, this year I've got a few in mind and I intend to stick with them. It's an opportunity to challenge ourselves to be better because no matter how happy we are with our lives, there is always room to improve for our own well being.
As I said, I typically avoid making resolutions because it always seems to be an opportunity to be let down for not completing some larger than life task I've assigned to myself. However, I believe it's up to me to really take on the challenges and try to achieve all of the things I want for myself and frankly, there's no better time to make some kind of change than at the start of the year. I'm determined to set 3 goals for myself and monitor my successes with them and look for ways to achieve all of my goals.
First off, I really want to put more effort into activism. I spend a lot of my time reading and reporting on animal welfare stories from around the world but I want to invest more of my time into this. I want to really engage with people through social media about animal welfare and their standpoints on things. I want to have more discussions about animal welfare with those I'm close to as well as reaching out more to officials and organizations to really engage in activism. While I'm happy with what I've done thus far, I really want to push myself to do more. This could mean attending rallies, organizing protests, contacting world leaders about animal welfare opportunities in their country etc. I intend to make 2020 a productive year for animal welfare.
Secondly, I want to really buckle down on the things I want for myself on a personal level. I want to start investing my time in exercising more, working on my photography, filming new videos etc. I really want to be that guy who seems to have time for everything he wants in life. Deep down inside, that guy is there but I find myself sometimes making excuses for not getting things done. I want 2020 to be the year that I just DO instead of wanting to do.
My final goal for the new year is one I'm keeping to myself. Much like making a wish on a birthday candle, I want to keep this one to myself and simply watch to see if it comes true. :)
Are you guys the type to make resolutions or do you find them to be opportunities to be let down? How do you approach New Years?
So I've been back in Canada now for 2 months and I literally couldn't tell you what I've done since I've been back. It's been nothing but a blur of operating on autopilot. I'm legitimately still stuck emotionally in Dublin but physically, I'm here in Canada doing the things I have to be doing to make it through. Coming back to Canada around Christmas was also an interesting thing because I came back with absolutely no savings and on top of trying to pay down my credit card, activate / pay for my phone, and get myself together, I'm also tasked with locating money to get my 6 nephews something for Christmas. I'm a touch overwhelmed.
Besides this, I seem to be at a standstill with other things I'd like to be doing in my life. I took out my DSLR camera but once to try and play with it to get a better handle on it. I've stopped my German lessons despite doing really well at them. I haven't signed up for Zumba despite wanting to do that also. It's so weird that my usual motivation is lost somewhere in translation while I continue to just go to work and come home. It's a vicious cycle of lackluster motivation and longing to be elsewhere.
I'm hoping that I can use New Years as motivation to get myself together. Start the year fresh with all of the things I want to do and try to set aside time each day to do these things. I'm also going to start looking into a second job so I can save the money required to move to New Zealand next year. I'm still not 100% committed to the idea of moving there but even having the savings to perhaps move somewhere else in Canada and get a place would be beneficial.
This post was nothing more than rambling but it's how I'm feeling lol I have no motivation to do anything outside of what I have to be doing and I have no direction for my future lol Kind of daunting isn't it?
I've legitimately spent the past four weeks being back in Canada just trying to acclimatize back into some kind of routine rather unsuccessfully. It feels like I'm on autopilot here like, I'm going to work and making plans with friends and whatever else but I'm not here. Part of me stayed in Dublin when I left, the part of me that wants to continue travelling and seeing the world. So I decided to start investigating a move to New Zealand!
New Zealand was on my radar already before I left Dublin because it was the only other country that allowed a youth mobility scheme after 30 so I kind of already knew I wanted to go, I just forgot the specifics of the visa. After investigating, I've realized it's totally achievable that by next September, I can head there for a year for some more travelling and exploring. It's kind of a dream of mine to have the opportunity to make a trip to some Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, all of which I could reach if I was in New Zealand. Not to mention seeing and living in New Zealand would be pretty fantastic as well.
As it turns out, it will run me approximately $10,000 to comfortably make this happen. That ten thousand dollars includes the $4,200 in security funds required to enter the country, the cost of the visa, travellers insurance for a year, and a first class ticket one way to New Zealand. Why first class you ask? Well, after a year of flying around Europe followed by a 7 and a half hour flight home, I came to the realization my irritability breaking point when flying is somewhere around 4 hours. I start getting restless, leg crampy, and ready to get the frick off of the plane. Knowing this, a flight that is almost three times as long will require me to take additional precautions to ensure my comfortability. That includes a first class ticket where my seat folds out into a bed allowing me to stretch and potentially sleep during my flight. Without that, I don't think I'd make it to New Zealand in a sane state of mind.
Knowing what I know about the requirements and my desire to continue seeing the world, I expect to be on a plane to New Zealand next September or October. Until then, I will continue enjoying my time with friends and family, cooking, and working on a hard cover cookbook that I would love nothing more than to have published by the time I leave next year. A boy can dream right?
I've been back in Canada now for 3 weeks and the only word I can use to describe how I'm feeling is surreal. It's such an incredibly weird feeling just coming home and getting right back into the swing of things when a piece of me still remains in Dublin. I don't even feel like I'm fully here if that makes sense. I'm almost on auto pilot, coursing through the days but not being present in them.
Every time I see a post from one of my friends back in Dublin, it really makes me miss being there. I've also found myself scrolling through some of my old photos and videos, reliving some of the fun moments I had throughout the year I was away. This experience was definitely something I'll always remember but participating in this experience comes with some difficulties I'm now enduring. Just wishing I was still there is especially difficult. It's kind of the one downfall of taking part in one of these working holidays because you get to meet all of these amazing people and see all of these amazing things but the experience is finite. It's really effing difficult to leave it all behind.
With that being said, I'm going to try a bit harder to get myself together back here in Canada. I really want to take french lessons, participate in Zumba classes, and continue working on my German lessons as well. I also had the idea to give myself little challenges every week that I would add to my calendar. Like, every week have a little challenge like, "sign up for french classes" or "complete x amount of german lessons" and try to achieve them by the week's end. I really want to be as productive as possible now that I'm here but admittedly, these past weeks have kind of been a bit of a blur.
I guess I just have to take the bad with the good in this situation. Saying goodbye to one of the best experiences of my life is undoubtedly difficult but without these goodbyes, there would never have been the experience.
I've been back in Canada now for almost a week and have had the time to really think about everything that's happened to me this past year living and working in Ireland. I can't stress enough how amazing the opportunity was and how it helped me on a personal level in so many ways. Let's take a look at why I think everyone should do a working holiday once in their lives!
There is nothing like visiting local attractions or hanging out where the locals hang out. Learning about and engulfing in another country's cultures and traditions is not only interesting and exciting, but I think it's personally a wonderful opportunity for growth. Often times, we know only what we read online when we think about another country which can shape our opinions without any actual first hand experience. Living in Ireland was such an amazing opportunity for me to explore a history that seems to date back hundreds of thousands of years. I visited castles and learned about their place in Ireland's history, I visited natural wonders like the Cliffs of Moher, and I visited pubs where I was able to witness what the Irish charm was all about. After a year in Ireland, I can honestly say I have a much deeper appreciation for traditions and culture as a whole.
Also, visiting other countries throughout Europe and having the opportunity to try their food, visit their attractions, and even in some cases, struggle to communicate through a language barrier, was an opportunity to learn and grow. There's nothing quite like speaking with someone who has grown up completely differently than you and just listening to their stories about their childhoods or views on current conditions in their country. There's nothing like sharing stories and celebrating differences.
Initially, it can be overwhelming moving to another country where you know absolutely nothing, but this quickly turns to a feeling of accomplishment when you get yourself settled. Meeting with immigration, setting up tax appointments, searching for work, searching for flatmates, friends etc., it's challenging but also an opportunity to show yourself just how strong you are. I had never lived abroad prior to this nor had I really had the opportunity to visit Europe so there were so many firsts that I accomplished. After all is said and done, it was a challenging experience that yielded life long memories.
FRIENDS ACROSS THE GLOBE
The more good people you have in your life, the better. Moving and living abroad is an amazing opportunity to meet all sorts of different people from all over the world. It's an opportunity to expand your network and grow your personal and professional profile. Plus, when you return to your destination in the future, maybe you'll have a few places to stay on the cheap ;)
GROWING YOUR RESUME
There's nothing like having experience in your field but there's something to be said about having experience in your field from across the globe. The opportunity to learn about your industry through the eyes of someone who's grown and worked in your industry but from another country is invaluable. You'll pick up new skills, new ways of handling similar situations, and worldly experience that will translate to success in your field back home. Employers are most definitely intrigued by someone who has worked all over the world because you'll bring something new to the table!
I think the most beneficial part of living abroad is the opportunity to travel and see new things. I spent so much time wandering around and experiencing new things every day, it was so exciting. Plus, because I was based in Dublin, I had all of Europe at my fingertips. I was able to travel and see so many beautiful countries and I did so all by myself with only my own itinerary to focus on. There's nothing like wandering the streets of Amsterdam with its many canals or standing before the Colosseum in Rome. Travelling is something we all should do and there's no better way to do it than when you're living in an entirely new place somewhere far away from your home.
I can't stress enough to you guys why you should take advantage of these opportunities. Most countries allow you to utilize this visa until you're 30 so the time to do it is now. My only regret was waiting so long to take advantage of this visa because I missed out on so many countries because I was a touch over 30.
It's an opportunity to see new places, meet new people, and prove to yourself that you can basically do anything you put your mind to. Who doesn't love that feeling of accomplishment at the end of something challenging?
In one week I'll be flying back to Canada ending my one year working holiday in Ireland and I've got so many mixed emotions about it. Along with those mixed emotions comes a slew of things I need to try and address and take care of prior to coming home as well as an enormous list of things to accomplish when I get back.
I am in a bit of a crisis regarding my luggage because over the course of the year I've engaged in relentless retail therapy leaving me to wonder where the hell I'm going to be putting everything without getting charged at the airport for having too much shit. I am going to have to start going through my things and deciding if there's anything I can leave behind / donate to make room for the things I definitely want to keep. I also had intentions of bringing home souvenirs for friends and fam but it's looking like that's going to be kind of impossible at this point unfortunately. My urge to shop definitely got the best of me lol
I also need to address paperwork regarding my taxes so that I get back money I over payed so that's something I need to be looking in to. I know there's forms and such I just don't know if I'll get them before I leave or after so an investigation is necessary. Considering I didn't save a dime the entire time I was here, any money I get back for my return to Canada is going to be a blessing at this point.
Finally, when I get home there's a billion things I need to do. Re applying for my health card, deciding if I'm going to reissue my drivers licence and try to get my G2 prior to January when it expires or just give up on that until I come back from New Zealand (if I go). I also need to start thinking about work if for some reason I can't go back to my job at Healthy Mamas. Tim Hortons has already reached out to me about setting up a meeting so I know that that would be an option but I'm not sure it's something I want to do on a full time basis.
Ugh, reintegrating back into my old life is going to challenging but fun at the same time. I must say, I'm really going to miss Dublin. This has truly been an amazing experience.
I just realized it has been a month since my last post in here. I've been quite busy actually between working, volunteering at night at my hostel, and just trying to enjoy my time here because however difficult it is for me to accept, I'm heading back to Canada in 3 weeks! In these 3 weeks I have so much shite I need to do to prepare myself for heading back that I'm kind of in panic mode here trying to make sure I remember everything.
I'm a list kind of guy but the kind of list guy who forgets he made a list and makes a new list of to do's inevitably ending up with 30 lists all of which contain the same things with one or two additional items on each. Do the lists help you ask? Perhaps just in that I start to memorize my to do's because I'm constantly rewriting them down to help myself not forget anything but I end up with so many lists containing the same things that I think it's more of a nuisance than anything else lol
I head to Italy next week for 4 days which will be fantastic so I'm preparing myself for that. I'll also be taking a tour through Cork and visiting a couple castles including Blarney castle with the infamous Blarney Stone. Lore states that if you kiss the blarney stone, you are granted the gift of the gab which if y'all know me, I'm already highly gifted in gabbing but I'll still give er' a kiss for good measure lol So that's tomorrow with one of my fav coworkers and will likely be an all day thing.
I need to prepare my taxes so that I get my money back after I go home, start figuring out how I'm going to pack all of my shit, start saying my goodbyes, ugh, where's my list?!?! I have a lot to take care of, that's all I know. After returning from Italy, I'll have exactly one week of work left and then 4 days off to spend with my best friend here and just enjoying Dublin before I say my goodbyes. It's crazy, where has the year gone?
The other day my General Manager told me that everyone at work will miss me and to make sure I use him as a reference because I did an excellent job. I got a little teary eyed because that was kind of the first time it hit me coming from someone else that my time in Dublin was coming to an end. Honestly, if Ireland would have allowed it, I'd have stayed another year for sure. I must admit, it was easy to accept going home when the government shuts down your request to stay lol Easier to accept when there are no options.
Anyhow, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy these next few weeks here. It's been an amazing year and I want to appreciate every last minute of it before I return.