The Longest 6 Months; From UK Coastline to NZ Countryside…

Aim for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land in the stars

W Clement Stone

I can’t believe it has been 6 months since we arrived in New Zealand; 6 month’s since we said farewell to everyone and everything we know and love, 6 months since taking that leap of faith and going all in, just 6 months to see if we had a chance to make a new life for ourselves on the other side of the world….

I have to say, first of all, this has been the longest and most challenging 6 months of our lives. It has tested all our boundaries, above and beyond any challenges that we have faced before, tested our relationship, sanity and patience;

My husband and I at our house warming in New Zealand

Starting with the year long search of trying to get Rob some kind of job offer before leaving the UK. Which we didn’t realise until we arrived in New Zealand, the reason it was so hard was because he didn’t have a ‘qualification’ (despite 20+ years experience as a carpenter). By some kind of chance, he managed to finally land a job offer in January. It wasn’t until we went to apply for his Essential Skills Work visa, a few weeks later, that the employer realised he wasn’t ‘qualified’. It was a bit hit and miss as they clearly stated that they no longer had an offer of work for him, thankfully, the saving grace was by now they had seen Rob work and were able to offer him a position in a different department. Absolute madness! One hurdle over, then came the 4 months (felt like 6!) of Rob waiting for his visa. All the while he was getting taxed 50% until he was able to get his IRD number sorted which couldn’t be done until the visa came through. Having recently moved into our own rented accommodation after staying with family for several months, we had to live on a shoestring budget to survive, living on just a quarter of a wage for two of us. Thankfully we are also blessed with family here, who helped us hugely along the way.

When his visa finally did come through, it was only a couple of months before we were due to fly back to the UK. As I was applying for a partner work visa and because we were tight on funds, I had to wait until his came through before I could apply for mine. We couldn’t take the risk of paying and processing them both at the same time just in case his didn’t come through. It wasn’t until 9th April that I was able to put in my application. Our return flight to the UK was on 16th May! By now I had been out of work for nearly 6 months and had started going a little stir crazy whilst Rob was out working…..

But in this time we had managed to secure the most beautiful rented country farm cottage in the town of Cambridge were Rob worked. A ten minute drive to town but you felt like you were in the middle of no-where! With Mt Maungatautari as a backdrop and apple and feijoa trees and our own little vegetable garden, it was just perfect! A little slice of heaven in the New Zealand countryside.

Sitting on my motorbike in the New Zealand countryside

Throw in a couple of chooks and a fish pond and away we go into country living….

Racheal one of out baby chooks

It had been the longest 6 months, transitioning from the UK coastline to the New Zealand countryside. We had taken the biggest risk so far, leaving nothing behind and willing to sacrifice everything. I personally thought I would struggle a lot more mentally but was taken back by my resilience to make it work, (despite the occasional days of homesickness); From the non-stop immigration paperwork (I had turned into my husband’s PA!), the 6am starts to meditate and remain focused and the endless days of not doing much at all. Especially as my bike still needed work and I was out of biking and any sense of socialising during this time. Although I still had my fingers in a lot of pies such as WRWR and PeterPan bike tours. But unfortunately my blog has been on hold for a while.

As for my husband, just wow, he has carried us through everything financially and I’m in awe of his determination to keep pushing forward. That’s not to say we didn’t have disagreements (there have been many). Which I think is fair enough with the pressure we have put ourselves under. But it has been extremely hard not being able to do much to ease those pressures from him as I haven’t been allowed to work. Although I’ve mastered the art of being a good housewife, lol.

***

It’s 12 hours before I am due to fly back to the UK. I have already emailed STA Travel to cancel Rob’s flight and reschedule mine to co-inside when my visitor visa runs out on 23rd May. But on the 11th hour, it finally comes through, nearly 6 months since being here, I now have my work visa for 3 years and can cancel my flight! I don’t know how to explain the relief and excitement but also realisation that you won’t be back to see loved ones for some time? It’s a strange feeling, filled with hope and uncertainty but also the chance to start again…

But now the race is on. It’s only a few months until WRWR arrives in NZ. As one of the main organisers and helping with social media marketing, photography and videography, I have only a few months to get back on the road. I plan to do the whole 4 days, 1900km (plus the extra to come back up the country). It is with great respect that fellow team members have already booked all my accommodation and ferry crossing for me but my bike still needs it’s folks replacing, I need new everything from underwear to bike gear and the list goes on and on…

But I haven’t been just resting on my laurels for the last 6 months; I have been busy hand-making jewellery ready to start my fundraising campaign ‘Raising a Bob for Bobby & Our WRWR Adventure’ and selling them at local markets here in New Zealand. I have also managed to secure a full-time job from the end of June!

So once again we did everything the hard way but once again we just got on with it, as we have always done and our hopes and dreams are finally starting to fall into place. We are so excited about what the future lays ahead and our next step will likely be to attempt our New Zealand residency which we hope our three year visas will allow us enough breathing room to do so.

As for the blog, well that will get back on track soon enough once I’m fully back into work and I can get the bike on the road. The main coverage to look out for will be of the Women Riders World Relay in September. I plan to share my weekly preparations running up to the event and regular photo uploads and live videos as the event unfolds on my Facebook page plus look out for videos of the event on my YouTube channel. Make sure you sign up to both to keep track of what’s going on.

If you would like to help me with my fundraising campaign, you can make a donation on my Go Get Funding page.

Thank you so much for your support. In particular to my father in law Bob and his wife Anne, Lisa and John, Jo my bike friend in New Zealand who has been there from day 1 since arriving, my Dad and Mum and all the other family and friends that have supported us back in the UK. We are so grateful to you all xxx

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