10 Things I Wish I Had Done When I Was In New Zealand

Sometimes, we live in regrets. Regretting the things we wished we have done in the past. These are the 10 things I wished I had done when I was in New Zealand.

1. I wish I knew my way around the day I arrived in NZ

I wished: Someone could tell me how easy it was to rent a car in New Zealand and how convenient it was to look for a freedom camp spot using the Campermate App. Instead, we were stuck in our Airbnb room feeling very disoriented in a new environment and feeling homesick

Louis was getting really depressed at one point because it was his first time traveling away from home, and that was the trigger that made us go: “We have to get out of this place!”

We started cycling around Auckland, yet we had only less than 3 days to go. It was too late for us to explore as we had found a job that was 7-hour bus ride away from Auckland – Opotiki.

2. I wish I did not need to worry about the lack of funds

I wished: Someone would tell us that money is not the main priority when it comes to experiencing New Zealand. I still could not bring myself to do it when I learned that going on a Heli Hike on Franz Josef Glacier would cost nearly $500 (equivalent to RM1.3k). 

Both of us brought only $1000 between us the day we arrived in Auckland. It was just sufficient with a bit more to spare to last us at least two weeks before we receive our first pay. 


3. I wish I had left more things at home

I wished: I did not bring a pouch full of facial products that I ended up not using the whole year.

I ended up donating a few clothing items to the local clothing bin, and brought my pouch full of facial products home in pristine condition.

4. I wish I was a little braver

I wished: I would not regret not going on a bungy jump, or that time when I wished that I could go diving with fancy diving equipments but didn’t. I did skydiving though. Maybe that’ll balance it all out. I tried my best to live without regrets, but sometimes things don’t turn out the way we wanted.

Louis and I tried going on a swim in the river in a deserted free camp spot in the middle of nowhere. It was too cold to call that a YOLO experience. It did not end well when Louis told me that it was too painful to bear.

5. I wish I was not embarrassed to hitch a hike

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Road to work.

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I wished: We could wait a little longer after trying to hitch a hike upon getting off the Rotorua airport. Cars were honking at us when we gave them a thumbs up. Some responded with another thumbs up. It was all so daunting and embarrassed we ended up walking to our holiday park with our ridiculously huge backpacks for at least half an hour. 

From every backpacker that we asked, all of them told us that it was extremely easy to hitch a hike in New Zealand. I guess that was not the case for us. Probably because we gave up after about 5 cars LOL.

6. I wish I had renewed my passport in Malaysia

I wished: that I have renewed my passport together with Louis when he went to renew his at home before we applied for the visa.

I thought that a year’s validity left on my passport was enough to get me to New Zealand. It was enough. However, it was not enough when I realized that I needed at least 3 months validity remaining on my passport before I could go to Australia in November. My passport expires in January, hence it was too risky.

I ended up waiting about 3-4 months for my passport to be sent from Malaysia to NZ. Because I moved around a lot as, plenty of address-changing and certifying of documents were needed. Not forgetting, lots and lots of phone calls.

7. I wish I had looked for freelance jobs alongside my full-time job

I wished: I had done some other freelance jobs available online that I can be good at alongside my full-time kiwifruit job instead of swiping social media and feeling bored all the time. 

This might not necessarily be a bad thing, it gave me more opportunities to relax and think about the future. However, most of the time I used it to procrastinate. 

8. I wish I stopped being so concerned with other people's words

I wished: I could just tune people out and be the boss of my own feelings.

There were many times we did not feel so accepted in the community. We had never really heard people giving snide remarks about us nor blow our self-esteem, however, we realized that we were very easily affected by other people’s moods and harsh tones when they talk to us. 

There was only that one time when I was trying to find out why that someone was so sad, yet I was misinterpreted as rude and invasive. I went back and cried that night. 

9. I wish I did not assume that I would love the farm life

I wished: I knew better. I wished I had heeded my colleague’s advice about the things I would be exposed to in a farm life. I wished I had listened.

10. I wish I had stopped belittling myself

I wished: I knew what I was capable of.

I had been selected by the boss of the flowerbulb company to become a supervisor for one of the grading teams. In the process, I had been constantly afraid of making mistakes, thinking that I did not deserve this opportunity, and that there were more people more capable than I was. 

Thinking back, I was foolish to think that way, and that I was extremely lucky to have been given the chance. I just needed more confidence in myself, and a dash of courage to be unafraid of making mistakes.

Final Words

There you have it! The 10 things I wish I had done when I was in New Zealand. This has been an eye-opening experience for me. The culture and the people were both very surprising elements to us when we were there. 

“Experiences shape people”

I believe that these experiences made me a little stronger inside.

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