Money isn’t something to be cherished, though it should be valued. As much as I can’t stand the concept of money ruling everything, it really does make the world go round — and if I want to keep traveling around the world, I need it.
With that being said, I am now in a state of swirling and contradicting emotions. You could say I am walking a tightrope now, and one false step can send me crashing down. With it my pride, confidence, and dream.
My first step on to foreign soil was just a mere 4 months ago, but to me, that is quite a long time. Oh, and it is 2 months past what I budgeted for. If you haven’t seen my video confessional, I’ll lay it out bluntly: I am flat broke.
How did this happen?
It is actually a very easy question to answer. I had budgeted for 3 months of traveling and shenanigans in New Zealand. Then after that, I vowed to hunker down for a few months to work, save more money, and travel more afterward.
Instead, I continued to run around, believing I could find work immediately after a friend visited for a month recently. What I should have done is got a job a couples months before they got here. But I didn’t — and now I have too little time to look for work, not enough money, and no jobs to be found.
Some may read this and think I probably blew my cash partying and buying silly things. Not the case at all. I have probably only been out drinking only a handful of times and I’ve mainly lost possessions, not gained or bought any. As far as traveling and activities go, I was on a few sponsored trips that paid for all the crazy things I’ve done.
So where did the budget go?
Well, if you know you have a maximum budget for three months and you travel longer than that, two things can easily eat away at it…
Hostels and Food.
Sure, I had some amazing opportunities traveling around on trips and going on activities, but they weren’t ever plugged into my budget in the first place. If they hadn’t been sponsored, I would have waited until after I found a job to go bungy jumping and such.
My budget for three months was for hostels, transport, and food. It was meant to support me long enough for me to see a little, explore a little, and settle into a foreign country to plan at my future travels as I worked.
Coulda, shoulda, woulda…but didn’t.
I could be comfortably settled into any sort of job, making an income, saving money, and relaxing. But I am not. I am sitting in a hostel in the tiny town of Te Puke (said like cookie, not duke) with a fools hope and a last-ditch effort to salvage my trip.
And I am haunted by all sorts of emotions…
A few nights back I tried to walk to a McDonald’s which was supposed to be 15 minutes up the road that the entire town consisted on. Well, I walked for 30 minutes up that road and after I was out of the town, I turned around and retreated. I couldn’t find the McDonald’s, my knees ached, and I was alone. I felt trapped, and I can’t afford internet to get a hold of anyone.
As I walked back, I was hit with harsh realities. I beat myself up mentally to the point I thought about kneeling down and crying. When you feel like you aren’t living up to your own expectations, and you feel like less of a man, it can break you down to a child.
I am so stupid!
How could I let this happen?
I talked about living my dream and here I am penniless!
Why didn’t I realize I was getting so low on money?
I am so stupid!
Yeah, the whole 30-minute walk back was a hardcore death-match up in my cranium and depressed me for the whole night. At the hostel, I poured half a cup of rum into my tea and sulked.
Sulking isn’t going to get me anywhere.
Like I said in my video confession, the only way out is to figure it out. Stay positive, keep the drive going, and be proactive. That is the only way to improve this.
*Cue the movie trailer inspirational music*
Defeat is something I will never settle for!
I came to Te Puke for the sole purpose of finding a job fruit picking or fruit packing. This small town is the epicenter of New Zealand’s $1 Billion industry in kiwi fruit employing thousands of people for the season, and I plan to be one. I have to be one.
Hard laborious work, long robotic days, aching feet and back. A punishment I deserve and a GIANT lesson learned.
It has no been 5 months abroad, and it’s time I got serious about being a traveler.
This small town and this hostel have a slight feeling of isolation and exile…and maybe it is something I need. I want to travel for a very long time and I need to teach myself a few lessons and learn a few things.
Other backpackers in the hostel are in the same position I am in, either running EXTREMELY close to the end of their budget or came to New Zealand with only enough money to get here and hopes to work picking kiwi fruit. It’s like a comical commune of broke backpackers eating cheap instant noodles and waiting for work to start.
Speaking of which… I GOT A JOB!
Well, kind of. I arrived in Te Puke believing that I had a job set aside for me at a kiwi fruit pack house, but it turns out an online application and email exchange really doesn’t secure anything. Everyone in the hostel was on a waiting list that applied in person and there were no guaranteed spaces available. That’s what caused the intense feelings I noted above. I thought I arrived and my last-ditch plan was already failing.
Stay positive. I had a day while the office of the pack house was closed to recoup my energy again and start thinking straight. I went in the next day with a nothing will stop me attitude and all negative thoughts cleared from my head.
I showed up amongst hundreds of previous applicants that had been called in to apply, and I was only applying that day. I turned in the application thinking I would be told to come back, but they asked me if I could stay and train!
With the contract signed I was guaranteed a position, and that oogey-gooey tingling feeling raced over my body.
Except there is only one problem. Work starts in two weeks.
So, it seems I can salvage my trip after all from the brink of failure, but I just need to figure out how to last out for two weeks. The hostel is actually quite expensive and I know I don’t have enough until my first paycheck, so it may be time to bust out the hammock.
The feeling being so close to failure after dreaming so long of travel is a feeling I never want again.
I had a big lesson bitch slap me in the face, give me a wedgie, and turn me upside down for toilet swirly. 4 months of travel will mark the day when I start growing into a more serious traveler. Sure, I may be stationary for a few months, but this will be a hardworking and evolutionary stage for me, and I’m glad you are here along for it.
I want to thank everyone for their out-pour of support while I was/am going through this dark period. You all were an integral part of keeping me positive and optimistic, helping me grow into an actual traveler, and as much as I beat myself up over this amateur mistake you all helped me refocus.
You all are gnarly people