Monday, 12 March 2018

How is it that I’m in my 9th week of living and working in Fox Glacier but I still don’t have an update on my blog about doing a working holiday in New Zealand? I’ve only started thinking about this after a couple on a honeymoon from Hong Kong asked me about working in New Zealand and wanted to check my blog out.

Then came the realisation that there are people like them who want to hear more about me, what it’s like doing a working holiday in New Zealand, how my life is now. After all, while I do constantly post updates on Insta Story on my adventures, not everyone checks Instagram. Heck, I’ve come to find out how many people don’t actually have Instagram in New Zealand! It also comes as a shock that they don’t use WhatsApp, a communication app that I always thought was the main form of communication around the world!

It’s been such a crazy time really. Part of the reason why I initially chose to do a working holiday in New Zealand was to take a break from full-time work to reevaluate what I want, have abundant time to immerse in the beauty of New Zealand’s landscapes and outdoors, and spend more time focusing on the blog so that I can finally have the time to work on the kinks and improve it. It takes so much more time than after-work hours to manage a blog proper – and I don’t just mean working with travel brands and coming up with new content. There’s so much of my old posts that need work, so many of my photos that are still in my folders waiting to be reviewed, and even more stories to be shared!

Yet. Yet, I found myself working even longer hours than a full-time job in Singapore, going out on adventures over the weekend more often than I thought I would, and spending more time in the company of people more than I thought I would.

I don’t know where to begin sharing my working holiday adventures, but I’ll try. I’ll start with this post, because I know you deserve an update.

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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Another 10 days have passed and I’m still on this. As I sit out on my backyard, with the wild flowers underneath my feet blossoming, the sun fighting to pierce through the clouds behind me, and the blueness that paint the sky above the jagged mountain peaks, I still struggle to piece the thoughts, experiences and learnings of these 10 weeks into words.

It’s strange how quickly time passes when I’m working here. 5 days later and it’s your weekend. Over the course of the week you’ll be planning one adventure after the next. Over the course of the week I’ll be pushing my workload to the weekend, thinking I’ll have more time to work on my freelance work and blog work, only to have it pushed to the next. Because when you have the rare day of sunshine, all you want to be is outside, taking in the warmth of the sun’s rays. Even if it means pulling out a chair, a cup of tea, and planting myself on the backyard, being exposed to the sandflies in the 13-degree cloudy weather.

It’s been such a whirlwind of an adventure really, for someone from the city where the most exciting thing for the week might be a music festival at the park or the latest movie release.

You’d think that in a small town like Fox, nothing much would be happening, which is true to an extent. There is no late night entertainment, not much to spend on, and not many to engage in activities with.

But when you find that one person who coincides with your off days, and are as hyped as you about the things you are raring to go, you’ll do whatever it takes to make the most of your time off – including getting dunked, returning home with cuts from bashing your way through bushes, take home a million and one sandfly bites from a long hike, chasing sunrises and sunsets, kissing under the stars and in the rain, skinny dipping, and swollen knuckles from a well-spent day of climbing.

The beauty about living in a small town, I’ve learned, is that you foster relationships much more easily. Perhaps due to the lack of resources, or the lack of distractions, people naturally come together more. You trust more easily, people are more willing to offer help, a casual conversation at the counter can turn into a conversation about life, and in the off-chance you meet someone you fancy who fancies you, you get to fall in love.

I’ve been quite fortunate to feel a whole gamut of emotions, from fear to exhilaration, uncomfortableness to comfort, tame to wild, feeling like a stranger to feeling like I’ve found family, Asian to Western, independent to dependent, guilty to carefree, hate to love, feeling lost to feeling…I wish I could say I’ve found myself, but to be completely honest, I feel lost still.

To be completely personal and open here, things have not been great with my family.

I’ve kept my distance from my friends back home after the break up with my boyfriend of 4 years, in part because most of them are mutual friends that we have, and also because I didn’t see how explaining myself would allow them to understand my reasons. I’m still in doubt as to whether I am ready to talk it out with my peers, though I find it easier for me to talk about it to the people here for they are not biased by my history.

I was a confused girl with a mixed bag of emotions when I arrived, as you can imagine, trying to start a life on a clean slate.

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Through my brief time here, I am fortunate to have fallen in love – with the nature, the adventures, the life, and enjoyed a person’s company so much that I bawled in the hours of him leaving.

Who would have known that in the 50 days that we’ve known each other and spent time together, you can be so emotionally connected to each other that you’d be pining for the day you see each other again, in another place, another time? 50 days! Not enough time to know if you’ll stand the test of time with each other. Have you ever had someone come into your life out of nowhere and completely turned your life around and challenged everything you thought you stood for? Knowing he/she was wrong for you because you were brought up and lived in completely different worlds, yet the strong allurement makes it difficult to tear apart from each other?

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Well, it’s time for me to head out for a run because the sun is calling me, but what do you want to hear or see more about?

  1. My adventures overnight hiking, overnight on the glacier, rock climbing?
  2. My wild times splashing naked in the lake?
  3. My thoughts about working in Fox Glacier?
  4. Why did I decide to go on a working holiday in New Zealand?
  5. More itineraries of New Zealand and the places I’ve been?
  6. More about this guy I met?
  7. My plans for when I’m done with my working holiday?

I understand that this post can be mildly offensive to some or too personal for everyone’s liking, but I’ll love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to comment anonymously if you’d like.

Continue the story: Living in New Zealand; What Does It Mean To Me?

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Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on


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