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Have I made a big mistake?

Have I made a big mistake?

Old Dec 29th 2019, 1:51 am
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Default Have I made a big mistake?

Hello everyone. As a newbie to the forum I thought I'd start off with a much longer than usual post. Why? Because I'm struggling to adapt to my new life in NZ and I really wish I'd found this site much sooner! Great tips and advice!

Mid November and I'm leaving the UK for New Zealand, fully pumped up on excitement, optimism and hope for the future. I'd been here 5 years previously travelling and fell in love with the country and following the end of a long term relationship earlier in the year, I thought that then was no better time to get going and look into starting a new life here in NZ. One of the big reasons behind my split was my desire to try living overseas, which she wanted absolutely no part of. I got a job in New Plymouth (which wasn't easy and took enormous amounts of effort), got the visa and booked the flights.

Now it is the end of the year, I've been in the job for a month, I'm getting to know the area (New Plymouth and Taranaki) and I'm feeling very underwhelmed. However it is not all bad so I'll start with some good things:

The Good

1) Less people and less traffic - although I come from a small rural town where there isn't really that many people, there are far less here and although we get a little bit of traffic on one particular road at 4-5pm it's nothing compared to home. I like that. That said, I never really experienced ridiculous levels of traffic back home.

2) I'm right next to the sea which is a novelty and offers great views.

3) In NZ you're never that far from some really nice scenic views and some great walks. Although the UK isn't too bad if you get outside the cities.

4) It's much more laid back. I don't feel like I'm ruled by deadlines.

5) The people are in general more friendly - some exceptions

The Bad

1) Plain and simple I'm homesick. I miss friends and family and with it being the Christmas period perhaps this is amplified. Yes, I haven't been here long and I really do hope the feelings fade but at the moment I'm wondering if I jumped into this too soon following my breakup. I had been to New Zealand on holiday and whilst it was fantastic, it was a holiday. Due to that I had a very different view as everyday was fun exploring and I was less concerned about money. Now I am here living a normal life just like back home. I get up every day, go to work, come home and repeat.

2) Being lonely. I’m good with my own company sometimes but I am struggling to find new friends. There isn't an abundance of clubs here and the ones that do exist don't really excite me. I'm really into tramping but many members of the local club are much older (I'm late 30's) so that's unlikely to result in any great friendships. Visiting local bars isn't doing much good - people don't often want to chat and I'm not naturally gifted at approaching people. I do rent an apartment which means I live alone. Had I come here in my 20’s then I’d have no problem flatting. I simply do not want to do that at my age before anyone suggests it.

3) The job is a step down. I don't feel as if it will really challenge me in the way I had hoped. The processes and systems are far behind anything I've ever seen, and some people have a negative attitude towards becoming more efficient because that's how they have always done it. I had a better paying, more involved and challenging job in the UK. However I do like the majority of people I work with and because of the loneliness I'm feeling, it is often the best part of the day even if I do work more hours for less money!

4) It's not cheap. Yes, I know that most people don't come to NZ to be well off. I can easily get by on what I earn but only just. I would love to be able to buy a house one day and due to spending so much of my mortgage savings on coming here and not being able to top those savings up as fast as I could in the UK, it's going to take me a long time!

5) Less people. I listed that as a good thing but as a single guy the number of single women is far less here and due to the small-town nature, I don't yet know who knows who...so I must be careful. To some this point might seem minor but I don't want to be on my own forever and that really links well with the point about being lonely.

I'm not going to go on. 5 good and bad points is enough. But to me the bad outweighs the good right now. If time machines where invented would I go back 6 months and still do what I did? I do know I would most definitely have taken a few weeks off work to come over to personally see the town and area (I had never been to this area on my previous visit to NZ) for myself. Had I have done; I might have held off until something else came along. I feel like I rushed into this although I am determined to give it a really good go. If things haven't improved after a year then maybe, I'll head back to the UK. Maybe then once I get back and everyone stops asking me why I’d go back I can say I gave it a go…? And explain that their postcard expectations of NZ life might be wrong.

But if I meet someone, settle down, make lots of great friends then perhaps I’ll never look back. There’s a lot that may still happen in the future. I’m trying to stay optimistic. I just can’t say I’m overly blown away so far.
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Old Dec 29th 2019, 2:42 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

1) running away from a problem (failed relationship) even halfway round the world, isn't going to make it go away, it will simply follow you and is the worst reason in the world to migrate.

2) I'm not going to give any other advice about giving it time, join a club, invite workmates round, yada yada yada.....just do what you know you want to do and go home. There's no point to prove, no shame in admitting it's not what you hoped. There might be a financial cost but that'll pass. Go home and be happy
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Old Dec 29th 2019, 4:20 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

Perhaps Wellington might suit a young single gent a little better than New Plymouth? Just a thought, as there are a lot of beautiful areas in NZ but are more geared towards young families. As you have said you are young (ish hehe), free and single so move around, try different areas and if it's still not for you then reassess your situation.

And yes you are right, loneliness and home sickness are worse at times like Christmas. I feel a bit homesick around this time even though I'm happy with life in NZ. Hope things look up in the new year 😊
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Old Dec 29th 2019, 4:25 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

Originally Posted by JM0102 View Post
I just can’t say I’m overly blown away so far.
I have been here for eleven years now,

I think the approach to overcoming the despair I felt about what I had moved myself into was when I decided to resign myself to the limitations and just put up with it.
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Old Dec 29th 2019, 8:14 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

Agree, mostly, with Justcol but would urge not to make any decisions just yet. Six weeks isn't a whole lot of time to see if this is going to work or not.

All of the issues you have described are common for new migrants to New Zealand to experience and there is a large volume of threads about it.

First, calculate how much money it will take to ensure that you are able to return to the UK and re-establish yourself - then take that money and put it in a lockbox. Unfortunately, another common theme is that migrants spend a large part of their savings getting set up, the low salaries in NZ don't help them to earn that back, and then if it doesn't work they don't have the financial resources available to leave and move back to the UK. So they get trapped. You don't want that to be you.

Second, what kind of visa are you on? Agree with Pom_Chch that this may - partly - be a venue problem. Smaller towns in this part of the world can be very difficult for young-ish singles. Are you tied to your employer on a work visa, or do you have Permanent Residence and can move wherever you like?

Third, and I usually tell migrants this regardless of whatever country they are going to, set some "first-year benchmarks" to help you ascertain whether the move really is working or not, and be prepared to pull the plug if not. Generally I advise a year if people's finances can hold out that long. It is kind of like a stock trade - you should never buy into a trade unless you have already set your exit point beforehand, so you don't let emotion cloud your judgment. So, 9 months from now, you will be making xyz in income with abc left over for savings, your career will have progressed def amount, your social life will be at ghi stage. What's the minimum you can live with on those factors, 9 months from now? Circling back to point #1 - don't go another 9 months if your finances won't allow without eating into your "return to UK" lockbox. If you start approaching that point beforehand, then make the call to go back. As well - as your move is not off to a good start - if you don't start to feel better about things in relatively short order (two or three months?) then yes it may be worth truncating early.

Fourth, keep maintaining your social, personal and professional contacts in the UK.

Fifth, the local rugby and cricket clubs may be the place to go in rural NZ, rather than tramping, for socialising even if you don't know anything about those sports.

Good luck. Migrating is one of the hardest things most people will ever do in their lives.
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Old Dec 30th 2019, 6:09 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

Originally Posted by Pom_Chch View Post
Perhaps Wellington might suit a young single gent a little better than New Plymouth? Just a thought, as there are a lot of beautiful areas in NZ but are more geared towards young families. As you have said you are young (ish hehe), free and single so move around, try different areas and if it's still not for you then reassess your situation.

And yes you are right, loneliness and home sickness are worse at times like Christmas. I feel a bit homesick around this time even though I'm happy with life in NZ. Hope things look up in the new year 😊
Agreed.

You need a bigger city in my opinion. Wellington is amazing! My partner is 36 and has made a few friends a similar age at work, they often go out on Fridays and he also volunteers at Wellington Phoenix (nz's only pro football team!) and has also made friends through this.

Obviously it helps that we are in a couple, but we still made friends on our own and often hang out together and separately with them. Honestly though I'd give it more time, Christmas is a hard time to be away from home for anyone.
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Old Dec 30th 2019, 7:30 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

Thank you for the replies and opinions.

To clarify one thing, I didn't move out here to escape any problems in the UK aside from having to hear about Brexit everyday - joke! I moved here because I had wanted to for years. It just so happens that finding myself single finally set me free to be able to do so. Afterall you only get one go at life so I was never going to not try.

I think when it really boils down to it, it is the location in which I find myself which is the issue. I can get over the being away from family at xmas thing. New Plymouth is a small town where everybody knows each other and it's quite cliquey. Honestly, if I had taken the time to visit prior to receiving or accepting the job offer I would have held off for something in Wellington or Auckland. And that is why I kick myself. I had the means to do so but didn’t. However, finding companies willing to offer a position was incredibly challenging being on the other side of the world and yes, I did jump at the first opportunity. Maybe that’s a good lesson learnt.

I’m still determined to give it a good go. Things may change and I may find myself finding a few friends. I am in total agreement that 6 weeks is not long enough to decide yet. As for the job, yes, it is not quite my dream role, but it is good enough to keep me busy. And the way I look at it is that I can always progress later on.

I have plenty of money to get home if I choose to and to set myself back up in the UK so that is not a concern. My role demands that I know my numbers so don’t worry, I know exactly how much I spend/can save.

I am here on a work to residence visa and from how I understand it, I must work continuously in the same job for 2 years before I can apply for residency and because of the massive carrot on the stick I’d really like to see this through.

As carcajou pointed out, migrating is one of the hardest things most people will ever do in their lives – couldn’t agree more.
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Old Dec 30th 2019, 8:11 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

I know, it is tough and I feel for you, xmas is a hard time for many.
I can't offer advice in visas but you sound like you have yourself sorted there and your plan sounds good.
I do agree about cities, I'm single here this time (10 years ago was partnered in Nz but we went back to Oz), I still have friends here from before that I've stayed friends with and it can still be tough being single as most are partnered, but it was the same for me in Oz.
I do find it easier to blend in a city on my own rather than a smaller place, but I still get hit with the loneliness here and there and I'm a lot older than you. So hopefully if you have decided after you get your residence in a couple of years you could try a bigger city.
I have no advice about hobbies, clubs or meeting the opposite sex as I don't fare well there!

Edited to add: I absolutely love Christchurch and the South Island, even more this time around than last time!

Last edited by Mishclark; Dec 30th 2019 at 8:13 am. Reason: Adding text
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Old Dec 31st 2019, 9:34 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

been here 7years and the mantra is lower your expectations (on everything) started out as a joke but soon became a day to day thought process.
Being single at the moment does mean you do only have yourself to think about which is a plus. Maybe have a look on FB to see if there are any groups for your area., theres a New Plymouth Singles Group.
ny work colleagues you could ask out right where you could meet like minded people for a beer/chat/etc ?
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Old Dec 31st 2019, 10:20 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

Originally Posted by JM0102 View Post
Thank you for the replies and opinions.

To clarify one thing, I didn't move out here to escape any problems in the UK aside from having to hear about Brexit everyday - joke! I moved here because I had wanted to for years. It just so happens that finding myself single finally set me free to be able to do so. Afterall you only get one go at life so I was never going to not try.

I think when it really boils down to it, it is the location in which I find myself which is the issue. I can get over the being away from family at xmas thing. New Plymouth is a small town where everybody knows each other and it's quite cliquey. Honestly, if I had taken the time to visit prior to receiving or accepting the job offer I would have held off for something in Wellington or Auckland. And that is why I kick myself. I had the means to do so but didn’t. However, finding companies willing to offer a position was incredibly challenging being on the other side of the world and yes, I did jump at the first opportunity. Maybe that’s a good lesson learnt.

I’m still determined to give it a good go. Things may change and I may find myself finding a few friends. I am in total agreement that 6 weeks is not long enough to decide yet. As for the job, yes, it is not quite my dream role, but it is good enough to keep me busy. And the way I look at it is that I can always progress later on.

I have plenty of money to get home if I choose to and to set myself back up in the UK so that is not a concern. My role demands that I know my numbers so don’t worry, I know exactly how much I spend/can save.

I am here on a work to residence visa and from how I understand it, I must work continuously in the same job for 2 years before I can apply for residency and because of the massive carrot on the stick I’d really like to see this through.

As carcajou pointed out, migrating is one of the hardest things most people will ever do in their lives – couldn’t agree more.
Well I see the outlines of a plan in your posts.

First, it is very difficult to get a job when you are overseas and have no New Zealand experience, so that you accomplished that is a plus in your column. Not an insubstantial one.

Second, it is much, much, much easier to get a job when you are on the ground in New Zealand, and have relevant New Zealand experience, than when you are overseas. Two years with the same employer and some good references, plus the fact that in small town NZ everyone at your workplace will have friends or relatives who live in Auckland and Wellington, also gives you a network to tap into. They will understand a young-ish single person wanting to leave New Plymouth after doing a few years there. I would not be concerned at all about your ability to find a new job in Auckland or Wellington after two years of positive work experience in New Plymouth.

So, if you can make it to the two year mark without losing your mind, I think you have the makings of a viable long-term plan.

Please take seriously what I said about lockbox-ing your "return to UK" funds and also about sport clubs. Social life in small towns in this part of the world revolve around sport even if you don't have any ability. That is where you will meet people your age.
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Old Jan 2nd 2020, 1:46 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

It is normal to want to feel comfortable and safe but that often comes at a price. My advice is only to stop looking over your shoulder and lamenting on the past or pondering the future, enjoy what you have right here and now. If you tell yourself you are going to commit to this in a you'll defined way make it far easier on yourself.
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Old Jan 3rd 2020, 12:28 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

To the OP... You have mentioned two countries - Britain and NZ. But there are a couple of hundred more available (well, available to different degrees), so if you have some money in the bank why not wander around the world for a while and suss out what's there? Make your own luck, pretty much. Even if you're in your 30s, it's not too late to take a year off for some budget travel. One place to start might be Vanuatu or one of the Polynesian islands. If you're open to employment, and not too fussy, you just might get lucky.

My own experience is forty years old and not worth much now, and my son's is a good ten or twelve years old (he got to manage a hippies' hotel in Guatemala for six months while the owner was back in Canada), but the principle holds. Give it a go - budget style. I should also mention that a former girlfriend of his - in her 30s - is intending to go wandering again shortly, when her current contract ends. She hasn't decided where, yet, but it doesn't really matter, does it?!
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Old Jan 3rd 2020, 3:06 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

Originally Posted by JM0102 View Post

I am here on a work to residence visa and from how I understand it, I must work continuously in the same job for 2 years before I can apply for residency and because of the massive carrot on the stick I’d really like to see this through.
If you now have the points for a skilled migrant residency visa as you are now here and working and the money for the fees then go for that now. It will free you up to work anywhere in NZ if you so choose.

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Old Jan 3rd 2020, 4:51 am
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Default Re: Have I made a big mistake?

Originally Posted by BEVS View Post
If you now have the points for a skilled migrant residency visa as you are now here and working and the money for the fees then go for that now. It will free you up to work anywhere in NZ if you so choose.

Agree if you can swap out your current visa for a more/faster permanent one then do that
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