[Repeat post taken from our New Zealand travel blog revealing our decision to go to Australia]
we have an important news announcement to make, which might come as little bit of a surprise or shock. But before you start having a panic, please read the whole blog post as we have spent a lot of time trying to explain everything in as much detail as possible. We feel we owe you at least that much.
Ben and I have decided that at the end of our year in New Zealand, we will not be returning to Europe/ Canada as planned, but go to Australia instead. Not as part of an extended gap year or holiday, but for more serious reasons, which you will hopefully be able to understand:
Through out our travels across New Zealand, we have been haunted with many worries about the future. See, we have been actively looking for jobs around the world since December and all the answers that were returned to us were negative: "You don't have enough work experience" or "Your qualifications are non-transferrable" or "Your skills do not match our criteria" or "We are not in a position/ do not have sufficient funds to hire new employers" or "Our company is making cuts at the moment". And so on, and so on. And the news we are receiving from the media, as well as family and friends from Europe has been very worrying. It has become frustrating and nerve-wrecking. Some countries are still picking up the pieces after the wrath of the economic recession, whereas most of the countries are worse off then they were before. Add to that, the fact that we belong to the generation which has been most pushed to go to university and the fight to combat unemployment becomes even harsher. And after years of investing our time and energy into our studies, we are definitely not ready to waste it all to live on the dole claiming benefits. And leeching off our families would in the first instance be horrible, but also not help us any further.
So after pushing our job search ever further along the globe, the advice we continued to get from everyone was "go to Australia, there is a reason why it is named the Land of Plenty."
Australia has an excellent economy, proven by last week's excess profits of no less than $2 billion, which have been given out to Australia's citizens. Every family has received $2000 per (school-attending) child, which is inspiring. It is a country that looks after its people and it is a country desperate for new employees, with a huge demand for young people with degrees and an eagerness to work. The job opportunities are wide-ranging and the salary is very tempting, but most of all: our chances would be greater than in any other country. Ben might even be in with a chance to start a career in engineering, which is very important as it has been a while since we graduated and we don't want our degrees to become outdated. That being said: we are being realistic about it: if we have to start off by doing odd jobs such as working in factories, bar-tending, cleaning etc. we will welcome it with open arms. And if we can climb the ladder, that would of course be even better. The main point is that we would really like to stand on our own two (or four, in this case) feet and save enough money to start a life for ourselves, maybe even pay off part of our student loans and of course visit our families back home again as soon as we can.
We have applied for a working holiday visa, which has been granted without a problem. These will entitle us to be in Australia for one year allowing us to work full-time whenever needed. We also attended the "OZ Jobs Expo" in Auckland last weekend, where big Australian companies were recruiting new employees and advertising tempting careers. It was well worth going there as we made numerous contacts, were given lots of advice on where our best chances were and it definitely turned our little world slightly upside down. We had a few regions in mind, but everyone kept giving us different advice. We faced a long brainstorming-session, which seemed endless and with our time in New Zealand slowly running out, we had to come to a decision as soon as possible.
OZ Jobs Expo
We have weighed all our other options and have at long last decided that the Northern Territory (NT) and the Queensland Region (QLD) would give us the best chances. Darwin (NT) especially is going through a major economic boom and the representatives of the region at the 'OZ Jobs Work Expo' have told us that the unemployment rate is currently at 1.5%, with that percentage mostly being made of people with disabilities or illnesses, or people that are not wanting to work. The region will be creating about 20 000 jobs in the next five years and on top of that, a major $34 billion gas project has just been launched to extract natural gas from beneath the sea. The right work ethic and an eagerness to work is what apparently guarantees you a job and if that is the case, we would be silly not to give it a go. Unfortunately, flights from Auckland to Darwin are very expensive, so we will have to split the journey up according to what works best for our small budget. We have therefore decided to fly into Brisbane (QLD) instead and spend a while exploring before we catch another flight to the Northern Territory. Our flights have been booked for Wednesday, 23rd of May. This may seem like short notice, but if we do not leave soon, we will end up talking ourselves out of the idea. It is after all a big risk we are taking. Anyway, we have organised to stay with a host-family through HelpX near Brisbane, where we shall be helping out until we leave to go to Darwin on the Saturday, 2nd of June. There we will hopefully be starting off with helping out some host-families as well, just to give us time to acclimatise to the area and the heat and to make some contacts before trying to find work. We haven't yet sussed it all out, but we will cross that bridge when we get there. Luckily for us, we have quite a few options available to keep us going.
Auckland - Brisbane (23rd May) Brisbane - Darwin (2nd June)
It is not at all what we had in mind and coming to this decision has been hard: we have had to allow ourselves a lot of time to wrap our heads around the idea and make peace with the fact that life does not always get you what you want. And as much as it pains us that we will be away from our families for even longer than planned, we hope that they will realise that we are doing this out of necessity. If it is any consolation, we will be more than happy to start another "travel blog" and we have been told that internet access and mobile phone reception are far superior than in sleepy New Zealand. The blog might not be as detailed and precise as this one, but we promise that we will keep you up to date, wherever we end up! Please try not to judge us - we have had to go through enough struggles and disappointments to get to New Zealand and we know what we are doing. As someone close to our hearts always tells us: "As long as you have each other, you have everything".