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*You need to play this track while reading this post. It really adds to it!

 

The next update in my year of FREE is the part where I go ahead and chuck in my job. And that is exactly what I have done. 

I am sure that last year I was experiencing what is becoming more well known as a quarter-life crisis. Over the last five years I had put all this pressure on myself to be the best, the top, work hard, never disappoint or let anyone down – and suddenly all that pressure built up into overwhelm and insecurity.

I feel that since forever I have been encouraged to be my best (nothing wrong with that!), that I could be anything I wanted to be. It was expected that I went to university (not that I begrudge this at all!). It was the middle class expectation to be in a job that your parents are proud of, and can boast about at dinner parties “Oh Leah? Yes, she is working for xx – getting such great experience!”

When my parents were growing up, kids went to uni if they wanted to, or if they were highly academic (neither of mine did). It wasn’t expected. Working in a bank, or as a receptionist, or in a shop was a perfectly legitimate career – and to have the same job for 10 years was fine. Having a JOB, any job, was a sign of success. It was A-OK to just have a job -you didn’t necessarily need to have a CAREER.

Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed my years at uni and the career I have worked hard at so far. I loved working hard, long hours – and being busy and stressed by work seemed to be the way I showed that I was successful. Being made redundant from my first job and coming out unscathed with a fancy job lined up immediately in Sydney was just another feather in my cap. Eventually moving up the career ladder was what I WANTED.

Or so I thought.

Last year, the Quarter Life crisis was in full swing. Is this what I want? Do I even enjoy this work anymore? What If I have done all this study/career ladder climbing and it’s not me? I can’t start again can I? Do I even know what I am doing? I can’t believe these people are paying me to tell them stuff I am making up! Am I making it up? Do I know what I am talking about? I am too young to know what I am talking about!

So instead of trying to answer those questions, I threw myself back into it with gusto! I became even more of a “harry hardout”.

– I had this fancy job title, working for one of the countries top company’s, being flown around the world. TICK.
– I won the Young Practitioner of the Year. This was something I had my sights set on since I left uni, so I went out and DID it. TICK.
– I sat my APR course of study & exams, becoming one of the youngest APR qualified people in the country. Why? Coz I COULD dammit. TICK.

And how did I feel after all of that? Proud? Yeah. Satisfied? Not really. I still had the exact same questions – what am I DOING WITH MY LIFE? (I know, deep right?)

Right now, I don’t actually know what I want to DO anymore. I have lost the clarity and focus, and it all seems so fuzzy and inconsequential. I do know, that I don’t want my career choice to be the only thing that identifies me. I want quirks and hobbies and interests – and more than anything, I want to get away from it all and FREE myself to find out exactly what this job/career thing means to me. I am not scared that I don’t know what’s ahead, instead I take comfort knowing that the right thing will present itself to me. The right thing for me is out there.

So…what am I DOING about all this?

BIG NEWS (which has already been splashed all over twitter and facebook so you may quite possibly be more than well aware!) is that both Jase and I resigned from our jobs last week. We have a loose plan – fly to Vancouver at the beginning of May, and find work. Not career work – but some form of employment that pays the bills, and buys us a beer at the end of the week – be that in hospo, retail, admin – I don’t care. After six months or so, we want to head to one of the mountains, again get work – and learn to snowboard. We are calling a massive TIME OUT to just be us, have fun, and forget about all the pressures we both had. Time out to be FREE.

After a year, our tickets take us on to the UK where it is likely we will seek out jobs in our professions again (as we are both good at our jobs and it really would be silly to be on the bones of our arses when we could be making a few bob). I am hoping the year of freeing my mind will allow me to relax, destress, and get through this quarter-life crisis!

So I’m FREE, to do what I want, any old time!

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Well folks, I finally made it. I am writing this from my hotel room in New York City. Remember way back when I said it was one of my goals to get here for work – well, here I am!

But DAMN that’s a long flight! Throw in a bit of plane malfunction and flight changes, and about 28 hours later I made it to my hotel. The first Air New Zealand flight (AKL to SFO) was a dream – dinner, a couple of movies and then slept until they woke us up for breakfast. United Airlines? (SFO to JFK) – yeah, not so much. Middle seat, no individual tv screens, crap programming, no food…oh and did I mention plane malfunctions? yeah.

Anyway, after a good while of getting horizontal on the plushest bed ever, I was ready to face this:

View from my hotel room

My dear Mina (a native New Yorker who I studied with) came and picked me up in the afternoon. We quickly jumped on the subway and caught the Staten Island ferry right on dusk. The sky changed through amazing colours as we cruised past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty

The ferry ride was really cool – we stood outside both ways, and braved the icy wind (it’s about 3 degrees here). definitely needed the scarf & hat!

Mina & I on the Staten Island Ferry

By the time we returned the sun had gone down (4.30pm!) and the bright lights of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge were lighting up the sky. So beautiful! The Empire State Building is currently lit up in yellow, orange and red for Thanksgiving – I am waiting for it to change to red & green for Christmas!

Manhattan lights

We hopped off the ferry & headed uptown to Bryant Park (to see the cute Ice Skating Rink) and Times Square. The last time I was here was New Years Eve 2005 (the coolest night ever – but would never do it again!) so it was neat to see all the lights. So much has changed – there are new stores, new billboards and new lights. I love the hustle & bustle of it all!

Times Square!

We had soup, salad & breadsticks (felt weird to be ordering soup, but it was delicious!) from Olive Garden before heading home for the evening. I love how in NY state they are required to list the calories of every meal on the menu – makes you think twice about what you are ordering! haha!

Before I jumped out of the car, Mina gave me a gift bag filled with goodies to welcome me back to NYC. I wanted to share just how many items of awesomeness are in this wee bag:

Goodies!

– bottles of water (tap water = yukky)
– A notebook with a lovely letter from Mina
– snacks including chocolate covered pretzels – yummm
– socks to keep my tootsies warm
– A Michaels gift card (can’t WAIT to go to this store & get some stash)
– A bottle of wine
– A corkscrew to open the bottle of wine
– A christmas themed wine glass (so gorgeous!) to drink the wine in
– A subway map
– the T-Shirt from the 5K Thanksgiving run that I didn’t get to run due to flight changes 😦
– Gorgeous NYC embellishments (for when I get to put these pics down on paper!)
– A Mamma Mia CD……..

AND…..

– TICKETS TO SEE MAMMA MIA ON BROADWAY! YUSSS, I cannot wait for next Saturday night! I love Mamma Mia (refer the whole “sailing around the Greek Islands on the Mamma Mia tour” blog post) and seeing the show on BROADWAY no less will be amazing.

Best goody bag ever! Thanks Mina!!!

Ok, better get to bed – the working part of this trip starts tomorrow!

xx Leah

Last weekend we headed up to Auckland – on the train.

Most of our friends/ family thought we were slightly crazy. Yes, it was going to take us 12 HOURS to get to Auckland from Wellington – a distance we could fly in 1 hour (even the bus was faster – getting in to Auckland 2 hours earlier than the train, and cost $8 less).

But travelling by train was something that Jase and I both wanted to do – check out the countryside, sit back and relax and see where the train took us. It was an ADVENTURE!

Boarding the train

We were up bright and early to board The Overlander at 7am. A quick look around confirmed that yep, we were the only ones without grey hair!

Grey Grannies on the Overlander

Once we got going the scenery was beautiful. Some of the time the train followed along State Highway 1, but other times it ducked through countryside we had never glimpsed before. I spent most of the time like this…

Snapping pics out the window

We read the paper, our books, played cards, chatted, people watched. We went for a walk through all the carriages (a lot harder than it sounds, getting rocked & rollicked the whole way) and ended up at the open air part of the front carriage. I was enthralled by watching the tracks whizz by under the train…

Whizzing tracks

A highlight was going through the Rangitikei Gorge and then a tunnel while on the open air deck. Such great views!

Rangitikei Gorge

Jase & I

We were really impressed with the Overlander – they gave a wee commentary throughout the trip which meant we learnt lots about our own country as well. The Raurimu Spiral was definitely more interesting being on the train (rather than going to the lookout – which is up there on the list of Most Underwhelming New Zealand Attractions). The back of the train had an observation lounge where we sat for a while – a lovely place to share lunch with your fellow train goers 🙂

The view

We stopped at Ohakune for a pie & a coke (it’s what you do when you travel train styles apparently) and then we were on our way again. The scenery became more standard the closer we got to Auckland – and by 3pm I was ready to just hurry up and get there. The train stopped at Pukekohe, then Papakura, and then Middlemore and I was starting to groan, thinking we would be late into Auckland if we stopped at all the suburban train stations. But then we turned onto the eastern corridor, shot through the back of Mt Wellington, Kohimarama and then suddenly we were cruising into Britomart! Arrived right on time, 12 hours later to Auckland.

It was a great trip, really interesting and scenic, a wonderful service, stress free….but once was enough! 😉 Glad we have done it!

My favourite part of the trip? Seeing the matching Christmas jumpers that this gorgeous couple were sporting…GOLD.

Oh those matching jumpers!

Is it wrong that I have already bought some Martha Stewart Crafts stickers to use on a Rarotonga holiday layout…even though our trip to Raro isn’t until April next year???

But with stickers THIS cute, how could I resist?!

Martha Stewart Crafts – Tropical Drink & Snorkling Stickers

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