Last year, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life. As a young, 20-something professional I’d managed to land an awesome job as part of the WebIQ team at Excite Media – it was brilliant to begin with. Until I was forced to decide between my passion and my career.
The calm before the storm
Last July I went on a two week holiday with my partner to New Zealand’s south island. We spent our time hiking around Mt. Cook and then skiing in Queenstown and Wanaka. As we were travelling around, we couldn’t help but fall in love with the incredible scenery – from mountains to glaciers to pristine blue lakes. We couldn’t believe that this stunning country was only a 3 hour flight from Brisbane! When we had to board the plane to come home, we both agreed that we had to come back.
8 months later and we were packing up our bags, saying goodbye to our families and moving to Queenstown.
Moving mountains to pursue my dream
My partner and I had always been into photography, so after seeing the diverse landscape that New Zealand had to offer, we knew it would be a great opportunity to pursue our hobby and passion; astrophotography. Not only is the country naturally beautiful, but it also has the best dark skies in the world – as passionate astrophotographers this was a major attraction for us. We saw this new move in our lives as the perfect way to combine our love for photography with our desire for travel and adventure.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth
It was incredibly nerve-racking having to tell my friends, family and work colleagues that I would be taking off to another country. Of course there were tears and the occasional confessional but we had really committed our energies to this – there was no going back.
There was a lot of uncertainty about where we were going to be living, if we would find a place to rent, if we would make a good group of friends, how would we get jobs. Sadly, photography doesn’t always pay the bills.
“When I finally plucked up the courage I sat down with my boss, Shane, and I poured my heart out.”
By this time, I’d worked for Excite Media for over a year. I’d developed good relationships with the team and my clients and I wasn’t ready to leave that all behind, but I had to. When I finally plucked up the courage I sat down with my boss, Shane, and I poured my heart out and explained why this move was so important to me. Shane looked at me, shocked, but explained that he understood and he wished he could have done the same thing when he was younger.
“We’re not letting you go that easy!”
Shane rallied the troops, he brought in the people who made things happen and explained my situation. Before I knew it, I was offered the opportunity to stay on with Excite and work from abroad. I could have my cake and eat it too! The movers and shakers at Excite did everything they could to support me in achieving my dream.
“After seeing my partner have to walk away from his career in television, I felt very fortunate that I work for a company that is so willing to help their staff follow their passions.”
I didn’t have to worry about finding a new job anymore! This was music to my ears! I would keep working in a job that I love and I could still pursue my passion. After seeing my partner have to walk away from his career in television, I felt very fortunate that I work for a company that is so willing to help their staff follow their passions.
Before I settled down in Queenstown, I wanted to firstly do some travelling around New Zealand as there were so many places that I hadn’t been to yet. Shane was more than willing to let me have this time off to explore before I started working again.
“We managed to see volcanoes, glow worm caves, geothermal hot spots, sweeping coastlines, amazing wildlife and went on some of the best hiking trails in the world.”
My partner and I went on a campervan trip and travelled over 8000kms around the north and south island. We managed to see volcanoes, glow worm caves, geothermal hot spots, sweeping coastlines, amazing wildlife and went on some of the best hiking trails in the world.
After 40 days in the campervan, we were sad that the road trip had to come to an end, but we were excited about finding a place to live (with a proper bed and shower!). We found a beautiful house to live in about 10 mins out of Queenstown on a mountain with no neighbours and bought a 4WD so that we could continue to access the remote and wild locations that New Zealand is famous for.
Everyday I’m jugglin’
I have been working from New Zealand for several months now and have been really enjoying the whole experience.
“I still have some free time in the afternoons to be able to go out on adventures – whether it be to go photographing, hiking or skiing!”
During the day I can easily complete all of my work from home and still be able to contact my colleagues and clients over the phone or through email and Skype. I still have some free time in the afternoons to be able to go out on adventures – whether it be to go photographing, hiking or skiing!
I have an ideal work/life balance that I couldn’t have imagined without the help of Excite Media. I’m excited to see where the journey will take me next as I look forward to continuing my travels.