A Different Kind of Working Holiday

Three years ago, in the middle of a New Zealand winter, I was hanging out with a group of fellow ski bums in Queenstown discussing everyone’s plans for after the season when my good friend from Wales asked where I was headed next. I told him my year visa was up in a few months, and I’d be returning to the States, most likely continuing on the track I’d put on hold to temporarily move abroad.

“What on earth would you want to do that for?” he responded.

I doubt that’s the first time in that year other people had challenged my plans, or I’d challenged them myself—where you’re going and where you’ve been is the relentless conversation among backpackers—but it was the first time anyone put it to me so bluntly and, for some reason, I’ve thought back to that conversation a hundred times.

In fact, my plans did change. Three years later, I’ve finished two and a half working holidays in Australia and New Zealand, a stint of travel around Southeast Asia, and increasingly believe that the lines distinguishing the “real world” from the one I’ve been living in are pretty vague… continue at Verge Magazine


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