Why aren’t you career driven? What’s your future plan? 

As someone in their mid twenties still travelling, living in hostels and working jobs in hospitality, I get this a lot. Mostly from snotty nosed teenagers on gap years who have been handed everything in life. Damn millenials. 

When I was school I was career driven. It was bled into me that the only path worth taking was education. That as a smart-ish kid, university was my best option. That’s all well and good telling someone who is 16 that education is their pathway but when I was coming through a school where there were thirty girls in each class with 12 class in each year group; a fair few of us fell through the cracks when it came to getting genuine course advice and careers talks. 

I’m not blaming my teachers for my lack of success in the professional world but as someone who struggles to focus on the here and now, the freedom of picking from a huge range of subjects was overwhelming. And ultimately I made the wrong decision. 

As someone who went on to university and pretty much scored a nothing degree because it was where my interests lay, I have advice for the younger generation. 

University is not for everyone! University is for doctors, nurses, dentists, teachers. It’s for engineers and scientists. For accountants and physiotherapists. And if at the age of 16-18 you have your mind set on a profession such as that, then by all means go to University. 

But for other people, look at apprenticeships, trades, manual skills, because later on in life after you studied sociology or media you will look back and wish you had a profession like this. Why? Because they give you freedom. Just as much as doctors are in demand worldwide, well so are plumbers, so are electricians, chefs and beauticians. 

Don’t be sold into buying a degree that won’t get you places because your school and your government want to immerse you into thousands of pounds worth of debt before you even know what you want to do with your life. 

When I finished university it was the hieght of the econmic recession in Ireland and the UK. Even finding  bar work was hard, as someone with a degree it made life even harder. ‘You’re overqualified!’ Because when you find a profession you’ll leave our company. Which was true. 

Instead I saved and packed my bags and left. And when I arrived in other countries there were so many people my age who had graduated doing the same thing and feeling the same way. Cheated. Because in countries like Australia and America and Canada if you have a skill you have the opportunity to live in paradise. If you have a degree it makes life harder to get sponsorship around the world with next to no experience. 

And you can’t get experience unless you have experience. So test the water and reflect on what you want to do with your life and don’t buy into a future that was never meant for you. 

The Kiwi Experience: The best way around New Zealand. 

A  dull day in Auckland has the capacity for any hearty soul to seek out action and adventure. Known as someone who often finds that in a bar, when the cost of a drink is almost equivalent to an hours wage, I personally couldn’t find the heart to drown my boredom in booze. For a change I found myself in Peterpans adventure travel store instead. 
Greeted by the lovely Ben I immediately informed him that I wanted a kiwi experience pass, one that was heading straight out of Auckland ASAP. You see, its not just Aucklands weather that was pretty dull that day but honestly, Auckland as a whole failed to capture my imagination that other cities like New York, Sydney and even London had always managed to inspire in me. The joy of fitting all your belongings into a rather large suitcase means that when you don’t like somewhere you can simply leave. The beauty of pikey life eh? 

Now the lovely Ben was a fountain of knowledge in advising me on the most sought our destinations in New Zealand and the adventure activities that both the North and South Islands have to offer. Telling me about the best deals of the week Ben set out on planning my trip with immediate effect. When we worked out the pass I needed at a great price,  he asked me when I would like to leave. 

‘Tomorrow!’ 

When I assured Ben that I was, n fact, deadly serious, he set about seeing if I could get on the bus heading North out of Auckland for first thing in the morning. And I could. Great Success!

Super Funky Bus pass bought and paid for. 

Ben, the absolute travel genius that he was, showed me leaflet after leaflet of the exciting adventure available to me when I travelled with kiwi. Not only that but he animatedly went through each destination recounting his own experiences and I was sold. 

With a mountain of activities booked and my bus booked for the morning I left Pererpans Auckland with adventure on my mind and my credit card on fire. Good job Ben. 


The major advantage of having my activities prepaid was obvious when I first got on the bus. With many of my fellow travellers worrying if they would have to miss some activities to be able to afford to eat I was at a major advantage. 

The beauty of The Kiwi Experience is that if you aren’t on limited time and find a spot that you like you simply have to call the bus office and tell them that you’re staying somewhere for a few more days. To get back on, give them a ring and they’ll put you on the next available bus out of there. As the Kiwi expression goes, sweet as! 

Most of the buses also have wifi on board, albeit a very minimal amount. The bus drivers are also incrediably helpful and informative. They pass around clipboards allowing travellers to sign up for that days activities and also help you arrange your accommodation with their partner hostels which are often Base and Nomads or smaller hostels when you visit the more remote parts of New Zealand. The beauty of Kiwi means that you are guaranteed limited accommodation in each destination, unless you would like to stay for more than the minimum timeframe. That means when places like Taupo and Queenstown are super busy you know you’re guaranteed a bed for the night. 

If you really want to make the most of your trip to New Zealand, you want to meet other open and friendly backpackers keen for a beer and a good time, then Kiwi is the way to travel. Regardless of whether your trip is long or short term they have so many options that let you experience the best that New Zealand has to offer. 

Sweet as! 

That ‘oh shit’ moment when you’re travelling. 

Everyone gets them, everyone who has travelled for an extended period of time. Jumping from city to city. Job to job. Bunk bed to bunk bed. Its the day you wake up and question everything you are doing. It’s the day you wake up with the prospect of  another basic breakfast, a cheap meal. Where you’re paying over the odds for accommodation just so you can stay away from home a little longer. 

It’s the day where you wake up and think, where is this taking me? Where am I going? What have I gained? 

So on days like that what do you do? 

1) Get out and about. Walk around the city, a lake, a park, a mountain. Visit friends. Look for a job. Keep busy. 

2) Plan your next route. Get excited about a new adventure. Another road. Another journey. 

3) Call home and talk about it. Ask your family or your friends and get their opinions. 

4) Write a list. I know (rolls eyes) a list? But really… write list. Weigh up the pro’s and con’s of where you are and where you want to be. 

5) Do something you don’t normally do. Go for a night out with new people. Sit with someone else at dinner. Talk to a few locals. 

6) Is this where you want to be? Would you settle here? 

Yes? Look for work and a place and stabilise yourself for a while! 

No? See what there is to see and then leave. Silly. 

Travel bug can turn to travel blues very quickly when your on your own and feeling down. If you’ve exhausted every option and home seems like the place to be then maybe it’s time! Think of everything you’ve accomplished. Of everywhere you have been and remember that admitting that it’s time to go home isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s just another step on your journey. 

Things they should tell you when leaving Australia…

  • No matter where you wander, no matter where you roam you will forever compare every city to Sydney and Melbourne. Even in Wellington NZ, the home of New Zealand’s quirk and vibes, you’ll remember the streets of Melbourne, and the suburbs of Sydney’s coolest spots like Newtown and Bondi. 
  • Every traveller you meet, you will urge (almost bully) to visit the land down under as soon as they get the chance.

  • Nobody cares! Nobody at home cares that you’ve been to Australia, that you’ve lived in Australia, that Australia’s the coolest place ever. And why would they care if the inclination to visit that gorgeous country has never driven them to do it
  • You won’t be able to stop talking about it. ‘When I was in Cairns..’, ‘When I was working in Sydney…’, ‘My friends in Australia..’.         But you never should stop talking about it. Because what people don’t realise is that not only does travelling change you as a person. For example, maybe your accent isn’t as strong or you’ve made new friends or you’ve seen new things. But it changes your mindset too. You become more open to new possibilities, you’re more spontaneous, more out-going and open to cultures and people you would never have dreamed of talking to. Suddenly travelling across a country is nothing because you’ve travelled across the world.

  • You’ll miss the little things too. Like Tim-Tams, vegemite, going out without a jacket and arguing if flip-flops are called Thongs. (They’re flip-flops) 
  •  You’ll miss the social acceptability of the word C#%T, and other terms like fuckwit. Better hope you haven’t picked up the habit or you’ll get the wooden spoon to your ass when you get home. 
  • Most of all, they should tell you that you’ll feel homesick for somewhere that isn’t home. No matter how long or short a time spent in Oz, the country, culture and diversity of the people has this  incredible ability of sucking you in. Australia is home to so many different walks of life and for good reason, the beautiful beaches, the welcoming lifestyle, make Australia feel like home.