Hi everyone! I've only joined the forum just now but it already looks surprisingly great!
A short introduction of myself:
I'm a 22-year-old guy from Denmark, I have a brother at 24. I'm not much of an independent traveler yet. My first "great trip" was to Brazil, I went there for two months to visit a guy I had known some weeks while he was in Denmark. I could speak english with him and some of his friends, but I also found great interest in learning some portuguese. After that, I really got a taste for traveling.
But instead of going head-on with backpacking, I got a job as a tour guide. With this job I've been 5 months in North Africa (Tunisia), 6 months on Tenerife (Canarian island), and 7 months in Sicily, southern Italy. This job has had it's upsides and downsides. Basically what I do is I greet tourists in the airport, go with them to their hotel, give them service/information, and do some excursions with them, showing historical sites and so on.
Which has these pros:
a) I never have to take decision about my life, the company chooses where I have to be stationed (though I can make requests), they get my apartment, give me a low salary and an acceptable insurance
b) Through work I have learned a lot about what can happen while traveling, about airports, insurances, and so on
But I've never really cut the chords or really felt I was experiencing either of those places like a local would, because:
a) I speak with scandinavian clients almost every day, and the scandinavian mentality is always "fresh" in my mind.
b) I live alone or with scandinavian colleagues. There is VERY little time for mingling with the locals, nor is there really time to look closer at the local language or the culture.
So now I've quit my job, and I want to do something else. I'm not sure what, but I want to go soon (like in less than two months).
I've though much about beginning mu journey in New Zealand, staying there for a couple of months, possibly with some work on the side, and then going to some of the indonesian islands, the philippines, China, or whatever I feel like at the time.
But I would be lying if I said I was going just for sight seeing and adventures. To be honest, I hope for some soul-searching (and I've gotten the impression many on this forum began independent travels for the same reason). Perhaps it isn't realistic having any work with only two months in NZ, while also having a look around.
What (I think) I'm looking for is a place where I can truly let go of the mentality I'm raised with. Go somewhere I don't have to be anybody special, a place where the mentality is more open-minded. And I suppose this is why I'm so intrigued by NZ, I hear the people there are so humble and modest!
So if you've read all of this, thank you very much for your time, and if you have any comments or suggestions for me, also thanks in advance
One thing I would love to hear opinions on, although I'm sure they are going to vary:
I would definitely try some extreme sports/activities while in NZ, but they are really not the main reason I'm going traveling (see reasons mentioned above). Are the people friendly, is it really easy to meet backpackers during the summer months, is it easy to find jobs? Is the city life in Queenstown or Auckland nice enough to stick around for? All in all, how would you rate New Zealand as a destination if you took away all sorts of bungee jumping and glacial hikes?
[ Edit: Edited on 30-Oct-2010, at 13:10 by Pechanni ]