Saturday, November 15, 2014

How New Zealand Changed our Perspective on Life

When we first decided to take a leap of faith and move to New
Zealand we had no idea the impact it would have on our lives. Over the
last year we’ve stepped outside our comfort zone in all aspects of our
lives and have been on the most amazing journey of adventure and

So as we passed our 1 year anniversary in one of the most beautiful
country’s in the world, we began to reflect on the impact it has had on
our lives and how much we’ve grown both personally and as a couple.

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Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

It was June 2013 and although we had our New Zealand work
Visa’s lined up, our attempts to secure jobs before we left Canada had
failed and were faced with an important decision. Either delay our plans
to leave until at least one of us found a job or throw all caution to
the wind and sell everything in hopes of it all working out in the end.

Check out: Top thrill Seeking things to do in New Zealand
The thought of leaving our perfectly good jobs, our friends and
family and the security we had established was daunting but we knew it
was the right decision. This was our first and biggest step outside our
comfort zone and into the unknown to a country we had never been to with
no guarantees ahead.

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And it didn’t stop there. Known as the adventure capital of the
world, New Zealand’s adventure culture has created numerous activities
that have pushed us to the edge of our comfort zone time and time again.
Whether it was bungy jumping, mountaineering or hiking the Milford
Track in torrential rain ñ our limits have been tested over and over
again and we continue to come out stronger every time.

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Collect memories not things

When we had to pack our lives into 2 suitcases each it forced us to
prioritize the “things” in our lives and rid ourselves of a lot of
“stuff” we had collected over the years. Having sold pretty much
everything we owned, we started our new life in New Zealand with just a
suitcase full of clothes and some camping gear.

One of the biggest lessons we’ve learning since moving here is that
you really donít need all that “stuff”. Being immersed in a country full
of natural beauty, we have learned to prioritize collecting memories
over things. Although I would love to have my juicer on a Sunday morning
or our 3 bedroom house for entertaining guests, this journey has made
us live a more simple life enriched in so many other ways than with
material things. We continue to spend our time and money on adventures
that create lasting memories not temporary joy.

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 Reconnecting with Nature

Having grown up in a small town, surrounded by woods and nature I’ve
always enjoyed the simpler life and never aspired to live in a large
urban city. However, when I ended up living near the concrete jungle of
Toronto and commuting to work for 6 years I forgot what it was like to
explore the outdoors and how much more alive I feel when I do.

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Living in New Zealand has rekindled our love for being immersed in
nature and solidified our decision to never let our jobs dictate where
we live or how we live. I need the ocean. I love the mountains – and
grass and trees are way more fun than bustling city streets.

It all started with our first Great Walk along the Abel Tasman Coast
Track. Although our bodies weren’t accustom to hiking 6-9hrs a day,
being surrounded by the beautiful forest and beaches, ignited a passion
to explore more of these incredible walks and push ourselves to new

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The incredible natural beauty in New Zealand continues to inspire us.
One of our favorite memories has been†hiking the Routeburn Track with
Jordan’s parents and if our video of this Great Walk doesn’t get you
stoked†to get out and explore – I don’t know what will!

Appreciate your own backyard

When you’re immersed in a new place, everything is new and exciting.
Last September we landed in New Zealand with no responsibilities and
complete freedom to explore. We spent the first 6 weeks touring the
North and South Islands which allowed us to get a taste for what this
beautiful country had to offer, and since then, haven’t stopped making
use of every ounce of spare time.

A year later many New Zealanders have told us we’ve seen more of the
country than most Kiwis and it’s been a wake-up call for them to do the
same. Something about being in a new country gives you the drive to
explore, which is why we’ve pushed to do as much as we can right now
knowing how dangerous and easy it is to get into a comfortable routine
and say ëWeíll do it some other timeí.

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No matter where you live in the world, it can be easy to take for
granted what’s in your own backyard. Now being away from Canada we
realize how much we have yet to explore there and has fuelled a desire
to go back someday and ensure we appreciate the natural beauty and
culture of our own country.

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Work is more than making money

Although I loved my job back in Canada, I never realized how formal
the work culture was until I moved to New Zealand. There is a high
priority placed on work-life balance here and it is completely
acceptable (and encouraged) to not take your laptop home, not answer
emails after 5pm or on weekends and that holidays are where you can
completely unplug.

I also really enjoy the social culture I have at my job. I look
forward to ëbeer oíclockí every Friday where I can enjoy a drink and
snacks with co-workers, getting a chance to get to know them on a more
personal level. Whether it’s a bake-off in the office, Zorb soccer ‘team
building’, or the Christmas beach party, there’s always an excuse to
take the time to have some fun. If I could take one lesson back to
Canada is would be to remove the ëstiffnessí of the workplace and let
people experience what a little less structure can bring†to the
enjoyment of work.

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Living abroad is a true relationship test

Packing up your lives and moving to a country youíve never been,
where you know no one, can be a challenge for any couple. Living out of a
car for 6 weeks can be too! Being so far away from your family and
friends, that person becomes an even bigger part of your life. I truly
feel you canít get to know yourself or your partner completely until you
have had to†depend on that person in all aspects of your life.†This
journey has made us an even stronger couple ñ one whoís seen each
otherís biggest highs and toughest lows and despite spending a
significant amount of time together, we still look forward to seeing
each other at the end of the day and even go out of our way to schedule
lunch dates on Fridays.

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New found passion

When we first started our blog and video web series, it was a way for
us to share our adventures with friends and family back home. Little
did we know this part-time hobby would become our passion and ignite a
creative side of†us we didn’t know was there. I’m an engineer by
training and never considered myself much of a writer, but when it came
to sharing our personal stories, the words just flowed out of me.
Jordan’s incredible eye for detail and his passion for film making has
truly blossomed over the last year. Our website, Stoked for Saturday,
has become a new creative outlet that allows us to share our journey
with the world and also provides us†a personal journal of our lives that
we’ll cherish forever.

Have you experienced a similar life changing event that’s brought you new perspective on life?

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and Jordan left Canada in September 2013 to embark on a new life living
and working in†New Zealand. With a passion for adventure and the
outdoors, they’ve taken full advantage of their weekends and holidays to
explore their backyard and hope to inspire others to do the same.
From bungy jumping to mountaineering, they look for ways to step
outside their comfort zone and love to live life to the fullest!

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