The 30 Day Retrospective

Disclaimer: The following was written over Days 30-35

It’s officially been 30 days in NZ! I arrived here on Feb 3 at 5-something AM, fresh off the plane, and here I am now on March 5th. So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about this (being on one’s own is good for getting thinking done), and the result is… a loosely structured retrospective, of sorts. What happened, what’s happening right now, what do I want to happen as I move forward. The idea is that I do this every 30 days, we’ll see how that goes…

Forewarning– I am using this as a personal guide, so it’s going to be honest! You may find things out about me which you’ve never known before. Feel free to comment on anything.

What happened in the last 30 days?

The Good:

– Moved to Auckland, which is an 18 hour time difference from Ottawa and took nearly 21 hours of flights to get to

– Found an apartment within a week of landing

– Went to:

  • Tiritiri Matangi
  • Waiheke island (multiple times!)
  • many amazing restaurants

– Ziplined through 400 year old forest

– Found appropriate venues at which to continue my fitness routine (and also joined a gym. Gasp!)

– Found a second apartment which is going to be my last Auckland apartment with cool flatmates and in a great location

– Got a HOP card and bank account with a minimum of fuss

– Coworked from a cool coworking space

– Met a lot of awesome people

– Received my first mail from Canada– a load of “real mail” which is being forwarded to me by Ottawa friends, but also a poster from Eyes on Walls which my team sent to me as a going-away gift, because they’re awesome.

The Bad:

– Had too much luggage to begin with (although, to be fair, it was one suitcase weighing 47.5lbs and two pieces of carryon) and just accumulated more Stuff once I was here

– Did not wear half the clothes I brought with me

– Did not apply for a bank account in advance

– Did not sort out a money transfer system in advance (I *just* got this sorted, it was a huge headache)

The ugly:

– My last week in Canada was high-stress, stupendously busy, and involved very little sleep, so I was playing catch-up for my first week here

– Did not adequately plan for paying bonds (apartment deposits) and two months’ worth of coworking fees in the first two weeks in addition to rent (ended up being close to ~$2000 NZD total).

What’s happening right now?

The Good:

– Working remotely turned out to be relatively similar to not working remotely, minus actual human contact with my team. We’ve sorted out a meeting schedule with times that suit everyone now.

– Living with good roommates in a centrally-located flat which is also affordable

– Scheduling fitness classes or other activities between 6-8pm almost every day so I’m not tempted to stay late at work and overwork

– Getting outdoors every weekend

– Trying not to accumulate so much Stuff– in fact, trying to get rid of enough stuff that I can get rid of a carryon bag before I leave Auckland

– Doing ok at keeping in touch. I’m not great at this, but at least people haven’t started sending out search parties for me.

The Bad:

– Still eating out way too much…

– Still haven’t worn a good chunk of the clothes I brought with me. One of the reasons is that I frontloaded on summer clothing, but arrived at the end of summer and now spend my days in a t-shirt and hoodie.

– I haven’t been sleeping well in the last two weeks, not sure why

– Also haven’t been waking up well in the last two weeks, also not sure why

The Ugly:

– There’s a lot of stress around being transitory in a city– always having to plan ahead in multiple ways and areas. Where am I going next? When/how? What arrangements need to be done for renting an apartment/working space/internet/luggage/travel? It’s always in the back of my head.

– Working off a 15″ (13″?) laptop screen all day is giving me bad headaches, especially on the weekend after 5 days’ work. Buying a monitor is impractical for the circumstances. Waking up with a headache makes me want to sleep all day…

– Still trying to overcome the inertia I feel once I’m home in the evenings, and more specifically, the mental block I have against writing emails. I’m halfway around the world, people (especially my family) want to hear from me, but I write emails all day and really don’t like writing them when I’m not working. My current temporary solution is to write my personal emails at my coworking space before starting work, because then at least I’m in the right mindset and I have a cup of coffee in front of me.

What’s going to happen in the next 30 days? (projected)

– Remain in Auckland at current flat and current coworking space

– Explore the islands up north and anything else which is only accessible from Auckland

– Establish fitness routine between gym, climbing gym, and other fitness activities

– Plan my next move (Wellington) wellin advance (see what I did there?)– decide how long I’m going to stay in a hostel, look at maps of the CBD before I get there, scope out possible apartments.

– Pare down my possessions so that I can ditch or pack one carryon bag before I leave Auckland

– Sort out my finances so I have funds in reserve for the start-up costs of moving to a new city and not have to worry about money transfers and exchange fees.


Right now it’s March 9th. I have spent 4 days writing this! Bad. This weekend I went to the horse races at Ellerslie. I’d never been to a horse race before, and to be honest, it was kind of boring after the first 3-4 races, but now I can say I’ve gone :P. The interesting thing was the fashion– people get reeeeeally dressed up for these races! I’ve never seen so many women with fascinators in their hair in one place. It’s a good thing the weather held up and it didn’t rain.

Today, I ran errands– did the washing, bought shampoo and shower gel and toothpaste (I ran out of all of them at once, very conveniently), and also managed to find a portable blender. I was hoping to find a little blender I could carry around with me while I travel, and finally found one– hopefully it lives up to my expectations! (If not, it was only $50 NZD). I would recommend buying a blender on a trip like this– it can serve multiple purposes: grinding, chopping, smoothing, and of course, blending. Good if you’re a smoothie person :P.

I also found a cookies-and-milk cafe today. Yes, its primary purpose is to serve freshly-baked cookies and milk. It’s called Moustache (appropriate, right?) and it’s on Wellesley Street and Queen. I read an article about it in a local magazine, and had to check it out. The founder/owner was only 20 when she opened it! And if my memory of the picture in the article was correct, she was the one who served me my hot chocolate (I had just had a really filling breakfast and couldn’t face a thick, chewy cookie). The whole place had that my-cookies-are-in-the-oven smell, and it was heavenly… for about 30 seconds, before it was a bit overwhelming :P. But I will definitely go back for a cookie one day when I’m not super full already. Just goes to show what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it, even when you’re “only” 20.

More to follow this week! Hope you all have a good weekend 🙂




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