I’m not sure which hostel it was at, but somewhere in New Zealand I noticed an ad for overseas occupational therapists as there was a shortage in the country. Occupational therapy was on the ‘short list’ of professions, so if you were qualified, it would be relatively easy to find work and residence in New Zealand.
I had graduated as an occupational therapist only a few years before. While I wasn’t exactly smitten with the profession, this suddenly presented an opportunity to possibly stay in the country I’d come to love. As I travelled onwards, it moved to the back of my mind, until I saw the same ad at another hostel. I was nearing the end of my stay in New Zealand, so I decided that once I had arrived in Australia, where I was headed to next, I’d look into it. And I did.
I gave my mom the shock of her life. And myself too, actually. Because this could have been it. This could have been the turning point in my life. This could have been the biggest change ever, going from living in the Netherlands to packing up my still unfolding life and starting fresh in New Zealand. This could have meant building a life somewhere else by myself and laying down roots in a place I chose to be in.
Once in Australia (my second time there), I couldn’t find my groove. I initially planned on staying about 3 months, but I decided to go home sooner. I was missing New Zealand, I was processing this whole potential life changing event and I was also excited to start chasing my archaeological dream.
So it didn’t happen. I didn’t have enough of a click with the profession. I never went the extra mile to get properly qualified for New Zealand. I wasn’t about to throw my life around for something I wasn’t sure about either. And while life is full of uncertainties, I was sure this wasn’t it. But it could have been though, and the whole thought of that made me rack my brain.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I emigrated to the other side of the world back then. It’s impossible to predict what my life would have looked like, though I think my life right here and right now is pretty cool. Is it perfect? By no means. Does it matter? Nope!