Give a warm welcome to Chris West. What should you know about Chris? He’s a northerner, much more than a cheeky face, and obviously he’s a BUNACer through and through. Chris embarked upon our Work New Zealand ultimate programme in 2014, and he still gets post-travel Kiwi blues as he recalls back all of his adventures. Holding back the tears (we’re only half-joking) Chris chats to us about his year and a half living it up down under.
Let’s kick things off with a bang. Describe yourself in three words – be inventive Chris.
1. I 2. am 3. a 4. rebel
I give you 8/10 for effort there. So why did you initially want to go travelling? What made you make the leap and just do it?
To be honest I didn’t want to get in the rat race of climbing the career ladder just yet! I wanted to live and work in places rather than just see them as a tourist a week or two. I wanted to experience them as a proper local. I think only then can you really get to know a city or country.
Describe your travelling style. Do you prefer to travel solo or with someone else?
Solo travel, 100%! When you travel alone you meet people from all around the world and become friends with them because of the unique experience you share together. It’s not like at school where you are sort of just friends with people because you’ve known them for so long, when you’re travelling you have more freedom with who you socialise with. I’m still in contact with the great friends I met in various places. I live in London now and live with a Kiwi couple that I met in America.
Which BUNAC programme did you go on? Why did you choose it?
I went on BUNAC’s Work New Zealand Ultimate and ended up taking the group flight to get there. I wanted to break up the long haul flight and have a mini holiday before my working holiday officially started. We stopped over in Hong Kong and it was the best feeling not having anything to worry about for a while, just living in the moment. It was a great time.
What were your thoughts behind choosing Ultimate?
Well I wanted my first week to be full of loads of activities and social gatherings – which is what BUNAC’s fun week ‘ultimately’ is (winks). It definitely lived up to expectations. I’m petrified of heights and always have been but the bungee jump I did was an incredible way to throw myself into the deep end of what would be the most insane trip of my life.
What was your favourite city in New Zealand?
Queenstown – it’s in the South Island of New Zealand. It’s pretty much known for being the adventure capital of New Zealand, if not the world. It’s a thrill-seekers paradise full of adrenaline, and when you live there you feel part of a close community, particularly where I lived in the central part of the city. But then at the same time travellers pass through every day, so there’s always interesting people to meet.
What jobs did you do?
I worked part time in a surf and skate store. People would pass through there everyday, everyone is so friendly and will chat to you about anything, and I think it was the best way to meet people. I had a full time job working for a bar as well, the regulars and the locals became my best mates.
What would you say to convince someone to stop what they’re doing and take the plunge to work and travel New Zealand?
God, so many things! I left my door unlocked for the full year and a half that I lived there, even with the over a million people that pass through every year nothing ever happened. It’s just what people do, and it would never happen in big cities in the UK. I think that just sums up New Zealand as a whole. It’s safe, friendly and such amazing fun.
And lastly what’s your travelling philosophy? Make it memorable - no pressure.
When it’s good it’s great, when it’s bad it’s an experience.
You nailed it, Chris. Book onto BUNAC’s Work New Zealand programme now from £155 https://goo.gl/sWOaL6 and unleash a world of experiences on a working holiday. It’ll be your non-stop shop to lifelong memories and besties for the restie.
Alternatively, check out our other working holiday programmes here: https://goo.gl/YrqSvy