On one occasion, even before the coronavirus outbreak, I looked at the Instagram page of a British friend who had been posting from another Asian country almost every week. When I asked him how long he had been, he replied, “I’m in an intervening year.” This is how it is called in the West when someone leaves his job to travel for a whole year with the money he saves. “Well, that’s what I, as an eastern European, wouldn’t be able to do,” I thought a little angrily. Then I began researching and meeting Balint and Sassi, who had lived in New Zealand for 15 months. They tell you how they did it.
“During our college years, we’ve come up with an idea of how amazing it is to see the world,” Balint begins the report. Graduated from SOTE College of Sports Science and Sassi from BGF School of Tourism. “It sounds familiar, but skiing in France sparked a love for nature. Huge mountains, snowy pines… I felt I had to look for experiences like this.”
But why New Zealand? “We wanted to go to Norway or Sweden first to finish university there, but that was nothing,” Sassi took the floor. Then in 2016, we heard about New Zealand Working during the holidays Visa. ” This is one One year visa, which also grants a work permit, but you can work for an employer for a maximum of three months at a time, after which you have to continue. “The point of it all is that you make money locally which you then travel to. For example, if you work on a farm for 3 months, you will have enough money to travel freely to one of the most beautiful countries on earth for three months.”
Of course, it is not that simple. “The biggest difficulty is that it all depends on luck,” Balint says. “Only a hundred people from Hungary can get this visa each year, and since the application is opened at the same time, the site is constantly crashing and hundreds of places fill up in about 5 minutes.” Sassi and Balint tried for the first time in 2016, to no avail. “For the second time, we were very prepared, and we collected all the questions – so we were lucky and got the question.”
Such a trip, of course, involves a lot of practical preparation: separation at work, finding a tenant for an apartment, planning a new life. “And most important of all: We had to make a lot of money,” Balint says. “The requirement for the visa is that you have about 1 million forints per person in your bank account, because that’s how much you can spend two months in New Zealand if you can’t find a job properly at first. This can be checked upon entering the country.”
Then comes the moment of departure. “With a visa, you can work abroad, but that’s it. You have to organize everything for yourself,” says Sassi. When we walked out, we immediately bought a car – a seven-seater family car that has been converted into a camping lifestyle. , there are a lot of backpackers who travel to camping sites with these cars: Instead of a tent, your car is your bedroom, otherwise you use the kitchen and bathroom at the camp. We’ve been out for fifteen months and we’ve lived in our car for nine months.”
But what about work? “Part of the visa is that if you have been working in agriculture as a seasonal worker for at least three months, it can be extended to one year for a period of 15 months,” Balint says. “There was no doubt that we would choose this one, because we made it for the whole adventure for nature’s sake anyway.” Fortunately, finding a job is not difficult, a Working during the holidays Visa holders are building a complete infrastructure in New Zealand. “Our first job was a family fruit farm,” Sassi takes charge. Here, six Indian workers picked apples and pears, and we sorted, inspected and packed them. The average working time, five days a week, was eight hours a day.” Although it was monotonous and simple, it was still one of Bálint’s best experiences at work. “I have never seen this work ethic anywhere,” he recounts. before, nor do I value the staff that much.”
The boss’ wife baked us fresh cookies almost every morning, and on weekends we always got a little pocket money in addition to our salary to buy a beer or pizza.
During the fifteen months, Balint and Sassi were still working on their pine nursery and cranberry farm, spinning honey in a factory and picking peaches. “It is a very expensive country, yet we earned as much as we could to tour the country in the free months. They always got paid exactly and if there was extra work they always asked up front if it worked for us and it was also paid correctly. “It was a great feeling,” says Sassi.
And what’s the best thing about it all? “Well the adventure. “And the landscape,” says Balint, and after a little thought I added one more thing. “However, it is strange that at the end of each day they thanked us for our work. It is the simplest gesture in the world, but it is very important. It should be served at home, too.”