Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Getting a working holiday visa


If you are Canadian, American, British (sigh), have a European passport or come from other well perceived countries, getting visas and a working holiday visa is easier than say if you were born in Iran or China. I don't make up the rules, but I probably should and be in control of more of the world but that is a different post altogether. Getting a working holiday visa is essentially very easy. Answer maybe a 25 minute questionnaire asking you health questions, what industry you work in, criminal record questions, if you have enough money to leave their country, what scheme you are applying under and other easy questions. 

HOWEVER, to get my visa, it was more difficult than this. So I guess certain countries have specific criteria you need to meet to be allowed entry into their country. NZ for some reason is very concerned with tuberculosis. I'm not sure why but they probably have a good reason. All I know about TB is that it is some sort of chest/lung infection that is contagious. On their website they state that if you are from a list of countries, you are NOT a threat to have been infected. Canada is obviously on the list of low TB because...well..Canada is civilized and amazing. If you are from a country that is more prone to this disease or have spent 3 or more months traveling or living in one of these countries you need to get a chest X-ray that proves you are sufficiently healthy. Thailand is on this list. So go to your local hospital, get an X-ray and be on your way? OF COURSE NOT! You need to go to a certain "panel" doctor. So obviously there are no panel doctors near me so I had 15 days to get an appointment, get the X-ray to their embassy and await the results. Sort of long story short, flew to Bangkok, taxi to the  hospital, no TB and sent off my X-ray in the mail to their embassy. 10 days later had my working holiday visa completed.

If you want to travel but still need to work like me, like a commoner, working visas are proving to be a great option. Super easy to get, easier if you haven't been to one of these high TB countries (http://glossary.immigration.govt.nz/LowTBRiskCountry.htm)
and hopefully a great experience. This is what I have to say about that. Enjoy your day. 70 days until New Zealand.
http://travel.cnn.com/best-new-zealand-003221



“Not all those who wander are lost.” 

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, February 11, 2013

Seems like a good time to spend a year in


A little place called Pakistan.
I hear it is beautiful this time of year and super safe.

But seriously, next on tap is: New Zealand (Pakistan does look beautiful though. Possible 2014 candidate).
Was planning on going home for the summer, seeing my friends and family, eating delicious street meet, working, trying to save money then going somewhere in the fall. Then one day I thought about going to New Zealand, finding a job in Queenstown and snowboarding as much as possible. It took about a day to change my mind. 
Was thinking about NZ before I came to Thailand and might as well keep the good times going while I'm away from home. My first thought was to only spend the winter there but the more I thought about it and read about it, I might as well stay for as long as the government will let me. People have great things to say about the place and should be a good way to spend a year. I looked into flights, they are under $500 from Singapore and getting to Singapore is pretty inexpensive. Will go towards the end of April, beginning of May. Once the winter is over I will head North and see what the world has in store. Not too worried about finding a career type job while I'm there, just want to support myself, discover a new place and meet cool people.
I figured if I was going to go home and get a random job and try and save money, I'd rather do that in a completely new country and do something new. On my initial to do list will be to get a job, find a place to live and snowboard as much as I can. There is a crazy amount of activities going on all the time like kayaking, mountain biking, zorbing, wineries, touring Middle Earth, Maori culture, rugby games, sky diving, bungee jumping, glacier climbing and other fun things. Trying to keep my expectations in check and maximize the rest of my time in Thailand. If you ever wanted to visit/work in NZ, now would be a good excuse to book a flight. I will continue to write mediocre things for you to pass the time that are hopefully non-injury related. Again, thanks for staying in touch, if you have any NZ advice, send me a message.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the 

things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off 

the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade 

winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain 









Sunday, February 3, 2013

Raise your expectations for this one!


Are your expectations high yet? K raise them a bit more. You are in for a treat. Here we go!

If you have been here before, you should know not to have high expectations of my writing or what you find here so the first mistake is on you.
I've thought about writing a post about this but unsure how to tackle it. It is something I believe strongly in but sort of hard to explain and you might disagree. To summarize my opinion is that I think having expectations isn't the best way to live our lives. So I pretty much tricked you. Second mistake. 
I think having expectations about a place or destination isn't good. I can see having expectations in people but also don't think this is the proper course to take.

Let's go through a scenario that I experienced. I was in New Haven, Connecticut for my cousin Shelly's wedding. Super cool, had kegs of beer, oven pizza-mobile that turned into a gelato machine. Looked something like this.










Success. After the wedding I explored the area close to the hotel where my family was staying. Go to a few places, have one beer and start to head home. As is the case when you end a night, I was hungry. Walked by a few pizza places, nothing caught my eye. I ask someone on the street where a good place to grab some food is. He points me in a direction and tells me to turn right. Turn right, got it. Walk down the street a bit, make a hard right and 30 seconds later I am standing outside a small, hobbit like establishment with a line of people outside the door. Ask someone standing outside what the deal was, told me that they sell incredible hamburgers inside and is worth the wait. I have nowhere to go, I wait. Wait maybe 30 minutes, maybe less. Once inside, it is a super tiny, with only a handful of tables, some sort of hamburger cooking device from possibly the 1930's. To say the place had character would be a tad of an understatement. On some of the tables had carvings imprinted in them from college students long gone and quite possibly dead. Their menu was very basic and could only order a few items. So grabbed 2 hamburgers and they were unbelievable. Well, I only ate one, a homeless guy hustled me out of my other one, then asked me for $10.


Essentially, my expectations for that meal were non-existent. I was happy to just to get food and turned out to be one of the birthplaces of the hamburger. This fact is apparently disputed and I don't really understand it. It is one of the first places to sell hamburgers in the world. And I ate there by accident and I remember it to this day. No expectations. Check it out if this interests you:

http://www.louislunch.com/history.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamburger

Have you ever noticed how New Year's usually isn't very fun and that it is is filled with drama and disappointment? It can be fun and isn't all bad but for the most part the celebration doesn't meet the expectation. Maybe that is because we start talking about New Year's in October or even earlier. I bet someone reading this right now already has New Year's plans.  Our expectations are sky high.

The downside to having no expectations is that people like to get excited, helps them get through the day and allows them to daydream. I'm not saying having a negative attitude is the key; it's good to have fun/new things to look forward to but for me I like to take it one day at at time. Tomorrow will get here soon enough. If today wasn't good, tomorrow will probably even it out. And if tomorrow isn't good, the next day will. Call it cautious optimism.
Do what you like, this is only my philosophy, feel free to tell me what you think. Enjoy your week everyone, should have a post within the next week about my plans for the rest of 2013. Oh and have fun watching the Super Bowl, eating great food and drinking water, good thing people don't have high expectations for the game.....

Here are two more articles about expectations if you want to read more:

http://zenhabits.net/light/

http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/expectations/


"There is a difference between expectations and aspirations" Alex Kapranos.