If you haven’t already realized this, Luca is very laid back and carefree. We call it the Italian curse. It is what I love and hate the most about him. He balances me, but at the same time drives me mad. A few days after Luca arrived we were discussing budget and Luca realized he did not have enough money to finish our tour of New Zealand before seeking work. When he told me this, part of me just wanted to scream at him. I had put so much time and effort into planning this trip and it was all getting ruined. I thought, “…and we just found this out now, because?” But, the other part of me said, “It’s okay. Let it go. Just go with the flow. No need to control everything. Have faith. It wasn’t meant to be. It will work out in the end.
I took advantage of the situation and decided to finally email all of the horse farms that I wanted to contact to see about work opportunities. Something was nagging me in the back of my head to do this for a while now. The first woman I emailed was Alycia Burton, a professional eventer, in New Zealand who is known for jumping over 5ft jumps without reins and a saddle (AKA Free Riding). I have idolized her since the first time I saw this video a year or so ago:
Her horsemanship, riding skills, and appreciation of beautiful things, in addition to just being a total badass, made me want to do everything I could to connect with her while I was in New Zealand. I knew she was most likely very busy and that my dream of meeting her was probably unrealistic, but I emailed her anyways because…why not?
In my email I asked her if she needed help around the farm, laid out all of my horsey skills (horse rider, groom, trainer, barn hand, ect.), and mentioned my marketing skills as well (graphic design, photography, website maintenance, social media, ect.).
She emailed me back within a few hours saying, “It is very strange that I am emailing you back right now because I get a ton of these requests every week but I do not think it is a co-incidence, as I was just about to advertise for another worker who has experience in the exact fields you have mentioned… I live in Christchurch. I am looking for someone to stay for 2 months – maybe more… You will have access to a car, a horse and lots of time off. I do not work people like they get worked in other barns – we are very laid back here and love life…This really is an opportunity of a life time and I get hundreds of people contacting me every month and there is normally only 1 opening a year. “
I read this email with my eyes wide and jaw dropped. “Are you kidding me?!?,” I thought, “How on earth do I get this lucky?” I ran into the next room and about knocked Luca over with my excitement. He was excited for me, supportive of the opportunity, and even asked if he could help out with videography. I emailed her back and here we are with a job for both of us starting mid-February.
Unfortunately, we will be cutting our New Zealand South Island tour short and will be saving these adventures for a later date. I also had to cancel my gig with Orepuki Horse Treks in March, but Elfie was very understanding and supportive when I emailed her. She emailed me back saying “No problem Katie. We are excited for you. We’ll figure it out. Best Wishes!” New Zealanders are amazing. Their way of living is relaxed because they don’t let the little things bother them and they focus on the big picture in life.
In the end, I really just planned our tour and workaway gig to feel more secure when moving to a different country. But plans change. I am reminded everyday that it is important to stay open, let go, and to go with the flow. Everything happens for a reason. When you open yourself up, things tend to just come together and fall into the places they should be.
So, “Why New Zealand?” Because it was calling me. Because the people are incredible. Because opportunities present themselves and I take them. Because I can’t believe the beautiful landscapes I see everyday. Because, because, because…the list goes on.