Home' The Eye : August 1st 2013 Contents 4
The Eye 1.8.13
Countries just a bunny-hop away
The British dream: Andrew Wilson with his fiancee Natasha and daughter Amelia at a summer fair in Brockham, England.
From Southland to the bustling heart of the United Kingdom, Andrew Wilson has had an interesting journey to England.
Southlanders are a globe-
trotting bunch, so we have
started a new series called
Southlanders' Tales. We're
looking for Southlanders
overseas doing interesting
things or living in interesting
places. We'd also look at former
Southlanders achieving real
success elsewhere in New
Zealand. If you know of anyone,
please get in touch with us:
Email: email@example.com or
facebook post on:
Where are you?
What are you doing there?
After stints working in Australia
and Ireland I decided to do a
European van tour in 2009 with a
friend. We visited 17 European
countries in four months and
after that I was well and truly
bitten by the travel bug. A year
later I embarked on an overland
tour through eastern Africa
where I met a girl who would
eventually become my wife. She
was English, which inevitably
meant I would spend some time
living in England.
How long have your been living
In 2011, after renting my house
out in Southland and selling all of
my worldly possessions, I made
the big move to London. My
girlfriend and I spent the first
year here living with her parents
in a small town called
Leatherhead just outside London
until we could afford our own
place. We managed to get on the
property ladder and buy a nice
little two-bedroom house in
August last year, just in time for
my daughter to be born in
Was it hard to get a job?
As exciting as it was, it was also
incredibly daunting moving from
a quiet, rural upbringing to a city
of over 8 million people. After
doing a vast range of jobs in New
Zealand, from driving trucks to
shearing, I didn't have the
slightest idea what work I would
do once in London. I applied for
lots of different positions from
building to being a travel agent.
Frustration grew after never once
getting feedback from any of the
companies so I began doing odd
jobs for friends and family. The
jobs started to roll in once every
one caught wind of the ''know
how, can do'' Kiwi attitude.
Before long it had become a
fulltime job. For the first year a
substantial amount of my income
went towards buying tools and
getting set up. Two years on and I
have a fulltime worker with me,
doing all types of property
maintenance from gardening to
When will you move back to
Southland? Will you ever?
If and once I get UK citizenship
and can come and go as I please,
the three of us aim to move back
to New Zealand for a few years,
probably to the Central Otago
What is your favourite thing
about the place you are living
The travel opportunities. Within
an hour's flight I can be in
multiple different countries and
for a very low cost. I still find it
fascinating that many people will
work in one country and live in
another as the commutes can be
What is the weirdest, or coolest
thing, you have seen while you
have been there?
The history in the UK and Europe
is amazing. Coming from New
Zealand anything older the 150
years seems old but in the UK
there are things thousands of
years old and a lot of the houses
could be 300 to 400 years old with
people still living in them.
What do you miss about
The quiet roads. Open spaces,
friendliness of people and
hunting, I can't do any hunting of
any type here. And, of course, my
What don't you miss about
The bad storms, and lack of
opportunities to travel.
What was the hardest thing to
get used to over there?
The lack of space is by far the
hardest thing to get used to.
Everything is confined because
there are so many people.
Everything from the roads to the
houses are smaller than New
Zealand and can make you feel
very claustrophobic after a while.
Do you have an accent?
I have a Kiwi accent while I'm
What advice do you have for
Pack your bags and do some
travelling. Whether it be
Australia, Africa or Europe it's
always worth getting out and
exploring another part of the
world. There is so much to see
and do, it will really open your
eyes up to this diverse planet we
How does the cost of living
compare to New Zealand in
Cost of living in the UK is actually
cheaper than New Zealand when
it comes to food, power
telecommunications etc. The only
thing I have found more
expensive is petrol.
Have you travelled anywhere
else? If so, where was your
favourite place and why?
I've been to a few counties now
and it's very hard to name a
favourite as they are all unique in
their own way, like Italy for its
great food, Switzerland for its
cleanliness, Holland for the fact
drugs are legal, and Spain for its
bizarre festivals like running
with the bulls and the tomato
fight, but when it comes to
naming a favourite it would still
have to be New Zealand.
What would be your top
recommendations for places to
All of them. Every country on
earth has something to offer and
you take out of it what you put in.
For example, Scotland can cater
for someone that is wanting to go
visit some castles or someone that
wants to experience the nightlife
of Edinburgh, or some people may
like Ibiza for its relaxing beaches
whereas others may like to drink
their body weight in booze in
some of its many bars. Either
way, if you leave with a good
experience or a bad one, it's still
been an experience.
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