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Live From Avani Residences: Yarbash & His Permanent Residency Journey

Upon my arrival in New Zealand I knew I needed to meet people in order to thrive. When you’re in a new country your comfort level is directly related to the amount of friends you make. You experience an adjustment period with any move. Finding people willing to walk with you during that time makes that heaps better. 

One of those people who helped me find friends was Yarbash. 

I joined a meetup group, which is both a positive and negative for me. I’m great at meeting people…when in small groups. So going to a meetup where I would learn 30+ people would show up was overwhelming, yet good for me at the same time. Thankfully, Yarbash is much better at meeting people in large numbers than I. 

I distinctly remember laughingly telling him, “Don’t introduce me to everyone, because I cannot handle that. Instead filter out some people. That’ll help me get to know different people better!” 

Over time, Yarbash and I became friends and I was able to learn more about his life. Yarbash has traveled from India to New Zealand to start a different life. Emphasis on different, because as he mentions in the podcast, it’s not necessarily better. Part of the reason is because in order to secure this better life, he had to leave his wife and child behind. 

In this episode of The Live From Podcast! Yarbash and I talk about his home city and country, his journey to New Zealand, and where he is in the process securing permanent residency for his family and him. 

For Episode 1.02 click HERE and enjoy either in browser for find it on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 🙂

 

I’m Back in the US!…Now what?

It’s December 1st as I start to write this. I’m in Sacramento, California and just a few short months ago, I did not expect to be here. 

Coincidentally, I mentioned to my sister in January that it would be very cool to be with the family this year for the Christmas holiday. You see, because of jobs, traveling, and moving to another state, I physically been with my whole family on Christmas Day in eight years. 

That’s quite the streak if you ask me. 

In that discussion with my sister, I spoke while I was celebrating a birthday on a hike in Wanaka, New Zealand. I knew that in late October of this year, both my brother in law and sister would be celebrating their 40th. (Happy belated birthday!) Our father would be celebrating his 60th in mid December. (Happy early birthday dad). And finally, my 30th would come mid January. 

To me, spending a portion of December celebrating all of those birthdays and a Christmas seemed like the perfect combination! I spoke that idea thinking that I would have a job by then that would pay me enough to afford a round trip flight to California. 

However, plans changed!

Less than two months later, I was enclosed with 27 of the best people to be stuck with during a global pandemic. Stunningly, I didn’t know a single one of them more than a month before we spent lockdown together. Yet somehow, it was perfectly splendid. 

Once the locked ended in New Zealand, I started working. Putting my talents to work for various companies, I was taking my photography to anyone who would look at it. A local wine bar said yes to hosting an exhibition for my art! I found my way into a conversation with a member of the board of directors at the Art’s Centre in Christchurch. After the discussion, we agreed to photography studio operated by me. A studio of my own! What a dream come true.

However, plans changed.

Once I found out I needed to leave New Zealand, it was less than 12 hours that I had a fully fleshed out plan about leaving the country. It didn’t come easily. I spent plenty of time thinking and feeling the stress of booking a flight quickly. I received two potential offers for sponsorship on a working visa and therefore staying in New Zealand. But, just like I mentioned, earlier in the year I spoke my desire to be with my family this holiday. I had a feeling that I would need to be here. My sister was having a baby, and I would very much like to be present for that. 

The idea was come stay with my family through the holidays, then head back to my home in Denver for my birthday. I would search continuously for a job in Alaska, because my next adventure is to be the Pan American Highway, something I’ve spoken about with friends previously. 

However…plans changed.

Now, as I mentioned, I find myself sitting in my sister’s living room in South Sacramento, fully intent on staying in the area until summer; much longer than my original plan. I’ve started a job as a studio photographer. It’s not my studio, but it’s a studio nonetheless! I’m excited. 

I was fortunate to spend Thanksgiving with my family. Within a few days, I’ll be spending my first Christmas with the same loved ones. As I mentioned, it’s the first time since 2012. I don’t know if Santa brings presents at my age. Nevertheless, I’m excited.

As you know by now, I have The Live From Podcast which debuted last week! It’s thrilling for me to create something fresh and new. It’s one thing I didn’t find myself committing to until a friend said, “What are you waiting for, hit the record button now.” Truthfully, I’m excited.

 

So, to answer the question ‘what IS next?’ Well, right now, to be honest, the answer is both simple and complex, simultaneously. Part of the answer is I don’t fully know. The other part is I’m going to live out the plan I spoke out in January.

Right now, I’m going to be right here.

I had some great things going for me in New Zealand. However, things changed, as they do. Now, I have some different great things going for me in California. 

But I still have my eye on that Pan American Highway…

Introducing: The Live From Podcast!

One compliment I often receive is that my voice could be on a podcast. Some people even go further and say even my face was made for radio!

I taught English as a second language for a year and lived with a variety of citizens from other countries. If there’s one thing I’ve gained from those experiences, it’s speaking with a slower cadence and pronouncing my words more clearly. These traits combined made me a decent conversationalist for many non-native English speakers.

So this alone makes me qualified to have a podcast! (sarcasm intended)

I was previously making vlogs and posting them on my blog to work on video creating and editing. It was a blast. So much fun to create video content. I failed in so many ways, it was magical! I learned so much and have much more respect for those YouTube personalities.

When the lockdown of New Zealand happened in March, just like for many people, it halted everything in my life at that point.

Including my vlogging and blogging.

Despite my lack of online content, I created in other ways. I gave my photography commitment, which led to job opportunities. I spent more time playing the guitar. I spent much of my uni years learning instruments, so it felt nostalgic to play music again.

As time progressed, I started to crave creating something online yet again! That’s where this podcast idea came to mind. Spending lockdown with 28 other individuals all stuck together for about 6 weeks, you start having deeper conversations about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

You also have conversations about who has a crush on who.

 

As we all separated our different ways, I still wanted to have these similar conversations with the new people I interacted with. As the lockdown was lifted and I felt freer, I felt encouraged to start creating something new again.

Inspired by conversations, interesting facts about others, and traveling around New Zealand, I decided to create a podcast. If you think about it, pretty much everyone has a podcast these days, so why not make my own!

I mean…people say I have the voice for it.

So without further ado, allow me to introduce The Live From Podcast!

(Feel free to ooh and aah. Applause is also acceptable.)

What you’ll be hearing throughout this series are many different conversations. Some that are hilarious, some that are informational, others may be even encouraging. Each episode is unique as the individual(s) I’m speaking with. Most of which will be very easy to listen to as I attempt to keep them between 20-30 minutes.

Each episode that comes out will come with a companion post on my blog. I’ll post it for your reading pleasure just as the podcast will be posted for your listening pleasure. If you decide to subscribe just to the podcast on whichever app you listen to them, the blog will be unique and simply add information to the episode and can be read either before or after.

 

In this first episode, I have a guest host! Yes, you heard me correctly, a guest host!

Since you’ll constantly hear me asking questions to my guests, I thought it would be a great idea to start season one by someone asking me questions and set the record straight on what to expect with this podcast and the inspiration for it.

I have an excellent guest host on this episode: Juan Chavez. He is a father of three, married for 16 years, and engineer for 22 years. I am pleased to have him as my guest host. He is one of the most inquisitive people I know; excellent at tracking conversations and asking the right questions to further a topic. He is a great conversationalist and intellectual making him the perfect person to speak with.

He also happens to be the best brother-in-law I could’ve been given.

Are your ears ready? Because I’m excited to share this project with you. You can click this link here: https://anchor.fm/thelivefrompodcast and it’ll take you to my distributor Anchor. There you can click play to start the podcast or click on the icon for Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or any of the other ways to listen. Though you can simply just search for the podcast, it’ll be easier to find it via my link.

 

Oh, oh, oh. Don’t forget to subscribe on wherever you listen to podcasts!

The Expat Experience

Let me be the first to tell you, I LOVE BEING ON A PODCAST.

Seriously, it’s like one of my favorite things to do! You put together the plan, you go through the process, you practice the questions, then when you’re finally ready, you record the podcast.

So. Much. Fun.

Podcasts have taken the world by storm and it seems like everyone has one they want to recommend! I was at dinner the other day with a friend, and during a short pause, he looked at me quite seriously and asked, “What podcasts are you listening to?”

In this particular dinner, I mentioned The Expat Experience.

As an expat myself, I enjoy hearing other expat stories and being encouraged by what they say! I am so very fortunate, to have been a guest for 2 of such type of podcasts: Melanated Stamps, a podcast about American minorities traveling abroad. The other is The Expat Experience.

The Expat Experience was started by Amelia J., a Canadian who is currently living in Germany. When she posted in a digital nomad facebook group about starting a podcast, I leaped at the opportunity to add a topic that should be discussed, loneliness. Amelia agreed that it was a good topic and asked me to join the podcast for a discussion.

Here it is:

Wasn’t that great? Yeah! I think so too.

I’ve had many conversations with people about living abroad. As Amelia mentions, loneliness is a bit of a taboo topic amongst expats and nomads. But why?

Maybe because we’re supposed to be having the ‘time of our lives’?
Maybe because if admit to feeling lonely, we’re admitting defeat and therefore need to go back home?
Maybe because we don’t have a deep connection of friends to confess our true feelings?

Whatever the reason may be, I fully believe expression of truth allows for one to grow and be free.

I had a chance recently to visit with a man I consider to be a mentor. Let me rephrase that, he visited me! Here! IN NEW ZEALAND!! Conversing with him, seeing him, and hugging him was so warming to the soul.

He brought up another acquaintance who’s doing a journey from Cape Town to Cairo in Africa right now. I’m not sure what inspired him to do that kind of journey, but that is awesome. My mentor looked at me and asked me, “It’s gotta be lonely, right? This life that you guys have chosen.”

My answer: “Yes, all the time.”

They say everybody is fighting their own battle, so be kind because you don’t know what they are fighting. I can tell you right now, most expats and nomads are fighting loneliness.

This isn’t a post about “Woe is me! I’m so lonely in another country.”
This is an awareness post.

Depending on who you are, I want you to take away something from this podcast and post.

  • If you’re an expat feeling lonely, know you’re not alone. Plenty of expats and nomads around you are going through the same thing. It’s going to be okay. I promise! But you NEED to reach out to someone and open up. You don’t need to divulge every detail of your life, but be honest enough to say, I am struggling in this moment.
    Even if the burden you’re carrying is shared with someone who is also a nomad, and will leave your location in a hour/week/month, having the weight lifted off your shoulders for a moment is better than holding on to it alone longer than you need.
  • If you’re a person who has a friend living their dream abroad! Call them. Call them now. I don’t care what time it is, do it. They miss you. Conversations you have, don’t always have to be hours long. There is something precious about receiving a spontaneous text, voicemail, call that says, I’m just here to make sure you’re okay.
    Whether they confess their feelings to you or not, call them. Then do it again in a month. They’ll appreciate it.

  • If you’re about to start your journey prepare yourself. Send a message to your friends asking for their help before you need it. In fact, proof that I practice what I preach, this is what I wrote to my friends who named ourselves the #DolphinGang: (Yes, even in post with my friends, I am referred to, and I refer to myself, as Oneandonlynunez 🙂
    Don’t be discouraged, you’re going to ROCK THIS LIFESTYLE.

We’re not meant to live this life alone, support each other!