In her first post of the 'Donegal Woman Abroad' series, Nicole (Nikki) Monaghan from Bundoran looks back on the high and low points of moving to New Zealand.

Nikki overlooking Wellington Harbour

Nikki, aged 25, embarked on the journey of a lifetime after graduating last year when she and a friend set off across the world. Here, she tells Donegal Woman about the mix of emotions she felt to be leaving home for an exciting new world.

It has been six months since I left my small beautiful town of Bundoran for the big city lights of Wellington, New Zealand.

Before coming to New Zealand, I had only ever been on a plane twice. My first trip was to Spain for a wedding and then to New Zealand for a month to visit my extended family on my father’s side and also get a better understanding of where my father grew up.

After exploring New Zealand for a month it was then I realised there was so much more I wanted to see, do in this wonderful country!! There was a whole culture I had very little knowledge about, there were hikes I had only dreamt of, scenery that was waiting for me to witness. I had to go back!!

Assignments, exams and a dreaded dissertation had come and gone and in August 2016, I booked a one way flight with one of friends, Hannah who I met while completing my four year degree in Early Childhood Care and Education in IT Sligo. We decided on the 15th of November we would say our farewells and begin a journey of a lifetime.

The build up to our final weeks of being on Irish soil was hectic – almost a blur. Who knew packing was so hard!!!! Our whole lives in two separate suitcases – girls never travel light, so this was hard haha!!

The trip to the airport was the hardest thing I’ve done, those dreaded goodbyes, those last few pictures, and then the time had come to walk through the gates and to see what was waiting for us on the other side.

After 3 stops between – Frankfurt, Singapore and Christchurch which involved a lot of running around trying to make our next flight, refreshing ourselves up in the airport toilets, flight delays and crazy conversations due to the lack of sleep – 27 hours later, we had finally touched down in Wellington. Surprisingly we were welcomed with dull skies and heavy rain, which made us feel right at home.

We spent our first 2 weeks living between hostels, looking for jobs, houses to rent and getting to know the city and surrounding areas a little better, not to mention the nightlife, we’re Irish at the end of the day – it’s in our blood right? It was scary to think we were living in a capital city considering we both came from small towns but change is always good.

Follow Donegal Woman to catch the next stage of Nikki’s journey soon.