Via Vincenzo Gioberti, Florence

Papers Please

The first draft of this was slightly more cynical, you should never be afraid to sleep on it.

Words you cant always take back. It stemmed from my general insecurity that I may have missed out on spending some quality time in a part of the world I have now become fond of.

I’m shying away from using the OE or Overseas Experience moniker because in my mind it cheapens it for me. It denotes you will travel, have a wonderful time and then come crashing back to the real world, leaving you to hang on to a warm ember when the cold of your drone-like existence folds back around you like you never left. At least that’s what happened to me.


Its winter here, I’m one tragic event away from wearing a cape and fighting crime, okay? Well I would if i could just get this cat off my lap.

(I mentioned this was the toned down version, right?)

However with major life experiences they can also be a catalyst for change.I thought long and hard about what I wanted out of life, it wasn’t money.

I had saved for a business I could never quite decide on or a deposit on a house that inflated prices further inched away. I had far too many gadgets and distractions and an ever growing pile of shame in my Steam list. Money was not a motivator any more.

I realized that doing my job for double my salary wouldn’t make me fulfilled or keep me enthused to be working there either.

I would rather milk goats in Tuscany than file another report!



So I made a graceful as possible exit from a job closing in on a decade of tenure.

I had made many friends there and it taught me so much, but not a healthy environment in terms of passion or fulfillment.

I thought about what I wanted out of life, jobs are usually the support mechanism for this and don’t often align (unless determined or lucky) with what we want out of life, which changes  overtime as we learn about ourselves. Discovering what you don’t want is just as important as finding what you do want.

We are all figuratively selling our time, in trade for something. Make sure you are trading it for something you are passionate about that will help achieve your dreams. Otherwise you just end up with a Scrooge McDuck money pile to swim in.

Arrrrgh! My spine! Good thing I can afford healthcare!


I also know I am my own worst enemy, I fall into a routine, I stagnate, I question my worth.

This is when I need my inner drill Sargent to to indoctrinate me with positivity and affirm my talents rather than fishing for others to do this, ( which is a bit manipulative really, seeking validation through others is dis-empowering, but it is human nature after all ) Jumpstarting myself with fresh experiences seems to work pretty well, as human beings we seem to be suckers for novelty.

Pick a direction and head for it, I won’t be afraid to take detours or change course entirely if its not what I need or want.

Porto Venere, Tuscany, underestimating the lack of an ozone hole

The great reveal…

My intention is to travel as extensively as my tourist Visa’s allow, learn as much about the World of Winecraft(tm) in as many countries as possible, document as much of this while still remaining “in the moment”.

Under Schengen visa rules “Explore as many places as you like for 3 months and don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.” I dislike the idea of doing rushed hit and run tourism and would prefer to spend more unhurried time exploring each place. The reality is also for return tickets to and from Europe each time from nz is prohibitively expensive, the airfare is often half the expense of the trip. The envy I have for anyone dwelling in that area cannot be described.Understanding European visa territories is a graduate degree level of research past the basic Schengen rules.


We are through the lookinglass now gentlemen…


Although I am too old (36 ha!) to qualify for a 18-30 working visa through Europe, New Zealand’s pre-existing bi lateral visa waver agreements with many major countries in the EU allow up to 3 months in *each* of the selected countries.

As clarified here

Under these terms an NZ citizen could travel for quite some time as long as they have means to support themselves financially. Also I discovered with a bit of research Georgia has a walk in 360 day visa for a few countries mine included, allowing time to “reset”.

It is a profoundly beautiful country which also boasts some of the worlds oldest wine producing heritage dating back more than 7000 years! I am struck by the generosity of this countries policy which I’m sure contributes to its economy, please take note rest of Europe.

This whole adventure may at best worst case scenario see me slinking back home out of money, going back to the same industry wondering what possessed me to undertake such a foolish endeavor in the first place and at worst having my organs harvested while I’m knocked out in a bathtub full of ice.



I don’t think so however, I cannot see how one way or the other this wont be a deeply profound experience, one I will never regret, am I going to be on my deathbed saying “If I only had more money, then I could die happy!”

( You may argue I could hypothetically buy a life saving operation to extend my time, but if not to experience more things with this time when I am at an age to least appreciate them, then for what reason?)

I have been trading my Time and Experience for Money.

Now I intend to trade my Money for Experience and Time.


The streets of Carrara, paved in marble

The streets of Carrara, paved in marble



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