Jacinta Radford, 24, was heartbroken when Covid-19 ruined her OE plans. Until she used her travel savings to buy her first home.
Jacinta Radford had quit her job, booked the OE of her dreams and was set to fly out on May 8.
Then Covid-19 hit.
It was heartbreaking for the 24-year-old to have her plans crumble beneath her, until she focused on achieving her other dream: owning a home.
“I go through moments when I’m, like, it would be cool to be overseas,” Radford said. “Then I realise we’re actually very safe and happy in little old New Zealand. It was hard to see that at the beginning.”
In July, the New Plymouth teacher became the owner of a two-bedroom brick house in Vogeltown, which now has a vegetable garden, patio, and feels like home.
* Student exchanges are off for now due to the coronavirus, but some are optimistic they’ll eventually return
* Coronavirus: Is this the end of the traditional Kiwi OE?
* Bad news for returning Kiwis – rush on MIQ bookings means you won’t get out until 2021
It cost her $375,000, and with her $30,000 travel savings, $20,000 Kiwisaver, and a little help from her parents, she had a deposit.
She’s happy now, but it took a few tears to get there.
“A lot of good things have come out of it,” Radford said. “But it took me a while to realise it was a good thing.”
She’d always wanted to move overseas, but started seriously looking in September last year.
“I felt like it was time to go explore the world, not stay in the place I’d spent most of my life.”
In the months that followed she handed in her resignation to the school she was working at and booked guided trips across Europe, Russia and Scandinavia.
Her visas and flights were sorted, and she was set to go May 8, and travel before settling in London.
“Basically I’d packed up and I was off,” she said. “And then it all went downhill.”
At the start of March, Radford started getting emails from travel group organisations asking if she wanted to postpone due to Covid-19 spreading fast overseas.
“I thought ‘OK, I won’t go in May, I’ll go in July. My trip will still happen, but it will look different’.”
She held onto hope for a long time but eventually realised she wouldn’t be travelling anytime soon, so she applied for a job at another primary school – which she landed and loves.
“When I kind of came to terms with the fact I wasn’t going overseas, I knew I had a fair amount of money saved up that was going to help me with my travel,” she said. “I thought, ‘well what else can I do