'The Great Migration South'
A little editorial I wrote for a local magazine about the trials and tribulations of trying to find accommodation in the bustling centre of Queenstown. As all residents, visitors and new comers to the bustling town of Queenstown understand, finding accommodation here is one of the most challenging parts of arriving. With bags big enough to rival the surrounding mountains strapped to their backs and extra luggage hanging off every available limb, seasoned back packers can often be spotted staggering from one hostel to the next, searching in vain to find one with a spare bed available. (“You MUST book ahead!” The residents of Queenstown cry in anguish, shaking their head at the clueless newbies). Once a space to finally rest their weary heads has been secured (and at the bargain price of $40+ a night), the next stage of the great migration south can begin- the act of joining every single social media page with the words ‘Queenstown’ and ‘accommodation’ in the title, and hounding it day and night, waiting for the sacred notification that a spare room is available (often at prices that will make you flinch, bills not included and a very loose use of the term ‘ten minutes walk to town’). And then the real fun begins. There is a real delicate art to house hunting; depending on the size of the house and the chattiness of its occupants, you have around seven minutes to make yourself appear a presentable, funny, cool, clean, quiet, organised, respectful and fun individual, all whilst trying to scope out your new potential flatmates, strike the correct balance between chatty and overbearing, ask probing questions about the house and work out if this is a place you could picture yourself living for the foreseeable future. It feels strangely like a job interview as you stumble over your words to defend your lack of a job and your cheeks ache from the huge smile you’ve plastered across your face- but when you get the message that you’ve got the room, the memory of all the angst seems to all fade away. You unpack your clothes while you gaze at your new majestic view of the mountains, and the backpack that once cut permanent grooves into your shoulders becomes a distant memory, tucked safely away under your bed. You start to establish your own ‘local’ spots in Queenstown, and it feels in the blink of an eye you are sat outside your favourite café, cashing in on your locals discount and you spot a helpless new comer, staggering from one hostel to the next. And then you, a now seasoned resident of Queenstown, shake your head at the clueless newbie and cry in anguish, ‘You MUST book ahead!”