The latest edition in our ongoing series, made possible by MYOB, looks at why it sometimes pays to leave the rat race.

Climbing the dunes of Huacachina, Peru, or swimming with turtles in Akumal, Mexico, sound like dream holidays.

But Kiwi couple Rachel Choy and Jeremy Garland have gone one step further by turning this into their day jobs.

The two travel the world making digital marketing content for everything from major transportation businesses, to travel agents and adventure experience companies.


The pair met at the Christchurch Broadcasting School in 2010, moving up to Auckland post-graduation and taking up production jobs at one of the nation's largest reality TV production houses. It was just months in when they realised what had always been their dream jobs, were actually the stuff of nightmares.

"At one point we were doing 18-hour days," says Choy.

Jeremy Garland decided to leave the coroporate slog for something more adventurous. Photo/File.
Jeremy Garland decided to leave the coroporate slog for something more adventurous. Photo/File.

"They were telling us we couldn't have a lunch break anymore. Stuff that when you're 22 it's not really cool."

Garland adds: "I think it was partly the company and the industry that we were in at the time."

In 2014, having helped produce several television shows, the names of which would roll off the tongue of most ardent kiwi TV viewers, they decided enough was enough. The two got hitched, packed up their things and hit the road.

First stop was the UK where they had a successful run freelancing for media production companies in London. The newlyweds also took advantage of any opportunity they could to travel to the European continent launching a blog to document and share their experiences.

The pair told the Herald they were working 18-hour days before leaving New Zealand. Photo/File.
The pair told the Herald they were working 18-hour days before leaving New Zealand. Photo/File.

Their European excursions eventually gave rise to the realisation that putting down roots was simply not for them. With no plans about where they were going or for how long the pair set off on a globe-trotting journey, which has lasted 3 years and counting.

"What we liked about travelling without a rigid plan was discovering all the hidden spots along the way," says Choy.


With their geographic and cultural discoveries though, came an economic one. Life on holiday 24/7, 365 days a year was expensive. Utilising the skills they developed in television, the pair began reaching out to businesses across the world to produce promotional videos. Their first paid job was for a cruising company offering tours of Niagara Falls.

"It was a great way to work with a client on a smaller scale to test the waters. The next trip was with Eurail and then Busabout, in Eastern Europe. We had our A-game by then." says Choy.

The two have since travelled to more than 40 countries. Highlights include swimming with bio-luminescent plankton in Cambodia and lazing in a surreal desert oasis in Huacachina Peru. "We have spent every wedding anniversary in a different country," says Garland.

The couple have seen some incredible landmarks on their adventure. Photo/Supplied.
The couple have seen some incredible landmarks on their adventure. Photo/Supplied.

While the couple's experience within the Kiwi workplace has given rise to what they admit is an embarrassment of incredible experiences, their trials and tribulations in the Kiwi workforce are all too familiar and should sound an alarm for Kiwi businesses, according to Dr Gary Namie, a renowned U.S. psychologist who visited New Zealand last month for the Culture Safe workplace bullying conference in Wellington.

New Zealand boasts some of the highest working hours in the OECD, alongside some of the lowest wages and features the second-highest rate of workplace bullying in the developed world.

'"Employers need to understand they're violating the national health and safety act of 2015," says Namie. They're not only undermining the health of their employees, but also that of their business according to Namie.

The average cost to replace and retrain employees spiralling in excess of $10,000.

There's also the reality that young people are essential to business growth, with younger workers better equipped to understand their generation of purchasers and particularly skilled to navigate a world of automation, AI, and social media.

"It would be fair to say that some employers are really well prepared for Millennials and Gen Zs, with others woefully, not prepared at all." says Jane Kennelly the director of recruitment company Frog Recruitment.

She hastens to add employers who wish to keep the next generation employees will also have to be more open-minded when it comes to workplace flexibility and taking advantage of next generation skill sets. "[Employers] are going to miss out on something really fabulous if they don't flick the switch internally to appeal to the desires of these young people." says Kennelly

They're sentiments backed by economics. Years ago the work done by Choy and Garland would have been done by large institutional production houses. Look no further than the advertising agency holding group WPP, created by marketing mogul Sir Martin Sorrell.

Earlier this year the company's share price tanked more than 14 per cent, a day after the it announced its digital marketing efforts had not performed inline with expectations. They're the type of projects currently being absorbed by the likes of Choy and Garland.

While the Kiwi couple say they would certainly recommend going out on their own to young upstarts in similar positions, they caution, the reality is their new jobs still take work.

"Long-term travel can be a rollercoaster. You spend a lot of time thinking about what you need for the content and how you're going to get it. All of a sudden you're just trying to get this shot, or that shot and you miss the moment. I wouldn't call long-term travel a holiday as such." says Garland

But Choy is quick to add, "it's still epic".

With their new life a long way (both literally and figuratively) from 18-hour lunch-free days in God's Own, they do concede there may be a part of that experience which helped build the work ethic that sees them able to live the jobs of their dreams but Choy adds: "I think employers should be trying to get their employees to work smarter, not harder."

While neither are keen to return to the Kiwi corporate environment, asked if they'll ever head home the answer is (in unison), "Definitely".

"All our family and friends are over there, plus New Zealand is the most beautiful place in the world," Choy says.

When that could be, however, they're not quite sure.

"We're not ready to come back just yet," says Choy.