Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Leaving NZ

Well, we've been hinting at this in conversations both online and in-person over the past year, so this won't be a surprise to some of you...We will be leaving NZ sometime this fall, probably around September.

Invariably, everyone wants to know "Why?" we would willingly leave 'Paradise in the South Pacific' to return to the 'Land of Mordor'. The truth is that there are a lot of reasons. Some are our fault, many are only specific to me (W) and some are New Zealand's 'fault'(not related to their earthquake tendencies, though!). In the coming months and years, perhaps I'll put it all down in writing. But right now, I need some time to digest the experience so that I can be fair both to myself and to New Zealand.

You'll just have to trust me when I say that New Zealand isn't paradise and we aren't going back to the U.S. without fair warning. We watch the U.S. news every day. We see the problems in terms of the job market, health insurance, social issues. Yes, we are scared. But don't make the mistake of assuming everything is perfect here. Job security is nil here and being a migrant only makes things more complicated. And unlike those who are born here, or who are independently wealthy (yes, it's true that not all Americans are rich!) we have no support network to give us aid when (not if) things fall to pieces. And before anyone points to 'the dole' as a support network, please do your research.

It's important to note this this decision is not 100% mutual. I'm the one who wants to leave. Hence this post often refers to "I" and not "we". I'm concerned about dragging S away from here before she's ready to go. But I simply can't stay any longer.

Some of you may think this is a bad decision, and feel compelled to try and talk us out of it, but I have to ask that you respect our choice and recognize that it's not been an easy one to make. Remember that we've been living in NZ for four years, not four months. I know what I'm leaving and I'm fine with it.

It's also important to note that I don't regret the decision to come here - it's been a valuable life experience and a worthwhile endeavor, even if it didn't turn out as we might have liked. I've learned a lot about myself, my core beliefs, my tolerances and what I'm looking for in what's left of my time in this world. I don't know exactly what life looks like once we get back to the U.S., but I can tell you that it doesn't look like it did when we lived there before - and it doesn't look like it did here in NZ.

I will miss a lot of things about NZ. We've met a lot of very nice people, both Kiwis and those from abroad. I will miss some aspects of the culture, and certainly the interesting and beautiful landscapes, flora and fauna. S will miss Wellington's scene, particularly the many movie theaters and constant flow of events. I suspect we'll both miss the coffee.

So, this story ends largely as it began. We are in the process of deciding what to sell and what to keep, streamlining as much as possible to make it all fit in a shipping box.

One key difference this time is that we aren't going back to the real world immediately. We intend to travel a bit before we do. We can't afford a gap year, but we can barely afford a 4+/- month tour of Southeast Asia. We're buying a one-way ticket and going to take our time to see Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and (time and money permitting) the Malay peninsula. I'll be creating a travel blog and will post a link to it so people can see that we're still alive and well.

Beyond that, we don't have any firm plans. West coast, probably, or possibly the Southwestern U.S. Initially, we expect to be back in Atlanta for a stint to see family and friends, and perhaps live in Mom & Dad's basement for a wee bit if they can put up with us, just until we can get plans sorted. A camper van is also a possibility (though S is not so keen on that idea!). Either way, it will be both exciting and perhaps terrifying (like when we get quotes for health insurance) but it will be OK in the end. We moved 12,000 miles to NZ without jobs and no safety net and we made it work (sorta) for 4 years. I'm confident we can make it work in reverse.


Reed said...

In case this was the cause -- you do know you can get Doritos here now, right?

Otherwise, I can entirely understand your situation. You have to do what's right for you and there's no way to know in advance what the perfect decision would have been.

Coming here has been the 2nd most difficult thing I've ever done and I got off light.

Best of luck to you both with the next steps.

scottdickson said...

It's all a journey and it never goes the way we plan. I'm really glad you had your four year adventure. It's time for the next phase. Totally behind you both.


Fiona said...

Well done William the 'Quirky Country' is not for everyone, and you're too good for NZ!

KJ said...

I have just found you blog and I cannot say I blame you for leaving New Zealand.

My wife is an American; I am a kiwi and we have been back in New Zealand for almost 2 years after living in Nevada for 2 years.

We are also planning on moving back to America but it wont be for a few years unfortunately as there are SO MANY things we are missing from America that we just cannot get here esp the culture.

I have linked to your blogged from my blog 'Why Do I Live in New Zealand?' and will continue reading your blog.

My blog url incase you would like to read it is

Have a happy 4th of July :-) I am cooking 2 full racks of pork ribs tomorrow on the BBQ St Lois Style; will post my secret recipe on my blog late tomorrow.


Marrisa said...

Hi guys

As you can see its been a while since I checked in on your blog and I must say reading your post blew me away. I fully understand all you have said, and after 4 years for us too we often question our decisions. We have always said that we both have to be happy or something has to change.

You are so brave to have made the choice you did - I do hope you have settled back in the US. Good luck with everything in the future - if you ever make it back this way make sure you drop us a line :)

Take care!!!!