Every Wednesday, in honor of hump day, I will post a sexy dream destination. Drool over it. Or quit your job, turn off International House Hunters, put the lawn furniture, the couch, maybe your car in storage and just GO. This week’s destination is New Zealand.
New Zealand In Photos:
New Zealand: Land of the Long White Cloud. How poetic is that?
Emigrating to New Zealand
It has a mild maritime climate. Kiwis speak English. The economy is pretty stable. If we rounded up all the other countries and put them in a beauty contest, New Zealand would likely come in first. The island country is home to a lot of unusual wildlife and some rad tattoos.
It’s so far from your home country and so different, you’ll earn major nomad street cred. It’s also relatively safe, that is, unless you plan to get lost while hiking.
At the time I am writing this blog post, it’s 10:51 am PST Wednesday here and 5:48 am on Thursday there. Communicating with your family while abroad can be difficult because of long distance charges and time zones. I envision a lot of accidental wake up calls. Get SKYPE and force your whole family to get it too. Getting a phone in Canada was difficult because I had no Canadian credit and I didn’t understand contract terms in French. These challenges tend to magnify by time zone.
Plus, even though it’s super cool, your chance of drawing visitors decreases by how long it takes to get from here to there. New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road, so you’ll have to learn that (please don’t start practicing in the US).
And then there’s your mom’s reaction:
Mom: “New Zealand? Why on Earth? Aren’t there big snakes there? In the outback? What if you get attacked by a kangeroo?”
You: No, that’s Australia. I mean yes, they have snakes but not kangaroos, I mean maybe they have kangaroos too, but they’re more known for their birds and there’s no outback.”
Who should do it: Getting your pet there safely would involve a difficult 6-month quarantine, not to mention the epic flight. And the kids would have to endure that flight too, so maybe it’s best for the child-, pet-, mortgage-free. Or those with older kids. The rare kind of kids who can sit still on a twenty-plus hour plane ride. For me, New Zealand would have to be a sojourn destination (2-4 months) rather than a longterm locale because I could never part with The Dog.
Visa: The US makes the Visa-Free Countries’ list meaning you can enter New Zealand without a visitor visa and stay for three months. Stay longer and they send you to Australia (I kid, I kid).
Expat who’s already there: Read Expatexposed , a brutally honest expat group who uncovers the downside of emigrating to New Zealand. Check out some of the titles in the forums (racist kiwis? renting in Christchurch? conversation starters for kiwis?).
May 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm
Ahh, now I can show something to the husband who sometimes thinks NZ is where we belong, haha. No way am I keeping my dogs under quarantine for 6 months!
But then, it really seems to be the most beautiful place on earth… 🙂
May 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm
My husband is convinced we’re going there next year. Weird fact about New Zealand: they have the most penguin species.
May 30, 2012 at 6:02 am
I have lived here for some years now (unable to leave at the moment) and have to say, please take expatexposed very seriously. Read the deconstructions of the happiness indices and the pension fraud and all the rest of it. Check out the social security totalization problems for Americans. Some people fit in here pretty well (people who enjoy camping in expensive places for very long periods of time, that is, people for whom the natural beauty trumps anything else you might want out of life – this is not the case for me, as we can have a better quality of life back home and ALSO enjoy natural beauty, we can have our cake and eat it). There are not many jobs here now, and Kiwi exodus to Australia is at an all-time high. Kiwis are informally (via word of mouth) boycotting foreign-owned restaurants in many towns and really do not want too many immigrants. Leave enough money to go back home if it does not work out. For many of us here, poverty became a one-way street. Poverty is NOT sexy. It’s wondering whether you can sell those old shoes on Trademe and buy half a pack of mince with it. It’s not being able to afford dental care for years, or haircuts, or a non-ancient car, vacuum or washing machine. It’s forgetting what it felt like to buy new clothes, and using hot water bottles and sleeping in layers of polarfleece to save on heating bills. It’s living in homes with black mold all over the walls. Read expatexposed and E2NZ migrant stories and decide whether you really, really want to live like this. Then again, maybe you will be one of the lucky ones. If you’re dumb enough to move here, then I hope you will be.
May 30, 2012 at 6:29 am
Thank you so much Shelia! This is exactly what I would like people to know because when you get there, it sometimes completely different than what you thought it would be. Which is why I encourage people to comment on these Sexy Dream Destinations. Because I have only lived in two countries. I can only provide general information.
Also, everyone should remember: living somewhere is NOT, I Repeat NOT the same as visiting and it’s NOT the same as study abroad. Although I never studied abroad, it must be a heck of a lot easier to have an end date kind of set when you do it and not have to worry about finding a job, visas, etc. I couldn’t find a fulltime position in Quebec – very difficult, as no jobs are posted and you usually have to be fluent in French (hard for a writer:).
Also, agree that poverty is NOT sexy. I agree with downsizing and like that some other countries seem to waste less. But it sounds like you’re giving up a lot of conveniences, which can be awful.
Sorry, it sounds like you’re having a difficult time. How long have you been there?
September 29, 2012 at 3:05 am
Hi, I just noticed there was a reply. Thank you very much for the empathy! We have been here for 8 years. We are finally escaping by the end of this year, but we are having to borrow and charge to do it, because we would never have been able to save any money to leave had we just tried to…”save”! I am not the only one – I know many people who migrated here who are moving on, or talking about it. New Zealand has its charms, but you have to be outdoorsy and rich to really enjoy them. Yachting types really like it. Cyclists who spend every moment outdoors. We are more culture-loving intellectuals and were dismayed to find our books and works of art growing mold, not able to afford new books, long queues at the library, slow and unreliable internet, towering electric bills for heating a room to a temperature your fingers will type in, and a great deal of financial pressure on everyone that is not evident from the pretty scenery shots. In all, we were disappointed with o ur migration experience, but it is a gorgeous place to visit – if you come from a country where you have a buffer of savings. After 8 years here, my income is half what it was before, I am no longer a homeowner, and my savings had turned into an equivalent amount of debt. I am working 3 jobs now instead of 2. New Zealand is lovely outside, but otherwise just a remote poverty trap.
October 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm
I had no idea. I just revisited my “abroad” home, in Quebec City where I lived for over a year. I have to say, even though I miss it like crazy (especially the iced apple cider – delicious!), I had enough trouble trying to close my bank accounts in French to realize I am happier here. People romanticize living in other countries, but it can be challenging. (It definitely makes you tough though). I am also having trouble re-pating because I can’t find work here.
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