Despite all our years of writing about sailing, the most popular post on our blog ever remains How to Move to New Zealand in 31 Easy Steps. We’ve gotten hundreds (okay, maybe 99 or so) emails from people all over the world asking for more details on how we did it and how do they get started in their own immigration process. We’re not immigration consultants, so we can’t give any advice other than just do it, you won’t regret it. Which is but one of many, many reasons we decided to follow our own advice, again.
I’m typing this from the friends’ couch we’ve been surfing on for the past few days in Auckland, New Zealand. We arrived, bleary-eyed from our 14 hours of flying, two days ago and I can report with definity that it is SO good to be back in this beautiful, happy, peaceful country.
But it’s been a busy, busy, six weeks.
1. Decide to finally listen to the voice in my head that’s been screaming the past year this is not right! you were where you were supposed to be! sure the woods are beautiful and the house comfortable…but there is so much more out there….
2. Drink a wee dram or two of scotch on a late-April Friday night with Michael.
3. Fantasize about giving it all up and moving back to New Zealand to continue our residency.
4. Start planning to give it all up and move back to New Zealand to continue our residency.
5. Look up plane tickets online.
6. Find one-way tickets at a great price.
7. Decide to sleep on it.
8. Wake up.
9. Realize that we weren’t that drunk after all.
10. Buy plane tickets.
11. Decide to rent out house.
12. Realize there’s no way in hell we’d be able to rent house for enough to cover mortgage even if we worked day and night for six weeks to finish the basement doubling the size of the house.
13. Put house on the market.
14. Give stuff away.
15. Sell stuff on Craigslist.
16. Clean house.
17. Give our dog to the family who’d fostered her from the shelter originally and were over the moon to have her cuteness back.
18. Give our kitties to my sister-in-law’s mom who now adores them (thank you Lisa!!!).
19. Give stuff away.
20. Sell stuff on Craigslist.
21. Reopen our NZ bank account.
22. Wire some money over.
23. Michael quits job.
24. Get storage unit.
25. Start filling it with stuff.
26. Pack stuff.
27. Give stuff away.
28. Start making piles of stuff to bring, trying to stick to the essentials (clothes, shoes, toiletries, electronics, 4 stuffies per each kid, basic drawing supplies, journals, Legos, coats, books, sleeping bags, Kindles, Aeropress).
Packing for a year or more for a family of four? Not my most favorite step.
29. Make arrangements to stay with friends our first few nights.
30. Start researching motorhome market on trademe.
31. Sell our family car.
32. Cancel gymnastics & dance classes.
33. Cancel cell phones, internet, garbage service, car insurance.
34. Keep house clean between showings.
We made sure the last bubble bath in the house was a good one.
35. Invite friends over for a final Bon Voyage Bonfire.
36. Give stuff away.
37. Return shitty mattress to Costco.
38. Pack everything into six large bags to check and four small backpacks to carry on plane.
…but I did it!!
39. Give food to neighbors.
40. Lots of teary goodbyes.
41. Load up our little old pickup and drive to Grandpa’s house.
42. Enjoy a last weekend with family.
43. Give pickup to Grandpa in exchange for a ride to the airport.
44. Pile in Grandpa’s car and head to airport which includes a ferry ride to Seattle.
45. Another teary goodbye.
46. Unload all 14 bags.
47. Check 6 of them.
48. Wait to board flight. Enjoy the first hours with nothing to do in weeks.
The secret to traveling long distances with kids? ELECTRONIC DEVICES.
49. Enjoy the last free and fast Wifi we’ll see in a very long time.
50. First flight to Los Angeles (2 hours).
51. Second flight to Auckland (12 hours).
We flew on Air NZ’s brand new Boeing 777. The economy seats are as small and agonizing as ever, but the entertainment and free wine can’t be beat.
52. Arrive Auckland at 6:30 am.
53. Try not to jump up and down with giddiness when immigration officer stamps our passports and says “welcome back!”
54. Enjoy amazingly delicious flat white coffees.
55. Grab new sim cards right at the airport.
56. Shuttle to Jucy rental car facility to pick up our El Cheapo.
57. Upgrade car to next larger since can’t fit all bags in the super compact.
58. Drive to bank to see if debit card is there waiting for us as promised.
59. Disappointed that it’s not. But who cares? We’re back in New Zealand.
Best friends, reunited. Traveling has always been about the connections we make with people along the way and we are so grateful to be on this path again.