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How to Move Back to New Zealand in 59 Easy Steps

Back in NZ!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.

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 the last bubble bath in the house a good one.

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!!

…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 travelling long distances with kids? ELECTRONIC DEVICES.

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 can't be beat.

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.

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.

10 Comments

  1. Jesse Smith says:

    Fantastic!

  2. Nita says:

    Happy for you all. Discover and enjoy!

  3. Wow, congrats to you guys. Can’t believe how old Holly looks. BTW, I could have done it in 58 steps.

  4. Stacey says:

    Looking forward to reading about your adventure. Please keep blogging!

  5. Lucy says:

    How wonderful and inspiring!

  6. Paul Lambert says:

    We fell in love with N Z in our mif fifties. We visited a few times and decided to try to emigrate. Much to our surprise we found out that we were too old and would not qualify. Our dream was dashed. Enjoy every minute and I look forward to your blog so we can live vicariously in New Zealand. Kia Ora

  7. Liezel says:

    Welcome back, ready to follow your adventure 🙂

  8. Leslie says:

    So happy for your family!!!!!!! I’m living my NZ life vicariously through you…for now. 😉 Did you visit NZ before you moved there the first time? Everybody does it differently, and I’m just wondering what your journey was like. Thank you!

  9. Twig Menne says:

    I absolutely love it when people follow their dreams; be it once, twice or however many times the dream is repeated. I love having a good dream over and over, and I can tell you all do too. I think this is one of the best dreams anyone has ever had. Your “We arrived, bleary-eyed from our 14 hours of flying, two days ago and I can report with definitely that it is SO good to be back in this BEAUTIFUL, HAPPY, PEACEFUL country” sentence is enough to move anyone, if they are able, to do the same…it’s worth every second of preparation. Saying goodbye is always difficult, but saying hello opens a whole new world to explore.

    What a wonderful classroom you have found yourselves in. Best of luck on your continuing adventure!

  10. Paul Lambert says:

    Is it not amazing that you can be in the air (in itself amazing) for only 14 hours out of your life and end up in New Zealand in a so very different lifestyle than where you left from? Less stress, less tension, looser people who just enjoy and befriend you easily and an enviroment that you can enjoy from north to south. Sigh!!!