We are now down to only 21 days before we leave – crazy! I am also down to only 39 things on my To Do list. That’s exciting news, trust me (it used to be a much longer list).
The last few months have been a bit of a blur of moving, packing, sorting through stuff, throwing out stuff (I had no idea I had so much stuff!), selling things on Trade Me (for those not in NZ, this is sort of our Craigslist…just a better version), setting up bank accounts, saving money, planning and booking things for our trip. All while trying to make the most of our time here before we leave.
It has been pretty full on. So full on that I have at low points (like whilst struggling with the bureaucracy of UK banks!) started to wonder: wouldn’t it be easier just to move in to a house here and then never move again? But then I quickly get over that and remember why I’m going through all this hassle.
Dayna wrote in her last blog about some of her motivations for doing all this and why she wants to travel so much so I thought it would be good for me to do so too. And I thought I could combine this with answering a few other questions that I have been asked lately.
So why do I want to move to the UK?
This question actually doesn’t come up in NZ too much because it’s pretty much a rite of passage here to move to the UK for a couple of years at some point. The big Overseas Experience (“OE”). If I tell someone here I’m moving overseas about 80% of them would answer with “moving to London are you?” (the other 20% would guess Australia). But for people not based in NZ, it might not be quite so obvious why the UK is so attractive.
The main reason for me (and a lot of Kiwis) is because the UK is the perfect launching pad for travelling around Europe. I found a fun new game the other night on this Skyscanner website looking at how cheap it is to fly from London to various places. We will be having a lot of weekends away once we have jobs!
New Zealand, on the other hand, is so isolated that travelling to most places takes days and is prohibitively expensive. For example, a trip to France takes a few days of travel each way and costs several thousand dollars. One of my sisters (living in London right now but unfortunately leaving before we get there) just went on a day trip to Paris to do a bit of sightseeing and have a picnic by the Eiffel Tower. A day trip. And for a lot less than the several thousand dollars it would cost to do it from NZ.
Another big reason for the UK is that there are a lot more opportunities there for work. Dayna and I both have EU passports as well so there won’t be any issues with visas for us! Good opportunities on the work front will also help us afford all the travel we want to do too.
As stupid as it sounds (considering we are moving to Europe), we are also moving closer to Dayna’s family. We’ll be in the same hemisphere, the cost of flights will be halved and we’ll get a much better exchange rate on Pounds than NZ dollars so trips to visit Dayna’s friends and family in Canada will be a lot easier. And hopefully they’ll come visit us in Europe too! *subtle hint*
So all up, a pretty good move for us right now.
Why do you want to travel so much? Couldn’t you just watch Discovery channel?
OK, no one has actually asked me this. But maybe some people have thought it and Dayna did sort of answer it in her last blog so I thought I would too.
The simple answer is that nearly all my best memories have been travelling. Helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon, eating tacos in Mexico, hiking up Mount Tamalpais in San Francisco, sitting around a campfire in Monument Valley, late night speedboat rides to Koh phangan, cruising around floating villages near Siem Reap. I could keep going for awhile but there wouldn’t be too many non-travel related memories that make the top 100 (although a few certainly do!).
I have had to put my travel plans on hold for quite awhile though. It took 7 years (including 4 at University) to become a Chartered Accountant so that made travelling a bit difficult. But I am now lucky enough to enjoy my work (most of the time) and CAs are thankfully employed all over the world so it will be perfect for travelling.
Waiting so long to be free to travel as much as I want has only made me want it more!
So why don’t we backpack around the world non-stop if we both love travelling so much?
I think Dayna and I have similar thoughts on this one but I’ll just answer it from my perspective (she’s out getting her haircut so I can’t ask her anyway).
Although I love travel, I do also love having a home of some sort to come home to. Living out of a suitcase indefinitely has never appealed to me. I feel like if I travelled for a year or more non-stop I wouldn’t enjoy some of it as much as if it was part of a shorter trip. I never want travelling to become like a job and take it for granted. This is backed up by conversations with people who have done long trips away and struggled towards the end (6 months+).
I also think that you need to live in a place to really experience it. It makes a big difference seeing a place through the eyes of a local over those of a tourist so hopefully we get to live all in a few different places.
I have a theory that there is a golden period where a trip away feels like a holiday for the whole time and you only feel like settling down at home right at the end. This would differ between people and I haven’t figured out a time frame for mine yet – my rough guess right now is 4 months. We will have 2 months in SE Asia and I’m betting that will still leave us wanting more by the end of it – luckily we finish the trip in the UK ready to jet off to Europe when we feel like it!
How long are you going to be away from NZ for?
I’ve been asked this by a few people now and my answer is slightly different each time as I don’t really have a solid answer for myself yet. But there’s a long list of things I want to do while living in Europe and I would really love the opportunity to work in one place for awhile if I found the right job and company so the UK may be our home for quite a few years hopefully. Whether that’s in one city or several is still up in the air.
And then there’s after the UK.
At the moment, I have a lot of ideas of places I want to live but the one that has a very high likelihood of happening is Canada (for obvious reasons).
So rather than sit on the fence and say “I dunno” to everyone who asks, I’m going to give the closest guess that I can at the moment – about 10 years. Although I might have to add a disclaimer to say “final time spent away from NZ may be significantly more or less than the indicated time frame” (I’ve worked with too many lawyers obviously).
Let us know if there are any other questions you guys have for us!
I’m going to go get some packing practice in (we’re off to Timaru tomorrow for Easter weekend to see my Dad for the last time before we leave). Wish us luck too – we’ll be flying on a small-ish plane since Timaru has a small airport and we’ll be taking off in “fresh southerlies” (pretty sure that means gale force winds in Wellington).
Happy Easter everyone!