How did you do it?


Since we started blogging about moving to New Zealand a lot of people have written to us and asked us, “How did you do it?” I totally understand where this question is coming from. When you first start thinking about moving to a new country it seems like an impossible feat… like you have to activate a Stargate to move to escape your birth country. Granted, it’s not easy; there are a lot of hoops you have to jump through, but at the end of the day all it really amounts to is going to the New Zealand immigration website and filling out a bunch of forms and getting a medical physical.

But really, that’s it. You fill out the bureaucratic paperwork, you wait a long time to get it approved, you pay a bunch of money in fees, and eventually you get to move to another country. You don’t have to take a ring to Mordor. You just have to fill out a bunch of paperwork. That’s all you have to do. I wish someone would have slapped us in the face when we started our immigration process and said, “Don’t stress out about it so much! Just fill out the paperwork and send it! You fill out tax paperwork every year. Fill out a few more papers and get going!” Hell, you can go through the whole process (expect the medical examination) drunk.

Plus, there’s no commitment necessary. It’s not like joining the military. If you think you might want to immigrate to New Zealand then go to the New Zealand Immigration web site, make an account and start the process.  If at some point you find out you’re not eligible then the worst thing that will happen is you get told “no.” You might spend a little money in the process, but you probably would have spent that money on crap you didn’t need anyway.

If you do get approved, but at the last minute you decide that you don’t want to take the leap of moving, then don’t move! You don’t renounce your citizenship when you apply for residency. You don’t even renounce your citizenship after you’ve been approved and you physically move. Even after you get your citizenship you’ll be a dual citizen unless you go out of your way to renounce your citizenship from your birth country.

Amber and I had never visited New Zealand before we moved here, and we didn’t know anyone living here. A lot of people thought we were crazy for taking such an insane risk, but the only thing we were really risking was the money we spent. We went into the affair understanding that if we didn’t like New Zealand then we could always just move back to America. You could say the money we spent in the process was wasted, but we would say the money was well spent on an adventure that taught us a lot about ourselves and the world we live in. Fortunately for us we’re happy in New Zealand and have never regretted moving, but that’s just icing on the cake. If it had turned out that we hated New Zealand (which it very well could have) we still could have moved back to America not feeling like idiots. So can you.

Yes, there were risks in moving to a foreign country, but there are risks in doing anything. There was a Twilight Zone episode where a woman refuses to leave her house for fear of anything bad happening to her. Finally a man collapses outside her house, and she ventures outside to help him. It turns out he’s a wonderful person, and she enjoys the experience it brings her to interact with the outside world. In Twilight Zone-fashion though the man turns out to be the Grim Reaper, and he makes her realize she’s wasted her life hiding from life for fear of the consequences. Amber and I did the cost-benefit-analysis of hiding in cold comfort in America or sticking our necks out and moving to New Zealand. We took the risk, and it paid off (for us). But even if it hadn’t paid off in a long-term place of residence it still would have paid off in the experience. And all it took to get here was filling out a bunch of paperwork and paying a bunch of fees.

The point is, don’t make the process harder than it is. All you’re doing it filling out a bunch of paperwork, and all you’re doing is moving from one place on this rock to another. You’re not moving to another universe. There are cars and streets and houses over here just like there is where you were born. If you do fill out the application or even make the move your decision will still be less final (and less costly) than deciding to marry someone. If you have the courage to marry then you have more than enough courage to move to another spot on the earth.

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One Response

  1. wow, two posts in a day – what a treat!

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