After one hellishly long, fourteen hour flight from Buenos Aires over the icy and eerie Antarctic to Auckland, New Zealand, and being stuck seated next to a slightly pungent Australian dude, I lost a whole day (flew over the international date line) and was exhausted to say the least. Thankfully, my good friend Diane had hooked me up with some old friends of hers that now live in Auckland. Leslie and her husband Richard moved to New Zealand about ten years ago after living in different parts of the states including Chicago. Their kids were born in the US, but mostly grew up here so they’re pretty much true “kiwis” through and through, complete with accents and everything. Is that odd for mom and dad when their kids don’t even sound like they do?
I have always thought about how cool it would be to up and move to another country. Maybe I just like all the challenges about it. I’ve come to learn that about myself—I’m always up for a challenge. Some asked if I was happy to be in an English-speaking country again. Not at all. Everyone speaking English was, frankly, rather boring. In fact, I was a bit sad to not have the challenge of trying to understand those I spoke with. Also, I enjoyed the joy my Latin American friends seemed to get from my efforts to speak their language. It was pure fun.
Anyway, I’ve always dreamt about possibly moving to some far away land. Every time I would return from one of my European trips, I dreamed of moving to Italy and opening a B&B (and decorating the walls with my photos) or running a small bike tour company or opening a B&B that had a small bike tour company in it. But I just never pulled the trigger. Maybe this trip will eventually lead me to that…I just don’t know yet. But when I meet folks like Leslie and Richard and see their everyday life in New Zealand, I can’t help but be inspired and a bit envious. Here is this great family unit happily living and working here (Leslie works from a home office with the most spectacular views of a sparkling bay—that’s inspirational all by itself). They’ve built a home, a life, and have no strong needs or desire to return to the US. They have everything they need, and have embraced all things New Zealand, well, minus the popular Australian import of vegemite, that is.