Taking the plunge and moving to New Zealand – What I know now and what I wish I knew then


In my searching of finding other people who have moved to New Zealand I came across Dawn and her blog Going NZ.  I was thrilled to find it and follow along in their journey of packing up their lives and taking the plunge to move away from all they had known.  As you may know, we are looking at doing the same thing as soon as the house is built in New Zealand.  I was thrilled when Dawn contacted me to discuss a blog post on now being on the other side of moving and two years down the track……


Five years, yes five years it took us to pluck up the courage and move from England to New Zealand. In hindsight, it feels like just yesterday, but while we were planning, humming and harring it felt like we would never get to New Zealand. We are almost into our second year here in NZ and now that we are here I often look back at that time in our lives, reflecting on the apprehension we had at the time and I think to myself what exactly was all the fuss about?!

When you are planning a big event – like moving abroad, you’ll wish you had a crystal ball that can help you gaze into the future and let you know that everything is going to be Okay, that it’s all going to work out and it’ll be easy. There are things that I wish I knew before I moved to NZ that I learned first hand the hard way and I’d like to share these with you:


Things I wish I didn’t worry about:

The What If’s:

What if we can’t find jobs? What if we don’t like it? What if we lose touch with our friends? What if we can’t afford to live there? What if we don’t like it?

If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

The what if’s at times consumed our lives, it is something that kept us awake at night, I know that I thought about the ‘what if’s’ on a daily basis and now we are here I am not sure why I let them affect me so much! The biggest what if that drove us to make the change in our lives was about getting older and not having lived or tried to live in New Zealand. We had a very comfortable life in Cornwall, good jobs, close family and lots of friends. The problem is that we were too comfortable in reality and needed new challenges – so we took the plunge, left it all behind and haven’t looked back since!dawn-wai-o-tapu

The fear:

It’s not that scary moving halfway around the world…honestly! Practically for us, it was the same as moving house (equally as stressful and beyond a nightmare). But, if you think about it on the emotional side of things you really are only 48 hours from your family and friends. If something were to happen you can just come back and everything will just be the same. We went back in June for the first time in 18 months and felt that exact feeling, nothing had changed!

The Small Things:

Months before the move I would find myself worrying about, taking this, what if we can’t find this/that in NZ. I was upset that I won’t be able to have my favourite cereal every day in NZ. It really can be the silly thoughts that can consume you your thought process. Trust us, you can live and adjust to life without what you are used to on the grand scale of things they really are no big deal.

The Money:

We spent many years saving, and thinking about our investment options both here in NZ and in the UK. In the end what drove us to stop saving and just go was the thought that money would only go elsewhere (on holidays, cars, etc) if we didn’t go, so we decided not to fret about and let fate take its course.


My tips on what I know now and what I wish knew then:

The Money.

On the other end of the spectrum to the money/cost side of things! I can’t stress enough how important it to not spend all your savings once you get here and set some money aside for the emergency situations. There will always be something you hadn’t thought about, the cost of living is more here and it is always sensible to set some money aside for an emergency trip back to your home country if god forbid a loved one gets ill. It pays to think practically on these matters.

A Support Network:

I think out of everything I didn’t expect to miss my family and friends as much as I do now. Of course, it is made easier in today’s modern day well-connected society, but isn’t it about time that invented faster travel?! Sometimes I wish I could just pop to my Mums for a Sunday roast but then go straight back to NZ! These types of thoughts didn’t help us in the beginning finding a new support network of friends in NZ. You have to push past these feelings of homesickness else you really will struggle, after all, it is a case of Fight or Flight, right?

dawn-isaac-jet-boating-in-queenstownThe Practicalities:

Honestly, you really don’t need to bring all your stuff! We did decide to sell our car, our beds, our sofas, our large bulky items but we still brought over a lot of furniture. We went to the skip twice when clearing out our home in Cornwall and still went to the skip when we arrive into NZ. I guess after 6 weeks on the road (we went backpacking in Asia, as thought it would be nice to have a holiday!) we realized we didn’t need all this stuff! NZ also has taught us to live a simpler, basic lifestyle, we definitely are less consumer driven here!


So When Do You Go?

Don’t let it take five years like us and make it happen sooner rather than later! It is important not to get overwhelmed with the to do’s and the what if’s and just let things take their natural course. I know it is easier said than done, though! We waited five years as we wanted to be financially secure to go but the real answer to the question is there is no right or perfect time to go and anyone who lives in another country will tell you exactly the same thing!  Yes, there will be some uncertainty, some scary times ahead of you but what is life without a little of a fright? Let it fuel the adventure!


Want to know more about Dawn from Going NZ?

Dawn a English (and very cornish) globe trotter with itchy feet! She runs her blog Going NZ with her husband Isaac. They first visited New Zealand in 2009 and they fell in love with the country, they vowed one day to return to live there permanently. Dawn and Isaac have been in NZ now for almost two years, connect with them on Facebook and Instagram for tips and advice on how to make the move to NZ smooth sailing!


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  • Reply Tony Sheva 06/11/2017 at 3:36 pm

    Great story. I just moved to New Zealand 5 months ago, and now quite enjoy the peaceful life.

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 08/11/2017 at 1:30 pm

      Congratulations on your move! Are you in the South or North Island? It certainly is a beautiful country!

  • Reply Catherine 26/10/2016 at 8:51 am

    If you don’t try, you’ll never know. – this is a great motto to live by, that’s for sure. And so often we find that what we fear never materializes. So much wasted energy!

    • Reply In The Lyons Den 26/10/2016 at 10:22 pm

      Such a great point! It is so easy to over analyze! And it could be so much better than you expected too! 🙂

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