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Why I Moved Back to New Zealand 

There comes a time in every young person’s life when they are forced to reassess their path and consider “settling down”. Ok, calling myself young is a bit of a stretch — as Jimmy Carr once said, the only way I’ll be described as young now is if I die. At 32 I find myself back in Dunedin, my home town, a fate that seemed too dull to imagine a few years ago. What lead me here? What does it mean for the future? Will I ever make it out of New Zealand again?

Married Life

The short answer to why I moved back to New Zealand is that I got married (and my wife got a good job here). I’m no longer floating around the world with an absence of stress and worry. Now I have someone anchoring me to the real world.

With great love comes great responsibility. At least that’s what I had been conditioned to believe. I always figured that once I was married I’d settle into a boring office job, get fat (that part is kinda happening), buy a house and have kids. My previous life as a carefree traveller would soon be a distant memory.

Somewhere along the line I realised that didn’t have to be the case. It helps that I married someone with a high paying career who supports me in my dream to become a professional travel blogger (I’d call myself semi professional at the moment — I could support myself in a country like India or Vietnam, but not even close in New Zealand).

Two cameras creating confusion

So, what have I actually been doing?

I’d like to say I’ve been slaving away in front of a computer for 60 hours a week, but that would be a lie. I’m not the most self-motivated person in the world, but I have made big strides with my blogging goals. I started a new site and my old ones continue to grow at a steady pace. It’s all about setting up a passive income so I never have to work a proper job again. If I was a harder worker I’d probably be there by now, but if slow and steady worked for the tortoise it can work for me.

I’ve also been travelling around New Zealand as much as possible. We bought a car, put a blow up bed in the back and escaped for lots of weekend trips around the South Island. After being overseas for so long it’s been a pleasure to explore my own country (something I had no real interest in when I last lived here).

Some random thoughts about coming home

  • I’m constantly being told to buy a house, start a family and spend money I don’t have on things I don’t need. I never really watched TV overseas and most ads were in languages I didn’t understand — the advertising bombardment has been a bit of a shock!
  • I never drove overseas, but since going on lots of New Zealand road trips I’ve realised it’s my favourite way to travel. You can stop whenever you want and you’re in full control of your travel experience.
  • Dunedin is one of the best places in the world to live. Housing is fairly cheap, there are so many nice beaches and hiking trails and it’s the perfect size. We get some decent events (sport and music especially) but none of the big city hassles.

  • New Zealand has the best snacks (lollies, chocolate, chips etc).
  • I miss travelling. There’s something magical about a long trip with no particular goal or end point. It’s the most freedom I’ve ever felt, and I can’t wait to do it again. Having said that, I probably won’t do a two and a half year trip again — 3-6 months sounds much more appealing these days.

The plan for 2018 and beyond

Lots of travel. We have our honeymoon planned for April / May, and I’ll spend at least a couple of months in India after that. I might also go to Nepal, Cambodia and Indonesia (or wherever I can find a cheap flight to). From 2018 onwards I hope to travel for at least 4-6 months a year, for as long as I’m still enjoying it. Of course, when kids come into the equation things may change, but that doesn’t mean they have to. I’ve met so many people travelling with young kids, living an alternative lifestyle that many think wouldn’t work.

Looking forward to returning to India!

What’s in store for this blog?

Pretty much more of the same. I still have lots of posts to write about my last big trip (I’m not even close to being up to date on that front) as well as heaps of posts about New Zealand in the pipeline. I love being a travel blogger and have no plans to ever stop — the internet is stuck with my often poorly researched and lazily thrown together travel articles for a while yet.

Have you moved home after years abroad? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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  1. Chris Leonard
    January 5, 2018 at 7:46 am — Reply

    I’m 65 and I traveled a lot prior to retiring (went to Greece and Italy, drove cross country 3 times, visited major N American cities like NY, Chicago Toronto and LA). Drove up and down CA and from Seattle to San Francisco when I lived in the Bay Area. Grew up in Cleveland OH and at the age you are now, 32, moved to CA for 21 years. Have also lived in MI, WV and PA (Lancaster County–Amish Country–and Pittsburgh) and most recently on Whidbey Island near Seattle. Last July I fulfilled a dream I had since the mid 80s to come to New Zealand–on a one way ticket, no firm plans for how long to stay or whether to then go on or go home (I rented short term and so am not paying rent or mortgage while fooling around the world :D). I intended to see the whole island in 3 months but after 3 weeks in Auckland, Takapuna Beach and Devonport I came up to Kerikeri and when it was time to leave hurt my back and ended up staying till my visa ran out. I love it here and after a week in Sydney came back, have made friends and joined a church. I stay in less expensive Airbnbs where I have a kitchen and can cook to save on food costs. I don’t have a car just take buses or walk or mooch rides from people going my way. Don’t even have a cell phone just an iPad. I’ve stayed long term (2 weeks to a month) in places so got to know the area and people, have been to Russell and Paihia and camping up at Taupo Bay. My visa’s up again the end of this month so I’m going back to Australia then coming back here and have a 2 month rental. Right now am house sitting and caring for chickens, ducks and a lovely pig named Crispy, and with a little neighbor girl rescued 10 baby ducklings who are now living in the dining room in a big cage and are getting fat and sassy. I’m also writing a novel set partly in NZ.

    Some of my friends said it was crazy for a 65 year old woman to take off alone on an open ended trip and if I hadn’t been traveling alone all over the US since I was 20 I might have believed them. I love NZ and wish I could stay but US citizens can only be here 9 of any 18 months so after April I will have used up mine and have to go somewhere else for 9 months. Not in the mood to go back to the US, am considering Japan, Russia, Greece again, Corsica and Ireland, then if I still am not in the mood for the US might fly into Quebec and take the train across Canada–always wanted to do that–or go to South America (Argentina, Chile, Peru, and have heard Ecuador is nice) when it’s winter again in the Northern Hemisphere. Depends on my energy and money–I’m on Social Security but it’s a tiny amount and I have to be very frugal!

    I’ve never been happier or felt more free, living in a lovely place with nice people and doing creative work. I have no spouse or kids and no other family I care about so nothing really held me to the US, which is not true of many of my contemporaries especially women who are caring for aged parents and boomerang kids. I consider myself really blessed.

    Wish I’d done it all at your age but better late than never and good on you for going for what’s important in life. I know lots of people who made money and bought a house then lost their shirts in the stock market and their house in the housing crunch. At least I know the reason I don’t have a fat bank account or own a home is my own choice not someone else screwing my life up. Any suggestions for places I should check out? I’ve always wanted to go to Iran but this might not be a good time :D. Turkey too. Maybe the South of France and the Italian part of Switzerland. Truthfully given a choice I’d spent another 9 months here in Northland :D. But unless I find a Kiwi husband ai’t gonna happen! Didn’t find a husband in 65 years in the US so unlikely I can find one here before May!

    PS How to I subscribe to your blog? I don’t like Facebook.

    • January 29, 2018 at 11:19 am — Reply

      Hey Chris, sorry for the late reply and thanks for the awesome comment. Looks like you have lived an interesting life, and sounds like there will be a lot more adventures to come. I don’t think it’s crazy for a 65 year old woman to travel alone like that, it actually seems like the most logical thing to do when you have a bit more time / money to spend. I hope I’ll still be doing it at your age! I’m glad you’re enjoying New Zealand — I haven’t spent a lot of time that far north but I’ve heard it’s beautiful. Where to go next…? So many options, South America is amazing though so if you’ve never been to that part of the world I’d definitely recommend it. You could travel slowly / cheaply and stay in some really nice towns, learn some Spanish etc. Or you might find that husband before May! I somehow got rid of my email sign up by mistake, but if you check back in a few days it should be there. Thanks again and enjoy the heatwave!

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