Never is the old adage, “the grass is always greener on the other side”, more true than when making the decision to move abroad. You spend so much time weighing up the pros and cons of a potential destination that it can be easy to forget to reflect on what the UK offers you.
I made the decision to relocate to New Zealand in 2021, while COVID-19 was still impacting every part of our daily lives. At that point, New Zealand was still virus-free and only open to fully vaccinated citizens. So, I’ll be honest, I didn’t take much time to think about what I was leaving behind, only what my family stood to gain in terms of lifestyle. Now, having been in New Zealand for six months, I’ve had time to get a little homesick for ol’ blighty – here are a few of the things I miss the most.
Not only is the cost of living higher in New Zealand, but because all businesses are feeling the squeeze, goods and services cost more too. We lived quite comfortably in England on one wage (albeit, in an unremarkable small town in the East Midlands), but here, we’re having to budget for groceries and fuel – something I hadn’t factored in when imagining how we’d enjoy the “kiwi lifestyle”.
Weekend Leisure Activities
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll have your fill here in New Zealand. Mountain biking, hiking, surfing and more, are all on your doorstep. However, if you’re not that way inclined, you’ll be twiddling your thumbs unless you live in one of the main cities – particularly if you have small children. In the UK, we had two farm parks and three soft plays within a 15-minute drive. In NZ, we’d need to travel an hour to the nearest indoor kids playground.
I’ve touched on this in earlier articles, but I really do miss central heating. I should preface this by pointing out that we’re currently living in rented housing, which is typically single-paned with very little insulation. As winter draws in, our heat pump is taking a beating and it still only warms the living room. Never before did I realise how lucky we were in the UK to have such great heating.
It pains me to praise Jeff Bezos, and perhaps this would be better titled “convenience”, but that would only be a thinly veiled cover for how I miss Amazon. Not only does NZ not have an equivalently efficient online shopping facility, but because e-commerce isn’t centralised you also have to pay postage on all purchases. Shopping in-store is still very much how the average kiwi shops, an adjustment that I will begrudgingly make in time.
If you’re considering moving abroad from the UK, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the good things and take full advantage of them before it’s too late.
Sarah Todhunter is a writer, mother-of-two and a dual citizen of New Zealand and the UK. As the sole proprietor of Fyxen Copywriters, she has navigated the ups and downs of moving a business and family across hemispheres, sharing the lessons she’s learned along the way. Find her on LinkedIn or anywhere good coffee is served.