It is 7 years since my family and I moved to New Zealand and I still look back on it as probably the bravest and most risky thing we have ever done. Moving to the other side of the world sounds like an amazing idea, but there is a big difference between thinking about it and doing it! Once we had committed to go we were suddenly riddled with doubt, fear and stress.
I said a few times to good friends that it was like crossing a huge chasm. From the top (while it was just a 'good idea', and all we did was imagine a new life in New Zealand) we could see the green grass and sunshine on the other side of the gorge. But once we committed to go, we began the slow and painful process of climbing down to the bottom. We deconstructed and packed away every bit of our lives to the point we felt we had neither of the lives we wanted, but there was no chance of going back. Every step we took was further from the sunshine we knew, and we lost perspective of where we thought we were going.
Then we crossed the river at the bottom of the chasm (i.e. we squeezed everything we owned into metal boxes and tubes for the journey across the oceans). This was the scariest moment. No return and no knowledge of what it would really be like. Or if we would even get out safely to the green grass and sunshine on the other side.
The climb back up the other side was slow, but somehow easier. Every step of setting up afresh was another step closer and felt more like we would get there after all. Minor setbacks hurt more than they should, but it didn’t last. Before we realised, we were approaching the lip of the chasm....
I recall we had been in NZ for 2 months when we decided to take our first road trip. Nearly five hours in the car down to Dunedin, but that was OK since it was a beautiful spring day. Three hours in and we were starting to get hungry. We rounded a bend and saw the ocean we had been following from Christchurch. A sign told us there was a stop coming up so we pulled over under some trees. We caught a glimpse of the sea crashing in on the beach just 20 yards in front of the car and all rushed out to see. It was heaven, NZ at its best. Beautiful, pristine and deserted. The kids ran off within moments and start dragging back driftwood logs to sit on whilst Emma unpacked the picnic. We sat quietly eating while the waves crashed in right in front of us. That was the first moment we felt certain we had made the right choice.
I am certainly glad we took the risk. New Zealand is a truly wonderful country and we are lucky to be here.