We sold our house, packed our suitcases, and moved to the other side of the world

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. ~ Anonymous

Those of you who follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook likely already know that the Wanderlust Family has moved from Canada to New Zealand. Many of you have been waiting to hear the full story of our move, and although it is comprised of many chapters that I will most definitely write over the next few months, today, I share with you the prologue.

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View of the coast from our hike to the summit of Mount Maunganui

In late September 2013, Mr. Wanderlust and I were on a weekend getaway to Goderich and Stratford, Ontario. Earlier in the afternoon, we had enjoyed a peaceful walk on the grounds surrounding the charming, quaint country inn in which we were staying. Following dinner, as we relaxed in our room, we had decided to turn on the television. We never watch TV at home, so this action in itself was highly unusual for us. We had flipped a few channels and settled on HGTV and a fantasy show on which a couple from our neighbourhood in the Toronto area was offered, purely hypothetically, a chance to sell their home and, with the money from the house, purchase a home in one of three different appealing locations in the world. One of the locations was Hawke’s Bay, NZ and simply looking at the shots of the location on TV, we started falling in love. Mr. Wanderlust expressed that he has always dreamed of visiting NZ. Yet, reality check! The couple from Ontario wasn’t actually about to sell their home. If they were to move to a different country, more than just the cost of the home would have to be taken into consideration. What about the cost of living, job prospects, etc.? We dismissed the show due to its fantastical nature, but the universe works in wondrous ways, storing information on some faraway shelves in our subconscious minds.

Several months later, on a -30°C day in Toronto, Mr. Wanderlust and I, in typical Canadian fashion, were commiserating about the frigid winter temperature when I sighed, “You know, people complain about the weather and wonder about why they are living in such a cold place. Well, why don’t we do something about it?” When Mr. Wanderlust asked me where I would want to move, I blurted out, “New Zealand.” Then I laughed, brushed aside the crazy idea, and prepared lunch for the youngest Wanderlust Junior, then put him down for a nap. Several hours later, Mr. Wanderlust approached me with a tentative proposal to move to NZ. He had spent some time researching the major cities in the country, job prospects, housing prices, and the cost of living. After several months of serious contemplation, we decided to put the idea into action.

Ultimately, the temperate climate of the north island was just one small deciding factor for us. Both Mr. Wanderlust and I spent our childhood in three different countries, emigrating twice with our parents. These international moves gifted us a lifelong love of travel, and we travelled extensively together, whenever possible. Perhaps, for that reason, the idea of uprooting our family did not seem intimidating to us. We feel at home anywhere in the world.

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SOLD

Having thoroughly researched NZ, we were attracted to its diverse landscapes and the various opportunities for activities that we love most — camping, hiking, and paddleboarding — and for new ones that we are looking forward to experiencing in the near future. We wanted to move to a smaller city but one in which we would have access to everything that we need and where we would be able to enjoy a slower way of life. For that reason, we chose Tauranga, currently the fifth largest city in NZ. It’s a large enough city that feels like a small town. Frankly, I loved the idea of Wellington, which reminds me of San Francisco, one of my favourite cities. However, as a person of mostly Vata constitution, I do not like the idea of living in a windy location, and Wellington is known for precisely that kind of weather; Toronto was already too windy for me on most days. But there I go talking about the weather again. We wanted to be in a relatively quiet and family-friendly city in which we would have an opportunity to spend plenty of time outdoors. And so, we chose to follow our dream.

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Celebrating the sale of our home with some bubbly.

We made a timeline for our move and followed through. We knew we wanted to relocate in late 2016 or early 2017 and submitted our initial visa application. We went through the immigration process, arranged everything for our move, sold our house north-east of Toronto, sold many of our furniture pieces and housewares, shipped some 100 boxes of personal belongings and furniture, packed our suitcases with clothes and other essential items that we require for the first three months in NZ (until our shipment arrives), and were on our way.

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Saying ‘goodbye for now’ to our books, Lego, and a few other valued possessions.

We have been in Tauranga for a week now and are settling into our new temporary home, exploring our new town and its neighbourhoods, and getting used to a new way of life. I will continue to write about our adventures in NZ, new discoveries, and lessons.

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On our way to the airport.

I will publish a second post on a weekly basis, on Saturdays (in NZ) / Fridays (in North America and Europe), featuring a photo journal of weekly highlights, as well as notable links from around the web, related to mindfulness/awareness, literature, travel, and other subjects of interest. There is so much to discover, but I remind myself daily to slow down and savour each new incredible experience.

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A spectacular sunset on the local beach.

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Until next time, wishing you a peaceful week!

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16 Comments on "We sold our house, packed our suitcases, and moved to the other side of the world"

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Guest
2 months 2 days ago

WOW! I am so excited for you. What an inspirational post to see someone who went from having “one day…” thoughts to making it happen. I wish you and your family the best as you begin this new adventure!

Guest
Kara
2 months 2 days ago

I am looking forward to reading all about your adventures in NZ! I think k we have all cursed the Canadian winter weather a few times and flippantly said “we should move somewhere far away!”. You’ve done it!!!

Guest
Lisa
2 months 2 days ago

You’ve done what so many of us only dream of. Proof that dreams can be reality. Thank you for sharing and inspiring…
Following from the other side of the pond in Ontario

Guest
2 months 2 days ago

Happy to have you here! Enjoy your time and let’s meet soon:)

Kseniia,
thestylejungle.ru

Guest
Jennifer
2 months 2 days ago

How exciting! I’ve been waiting to read this blog since your IG post and look forward to following along. Best wishes as you all settle in!

Guest
2 months 1 day ago

Kia ora,
Welcome to the sunny Bay of Plenty. I’m guessing you missed Cyclone Cook by a matter of days (it turned out to be less exciting than we anticipated), and arrived at the tail end of our Easter Break. No matter – its ANZAC Day today, and the weather is superb isn’t it?
I live in Tauranga, and will follow your posts with interest! It will be nice to view our city and surrounding areas through a fresh set of eyes. Welcome again. I hope ypu settle in quickly and are made to feel like locals in no time!

Guest
Nicole Foss
2 months 1 day ago

Welcome to paradise, from another Canadian expat :) I’m from Ottawa, but I live near Wellington now. I got used to wind eventually…

Guest

[…] overwhelmed by the enormous support and encouragement I have received following the publication of the story of our big move to NZ. Thank you, dear […]

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[…] and what we can most certainly do without. All this has proved to be useful in preparation for our move overseas. Today, we are living out of a few suitcases while patiently waiting for the arrival of a container […]

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