In two short weeks, I will step onto a one-way flight across an ocean and my whole world will change.
In two weeks, I move 7,713 miles to the other side of the world. I’m leaving behind my hometown, family, friends, and everything comfortable to make a huge leap. My emotions are all over the map – excited, nervous, happy, anxious, overwhelmed, sad – you name it, I’m feeling it.
I’m thrilled to be moving to my favorite place on Earth (sorry Colorado, you’re a close second). I’m excited about my new job. I’m trying not to think about all the things that could go wrong, but planning for contingencies where I can.
As one might expect, the logistics of an international move are significant. One of the most significant logistical hurdles will be bringing our dog, Zebo. As New Zealand is rabies-free, they have very strict requirements for importing pets, including a 10-day quarantine period on arrival. In the next few weeks, Zebo has numerous vet appointments for tests and treatments, as well as a lot of paperwork to get through – this has been the most logistically challenging part of the move (so far). There are three separate veterinary certificates that must be completed prior to import, the biggest of which requires 27 individual certifications. As far as the actual travel goes, we hired a LA-based pet transporter to facilitate the transportation logistics as well as make sure I’m not missing something with the veterinary certificates.
I’m also taking our camper trailer with us – it turns out it’s cheaper to ship a camper from the US than it is to buy
a new one there. It will take a bit of work to get it on the road, however. First, the trailer will need to be fumigated on arrival in Christchurch for biosecurity reasons. Next, we’ll need to substantially rewire the trailer to work with NZ’s electrical system and receive a warranty of fitness allowing us to occupy it. Finally, to ‘freedom camp’ outside established RV parks, we will need to obtain a certificate of self-containment.
Our cars, on the other hand, are not coming. New Zealand drives on the left side of the road and our left-hand drive cars are not permitted to be imported. So, that’s two cars we’ll need to sell.
The first step of my journey is driving to Los Angeles to drop off the camper (it would cost more to ship it from Denver to LA than from LA to NZ!) and deliver Zebo to the pet transporters. Just to make my life a bit more challenging, I’m flying back to Denver for a few days before flying back to LA and onward to NZ.
My wife and kids are sticking around in the US for about 6 weeks before they join me in NZ. During that time our possessions will all get loaded into a container to be shipped across the Pacific Ocean. It will take about three months before it arrives in NZ.
We’re beginning to sort all our belongings into three categories: stuff that’s going in the container, stuff that’s coming with us on the plane, and stuff that we’re giving away. It’s not an easy task. We’re obviously limited on what we can bring on the plane (I’m really debating whether to pay to bring my bike), but whatever we put in the container we won’t see for months. Furthermore, there are a lot of electrical devices that I want to bring – tools, TV, kitchen gadgets, but will take a converter – at best – to run or may not work at all.
One of the bigger tasks that we still have in front of us is cleaning. New Zealand has strict biosecurity requirements to guard against exotic invasive species, both flora and fauna. This means that all our outdoor gear (bikes, tents, camp chairs, raft, etc.) needs an extensive cleaning before they can be shipped.
So yeah, there’s a lot to do. And only two weeks to do it in. Wish us luck.