So I want to give another post as to the reasons for leaving and how we got to decide on NZ.
6 years ago we put into action a plan to travel Africa for 12 months in 2021. We worked out we needed to save for 5 or 6 years to have enough money to travel and so put money away for the trip. Over the last few years we have put structures in place to run our business's remotely, created management positions etc. We spoke to the school about an ideal time to travel and back up support while we traveled. We up skilled ourselves for overland travel and all that jazz.
But then covid hit in March 2020. At first we were hopefully it would pass and we could still travel. Come October 2020, it turns out we can still travel, but with PCR testing. However, it would mean at least 12 border crossings. This means 12 covid tests. At about $90 each for 3 of us, 12 times, that is alot of money. It would also mean changing our planned route. It would also mean only 72 hrs to get across a border. This would make us very vulnerable to bribes, which we had agreed we would never do while traveling. Overlay onto this our daughter is on the autism spectrum, putting her through 12 nasal swabs was never going to work. So the trip was postponed. But till when? Everyone we spoke too, said bargain on 2023 for travel without some form of PCR testing at borders. 2022 might be to early, but it is possible, rather make it safe and look at 2023.
Then add into this mix getting work burn out. Hitting that wall of compassion fatigue for dealing with staff, client and general business problems. Loosing the passion for the work you used to love. We were both tired of being business owners. The responsibility of running 3 was taking its toll on the family, but more important the general mental well being. With covid happening, eskom, zuma (at the time) etc all around us, the pressure was a bit to much. And we really wanted to pull the plug. At the time, if we did pull the plug and sold up, restraint of trade's would kick in and we would not be able to work in our local area which would mean a move or travel to work out the area. Both the Mrs and I just wanted to become employed again. Make it someone else's responsibility to run the company. We wanted to stop working till 2 in the morning, worrying on Sundays about staff arriving on Monday. Having water, having electrcity etc etc etc. Even though we knew we were possibly going to Africa for a year, the weight of ownership never leaves.
I have always wanted to travel around the Australasia area. Since about 2019 I have been on Mrs Slowbee's case about what we were going to do after the Africa trip. I tried hard to get her to consider NZ as an option. Yes all the regular concerns about RSA kept coming up. Changing political, economic climate mixed with looking at the future for our daughter. But RSA is a country in Africa with africa challenges. It is not an easy place, it is beautiful and her people are incredible, but it is not an easy place to live and work. However the Mrs was not sure about going because of family.
Deciding on when to leave.
In Oct 2020, during a round of Eskom loadshedding, while having dinner with the family, the topic of immigration came up. Her Dad he said he thought it would be a good idea to leave if we wanted to. At the same time, her friend had decided to also go back to Aus, because her husband could not get work in SA. All things came together at once and Mrs Slowbee came home from work one day and just simply said it was time to go. Just like that. 30 seconds to make the decision to go after years of asking.
But why NZ?
Firstly, Mrs Slowbee could (can/did) get a job relatively easily. This meant the work visa application during the middle of covid would not be a problem. We still have a little bit of age on our side. I have a UK passport but did not fancy the UK. Europe was looking ugly with covid. The U.S was off the table. So we looked at NZ and Aus. When I asked if we were ever likely to go on holiday to NZ from SA, the answer was unlikely. It is a long way to travel for a two week stay. Staying for longer on holiday would have taken a lot more money given the rand exchange rate. With some research we found the schools would be well suited for a girl on autism spectrum. In looking at visa's we found the permanent residence option after 2 years of working in NZ.
Over a bottle of champers looking at all this, we decided to head into NZ if we could get visa's and work etc. We could use our time there to see NZ and experience the entire region (Fiji, Aus, Tasmania, Borneo, Java, Sumatra etc). After 2 years, we could come back and do our planned Africa Trip. But after 2 years we could also have residency if we did not see ourselves coming back to RSA. And who knows, South America sounds interesting as well. But at least with an NZ residency we could come back to NZ easily after our Africa trip or stay in RSA. The Mrs folks might need to be looked after in SA. Alternatively we would look towards becoming NZ citizens. But who knows what the future would holds.
So for now, we are not immigrating. We are going to enjoy ourselves and live free and live light. No financial immigration just yet. In 2 years with residence visas in hand, we want to come back and do our planned Africa Trip. We will see where to from there.
Cannot wait. Live light, live free.