Soooo I’m Kinda Maybe Sorta Moving to New Zealand


As you read these words, I’ll be sitting 40,000 feet up over the Pacific Ocean — most likely fretting about the turbulence — on a 30-hour travel day that will see me venturing from Bristol to London to Seoul to Auckland.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I’m heading to New Zealand.

Mount Aspiring

But how can you do that? Aren’t the borders closed?

Six weeks ago, I was granted a critical purpose COVID-19 visa for New Zealand, due to being in a relationship with a Kiwi dude. It’s a sort-of partner visa; a way to bypass the COVID-19 restrictions if you’re deemed to have a valid reason to do so.

So what’s your reason?

Well, you see, I’m kind of moving to New Zealand.

Wait, what?

I know.

Like, moving moving?

Yeah, I think so.

But what about Bristol?

Despite the many compelling reasons to stay in the U.K. (of which there are zero right now), I’m heading south to safer shores.

It’s no secret that I possess an erratic immune system — it’s been misfiring ever since I contracted mono — and I’ve been sheltering in place since March because of it. I don’t have a life in Bristol right now — I’ve left the house maybe 20 times total over the past nine months.

I’ve seen friends less than a dozen times, meeting up for socially-distanced drinks in the park, but as the weather cools, those meet-ups have evaporated. I haven’t been inside a cafe, restaurant, store, or supermarket since February.

I’ve been on a couple of day hikes.

And that’s it.

Sounds pretty crappy.

Yeah, it’s been rough. I’m very lonely and very sad. I do the exact same thing every single day, and I’ve been doing it for months on end. Lying on my bed, sitting on the sofa, staring at the walls. With winter, Brexit and bigger waves on the horizon, coupled with recent rumours that people in their 30s can’t expect a vaccine before 2022, if they can have one at all, I was starting to sink into a deeper depression.

So many times over the years I’ve believed I’ve hit rock bottom, only to discover it had a basement.

And right now, I can barely find the light.

I’ve stopped writing. I’ve gained 20 lbs. Most days, I open a bottle of wine at 3 p.m. and continue drinking until I go to bed. “I know I’ve gotta get sober at some point,” I tell Dave, “But I’m only happy when I’m not.”

And I know it’s been just as hard for everyone as it has for me. I recognise I’m one of the most fortunate people on the planet right now, to even have the ability to travel to New Zealand, where so many people are currently dreaming of moving.

So, that’s really it? You’re leaving England for good?

Well.

You see, back in January of this year; back when things were normal — of course, normal for me means being urgently hospitalised with symptoms of rabies on New Year’s Day — Dave and I formulated a plan.

We’d been in New Zealand for a month at that point and had been loving every second. We were so much happier than we’d ever been in Bristol, where we’d struggled to make friends and find a community. We decided, then, that 2020 was going to have to be the decider: we’d give Bristol one more year, during which we’d catapult our lonely bodies into every social situation going and make a true, concerted effort to transform this place into a home.

If it didn’t work out, we’d look at moving to New Zealand or Australia.

We didn’t want to waste precious years of our lives trying to force a city to work for us only to turn to each other in a decade and realise we were still dissatisfied.

Obviously, we weren’t able to work on building those friendships this year, so in a way, the pandemic has only accelerated our decision-making process.

Because I love New Zealand; it’s one of my favourite places on the planet, and the pandemic has only shone a brighter light on its compassionate shores.

Dave and I have regularly considered moving there in the past, but always decided it was too far away from the rest of the world. We’re travel writers! Being a 24 hour flight from Europe, the Americas, and Africa makes for an expensive and frustrating career.

But, uh, well, the ability to travel isn’t so much of a deciding factor right now.

Soooo, are you moving or not?

Basically, we’re treating the next 6-12 months as a test run.

There’s a few places we’re considering as potential home bases. Wellington, Wanaka, and Nelson are the top three, but having not spent significant amounts of time in any of them before, we need to try them on for size.

Plus, there’s figuring out the logistics of moving to New Zealand: it’s not going to be as simple as when I moved to Portugal. Back then, I landed in Lisbon and decided to stay and that was that.

Initial research has brought up several snags, one of which could land us with a hefty — as in, high five figures — tax bill. We need to figure that shit out first.

So, it’s not for definite definite, but we’re here to try it out.

Mt Aspiring 4

So what now?

I’ve been issued a 12-month visa and as soon as we arrive, I’ll be applying for permanent residency. If my application is successful, it should be approved within a year. That will give me the ability to live and work in New Zealand for the rest of my life.

It’s going to be a tough process, as anyone who’s applied for a partner visa can attest. I need translated criminal records from Portugal. To arrange for a chest X-ray in a pandemic. Offer up WhatsApp messages and emails between me and Dave. Share the entire timeline of our relationship — covering all the hotels we’ve ever stayed in and the flights we took together, as our unconventional life means that that’s the only evidence I have that we were *living together* for the past nine years.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, I need to prepare to spend the next two weeks holed up in a hotel room.

Ah, quarantine.

Yup. Quarantine. Government-mandated quarantine. Guarded-by-the-military quarantine.

Not that I’m complaining. I wish we had it in the U.K. rather than relying on people to properly self-isolate, which most still aren’t doing.

So how does it work?

Once you’ve booked your flights to New Zealand, you make a reservation for yourself in a Plague Hotel. Several dozen hotels across New Zealand have been converted into quarantine facilities, and we’ll be assigned to one of them. I won’t even know where I’ll be spending my two weeks until I get off the plane — I could even be chartered down to Christchurch!

And so begins two weeks spent locked up in a hotel room.

Sounds really boring.

Yeah, for sure, but isolation in New Zealand will be much the same as my life in Bristol; just in a smaller space and without me needing to cook.

You’re served three meals a day while you’re there and allowed to exercise outside with a chaperone once a day. You can even order Uber Eats to your hotel room. There’ll be daily health checks with a nurse and I’ll get a COVID test on days three and 12.

And then, providing I don’t accidentally contract COVID on the flight, freedom.

Sweet, COVID-free freedom.

And one major dilemma.

What to Do About My Blog?

In the midst of this pandemic, I shuttered this blog to write solely on my Patreon. It was for good reason: Never Ending Footsteps is all about helpful travel guides, observations, and resources; my Patreon is for stories and mishaps.

During a pandemic, I didn’t know how to produce that useful information anymore. Everything I share here is going to be automatically out of date: restaurants and guesthouses have all closed down; what recommendations are worth making now? Who wants to read about how to spend two weeks in Rajasthan when we’re all stuck inside our houses for the foreseeable future?

In some respects, this should be easier to manage when I arrive in New Zealand. This country has brought the pandemic under control multiple times, and as I write this now, there are 55 active cases; all of which are quarantined; most of which were caught at the border.

Coming from the U.K., where cases are currently hanging out at the 25,000 per day mark, it’s peculiar and comforting to see hour-long press conferences being held in New Zealand for a single case.

And if New Zealand continues to remain in control of the pandemic, it means returning to a life much the same as my one pre-COVID. Restaurants, bars, cafes, concerts, cricket games, and more. Dave and I are planning on buying a car and spending the next six months road-tripping around the country from top to bottom. It should, in theory, give me a hell of a lot to write about.

But.

I need to be sensitive to the situation for the rest of the planet; for most of you guys. To jump back into normality and share nothing but virus-free experiences would be tone deaf. I’d feel like I was bragging; being the actual worst. I’m hyper-aware of my privilege right now and struggling to figure out how to handle it.

You know, on one hand, this is my job. I’ve built a career around travelling and sharing it online. It would feel weird to slink into the shadows and travel for months on end while taking a vow of silence online; sharing nothing at all through fear of the backlash. Still, I’m considering doing it.

Because on the other hand, I really don’t want to piss anyone off by sharing my new life in New Zealand.

I stumbled across a random forum thread the other day that was bitching about travel bloggers who were travelling during the pandemic. To my surprise, the vast majority of commenters weren’t calling them irresponsible, but were instead saying they were unfollowing because seeing it made them feel bad. They didn’t want to be reminded that they couldn’t travel; they didn’t want to see other people out there exploring because it only showed them what they were missing out on.

So I don’t know. I’ve always wanted this blog to be a source of silliness and joy, where you can read about me messing up, explore the planet through my eyes, and treat it as a source of escapism. I don’t want it to make people feel bad!

I need to find a balance, so that’s what I’ll be experimenting with over the coming weeks and months.

I’ll be writing about the stuff I think you guys will find interesting here on Never Ending Footsteps: travelling during a pandemic, what mandatory isolation is like, how it feels to enter a busy restaurant for the first time in nine months, whether I experience anxiety over heading to a gig again. And I’ll produce guides to some of my favourite places, too, so that when the pandemic is over, my site will be crammed full of resources for New Zealand travel.

I don’t promote my Patreon much here, because I don’t want to seem as though I’m trying to convince you guys to give me money; your support here is enough.

But I will be sharing most of my personal updates, travel experiences, and stories on Patreon — that way, it won’t be so in your face.

So, if you wanna get your hands on all that juicy behind-the-scenes content, keep up with everything I’m doing on New Zealand, and receive nothing but my biggest and best incidents, you can do so here. It’s $5 a month to join the community, and you’ll also gain access to my 100-odd previously published stories I have up on there.

My Patreon supporters have even known about my move to New Zealand for months — I share everything there first!

Lauren and Dave wearing face masks at Doha Airport

So there you have it!

Next stop: Auckland.

And hopefully an enormous sigh of relief.

I’m happy, I’m excited, I’m grateful, I’m fortunate, and, as always, I’m nervous.

More to come next week!

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53 Comments

  1. Carla
    November 14, 2020
    Reply

    Lauren, please keep writing! I am sure that I am not the only one who would love to read every detail about New Zealand — it has been on my bucket list for a very long time. Of course I am jealous, I’d love to be there too! But I know that you are not dancing on a beach and laughing while most of the world suffers. You are telling thoughtful, interesting stories about a place and its people. If I can’t travel to the places on my list right now, reading about them is the next best thing. I am so angry about how this virus has been politicized — and we’ve been fed so much conflicting information here in the U.S. that nobody believes anything the media or the government says anymore. I’m happy that you are headed to a beautiful place that will be better for your health, and I hope you will tell us all about it!

    • November 14, 2020
      Reply

      Ah, thank you so much, Carla! :-) I’m so concerned that every time I share something, people will be like, um, READ THE ROOM. I’ll probably keep a lot of it off social media but continue to share guides here and there on Never Ending Footsteps. And get back into doing my monthly summaries so people can see what I’ve been up to!

  2. Terri
    November 14, 2020
    Reply

    I agree 100% with everything Carla wrote! I’m in the US too. I’m a Patreon supporter of yours and would love a postcard from NZ. Take care.

    • November 14, 2020
      Reply

      Will be sending a postcard your way once I get out of isolation! :-) Thank you!

  3. Andrea
    November 14, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    Thank you for the update here, been wondering what was going on.
    For me personally – I would love to read more travel blog posts – since we can’t travel right now, at least our minds can wander … so I ll probably join you on pattern if you won’t be posting that much over here .
    All the best for New Zealand, enjoy the normality over there :)

    • November 14, 2020
      Reply

      Thank you for thinking of me! I kept trying to write blog posts, but just couldn’t find the words. I didn’t know what to write, I wasn’t doing anything worth sharing, and travel articles just felt so… unimportant and unnecessary relative to what’s going on in the world. I’m hoping New Zealand will provide some fresh inspiration. And thank you for your feedback! It’s good to know there are still some people out there who want to read about travel :-)

  4. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    November 14, 2020
    Reply

    So exciting! I wouldn’t worry about posting about your trips in New Zealand – maybe don’t fill social media with it, but blog posts on travel around New Zealand is still relevant for people within NZ and will then be there when other people can start planning again! I’ve been taking trips around Scotland and have no qualms with posting about it as long as it’s been safe to take those trips. I’ve seen plenty of bloggers doing the same thing. :) Looking forward to reading more about your new chapter!

    • November 14, 2020
      Reply

      That’s what I’m thinking — keeping social media pretty quiet, but still publishing lots of helpful guides here. Those combined with my monthly summaries should hopefully satisfy my readers who do want to follow along with my travels, while hopefully not being too much for everyone else. What a strange time we live in! Thank you for your comment :-)

  5. scott
    November 14, 2020
    Reply

    First, you’ve been sorely missed here! Second, I think you’re definitely making the right move to go to New Zealand. And third, I hope you keep posting here, because I for one, miss your adventures, and miss living vicariously through your life.

    • November 14, 2020
      Reply

      Ah, thank you so much, Scott! You know, I said to Dave as soon as I hit publish on this post, it felt so, so good to be back. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed writing here.

  6. Diana Edelman
    November 14, 2020
    Reply

    You sound like me when I was living in Spain. The healthiest thing I did was leave. I’m glad you’re in NZ and look forward to your writing and sharing your new life. Please, let me live vicariously and look forward to the day the US is able to offer the same life as NZ.

    • November 15, 2020
      Reply

      Yeah, I can see the similarities in our situations! Things have been really, really dark and bad for my mental health this year. And I’m already feeling like a weight has lifted since arriving in NZ. Now to find a Kiwi guy for you while I’m here :-)

  7. Chelsea
    November 15, 2020
    Reply

    I rarely leave comments on blogs, but felt compelled. First, I felt like I was reading my own words when you shared your experience with trying to decide whether to stay vs go. I have been lonely in our current location even before covid, but of course covid has escalated that a lot. Plus, when you’re isolated/lonely/depressed, you just don’t think clearly! I think what’s hard for me is that I already didn’t love it here (though it has potential) and now it’s hard to even see potential. Yet it’s not like anywhere else would be much better because of covid (I’m in the US). So I guess we just have to keep trucking along. Also, in regards to sharing travel when the majority of the world can’t – I actually have a different perspective. Of course, everyone will be different/feel differently, but when I dreamed of moving to my current location (I dreamed of it my entire life), before it was even close to possible, I’d watch YouTube videos and read blogs about it CONSTANTLY because it motivated and inspired me. I view this as much of the same. Even though I can’t go to NZ right now, I can one day. And your stories will bring a smile to my face and something to look forward until I can :)

    • November 16, 2020
      Reply

      Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment, Chelsea. Your situation sounds so similar to mine. On paper, Bristol seems like it should be my perfect place, as it has everything I’ve looking for, but… I am/was so miserable there, with no real friends or a community, which then affected my self-esteem, which then made me alienate myself more… and then covid happened :-) Yeah, it’s really tough to deal with.

      I like your perspective on sharing my travels, too!

  8. Chelsea
    November 15, 2020
    Reply

    Sorry, I’m not a person of few words (lol) and I didn’t see the comment above when I wrote my original reply and now I have more to say. I don’t think your post was insensitive at all. Loneliness and depression are no joke and it’s a difficult pattern to break once you’re in it (I’m actually a psychologist, so I know this well – and I’m not saying it’s impossible because it’s far from impossible, but it IS difficult once you’re already in that pattern, especially when you cannot properly socialize,exercise, etc.). Every single one of us is doing the best we can in an impossible situation. The truth is that some of us are more privileged than others (I say this as a privileged person), yet no matter how privileged we are, there will always be someone with more privilege. You didn’t come on here to brag about going on some exotic trip (I have seen plenty travel bloggers do that) but instead I saw you get real and vulnerable with us. Just because someone else has it worse doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck for you. Emotions are high right now because we’re all reaching covid fatigue. We all want it to end so badly and we all have different opinions on what that will look like. Don’t dim your light to let others’ shine – the above commenter is tired, stressed, overwhelmed… We all are, but that doesn’t mean you’re insensitive. I personally really related to your post and it really made me feel less alone. I’m privileged but I’m still sad and lonely. And I’d move to NZ tomorrow, too, if I could. Thank you for sharing your story – I know it’s vulnerable. Sending so much love <3

    • November 17, 2020
      Reply

      Thank you <3 I really appreciate this! And I agree — I had no idea what it truly felt like to have depression and feel lonely until this year and wow. I already know it's going to take a lot of self-work to dig myself back out of it all. Hopefully New Zealand will provide that first step for me.

  9. Katie
    November 15, 2020
    Reply

    I completely understand you guys wanting to move to New Zealand – I’m back here for a few months too for a break from the craziness in the US and to visit my friends and family. I had a really good experience in isolation, everyone was so, so nice, the food was great, I got daily exercise walking around the underground car park, and I even had a sea view at the hotel I was in. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to come back, and I would be moving back now too if I could (I have a green card in the US and need to renew it when I get back at the end of Jan). As soon as I get my US passport in 18 months or so I’m definitely moving back – the pandemic has really made me see how incredible this country is. Enjoy your time here and the normalcy once you are out of isolation.

    • November 16, 2020
      Reply

      Ah, you’re back, too! Like you, I’m really enjoying my time in isolation! Everyone is so friendly and we’re in such a comfortable space. And having somebody bring meals to our door is such a bonus, haha. We feel the same — the pandemic has really made us view New Zealand (and the UK) in a different light and we’re feeling so grateful to have the ability to be here.

  10. Will
    November 15, 2020
    Reply

    Don’t feel bad about “pissing people off” through your writing — on the contrary in fact. We all love escapism (in fact, it’s what keeps most of us going!); think about all the films we watch, stories we read, etc, most of us are never going to experience them for ourselves, and we know it, but that’s OK.

    Sometimes reality (especially in the UK) is just too much for people to bear and, as a consequence, I think you will find yourself to be a source of inspiration for many of your readers, most of whom will be genuinely happy for you and wishing you all the best, not to mention curious about your adventures.

    Anyway, good luck in NZ. I lived there for four years between ’08-’12 and, over time, grew to love the country and it’s ample space. I regret not getting residency there when I had the chance to do so and it’s good to hear you won’t make the same mistake!

    • November 16, 2020
      Reply

      Thank you, Will! That’s really good to hear — I would much rather be a source of inspiration and escapism than making people feel bad. And I have so much I want to share about New Zealand!

  11. jean
    November 15, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Lauren!

    I agree with some of the comments above. I’d also love to read about your experience in NZ and see pictures of the beautiful places you’ll be visiting. It’s inspiring and will make me dream of travelling in (hopefully a near) future.

    In my opinion it’s not insensitive and if somebody does feel it is, they always have the choice of not checking your blog or social media.

    I hope this new chapter in your life will heal the health issues you’ve been experiencing this year and I wish you a great adventure in NZ.

    Take care and stay healthy

    • November 16, 2020
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Jean — I appreciate knowing that! I’m really happy to discover that most people would prefer to read about what I’m up to and see New Zealand through my eyes. As I said in this post, it would feel so weird to be out travelling but feeling too worried to share anything in case it upsets everyone! Also, I’m already feeling as though a huge weight has lifted since touching don in New Zealand, even though I’m just sitting around in a hotel room all day! I can’t wait to get out and start exploring again.

  12. Karlijn
    November 15, 2020
    Reply

    I’m so happy for you! If I had the chance to move to New Zealand, I would definitely take it as well. I’m looking forward to your blog posts and Patreon stories. I don’t think it’s insensitive to write about travel at all, because it will inspire many people. And if there’s one thing we need right now, it’s inspiration. And distraction from the whole corona misery. So please: keep writing about your travels, I’ll be following along! Good luck with your quarantaine :)

    • November 16, 2020
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Karlijn! That’s what I’m hoping — that my posts will be more inspirational for a post-covid future as opposed to seeming as though I’m rubbing my newfound freedom in everyone’s faces!

  13. Ella
    November 15, 2020
    Reply

    Lauren, I am so happy for you! When you published on Patreon that you were through to your flight I let out a little cheer. I agree with most of the above comments – I would LOVE to hear about your trips. Your travel writing always boosts my mood and makes me feel more inspired.

    Times are so shitty at the moment. I’m in the UK and my mental health has absolutely plummeted these last few months. I’m prone to depression as it is but now I’ve found that basement you were talking about, where there’s absolutely no light to look to.

    So having known how you must have felt, I can only feel happiness that you are getting somewhere better. People so often dismiss mental health but it is so important. It seems to me that moving to New Zealand for you was a ‘must’, not a ‘nice to have’.

    I’m rambling but what I’m trying to say is I cannot wait to hear more about your adventures in New Zealand. I understand not wanting to offend anyone; tensions are particularly high at the moment so people seem to have sharper tongues than usual. So share what you feel happy to share publicly and I hope you continue to share your kick-ass stories on Patreon.

    I went through and deleted lots of travel bloggers from Instagram at the start of the year but more recently I’ve been adding them back because seeing travel posts gives me drive again and makes me realise there is a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

    All the best!

    • November 16, 2020
      Reply

      Ahhh, thank you, thank you! That’s so sweet! Honestly, after all that stress and panic, I couldn’t believe it when we got to the airport and just… were allowed on the plane.

      I’m really sorry to hear about your struggles — I can relate so hard to them. It’s such a dark time right now, and it feels like it’s especially bad in the UK. But I do think the recent news about the effectiveness of the vaccines is providing a glimmer of hope now. Surely, surely, surely things will be feeling more normal by the summer?

  14. Priyanka Gupta
    November 16, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for sharing all your personal stories here.

    It makes me sad to hear that people backlash others who are trying to make their lives better. You are privileged, but is that your fault?

    As a traveler and travel writer, I also wondered if my stories would make others’ jealous or uncomfortable and should I stop publishing articles or sharing them on social media.

    Then I remembered how many readers had told me that they travel vicariously through my writing. And isn’t a blog article written for the years to come by and not only right for that moment? So I continued publishing, sharing, and posting pictures to show that there is an end to this lockdown and the world is beautiful. Plus the ideas was to build on the blog meanwhile so that the content is there when travel opens up.

    I hope you do share what you see for one day people would need those pieces :)

    Stay safe and hopefully now you can do some normal stuff.

    Best,
    Priyanka

    • November 16, 2020
      Reply

      It’s tough to find a balance, for sure, and I’m not convinced there is a correct one — you’re always going to annoy somebody, no matter what you do. I’m trying to be sensitive to the fact that so many people are struggling right now while also not sacrificing my happiness in order to make others feel more comfortable. Ah, a career on the internet! I miss the days when I didn’t have to second guess the criticism I’d receive for every article I write.

      But you’re correct that any articles I publish now will be useful in the future for travellers to New Zealand — and can even be useful right now for Kiwis! After all, there are no travel restrictions here, so a lot of locals are going to be exploring their homeland this summer.

      Thanks for your kind comment :-)

  15. Caroline
    November 16, 2020
    Reply

    Hey Lauren,

    I’m wishing you all the best! Are they really saying that the vaccines in the UK won’t be available to people in their 30s for at least a year? I’m in the US, which has handled everything horribly as you know, but all the vaccine reports here are that they’re looking safe and likely to be approved for people 18+ — ie they won’t be approved for pediatric patients, but people in their 20s and 30s should be covered by the normal vaccine. I’m in my 30s too and I know I’ll be one of the last to get it (as I should be!), but early reports from Dr. Fauci (our main science guy here in the US) say that if all continues to go well, vaccines will be available for the whole US adult population in the next 6 months.

    This is not to say that you shouldn’t move to New Zealand — I’d love to be in New Zealand right now, and anyway everyone needs to do what’s right for them! Just thought it might cheer you up to hear that US vaccination projections are WAY better than the ones you cited in your post, and if we’re capable of doing that I am sure the UK will be too, as I can’t imagine anyone handling this worse than the US has!

    • November 16, 2020
      Reply

      Yeah, the head of the vaccine task force in the U.K. has said publicly and repeatedly it’s a vaccine *only* for the over 50s and vulnerable. That anybody else won’t be able to get it — they only plan on vaccinating half of the country. Here’s an article with her comments: https://www.ft.com/content/d2e00128-7889-4d5d-84a3-43e51355a751

      I’d like to think that eventually the under 50s will be able to receive the vaccine, but it doesn’t look like it’s being planned for by the people in charge right now.

  16. Caroline
    November 16, 2020
    Reply

    Yikes! And here I was feeling bad for myself for being in the US. It sounds like the UK is being much more limited/restrictive in their vaccination plans than the US is, and I don’t understand why. The US has done an awful job managing this, but the line all along (and then repeated a lot over the past week with Pfizer/Moderna news) is that a vaccine will be available to any adult who wants one. Of course they’re talking about starting with the most vulnerable, but no plans to stop there, or at some pre-set number of total people. Fingers crossed the UK eventually changes course and takes the same approach…or that you can get vaccinated in another country.

    • November 16, 2020
      Reply

      Rightttt?! It seems totally baffling to me. I suspect that things will change as the UK obtains further doses and more vaccines come to market, but yeah. I’ll be really interested to see what the global situation will be a year from now. Hopefully we’ll all be vaccinated by then!

  17. Kathleen
    November 17, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Lauren! Pre-covid, I always wanted to move to NZ but because of various reasons (I’m afraid because I know no one out there), I always postponed it. Now things are more difficult, and so my feelings of regret began to flow. But I wouldn’t want to totally abandon that idea. When things get better, I still want to move there, so I would be very interested especially on your posts on what life would be like there in NZ today and onwards. I’ll always be looking forward to your posts. Good luck and I hope for the best for you and Dave.

    • November 17, 2020
      Reply

      Hi Kathleen! It’s a valid reason to be concerned, for sure. It’s why I’m leaving Bristol, after all. And also why I’m a bit nervous about my move to New Zealand, as I also don’t know anybody in any of the places we’re considering moving to. Ah, it’s so tough to make new friends from scratch! But I’m looking forward to writing about the process a little more and sharing what it’s like to live in New Zealand :-) Thanks for your kind words!

  18. Stacey
    November 17, 2020
    Reply

    Please don’t worry about offending people, I for one will be looking forward to your posts! You are not gloating and the fact that you are aware of and acknowledge that you are in a fortunate position goes a long way and proves you are definitely not tone-deaf. I’ll be interested to hear about your experiences travelling during this weird time and what it’s like to quarantine. I will also be looking forward to hearing about your adventures in NZ! I visited a long time ago so it will bring back great memories for me of some places I’ve been and will, I’m sure, introduce me to other places I haven’t (after all, one day we will be travelling again, right?)! You always write in a funny, thoughtful and informative way and I look forward to more posts of yours as you settle in over there. More importantly, I’m sorry that you have been struggling so much recently, these are very difficult times indeed. So I’m glad you have made a decision which will hopefully help your mental and physical health…after all these are the most important things we have, so we have to look after them and do what we need to do. Good luck over there and I can’t wait for more updates on here and on your patreon!

  19. Michelle
    November 18, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Lauren!!!
    I’m was so happy to check your blog today and see that there was a new post, and that you’re moving to NZ! I hope you and Dave will be happy there; it seems like the best place to be in the world right now and makes my American self very jealous lol. As a university student I can’t afford your patreon at the moment so as many other commenters have suggested, I would absolutely love if you kept posting on your blog about your adventures in NZ. I don’t think it would be tone deaf, especially since you are so cognizant about acknowledging your privilege, and honestly reading your posts (and photo essays!) are a great escape from monotonous daily life at the moment. NZ is high on my bucket list and anything you post will be added to my potential itinerary one day.
    I hope quarantine passes quickly, and you guys are happy in NZ:)

  20. Summer
    November 18, 2020
    Reply

    You’ve always struck me as very intelligent, empathetic and nuanced and this blog post really goes to show why. I was wondering where you’d gone the last few months and it’s so good to see an update. New Zealand is an absolutely wonderful country (I almost moved there myself) and glad you’re doing what’s best for your mental health.

  21. Atanas
    November 21, 2020
    Reply

    Glad you’re writing again Lauren. Have a great time on the opposite side of the globe.

  22. steph
    November 25, 2020
    Reply

    We did just six weeks road tripping New Zealand and I would LOVE following along. More than ever now, I love being able to read about places and dream about traveling again. Knowing how much work you’ve done to keep yourself safe is enough for me to support your safe travels in that beautiful country. Congrats on the change and good luck!

  23. Gwyn
    November 26, 2020
    Reply

    Good luck in New Zealand Lauren. If I had a NZ relative/partner I’d be absolutely on a flight there too.
    Sometimes life just sends you where yo need to be, go with it & enjoy.x

    • December 5, 2020
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Gwyn! <3

  24. Gwyn
    November 26, 2020
    Reply

    I’ve just read the earlier anon comment.
    I don’t think you are being at all insensitive & are infact being completley open & honest.
    Covid has been different for many.
    For me I’ve actually appreciated being in one place, not rushing around or plannig anything different; simply connecting with & appreciating where I am.
    In a logical sense, I hardley see the point of paying rent anywhere in the UK to not leave a building when you have an option to be somewhere else that will work so much better for you.
    Don’t worry, we all our own chances & paths to follow. Enjoy.

    • January 14, 2021
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Gwyn — I really appreciate that. And it’s true — if I have these opportunities to improve my life, I should take them, rather than letting them pass simply because it might make somebody else (a stranger!) angry or upset.

      I’ve definitely had some of that, too — the appreciation of being in one place after so many years of travel. It was just so nice to be able to sit down and reminisce and process the experiences I’ve had. Not have to worry about planning the next trip. Being able to read and meditate and craft and sit in the sunshine. Well, it was nice for the first few months of the pandemic, at least, before I started spiralling, haha.

  25. Jo
    November 26, 2020
    Reply

    Hey Lauren,

    Exciting news! :) My partner and I are in OZ right now, but we migrated to NZ several years ago and had a blast there. Beautiful country, beautiful people, and I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic road trip. Are you planning to hire a campervan?

    I won’t lie though, it’s not a great base for international travel in the future. Traveling from NZ to almost anywhere in the world (besides OZ) is not just long and expensive… the queues entering NZ for immigration and customs at all major airports are pretty crazy (not now I’m sure, but normally). We queue up for 2-3 hrs every time we enter – that was fun after a long haul flight from the UK or the US. Dave can probably go through the expedited queue due to being a citizen, but you probably won’t be able to.

    But it’s a lovely country nevertheless! Happy to help if you have any visa questions, too. Good luck!

    • December 5, 2020
      Reply

      Fortunately, the immigration queues are for New Zealand citizens and family members, so I’ve always been able to go to that line and get through quickly. Never had to wait more than 10 mins!

      But it’s true that it won’t be amazing for international travel — we’ll have to see how that affects my plans, whenever it becomes commonplace again. Maybe escaping NZ winters to travel to the northern hemisphere for a few months each year? For now, though, this definitely feels like a great place to be :-)

  26. Lisa
    November 27, 2020
    Reply

    I think we all need to take the negative trolls of the world even less seriously these days. People are all stressed and lonely and some people lash out at strangers because of it. That doesn’t mean you should alter you plans or life at all to make those people happy. No one else is going to look after your happiness so you need to and if this move and travelling around NZ is what makes you happy then you should do exactly that. I commend you for taking steps to fix your depression instead of just letting it fester and turning into one of the people that lashes out.

    I also don’t think being privileged means you have to feel bad about it. We all have different situations and some are better than others and unless you’re actively taking away from someone else’s circumstance then you shouldn’t feel guilty about your own.
    I look forward to reading about your travels and anyone whos offended is just unhappy and that’s not your fault.

  27. Cheryl
    December 19, 2020
    Reply

    Yes, we will all be jealous! But I’m looking forward to reading about your time in NZ. I understand your reservations about it. If I were in your position I would also feel a little like I’m showing off, but you’re a conscientious person and that comes through in your writing. I’m sure you’ll find a balance. I think ppl would be justifiably upset if you were being irresponsible, but you are travelling in a country were it is safe to do so. So why not? I’ve taken just one short trip to NZ in the past and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I am excited to learn more through your stories. Wonderful place and people. Seems like an ideal place to call home.

  28. Tina
    January 19, 2021
    Reply

    Hi Lauren ….
    Where did you end up settling? You had mentioned Wanaka, Queenstown and Nelson. I live in Nelson and think it is great. Only a small population of around 45,000, but great weather, plus beaches and mountains.

    • January 19, 2021
      Reply

      I haven’t decided yet — still travelling around and checking out a few different places! Currently in Wanaka and heading to Nelson in a week or so :-) Looking forward to trying it on for size!

  29. Megan
    January 24, 2021
    Reply

    Welcome to NZ Lauren, so glad you can find safety and serenity in our corner of the world :)

    After spending years travelling the globe from a London base, I’ve just started really properly travelling Aotearoa and will enjoy seeing where you go/settle.

    Good luck working out what’s next!

  30. Lynsey
    February 1, 2021
    Reply

    Hi Lauren, I’m so happy for you that you have made the move to New Zealand and have already began to feel better and happier. In one of the other comments someone said it was an insensitive post, but they can always choose to read something else if they feel that way; and I am a true believer that you need to look after yourself as your first priority, and you have definitely made the right choice to move! I am genuinely happy you managed to get out of the UK to NZ for your own health and wellbeing.

    I can imagine it wasn’t an easy process though with guidelines changing all the time, and flights being cancelled but you got there! It also gives me hope that I can make things work to finally see my partner again as soon as things start to relax (he is South African, but currently working in the US/Carribean so between visas and other restrictions it can be tricky even in normal times 😅). It’s not been easy for so many long distance/travelling couples during this time, but there is so much more hope for 2021 than 2020 with vaccine roll outs beginning to happen now etc. Things are starting to look more hopeful 😌

    One of the biggest things I miss in all this (besides actually travelling) is the travel inspiration from photos and blogs, and I often catch myself thinking back to places I have been and realising how lucky I was to have fallen in love with travelling pre-covid. Reading your posts makes me more determined to safely get my fix once this is over!

    I stumbled on Never Ending Footsteps back in 2015 when I was planning my first solo trip which coincidentally began in New Zealand, and I fell in love with it! There were so many places that just took my breath away and I have always said I want to go back 😍 I always check back from time to time to see where and what you have been up to lately! Reading over your posts today has definitely brought a bit of sunshine and inspiration to lockdown in the UK for me, and I hope to visit some of the places you have been in recent weeks when it is safe to do so again… I didn’t make it to the Coromandel last time so it’s definitely high on my list!

    Thank you as always for giving us inspiration, tips and amusing stories! Good luck with your New Zealand journey and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts for when I can finally return there for a visit too xx

  31. Kate
    February 2, 2021
    Reply

    Dude! You can’t stop posting here now, I just found your lovely blog. I want to see any stories about travel, life, etc. Don’t listen to the envious trolls, share your beautiful life with us. I need some pics and stories of NZ to bring some light into my life.

    Xoxo!

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