Main Menu

Why we’re leaving New Zealand…for now

I’ve been avoiding this blog for a long time. I thought our decision to leave Canada back in September 2013 was tough, but after living in this beautiful country for 2.5 years, choosing to leave New Zealand has been much harder.

We have loved every second of living here. From the moment we stepped off the plane this place just felt like home…with one exception. Family.

We’ve been lucky enough to keep ourselves (very) busy over the last few years, exploring every inch of the country and experiencing new and amazing adventures. And we did have our parents and some close friends visit us here to experience a taste of the Kiwi Life, but there has always been something missing. Something gnawing at us that has not weakened with time, but become stronger. The importance of being closer to family.


If only we could have convinced our loved ones to all move here it would have been perfect! Sadly though that’s an unlikely outcome (despite our efforts)

As we start to move into the next phase of our life, the importance of being closer to family becomes greater. We were at that pivotal point being here 2.5 years that we really had to decide whether we wanted to settled in here permanently…or move back to Canada. While part of me still finds it hard to imagine leaving New Zealand, I can’t envision raising our (future) children this far away from our parents and family.

cascade saddle

And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from living in New Zealand it is to appreciate your own backyard. After moving here we realized how much we took Canada for granted and never truely appreciated what it had to offer. We’ve had this feeling of unfinished business and can’t wait to get back and explore our own country and continue to share our adventures!

Even though I know it’s the right choice, this was not a decision we made quickly. It was a topic of discussion for over a year and something we’ve been quite torn about for months. If I think of where would make us the most happy in our adventurous lives, New Zealand hands down has that in the bag. But looking forward, Canada is where we belong right now and I know we will find new and exciting adventures as we explore our home.

canada flag

Many people find our blog because they are considering moving to New Zealand or are already in the process. I’ve always been upfront about the challenges of living this far away, so please don’t let that deter you from moving here. It was the best decision we ever made. But making the decision to move is actually much harder than the move itself and our while our initial plan was to move back to Canada after a year, it turned out when that year came around – we just weren’t ready to go. Now though the timing feels right and I feel we can leave without any regrets.

So while this may be so long for now, it is definitely not good-bye. We know we’ll be back. If not in 6 months when we realized we made a huge mistake, it will be to visit again and likely live again in a few years down the road. New Zealand has stolen a piece of our hearts and has become our second home. I know it will be calling us back again so I’m not that sad knowing our journey here isn’t ending – it’s just going to pause 🙂



    Comments ( 51 )

  • Laurence

    Cherish the time you’re gonna spend with your family in Canada , see the country with fresh eyes and when you all are ready.. Come Back!?

    Canada .. There and back … Again?

    Have a safe journey and keep blogging

    • Thanks Laurence! Love that line….Canada…There and back…again…might use that in the future! 🙂

      We will definitely keep sharing our adventures and looking forward to sharing Canada through our eyes!


    • Cynthia

      I found you in my quest to move to NZ. I’m sad to see you’re leaving, but I’m sure I would struggle with it as well if I still had family. As it is, it’s me, the Mr., and the kids, so there’s not a lot to miss. But, hey! More room in the country for me! 😀 I’m glad that you got to spend so much time there, and do so many reallyfuckingamazing things.

      • Thanks Cynthia! I think everyone’s experience is different, some it might be easy, some it might be hard, even for as long as we stayed. But I feel like if people do what makes them happy, that’s all you can hope for. Wish you all the best and hope you get to experience life in NZ!

  • Hi Jenna,

    I hear you!!! 6 years in Canada and the feeling of having the family far away in Brazil really hurts me and my wife. The feeling of wishing happy birthday through Skype or Christmas or special occasion that we are just not there.

    Now that we have Manuela (our daughter), even with yearly trips there and the visits here, we feel is not enough. We are just waiting to make the hard decision to move back, because different than you, we are moving back to a country were life is not very easy due economics reason 🙁 but Canada will always be here 🙂 as you have NZ in your hearts.

    By the way, with all the adventures you and your husband have, I am sure you will love to have a trip to explore a little bit of Brazil. I can say it is wild hahaha

    I wish you all the best in your way back to Canada.


    • Hey Cristiano!
      I can imagine its tougher with kids, hope you guys find your way back and wish you all the best!
      Would love to see Brazil so will let you know if plans come up in the future 🙂

  • Patrick

    You’re keeping the channel going, right? I would hate to stop seeing new adventures and helpful tips.

  • My husband and I lived on the south island for over a year until we decided to move back to the US. I truly enjoyed following along your journey as a fellow expat, and reading this post I know EXACTLY how you feel. It was tough to decide to leave versus stay in NZ for the long haul but we decided being closer to our family would be beneficial for our mini family now and maybe later on we could always move back. I hope you continue to post and make amazing videos – plus Canada is a lot easier to travel to and explore than NZ 😉

    • Hi Jen!
      Yeah we loved everything about NZ except for how far away it was from not only family but everything! We know we’ll be back here again and are excited to share our adventures in Canada 🙂
      All the best!

  • Julie

    Thank you Jenna for all that you shared with us. I hope to read you soon.

    From Canada (Québec)

  • Enjoy that year in Canada! I doubt it will take much longer until you will be back again. 😉
    We’ve been through a similar story but definitely didn’t feel home (in Europe) again. So we permanently relocated to NZ a year ago. Once you have seen how life can be, you just don’t accept fitting into the old system anymore. It might be a bit different in CA compared to Europe, but you’ll see.

    • Hey Chris!
      Well we figured there’s only one way to find out if its the wrong decision – it’s to go home and find out ourselves 🙂
      Will see how things turn out but if we didn’t at least try, we would never know

      • I totally agree. You have to make that experience on your own.
        The things you regret most in life are those which you didn’t try.
        You’re doing it right: Do what you think is right and don’t worry too much about what ‘may’ be. 🙂

    • Rhonda

      We too are looking to relocate to New Zealand. Canada’s political climate is very bad and with Trump in office, we can’t justify staying in a great country like Canada with a corrupt government and processes that never change. Families are fighting to survive in Ontario with sky-high hydro rates, daycare rates and poorly funded public schools and ever increasing tuition. Companies follow an American system of two-weeks vacation with a cap at 5 weeks after 25 years in service. Mental illness is of almost epidemic proportions and so my husband and I have to ask ourselves, “Why? Why would we want to stay in a country where we can’t afford to retire and worry about the bleak future of our son?”

      • Rhonda
        I think most people could say the same thing about any country – no country is perfect, not even New Zealand. There are lots of issues with politics and affordability of housing and basic needs. If you find a country that you feel offers what you need more than Canada, I say go for it 🙂

  • Mitch

    Congrats on making such a huge decision! I can certainly sympathize with the struggles of missing home yet being so in love with New Zealand. I’ve been back in Canada 9 months now and miss my home in Wellington everyday.

    It’s been wonderful watching you two explore and discover such an amazing country, thank you for all you’ve shared over the past couple years.

    Heres to wonderful memories made and more to come back here in Canada.

  • Dave

    Totally Understand.
    Remember to hang a poster of New Zealand in the nursery!
    Lots of Aroha guys

  • Chelsea

    Wow, I have been inpired by your blog since moving to New Zealand myself as a Canadaian . It has always been a source of inspiration and guidance on settling here. Did you get permanent residency so you can easily return one day? Good luck on the move!

    • Hi Chelsea!
      Unforuntely we didn’t get residency, and wished we went that route when we started, but since we initially thought this might only be a 1 year adventure it didn’t make sense at the time to invest that much in visas – lesson learned!

  • Been following you guys and your amazing adventures for ages (I originally found you as a fellow Welly dweller on Instagram @mnmsadventures @meghanmaloneyphotography) – I’ve loved seeing you conquer some amazing hikes and climbs and getting off the beaten track. You’ve certainly given me a bigger appreciation for our beautiful country – love love love all your videos – such talent!

    Sad to see you go but totally understand the pull of family – we just made the move away from Welly to the Waikato for that exact reason – and we have no regrets – our kids are of an age we want them to grow up knowing their grandparents. I’ll look forward to seeing some more magic spots around the world through your eyes.

    All the best

    • Thanks so much Meghan for your lovely note!
      We have loved New Zealand and it will always be a special place for us.
      Look forward to sharing our Canadian adventures with our followers!
      take care

  • You inspired us to come to New Zealand and document our trip. Without you guys I’m not sure if we’d had the guts to go and explore this amazing place. Thank you so much for all the incredible videos, photos and stories you’ve shared with us and we are excited to see where your journey continues!

    No doubt a hard decision and we’re proud of you for making it happen.

    Hope we get to catch up with you guys before you leave and grab a surf. Have a kick-ass time on the rest of your adventures here in NZ and enjoy exploring Canada through new eyes 🙂

    Jussi & Johanna

  • Jess

    Looks like we are swapping places! My partner is from New Zealand and we are headed back after a year here. I know I’ll miss home and my family so much. It will be great to have this blog to read to keep me company. Are you two shipping anything across the big ocean? I’m trying to find an economical route but sure is hard! Good luck back at home!

    • Hi Jess!
      We are only shipping some personal items (gear, clothes, surfboards) so are sending it through a partner with NZ Post who will air ship it for cheaper (or very close in price) than sea freight!
      Good luck with your move as well!

      • Jess

        Hi Jenna, thanks for the reply! What’s the partner you are shipping with if you don’t mind me asking? Still haven’t quite figured out how we are getting our bikes over to NZ yet 🙂 Take care!

  • Carlos

    I’ve been following your site and watching your videos for a long time, it must be really hard to leave NZ, you seemed to be having a lot of fun and hopefully you can do the same here in Canada. Keep exploring and please document everything 😀

    • Thanks Carlos! It was definitely not an easy decision but the best one for us right now. We’ll be sure to continue to document our adventures in Canada and look forward to exploring our own backyard!

  • Matt

    Wonderful blog, beautiful thoughts and words on family. I would also love to live in NZ for a bit but family, friends and the love i have for Australia keeps me here. Hoping when the kids are old enough and living their own lives that my wife and I can get over there in retirement for a while. A few hols across the ditch will have to keep us going until then.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful time and adventures
    and making us feel a part of your family. Look forward to your travels in beautiful Canada(hopefully Alaska as well).

    Safe travels and look after each other.


  • Excited for your next chapter in life. I just wanted to say thank you. I am going to new Zealand in a month and between you and Liz from young adventuress, I have been filled with so much inspiration and excitement. I must have spent HOURS looking at your amazing videos and have planned my trip around some of your activities!
    In fact, you guys inspired me so much that I actually strated a blog. You have no idea- I am just not a blogger, but despite that, I started one after seeing yours. Haha

    Anyhow, thanks again and look forward to seeing more amazing things from stoked for saturday!

  • Anthony

    HI guys, I just watched your videos before you left Canada and really felt for Jenna as she tearfully described leaving work for the last time. It’s always hard leaving behind what you have known for the unknown. And then I read that you are leaving New Zealand to go back to Canada! Wow! Though I can understand why – home and family are strong bonds.
    For all New Zealand’s beauty there is something a bit isolating about it. It’s an island nation a long way from everywhere. Many kiwis have left permanently and kiwis are big on overseas travel. Mostly I think our isolation has been viewed as a bad thing, but with the way the world is going, I think in the future that isolation will be seen as an asset.
    It was interesting watching those first videos.They seemed to be more personal and human. Somehow they morphed into grand epics about New Zealand. Not that that is a criticism, just an observation. You have to make the videos that interest you.
    I’ve really enjoyed your videos and blog. New Zealand is an easy place to fall in love with. Even though I am a local, I have been pretty much everywhere in New Zealand and have grown to genuinely love it. Though I wish more kiwis shared my appreciation of ‘home’.
    You are a pretty inspirational pair and really likeable too! I will miss seeing your New Zealand adventures. Thanks for sharing them with us. I wish you both all the best for the future.
    Cheers, Antz

    • Thanks Anthony! We will have lots of New Zealand adventures left to share so even though we’ll be in Canada we have heaps of content!
      One of the things we learned most from living here was to appreciate your backyard and that’s one of the reasons we feel compelled to move back to Canada as we didn’t take advantage of it when we were there!
      All the best

  • This is completely the situation I’m in right now and I can relate soooo much. My boyfriend and I have been in Western Australia for almost three years – we love the nature and lifestyle but couldn’t possibly be any further away from family. The holidays are really hard for us, especially since my fam doesn’t travel much and hardly visits! SO Yeah. I totally feel you!!! So does my partner, and we will have to make a similar choice at the end of the year.

    It sounds like you guys are staying positive. NZ will always be a special second home for you 🙂 and just a flight… er, well a few flights… away :)Fortunately, Canada is an outdoors-lovers haven too!

  • We are just in the process of building a house in Queenstown and hoping to move within the year. Have enjoyed your adventures. We are excited about our new adventure and all the best with continuing your amazing adventures too!

  • Jeff Spiers

    That’s a great photo of you both stood overlooking the valley, where is it exactly?
    I’m heading to New Zealand in November and i’d love to visit that very spot…

    Thanks a million…

  • […] of the biggest, and toughest decisions in 2016 was to leave New Zealand. We had spent the last 2.5 years exploring every corner of this country and loved every minute of […]

  • Fiona Giesinger

    Kia Ora,

    Jenna and Jordan, I love watching your videos and now reading your blogs. My family is going on a trip next year to New Zealand, a long time dream of mine and your videos have become a great source of inspiration and information.

    I know what you mean about needing to explore Canada more, there are so many places here that we can adventure in, but often go back to the same places. We have been hiking more here (Alberta) in preparation for our trip to NZ and have really looked around at how wonderful this country is too!

    Welcome back to Canada, keep making videos and blogs, I really enjoy following along in your adventures!

  • Samantha

    Good luck to you all! We have been living in New Zealand for 20 years now. Both of our kids were born in NZ away from our family based in USA, Canada and Europe. For those of you moving to NZ just keep in mind that the min wage is $15.75 per hour before any tax, the average housing cost in Auckland is over 800K, the childcare is $50 per day per child and in some places close to $75 a day, your annual salary will not go higher than 40K-70K, there is no industry in here and good jobs are not easy to find. Talking about the school system – very basic education system with no future for the children as this country became mostly Chinese/Indian community. Keep in mind that this new community does not want to do anything with you if you are European looking. If you have no kids, having fun and travel to see the beauty of NZ is great! As soon as your family is expended with few kids under your wings you are exposed to the expenses of childcare, traffic, school bullying and discrimination. Do not forget that the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side and you need to move away from your homeland to appreciate it more, specially having your Sunday lunch with mum and dad…

  • Leigh

    We just moved back from NZ after a year there and I’m having such a hard time with transitioning back to life in the US. We live in Baltimore and it has never been “my happy place” but are here due to my husbands job as a professor (hard to move around in that profession but sabbaticals like the one in NZ are amazing perks!) I grew up in Alaska and have lived in CA so am really missing the lifestyle and scenery and kiwi attitudes. Unfortunely my husband wasn’t as happy there at the uni and my kids while they enjoyed it are happy to be back.
    So hard to make things work so it works for everyone!
    Hole in my heart for NZ…

Leave a Comment

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>