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New Zealand, Where It All Started


a small boat docked to a narrow pier at sunset
Akaroa, New Zealand

Twelve years ago this week, Corie and I were walking along the beach in Akaroa, New Zealand. We had just finished a dinner of fresh seafood and were exploring the town before we returned to the bed and breakfast.


With seagulls circling overhead and the sound of small gentle waves lapping the shore, I made an offhand comment, “I could retire in a place like this.”


Those eight words changed the direction of our lives.


When we returned to the States, we started thinking about moving to New Zealand and wondering why we should wait for twenty years to live abroad and started crafting plans to do so sooner.


Moving across the planet, however, was much easier said than done. At the time, we had two dogs and two cats, all of whom could best be described as “a little on the crazy side.” The idea of making a living by writing books was still years away, so I needed to find a job in New Zealand, an interesting undertaking thousands of miles away.


We were frustrated.


The day we realized our big dream wasn’t going to happen was the most disappointing time of our lives together.


During the next few years, the thought of someday living overseas was always in the back of our minds. It was just a matter of when.


Needless to say, Georgia isn’t New Zealand. But the seed that was planted twelve years ago seemed to be sprouting as we came to the realization that we could make such a move work.


More than any time in my life, this past year has made me realize things happen when they are supposed to happen. Call it some sort of divine intervention, fate, or following the universe’s plans, but I’m grateful that our lives took such a big turn when it did.


We will always fondly remember our stay in New Zealand, even with our crazy week following the Christchurch earthquake. And who knows? Maybe we will try to retire in a little town by the sea. But I’m glad right now we have been and continue to be exactly where we are supposed to be.


Speaking of being where we’re supposed to be, join me next week as I revisit some of my favorite photos of artists and other creative folks in Denver in the 1990s. (There’s another anniversary reason why I’ve chosen this for the newsletter, so you’ll just have to tune in and find out why!) See you next week!


image of an ornate red dome with the moon in the background
Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand

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