If we do end up moving to New Zealand, how do we get our stuff there, and how much of our stuff do we bring with us? I decided to do some preliminary planning in case we did go, and we both decided it wouldn’t hurt to lighten our loads of personal possessions in any case. Even if we didn’t go to New Zealand, we decided we were moving somewhere just feeling the need to shake things up.
But you know, as soon as you decide to get rid of something you begin to think, “Well, I might need that after all,” even though you haven’t used it in years. “You know, I really might take up tennis again if I move to New Zealand and my ancient high school tennis racket might be just the thing.” Actually there is some weird rule in the Universe that when you do throw something away, a few days later—even after not using it for years—you suddenly need it!
But after all, this was a chance to purge ourselves of unnecessary items, things we hadn’t used in years, didn’t or wouldn’t need there, could buy there, or simply things we didn’t like or perhaps had never liked to begin with. In a word—opportunity. Freedom. Starting over. Starting fresh. With new stuff or new used stuff that would cost lots more over there.
What were we going to do with the stuff we left behind? Sell lots of it or give it away or get a big dumpster and toss it. But we wanted to keep and store some stuff. Family heirlooms—no, we had none of those. Expensive furniture—that would be a big negative also. All of our furniture had come from American Furniture Warehouse, one of those cheap furniture stores that was always having some sort of crazy sale, stuff like “The Manager Has Gone On Vacation Sale—make us an offer!” As if some red-vested furniture salesman was actually going to let a black leather ottoman go for a buck fifty or something. But like I said, our furniture was junk and had long ago exceeded its prescribed two to three year lifespan. We both had some boxes of stuff from our childhood. You know, stuff that someone might need to peruse when doing our biographies as in “Ah, at last, here are his notes from high school chemistry. Now I can finally fill in this blank portion of his life!”
Storage units are where you leave stuff you think you might want later. But usually when you come back you don’t want any of it anymore, and you generally think, “why did I keep all this shit.”
At one time I had moved to Virginia and actually stored a considerable amount of junk in a storage unit in Colorado for seven years. I could have bought the unit. Yes, I paid thousands of dollars over those years to store a car, a piano, old pots and pans, books I’d never read again, broken down furniture and miscellaneous boxes filled with ill-fitting, dirty and dated clothing I’d never wear again. Not to mention old Brillo sponges, blank tablets of paper, and other sundry plastic junk that would cost $2.99 at K-Mart to replace. I wasn’t going to repeat that mistake again.
Bringing stuff over on the airplane with us to New Zealand was a possibility but the prices for suitcases rapidly escalated. For Air New Zealand, the first bag was free, the second bag cost $150, the third $200, the fourth $300. And each bag could be no more than 50 lbs. and the dimensions no larger than 62 inches (length plus height plus width). Also your carry-on could only weigh 15 pounds. So that wasn’t going to work for much stuff.
I looked into airfreight but their prices were the same as the commercial airlines. How about UPS? After all it seemed you could be in the most remote areas of the country and you’d see a UPS truck. I can’t tell you the number of times my wife and I had been traveling down some remote, out-of-the-way road in the middle of nowhere wondering if we’re safe or lost or if the road leads anywhere, and we’d see a UPS truck. Hence, it wouldn’t surprise me to travel half-way around the world and see a UPS truck pull up in front of our new place, perhaps even with the same cheerful, although harried, driver, we have here back in the States. See him hustle out of the cab with several boxes, have us sign his tablet, and then rush back into his truck perhaps to be off to Rangoon or somewhere.
I estimated that if we could transport maybe 300 lbs. extra of our stuff (5 or 6 boxes) that would be more than enough. I searched for ocean shipping companies on-line and came up with a generic request form that would be forwarded to several companies who would give competitive bids.
However, in filling out the form, apparently our zip code (80904) became transposed or repeated in the “weight to be shipped” category. Within a few days I had received several inquires on my interest in shipping 80,904 pounds from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Nelson, New Zealand, a location we had picked at random. Per the shipping companies, several huge containers, those giant, colored steel containers you see stacked high on ocean-going freight ships, would be required. Would we also be needing packing materials? Were there any stairs in our apartment or flat? One company sent a glossy brochure that on the cover showed a container ship far out in the middle of the sea stacked high with its multicolored containers. Actually it looked quite overloaded. I imagined the captain on the bridge having to lean and tilt to be able to catch a tiny glimpse of the sea itself between the masses of containers, several of which allegedly could be ours.
Container ship (1)
Also, depending on the ports used, the entire process could take up to three months. Hell, by the time our stuff got there, we might have already had quite enough and be ready to come back home.
Oh, here is a photo of an actual container ship, the MV Rena, capsizing—is that the word you use—in the Bay of Plenty, one of the places we were looking to move to. If you look closely, you can see what could be the crap we shipped over from the United States sliding into the sea. The ship actually ran aground in the Bay of Plenty in October 2011 and broke in two several months later due to winds and heavy seas. Yikes!
Finally I found a company called UPakWeShip. I would have preferred a company called WePakWeShip and have them do everything. We could ship 30 cubic feet (six – 24”x18”x18” boxes) for $650, and our cardboard boxes would be delivered, perhaps soggy and battered directly to our door in two or three months. I had read of people having a party when their container or their stuff finally arrived from their homeland. If we did go to New Zealand, we too would have a party if and when our boxes of old shoes, coats, backpacks and tent arrived. Cheers.
By Wmeinhart [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons