Kiwi finding riches in the US
Growing up in Timaru, and then Wellington, I had a craving for travel.
Back in the early '80s and with a great government job, I decided to ask for a leave of abscence for one year. I was turned down, but I decided to go anyway and see the world, starting in London, going through Europe and back home via the US.
Seeing the sights of Europe, the money ran out pretty quickly and I had to find work to support myself. The grass is always greener on the other side, at least until that side gets old.
It seems like we are never happy until that something is gone, including our security blanket we call home. Work kept me saving for a year until I could travel to the US to work on a ranch belonging to family acquaintances.
This was a new and exciting job and it was great meeting new people. In turn, they were interested in finding out about New Zealand and what it had to offer.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said, "I would love to go there, I would be on a par with Warren Buffett!" or "are you from Australia?"
This really got my goat up and I would set them straight saying: "It's a good thing I like you!"
New Zealand was still on my radar, but I had to save to get home. That took two years, which was all good as I was seeing different places and people. Life was fun.
On my return to New Zealand I found the things I had become used to in the US were gone. New Zealand has the scenery, laidback social life, sports-mad people and outdoor lifestyle that is envied by many, but the money can be made overseas.
I took a real hard look at my life and decided to settle in the US. After several years of saving in New Zealand and Australia, I flew back to the States.
I have since moved to the Chicago area, 120km west. It's rural and I love it. I started my own paint business going on 28 years ago now. You guessed it, it's called ... Kiwi Painting.
The name itself, plus the accent, got me in the door as people are curious. I probably would never have started my own business had I stayed at home, but I do miss the closeness of family and healthy lifestyle that New Zealand has.
With the advent of the internet I'm able to keep up on the happenings in the news in New Zealand. At some point in life one has to settle down, and for me getting married happened in Chicago.
In a perfect world, I would love to retire in New Zealand and Hawaii. But then again, I may not retire as long as I'm chasing Warren Buffett, making money and dreaming of the green grass.
God defend New Zealand.