Complacency is dangerous


It’s not till you have a visitor comment on something that you take a photo of, that you realise how lucky you are to live where you live.

The sea, close by in several directions, space, beautiful parks, quiet roads and a job I created, one that I love. What’s not to love. One might say I’m incredibly lucky.

I don’t believe in luck, however. I believe in creating your own destiny, grabbing the opportunities that arise and making the most of them.

Risks that pay off

We have taken quite a few risks to get to where we are now. It’s nothing about luck.

  • Taking a job offer via Skype in a school I knew nothing about, in a city I had never heard of, in a country I had only been to once.
  • Moving to an island (OK, I had been to the actual country, but only once) that I had never even set foot on, arriving alone and knowing no one.
  • Rush buying a house (that’s turned into a bit of a nightmare) right after we arrived knowing nothing about the market at all but knowing that lending changes would price us out of the housing market if we didn’t.
  • Quitting my (well paid) job making myself redundant, effectively, in order to give setting up my own business a go.

Where are we now?

The job 

The job turned out to be not what I had hoped, but that’s ok; it served a purpose, I’m now the holder of a permanent residency visa and in another 2.5 years can apply for citizenship.


Invercargill gets bad press, being at the coldest end of the country, quite a way from the next nearest city, not on a major flight route, not a through road to anywhere really. However, we love it. I doubt we would have chosen it if given a choice but we still love it. Why?

  • Right on the coast, several beautiful yet very contrasting beaches very close by.
  • Quiet, has all the amenities but isn’t overpopulated
  • The mountains are really close. Just a short drive.
  • Lots of wide open space, big wide roads, beautifully kept parks and gardens.

The house

The house has turned into a bit of a nightmare. But we’re stuck with it so we have to make the most of it. We ended up having to get huge lending to replace all the sewage system, no warning, something that should have been on the council records but wasn’t. It would cost us mega $$$ to take action against the people who misled us in the sale.

It’s a really cold house in the winter. In fact, cold houses is the one thing I hate about NZ. It’s a very humid climate (which doesn’t mean warm by the way) which means houses can be fraught with moisture and damp. They have all sorts of unique systems in place to combat this, (HRV, DVS) another huge bill if we wanted to install one. We put a multifuel Yunka fire in last winter, some have one warm room for now. Let’s just say, this house will be a massive ongoing project.

But, we have a double garage, workshop, shed, chicken run, veggie patch and a large garden (which is quite high maintenance!) so when we think back to what we had in England, we can’t complain, once we sort out the house’s problems!

Quitting my job

Being a business owner is by no means a walk in the park. It involves long hours with little pay, a massive learning curve and quite a lot of trial and error. It was a huge gamble for sure, but I’m so proud of what I have achieved so far.

  • Within 8 weeks I needed a premises.
  • Within 12 months I needed staff
  • Within 18 months I now need a bigger premises
  • I have recently registered the business as an incorporated limited liability company

None of this would have been possible in England. There is no way we would have been able to afford for me to quit my job at all, never mind the many months with little pay while I built it all up. I still don’t quite pay myself the minimum wage but I’m getting there.

Life is a land of opportunity

We grabbed the chance to make a completely new start: we lay everything on the line, it cost  a LOT of money, we pretty much started over from nothing financially, but look where we live. In a beautiful land, doing what we love. It was worth that gamble. Life is what you make it. Like Jane Tomlinson said, you can’t take it with you so you might as well use it.

Author: Melanie Magowan

I am a massage therapist and part time athlete

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