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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

We Gotta Get Out of This Place

We gotta get out of this place
If it's the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this place
Girl, there's a better life for me and you
The Animals

For sure, I know it, too. It's time to get out while the getting is good. I'm not talking about relationships here; I'm talking about life right now in the good ole U.S.A. I know, I know . . . I've heard the argument many times before: If you don't stay and fight for what you believe, you are like a potential voter who doesn't vote. You give the "other" side free rein to do whatever the hell they want without you holding down the fort, acting as a firewall against total insanity.

Well, I'm old, and I don't choose to spend my so-called "sunset years" living in a society that bans the right to an abortion, tells us who we can and cannot marry, squashes good sense when it comes to climate change, spies in our bedrooms and deems whether or not contraceptives are allowed, lacks the cajones to do something about gun safety, chips away at free and fair elections . . . Need I continue? I think not.

Over the years my husband and I have scoured the world for a place that affords a "better life." And one by one, each city/state/country has been scratched off of the list. Florida, no. North Carolina, not quite. New Mexico--too expensive now and no water. Mexico. We love our stays in San Miguel de Allende but can't see ourselves there full-time. Northern California. Used to be at the top of the list until the fires roared through areas that we'd seriously considered. California dreamin' is on permanent hold.

And all of Europe. I love France, but the French don't love us. Italy? I don't speak the language. England/Scotland/Wales? Too dreary. Scandanavia? Too much snow.

I feel like goldilocks in "Goldilocks and the Three Bears."

"This porridge is too hot!"
"This porridge is too cold."
"Ahhh, this porridge is just right."

So, where oh where is "just right?"

How about New Zealand? The country checks off almost all of my boxes:

  • Progressive

  • Woman President

  • Universal healthcare

  • Weather-- Average 66 degrees. I can do that!

  • A friendly, educated population

  • Charming accent in ENGLISH

(Well, English, yes, but. . .

Here is a link to a list of 75 slang words and expressions that New Zealanders use. I have to admit that some of them sound like gibberish.

Chuddy - gum

a bit sus - a bit suspicious

munted - drunk (adj.)

chocka - full

a muppet - an idiot

Okay, they talk kinda funny, but I'm sure I could get the hang of it.

The best thing about New Zealand is the scenery that is hard to top anywhere else in the world.

Ahh, just looking at these photos thrills me, relaxes me, and clears my mind and spirit.

Okay, okay, I know the place is a zillion miles away. 8,334 miles to be exact. And the flight there sounds gruesome. 17 hours from O'Hare International. And the airfare? Even with "miles" from my credit card, the price tag will still sting.

Am I ready to be so far from the remainder of my family and my friends? Maybe. I really don't know. I guess the only way to find out is to pay a visit to New Zealand to get an introductory lay of the land and of the people. It would make for a grand vacation this winter when it's snowy and cloudy and freezing here in the midwest but delightful across the world in New Zealand.

Help me out here. Have you or folks you know ever been to New Zealand? If yes, fill me in, please. Any and all contacts are appreciated.


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