Hi, I’m Gemma, mum of 2 amazing little boys (not that I’m biased!) who keep me busy with nappies, breastfeeding, and the beginnings of toddler tantrums. I moved from the UK to New Zealand with my other half in April 2018, when my eldest was 14 months and I was 7 months pregnant with baby no.2. We’ve just bought a house for us all in a suburb outside New Zealand’s Capital, Wellington, and are settling in to a new life in a country frequently missed off the map.
After all, New Zealand is just part of Australia, isn’t it?
The longer version of my story begins with a pretty standard, rural English upbringing with a younger sister. After school I moved to Sheffield in Yorkshire, to study Biochemistry. I slowly came out of my shell, made some brilliant friends and found myself on the committee of the University Walking Club, spending my weekends hiking (or tramping as the Kiwi’s call it) in the Peak District National Park. I was lucky enough to land a fantastic job with great colleagues at the University after graduation, and life continued fairly happily for the next 6 years.
It came crashing down when a long term relationship ended, forcing me to sell my home. However, it also gave me the freedom to follow my childhood dream of going traveling, which I did with scared enthusiasm. In March 2014 I booked a one way ticket to Mexico and spent 4 1/2 months backpacking solo in Central America. My journey continued to New Zealand, where the extra cash from selling my house allowed me to continue traveling, interspersed with a few backpacker jobs. I hit the jackpot with a hard to come by job in science and settled in for a while. For a few months I had flatmates and my own room, instead of a bed in a dorm, and I worked and explored locally instead.
I met a fun, friendly guy who I loved talking to, who enjoyed joining me on my local explorations, and who took me on some of his own in turn. I had planned to continue my travels to the Pacific Islands and Australia… but I never got there. Instead I stayed in New Zealand for him, while he applied for and got a Visa for the UK. After a brief stint in Asia with my best friend we flew to the UK together.
It wasn’t long before I found out I was pregnant, and we stayed close to my parents. Archie was quickly followed by a second pregnancy, and we made the very difficult decision to move back to New Zealand and settle here permanently, as we believe we can give our boys a better, happier family life here. There was a lot of heartache and tears involved, especially when we decided to move sooner than planned, before our second son was born rather than after. In a month we organised everything, had a last brilliant holiday with my family, and took a one way flight to Wellington.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe that it’s all real, that in just over 5 years I’ve gone from single girl scientist turned traveler, to expat mum of 2 boys living on the other side of the world. It hasn’t been easy, we’ve definitely had our share of tough times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, life is a great adventure for living!