BLC (Big Life Change)


There’s been a lot of changes brewing at the Universal Head headquarters. JoJo and I have decided we’re fed up with inner-city Sydney life and need a Big Life Change, so after much mucking about we’re renting our terrace and moving to Nelson, New Zealand at the start of May. Nelson is a lovely little city of about 60,000 at the top of the South Island, with three national parks on its doorstep, some of the best caving, climbing and hiking in the world and the best weather in NZ.

The photo above shows the view from the terrace of our new rental home. Sure beats the postage-stamp-sized backyard and the shared walls we have at the moment! The house is about four times larger than our terrace here, and on a big block of land; it’s an easy half hour out of Nelson and close to a lovely little bayside village with cafes and restaurants. There’s plenty of room for friends to stay, an office each and even a seven metre-tall climbing gym room where I can practice my climbing moves!

We’ve decided to make this change in our life because we’re sick and tired of gridlocked traffic, planes flying ten feet over our heads, hordes of psychotic barking dogs, millions of frantic people, polluted, humid air, and all the stress and madness of living in the biggest city in Australia. It just seems a crazy way to live and the time is long overdue to focus on the most important things—health and happiness.

So, I’ll occasionally be updating this blog with a little taste of what it’s like to move from a big city to a very small one, if you’re interested—the joys and the inevitable challenges. Whether we end up staying in NZ or moving on to somewhere else is yet to be decided, but it’s going to be a fun experiment trying on a completely different life for size.

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Guy
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 14:17:47

    What great view! And a 7m climbing room? How’d you find place with that?


  2. universalhead
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 18:00:32

    Months of looking at rental properties on that NZ institution,!


  3. Mikkel Øberg
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 09:58:51

    I have enjoyed your game aid sheets for quite some time, but recently I began reading you blog (and some years back in time).

    Congratulations on your decision, for that view I am most envious.


  4. universalhead
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 10:11:20

    Thankyou Mikkel! Glad you’re enjoying the blog.


  5. Luke
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 16:38:20

    Wow! Exciting, courageous move. On the other hand, how much has Sydney sucked this summer?!?

    Looks like an absolute dream. Just watch out for personal injury: its very different in NZ.


  6. universalhead
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 16:54:40

    Sounds like the voice of experience – care to elaborate?


  7. Luke
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 18:23:27

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing…

    If you have a look at Smart Traveller (the Aus government travel site) you’ll see that it says the NZ Personal injury legislation generally removes the right to sue for injury AND the national compensation scheme will not cover medical expenses in Australia nor does the income protection component extend to Australians. Further than that, I can’t say, but just be wary, as your own insurance may also be ineffective (even if you had personal injury insurance, which few people can afford).

    Frightened the hell out of me after I got back from a week driving around the (beautiful) North Island, oblivious.

    Sorry to be a wet blanket, but you spoke about climbing and possible adventure sports… We would hate to lose this resource 😉

    Definitely have a look at the government web site and the NZ Accident Compensation Corporation site.


  8. universalhead
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 20:08:34

    We plannd to get private health insurance there (and we’ll be covered by travel insurance in the meantime) but thanks for the heads up!


  9. Luke
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 22:19:26

    No problem. Just something to consider; it’s a very different system to ours and insurance/injury law behaves differently – not an area of my expertise, though.

    Again, didn’t want to bring you down. Sorry.


  10. universalhead
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 09:27:26

    I looked a bit into this. Some would say that the NZ Accident Compensation Corporation, which is the alternative to being allowed to sue for personal injury, avoids the very expensive litigation ‘industries’ in other countries. Anyway, you should always have your own travel insurance policy when travelling.

    Anyway, back to more exciting subjects! 🙂


  11. Scott
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 21:52:02

    Welcome to my neck of the woods!
    What a coup for NZ!
    …and I apologize in advanced for every Aussie joke you will have to endure, I think our little country has some what of a chip on it’s shoulder when it comes to it’s big brother country 😀


  12. universalhead
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 09:46:39

    Thankyou Scott! 🙂

    It is strange, the amount of good- and bad-natured ribbing that goes on between Australians an NZers. I had to put up with huge amounts of it when I went to school in Nelson for 4 months as a teenager, though I made some great friends and the overall impression I got, ironically, was that they were quite impressed by the fact I was from Sydney (for reasons I could never quite define).

    I’m still amazed at how people from both countries fall instantly back on the same old tired jokes and sterotypes. Let’s face it folks, these jokes are about as amusing and relevant these days as a person from the UK calling an Australian ‘someone from the colonies’ (yes, it still happens).

    I suspect both counties are jealous of what the other has to offer. NZers envy the bigger economy and more cosmopolitan city life of Sydney and other Australian cities, and Australians envy the amazing natural beauty and relaxed lifestyle of NZers.

    Personally, once you’re a bit over the dubious joys of living in a big crowded city, I think NZ has a lot more to offer. So there’s certainly no reason for NZers to feel defensive at all; quite the contrary.

    Anyway, I’ll have to just put up with it with a smile on my face – even though I’ve heard ’em all a million times before! My only real concern is the fact that I have no interest in rugby whatsoever …


    • Scott
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 18:13:43

      Well, I’d share that I’m also part of the clan that doesn’t even understand the national sport, but they may deport me! 😀


  13. Arno
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 09:32:05

    NZ ! My dream ! Just hope one day I’ll go to this country. Good luck. 🙂


  14. Dae
    Apr 15, 2012 @ 08:07:51

    No more game reports for a while then? :-/


  15. universalhead
    Apr 15, 2012 @ 09:38:05

    Now who said anything about giving up boardgaming?! In fact I’ll be at Wellycon, NZ’s biggest gaming weekend, at the start of June.


  16. Louis Cheung
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 16:41:57

    Best wish for your new home in South Island.
    Fiordland and Milford Sound are so beautiful!
    We Sydneysiders will miss you. 🙂


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