By Elizabeth Davies
I was born and raised in Auckland City and in my twenty four years I’ve never lived anywhere else, nor have I ever seriously considered it.
Like everyone my age I’ve daydreamed about chasing boys to Canada or jumping the ditch to drink cider on rooftop bars in Melbourne, accompanied by musicians in winkle pickers with beautiful tattoos and glorious beards.
The truth is I love this city. I love the view of the harbour at night, the talented street performers, the grungy little basement bars and the amazing restaurants. I love people watching on K rd and in Ponsonby. I love chocolate peanut butter milkshakes at Bedford Soda and 3am dumplings at New Flavour.
As I face the reality of leaving Auckland I’m beginning to develop a premature sense of nostalgia, even for the things I quite frankly can’t stand. Crowded buses and pretentious hipsters, overpriced parking and waiting in lines for bars leaves me with a slightly sad, lop-sided smile, raising one hand in a fond salute to my ridiculous and wonderful home town.
The time has come for me to leave Auckland, at least for a little while. My partner has been offered a job in Tauranga and we will be moving in eight weeks. We’re very much looking forward to purchasing our first home and have realised this dream will remain out of reach if we stay in Auckland’s competitive and depressing housing market.
We haven’t told everyone about the move yet, but those we have informed have been quick to scoff and criticise. We’re often met with witty and original enquiries if we are intending to retire. I’ve even been asked if I’m pregnant. It seems there’s no other explanation why a happy, healthy, intelligent and qualified couple could be leaving Auckland (and not moving to Wellington, Christchurch, or Australia).
The big move to ‘God’s waiting room’ as so many have nicknamed it, was not a decision we made lightly. I’ll be leaving a full time job I truly enjoy and moving away from all my family, friends and ultimately the only home I’ve ever known. My partner Mike has been offered a great position with a fantastic company with lots of potential for career progression. What’s better, he’ll have a ten minute drive to work, a free car park and he won’t have to avoid patches of spit while walking down the inner city footpath.
Life is all about compromises and so I’m willing to leave everything I know in the hopes of better lifestyle opportunities somewhere else. In Auckland we live in a one bedroom split villa. For the same amount of weekly rent we can afford a three bedroom fenced house by the beach in Mount Maunganui.
I’m excited about our move but I must admit I’m nervous. I thought everyone would be supportive but sadly that’s not so. My generation is constantly being told to lower our expectations, spend less, work more, stop buying i-phones and fifteen dollar drinks and start committing to serious savings for a future that isn’t getting any cheaper. I’m happily volunteering to do just that and yet some people feel it necessary to criticise further. I’m now told that moving to a smaller place is career suicide and a waste of time. I’m told to just accept Auckland’s lifestyle limitations and live with it, or move to Australia and make more money.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way forward is to decide what is best for yourself and ignore the snide comments of everyone around you. There’s no way I can please everyone so if you want me, I’ll be at the beach.
Elizabeth Davies is a 24 year-old graduate of the Auckland University of Technology post graduate journalism course. She lives with her partner in Epsom and spends her free time refurbishing vintage furniture and attempting to bake while fighting a daily battle against her bank balance. She writes a weekly article for interest.co.nz on money matters and financial struggles from a young person's perspective.