In a journey spanning several decades, 61-year-old Jon Kroll, a Los Angeles resident for over 35 years, has successfully transitioned from the hustle and bustle of LA to the serene life of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. This relocation, initiated in 2019, was fueled by the Krolls’ growing affection for Wellington, a city that harmoniously blends the vibrancy of big-city life with small-town ease, walkability, and an irresistible proximity to mountains and the ocean.
However, the Krolls’ relocation journey was not without its challenges and unexpected expenses, particularly in bringing along their two dogs, Xena the Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The process of animal relocation proved to be a logistical minefield, with a limited number of spaces on planes and in quarantine facilities, requiring careful orchestration. The cost, which Kroll admits was more than he had anticipated, can easily reach $10,000 or more per pet, according to his experience. Despite the high cost and complexity, Kroll insists that the move has been worth every penny, bringing a sense of home to their new abode in Wellington.
From LA to Wellington: Jon Kroll’s Big Move
After living in Los Angeles for 35 years, Jon Kroll and his wife, Karen, made a life-changing decision in 2019. Inspired by their frequent vacations, they decided to relocate to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, a city they had come to love for its perfect blend of big-city amenities and small-town ease.
The Plan and The Move
The couple began filing immigration documents and planning their new lives. Jon continues to work freelance in the TV industry, while Karen pursues her career as a competitive archer. By mid-2022, their applications were approved, and they moved to Wellington by December. The majority of their moving expenses were covered by selling their LA home, which also funded the shipping costs and new furniture for their new home.
The Unexpected Expense
However, an unexpected expense tripled their budget. Bringing their two dogs, Xena the Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, proved to be a logistical battle and a costly affair. It involved securing limited spaces on planes and in quarantine facilities, and Jon emphasizes the importance of considering such factors in the early stages of planning. The cost of the process can easily exceed $10,000 per pet. Despite the hefty cost, Jon has no regrets, stating, "Once we retrieved Buffy and Xena from quarantine, our house instantly felt like a home."
Wellington: A New Home for U.S. Workers
In a bid to address talent shortages in sectors such as technology, healthcare, construction, film, and other industries, an economic development agency in Wellington has started campaigning for U.S. workers to fill open jobs. The cost of living in Wellington is comparable to LA, with some items being cheaper and others, especially imported goods like electronics and cars, being more expensive. Jon sees the new challenges and moving surprises as a trade-off, citing that the quality of life increase is significantly worth the downsides.
Jon Kroll’s experience serves as a valuable lesson for those considering an overseas move. It emphasizes the importance of early and thorough planning, especially when it comes to unexpected expenses such as pet relocation. Additionally, his story sheds light on the emerging opportunities in cities like Wellington, which are actively seeking foreign talent. Whether for the quality of life or the intriguing job prospects, a move to New Zealand might just be worth considering.