The first thing you need to know about New Zealand is that there are more sheep than people. Six times as many, to be exact.
You'd have to be cool with that. Are you cool with that? They're all over the place. Everyone eats them, too.
That's just one of the many things to consider before you flee the country in order to escape the imminent, Trump-facilitated implosion of American democracy. That, in fact, is what a record number of Americans are doing right now, as we speak — planning an epic jailbreak to the world's most Lord of the Rings-obssesed island.
In the weeks following Donald Trump's election and inauguration, citizenship applications from Americans seeking political-social-spiritual asylum has increased by a whopping 70 percent compared to the same period last year. The number of Americans applying for citizenship who have some sort of Kiwi heritage also rose 90 percent, proving that, when faced with the option between living in America and living 391,393,994 miles away from it, people will gladly pack their bags and migrate south for the winter like pissy, political geese.
However, even if you're not fortunate enough to have a cousin or parasitic twin whose since been removed living in New Zealand, applying for citizenship isn't all that difficult. All you'll need is to meet several pretty attainable eligibility criteria, about $335 for citizenship application fees, and to live there for at least five years before you can apply for permanent residency. So technically, you could legally live in Kiwi-ville for the remainder of Trump's term while you await entry into your new, less-overcome-by-idiocy home.
But still, just how does it compare to the Land of the Free? Will you be able to live long and prosper on an isolated island like this close to Antarctica?
That all depends on how well you like to get to know your neighbors. Only 4.5 million people currently call New Zealand home, a population which is just a little less than the whole of Louisiana. And while there's loads of stunning space to spread out, that tiny body-count probably means things won't be as familiarly brusque and impersonal as they are here. People will be in your business. The dating pool will be smaller. Running into your ex will be exponentially more likely than it is here, yet simultaneously much less likely than running into the same sheep twice. But hey — the small size has its benefits. Commuting is a piece of cake, and even in the biggest cities, you’re only 30 minutes from a beach, native park or mountain biking trail. So California.
However, New Zealand's beauty, accessible size and merciful lack of traffic are really only possible future benefits for your if you've got money in the bank — New Zealand is expensive as fuck. Consumer prices are, on average, 8.71 percent higher than they are in the states. Because virtually everything is imported, off-shores manufacturers, farmers and retailers jack up their prices so that New Zealanders, who have no other options on account of their geographic isolation, will shell out obscene wads of cash for basic goods. However, the extremely high cost of living is made slightly more palatable by their ultra-weird weekly rent practices — instead of charging rent on a per-month basis, you pay it every seven days. All that said though, Auckland is one of the most affordable, highly urbanized cities to live in the world.
Now, let's talk about what you'll be spending your money on. Food, for example.
New Zealanders also put a lot less sugar in their food. Like, way less. Also, the food is supposedly legendary. Apparently, in addition to ultra-fresh produce, insanely good coffee and very, very humanely raised meats, New Zealand is infamous for it's brunch culture. Don't have too many mimosas with your eggs benedict, though. New Zealand is infamously uncool with drunken behavior, and locals won't hesitate to throw you out of bars for acting like a douche-sack.
Alright, so no wasted fist-fights with strangers outside because they "looked at your girl funny." Seems healthy. Know what else is healthy? New Zealand people. Their public healthcare is free for citizens, so you have a far lesser chance of dying from some sort of American health ailment like heart-attack, prescription drug overdose, obesity, diabetes or depression, something that's reflected in their average life expectancy, which is three years longer than Americans' (78 to 81 years-old, respectively). There are also zero poisonous species on the entire island, so don't get your hopes up about that fatal snakebite. It's not gonna happen. Especially considering that New Zealand has not one single land snake on the entire island. It's also the least corrupt nation in the world aside from Denmark, so, unlike the U.S., the government seems to have some sort of investment in its people's wellbeing that could theoretically maintain your health and prolong your life.
Also, there are no pennies. The lowest fiscal denomination is a ten-cent piece. That alone will add years to your life.
However. There are earthquakes. So many earthquakes.
They also drive on the wrong side of the road (the left side), and 80 percent of their traffic accidents are caused by people getting confused by this in their many roundabouts. CAN YOU HANDLE IT?!
If you can, all the hard work and effort you put into getting down there might pay off. Rumor has it that New Zealanders are some of the friendliest people in the world. We're not sure if it's because they're so overwhelmingly glad to run into people they don't already know, or if it's because their notoriously terrible internet connectivity has forced them to excel at human interaction, but either way, they've been much written-about by travel bloggers as welcoming, accepting and totally lovely.
And just what are these people like? Well, any people who aren't sheep are foreign tourists, but aside from them and the few locals, there are almost no Americans there. It's a complete blue-blooded-bald-eagle wasteland. That can be good or bad depending on your perspective, but since you're reading an article about fleeing your home country due to political fuckeries, we're assuming that less Americans = yes.
Well then! If you can get over the fact that it's a 20 hour (at least) plane ride from home, it actually seems pretty nice down there. And plus, with all the Americans moving there to escape our Dear Leader, you know the culture and people will be as fat and corrupt as they are here in no time. Ahh, just like home.
If you want more information on what the New Zealand-America parallels and differences are like, check out this thoroughly exhaustive and informative post.