Everyone daydreams from time to time, but when you live a life that you’re not particularly fond of, you tend to daydream on a regular basis. My daydreams usually fall into one of two categories: delusions of playing for Arsenal, and more realistic fantasies about what my future could look like. Since my footballing career was tragically cut short because of the fact that I was shit, I know that I’ll never actually play for my beloved Gunners, but I still like to imagine playing for them. Lining up as a midfield general à la Patrick Vieira, scoring wonder goals from outside the box, and wearing customized Nike Hypervenoms. Those daydreams usually take hold on Arsenal’s game days, which means I have plenty of time during the rest of the week to fantasize about a better, but more plausible life.
Many of those daydreams about living a better life centre on one thing – moving far, far away from Toronto. This city has been very good to me, but its also home to people and problems and memories that I want to distance myself from. And as much as I love Canada, I hate our winters, and I can’t see myself living in the same place for my whole life. So what would my dream destination be? Why, New Zealand of course! It passes the distance from Toronto test, I wouldn’t have to learn a new language to properly assimilate, and since I don’t know anyone there, it would allow for a fresh start when it comes to making friends and colleagues. I love that it’s a small country with a small population and a mild climate.
Check out New Zealand’s OECD Better Life Index ratings and tell me it wouldn’t be a great place to live. Then there are the other niceties like its spectacular landscapes, the delightful accent of the locals, the All Blacks’ haka, the national football team’s amazing home and away kits, and great musical talent like Lorde and The Naked and Famous. New Zealand is not without its flaws, as racism has been and continues to be an issue more widespread than one would imagine given the country’s generally peaceful persona. All things loosely considered though, I’d still love to migrate there.
My dreams have never really matched reality, but I’m willing to at least make an attempt to live them out. As part of that attempt, I’ve tried to prep myself for life in New Zealand, specifically in Auckland. I listen to Radio Hauraki, a rock station that broadcasts from Auckland. I check Auckland’s weather on my phone. I already own two New Zealand football shirts, and I’d like to get an All Blacks rugby shirt to go with them. I’ve calculated the 12-hour time difference between Auckland and London, and I’m willing to watch Arsenal’s live matches at odd times, or watch the replays on the club’s online video player.
Of course there are the little matters of immigrating, landing employment, finding housing, and setting up health care, but those are concerns for real life, not dreams. And let’s be clear – I’m still very much in the dreaming stage. In one of my favourite daydreams, I’m running on a road that winds through New Zealand’s mountains. I’m wearing blue running shoes, black shorts, and since it’s a little chilly, a black jacket with a silver fern printed on the right chest, and a black toque with a white pom on the top. After logging many kilometers, I return to my secluded, contemporary house where Jayee and Gunner, a Siberian husky that we adopted, are relaxing in the living room. After having a shower, I change into black shorts and an All Blacks shirt and join them on the couch.
It’s fun to dream.