Our departure was an awesome month long celebration, and while sometimes exhausting (169 bar, I’m looking at you!), we have felt so much love. Our friends took vacation days off of work just to go watch Batman together. Others rearranged client dinners to have drinks with us, came in from out of town to take trapeze lessons, took half days to go on boat rides around the city, and stayed out late on a Tuesday just because it wouldn’t happen again for awhile. And while I am a staunch believer in ditching work to have fun, I understand that this is also a very big deal.
We also received some really awesome gifts. As if our departure was Christmas or something! But, the best part of that was that every one was incredibly thoughtful. Often when people say, “It’s the thought that counts,” it is like a consolation. Like you missed the mark with your effort, but at least you sort of tried. Even if that card was a week late. Not with this crowd. Whether it was a gift card that takes up no space in a backpack, or a tiny leather man tool, or a text message on the day of our departure, it really is the thought that counts. It is that someone is thinking about you, thinking about how to express something, and then picks the best way. So many people did that and it feels awesome.
We have arrived safe and sound and couldn’t have asked for a better send off. Thanks guys!
After several days of moving, cleaning, purging, and celebrating our life in New York, our journey has finally begun. I’m writing this from gate C126 at Newark International Airport, waiting for our 3pm flight to Los Angeles. From there, we’ll connect on Air New Zealand flight number 1 (how presendential!) to Auckland. Hooray!
For weeks I’ve been both anxious and calm; ready to go but with a series of hurdles left to jump. People said that I didn’t seem excited. Perhaps I wasn’t – or I was just bad at expressing it, but reality has finally and definitively set in. At dinner with friends on Monday night, I was smiling ear-to-ear. With all the worry over moving and packing finished, the excitement of our adventure finally has room in my crowded walnut. It’s a nice feeling.
We touch down in NZ Friday morning local time. Thursday, August 2nd just doesn’t exist for us, so this means I can add Time Traveler to my resume, right? We’re couch surfing for the weekend to briefly check out Auckland, and we’ll hit our first farm just outside town on Sunday or Monday. They focus on raising cattle for beef, so it should be dirty and hopefully interesting. We’ll be there for about two weeks, and then we’ll move to Uma Rapiti on Waiheke Island for a short stay. There’s not much farm work there right now, because it’s still firmly winter, so we’ll be bouncing around a fair amount at the get-go.
We’ve learned a lot from this experience, so expect more to come very soon about what went right (spoiler: almost everything) and the things that we would have done differently (a few small significant things). Hmm, I wonder what we forgot? Stay tuned!
“Ohmigod you’ll LOVE it there,” a friend on my recent climbing trip said when I mentioned that I was heading to New Zealand in a few short weeks. This is not entirely uncommon. It seems as though every third person I meet and talk to long enough for this to come up (or maybe I’m so excited I just launch right in and bash them over the head with it?) has some strong connection to NZ. Either their sister is WWOOFing now, their college buddy spent a summer surfing on the south island, or as was the case this recent evening, they lived there in the flesh for nearly a decade. I’ll take all suggestions, but this was someone whose arm I’d happily twist for the inside info.
Here’s what I ended up with on the to-do list, roughly from South to North:
- Mueller Hut Trek on Mt. Oliver
- Stewart Island
- Abel Tasman waterway by kayak
- The Remarkables
- Milford Sound
- Climbing at (the?) Darrens
- Milford Trek (7 days)
- Heafy Trek
- Fox Glacier
- Bouldering at Castle Hill and Flock (?) Hill
- Cave Stream (bring headlamp and thermals)
- Climbing at Takaka and Pains Ford (near Nelson)
- Mt. Aspiring National Park
- Fairwell Spit
- Te Papa (in Wellington)
- Eat the brioche at Fidel’s in Wellington
- Surfing at Pomston, New Plymouth, Gisborne, Napier
- Lake Taupo
- Great Barrier Island
- Waitomo Caves (glow worms)
- Pancake Rocks
Let’s see how many of these things (or more!) that we do.