On Thursday 23rd May, flight SQ286 departing Auckland at 12:10, awaits as our tubular portal to the budding field’s of a Welsh spring. ( Posy type, not the social uprising).
Within a 30 hour period, the four of us, collectively, stand to travel further than any of our grandparents likely journeyed in their entire lives.
After the familiar herding and screening through necessary gates and air bridges, we’ll promptly hand our kids over to the $6000 Singapore Airline baby sitters. Before Rachel and I sit back, relax, abandon our parental duties and enjoy ‘date day’ on a cloud. We’ll be sure to make our way through the complimentary beverages from many nations, all whilst reflecting on our time of living in a 5 x 2 metre mobile bach over a knockout Southern Hemisphere Summer just gone. To end our ‘date’ the flick of a button and placement of earplugs is all that stands between watching a seemingly endless choice of on demand movies. All, with the knowledge that our kids are safely being doted over by the lovely, smiling ‘cabin crew’ at 34,000 feet.
When the long haul Boeing 777 engines, roar down the runway and lift us clear of the tarmac, they will sound the death knell for what has been a truly remarkable eight months living and travelling around some of New Zealand’s most beautiful and iconic regions. From Kaikoura in the south, to the Coromandel in the north, we’ve been witness to the best ‘non farming’ Summer on record. Rarely far from a beach, our life has been one of seemingly endless water activities, with boogie boarding and surfing continuing late into Autumn. We’ve learned where to find tuatua, how to spearfish and lapped up fresh seafood on an almost daily basis. Schooling has taken place on beach fronts, libraries, picnic benches and cliff tops overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Whilst benefiting from the material collected at Post Office Shops, thanks to the engaging teachers of New Zealand’s Correspondence School.
Yet, it’s not only been the locations we’ve visited that have brought this trip alive. The people we’ve met have all added, in some way to the memories created and moments shared. So, to all the families we’ve been fortunate to meet with over the course of the past half year, its been magic sharing in the joys of parenthood whilst living on the road. To Paul the photographer, Bazz the Amazon tour rider and Stefan the Austrian design engineer, it was awesome hearing your guys stories, takes on life and humour late into the night. – Long live the lost art of conversation!
To new found friends and our old mates scattered around the country, thanks for making time to catch up, even if only to say “hello” before letting us fill up your washing machine and use the shower! -Though seriously, without your support and understanding, we probably wouldn’t have made it much beyond the Cook Strait.
To Jenny and Len, for helping ward off scurvy with the delicious veggies out of your Port Jackson garden. To the Grey Nomads for sharing valuable information and time regarding how to temporarily fix a motorhome fridge in the middle of summer and under emergency conditions. To Beate, for straightening up my neck, after diving head first onto the beach whilst stupidly trying somersault moves from my teenage years. -It’ll be a while before I do that again !
It’s been great meeting you all and sharing a moment in time (no matter how brief), as we’ve lived our way around ‘the land of the long white cloud’ during the warm months of 2013.
And finally, to all you poor buggers we’ve met from Europe that have given us your address. Make sure you’ve got a space in your driveway and a fridge full of continental beer.