New Zealand has finally captured our hearts.
We have become soft and pliable, easy going and laid back, we cruise along and listen to the tourist radio and wait excitedly for the ‘bing bong’ to tell us what to do next and we obey…unless it is telling us to set off on an 8 day hike from coast to coast…then we completely ignore it.
We have finally found our tourist feet, like sea-legs,we appreciate them while we are here but God help us when we get off this placid peaceful island, we’ll be as wobbly as hell!
This week has been incredible. Writing it down makes me realise once again how incredibly lucky we are to be doing this, how lucky we are to be able to inspire and connect with people wherever we go and sometimes the opportunity to do so arises from the simplest things.
Take Emma, Josh and daughter Charlotte for example. Emma read about our story online and sent us a short message explaining how difficult she was finding it planning her own wedding. Everything was proving difficult; family, budgets, finding time away from work, making HUGE decisions and being expected to know all of the answers ALL of the time! We responded sympathetically and explained that it is never too late for Emma and Josh to make that wedding their own. Within a few messages we realised we would be vaguely in their area and we invited ourselves over to share a bottle of wine and have a moan about wedding planning…goodness knows we have it pretty easy compared to most!
Emma’s simple act of sending us a message resulted in us all making new friends, new connections that we hope will remain for years to come and also creating an opportunity to make someone who was getting so burdened by her wedding day have a little positivity, a little fight and a little push in the direction of not being forced into having a wedding day that she didn’t want!
Our time with Emma, Josh and Charlotte was great fun, the girls drank too much wine (not Charlotte of course, she is only 4), the boys too much beer, we barbecued, fought sandflies, listened to 90’s rock and even watched Josh’s dairy farm in action. A new friendship, an uplifting experience at the dairy farm and all from a message on social media.
We left them on a high, them high for their wedding and us high for having met them and being able to help in the smallest of ways.
Our journey this week took us through Christchurch which for Alex was a sad reminder of the damage done there in the 2011 earthquake. He had spent 6 months there in 98, long before the devastating damage. We pushed on to Akaroa and went the opposite way to most of the tourists and camped in blissfull solitude in Wainui. The back road to Emma and Josh’s took us past Rakaia huts and a beautiful place to swim, give one another a hot stone massage on the rocky beach and to watch the shags (a bird before you get any ideas). Beautiful place after beautiful place presented itself to us. A pie from the famous Sheffield pie shop saw us over the climb that is Arthurs Pass, through epic landscapes and over rocky outcrops leading us from the east coast to the west.
Cue lots of pictures of us standing ankle deep in various bodies of water…of which I might add the pictures do no justice!!
We busied ourselves with mini hikes around the famous (and rather sad) Franz Josef glacier and Fox’s glacier, according to Alex they had receded dramatically since his visit in 98. The west coast continued to stun and amaze us with a hike to Monro beach, a few stops at the side of the road to paddle in the bright blue glacial waters and a lunch stop at Barry Bay to watch people writing their names on the white rocks along the beach. The village of Haast was an adventure of its own, we visited the local pub for local people ( Brits you will understand that one) in the nicest possible sense and had a pint and thank goodness we only had one. When we got into bed that night a nest of mosquitoes had come to life somewhere in our van. Without exaggeration, we must have killed over 200 mosquitoes inside a space as big as a toilet cubicle! It was a nightmare and neither of us got much sleep that night!
Luckily, the next day to sooth our souls and our exhaustion we got confirmation from Emily Adamson, wondergirl extra-extraordinaire about some of the vendors who have offered to help us pull together a wedding here in New Zealand…and after our epic fail last week, we were bowled over!
Emily has been in since 2011, she contacted us way back when and we were thrilled that she wanted to help us when we FINALLY arrived! She has truly pulled more strings than a string quartet to get this epic team together and we cannot thank her enough.
This week we continue our west coast trail to Queenstown where the wedding will be held, the day before we are due to fly to Australia…we like to keep ourselves on our toes!