To those of you who have sometimes asked, “Isn’t it a pain moving around all the time?” “Isn’t it hard being away from your nice house?” “Don’t you all get exhausted?”
The answer is YES. A definite yes to esch of these questions.
And I think we were all feeling a bit of that exhaustion after we finished up at another laundromat and then packed up to leave the west coast “town” of Punakaiki (pop’n <50), on our way to the even smaller village of Whataroa, at the base of Nz’s glacier country.
All of our stuff, jammed into the 2001 Nissan El Grande we bought the day we arrived in NZ and will, hopefully, sell before we depart.
All of our stuff before we jammed it into the El Grande, which we affectionately call “Ol’ Dusty, Ol’ Beaut.” Plus Brendan doing some exercises to warm-up for the task.
The inside of the house we had rented in Punakaiki. It was literally falling apart. See the ceiling example below.
Brendan marveled that the owners were bold enough to charge rent for the place. At the beginning of the trip, I may well have refused to stay here. (And I’m not even showing you the single bathroom we, all 7, shared.) This time, though, we took to heart William’s comment when we arrived, “Well, it has everything we need.”
Which it pretty much did.
B, a little exhausted, from the pack-up and the push-ups, but keeping his eye on the (left side of) the road, as the rest of us try to catch first glimpses of the famed Franz Josef Glacier.
No glaciers today, but we did see the river flowing off the glacier. Pretty cool. Literally.
William apparently pretty tired too, perhaps worn out from yesterday rescuing Coco, myself, and our nearly sunken double kayak from the Pahoara River (embarrassing Alex story better addressed in a future post).
Of course, the ultimate question is whether the perpetual packing up, constant moving around, frequent crankiness, and sometimes creepy adventures in budget accommodations–PLUS having essentially three outfits to wear for an entire ten months–is worth what we get in return.
Again, a photo replay of the last few days provides the answer.
Sunset at Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks last night.
The walk we took earlier in the evening among the sandstone formations of Truman Track. We didn’t actually see any blue penguins, but you could tell they were close.
Another spot on the beach, this one where cousin Phoebe and I started our day with some yoga…
And more than all of the beautiful places we have been so lucky to experience…
A new, grown up friendship with this amazing cousin, who wasn’t even born when Brendan and I attended Bowdoin College up the road from her parents’ home in Maine. Now we count Phoebe Walsh (aka Phoebe of Maine, aka Big Phoebe) as a good friend and companion in adventure, as well as the source of many of the amazing photos you’re now seeing on the blog.
Though not this one, which shows a can of Pinot Noir, she and I recently enjoyed on a backpacking trip.
Tons of wonderful time with this handsome guy who I don’t see nearly enough of at home, as much because of his hectic schedule as mine.
Helping teach this little lady to tie her shoes (in between watching waterfalls), something I have no memory of doing with the others.
Watching Holly, who seemed to be growing up way too fast at home, have lots of room to goof around with her big bro…
…while also continuing to become the very cool person she continues to be.
And building the 48th sandcastle of the trip with my magical Coco, each one better than the last.
There are also the small things.
When we arrived at our Whataroa house, which is in fact a double-wide trailer…
we were met with a wonderful surprise…
Our first dishwasher in New Zealand!
- Until now, we’ve been doing dishes the old fashioned way. Wash, rinse, and dry made for some good family bonding. Still, this modern convenience was an exciting and welcome development. And this was actually Coco’s genuine reaction.
It’s amazing how it takes a trip around the world to help you, and your kids, appreciate what really matters at home.