South Island of New Zealand
While the past few weeks have felt a bit hectic setting up the van, things have finally started to fall into place. Out of the hundreds of home improvement projects we set out to achieve, about 8 of them have successfully been implemented into the van. I used to think baking trendy appetizers that I found on Pinterest was hard, but this HGTV shit really takes the cake. After learning enough about the local hardware store to basically be an employee, and spending a frightening amount on supplies, we are now the proud owners of a new and improved home on wheels. We have installed new wood paneling, re-painted the cupboards, made new curtains, reupholstered the cushions, built a spice rack and installed two surfboard racks
I can now tell you with absolute certainty that super glue does NOT stick to everything but ALWAYS sticks to your fingers and nothing ever just fits or sticks on the first try. All finger print pad fatalities aside, we managed to persevere and show super glue who’s boss…and that would be another adhesive called liquid nails. The wood paneling turned out super well thanks to Josh and the last thing we have to really work out is some lining to cover the curvature in the fiberglass roof that we were unable to panel. If anyone has a suggestion, please let us know as we have most likely purchased every possible tool that we may need.
Now that the renovations are mostly taken care of, the trip has truly started to fall into place. We have begun our 2 month journey around the South Island and have already fallen in love with the country and its landscape. I have been trying to think of a way to describe the things we have seen so far but its truly not possible to put into words. Colors are more vibrant, birds sing louder, the sun shines brighter, flowers smell sweeter and the waves break perfectly. It is peaceful to a point where meditation comes naturally and each stray lady bug or butterfly that crosses your path is more appreciated.
Over the last few days, we have traveled 157 kilometers away from Christchurch and are now in Timaru, a small town on the eastern pacific coast of the South Island. While I have enjoyed every stop along the way, there was something special about last nights parking spot. We pulled up to a small gravel parking lot just feet from the ocean which ended up being our own private beach for the night. Within 5 minutes of pulling in, I was watching dolphins and orcas cruise the coast while drinking my coffee. 6 hours later, we had caught 2 baby sharks (slightly terrifying) drank a bottle of gin, and achieved some pretty epic sunglass tans. Once the sun set and we decided to make the classy call and switch to wine, we had a bonfire on the beach and lost a deck of cards to the ocean which I can now blame on the gin. But considering losing a deck of cards to a rising tide on my own private beach is currently my biggest problem, Id say I’m pretty happy with my retirement so far.
The biggest takeaway from this trip so far has been how refreshing the locals are. Everyone we have met (almost everyone) has been extremely friendly and generous with their stories and resources. I use the term refreshing because this is the first place I have been were it is obvious that the people you meet along the way truly just want to be apart of and improve your experience. So far, so good here in New Zealand and I’m off to find another beach and another Saturday.