Off to New Zealand – Let it Go

Stepping Out the Door

The train ride home from the airport seems long. We’re tired.  Our backpacks weigh us down on our walk from the train station to the house. It’s nice being able to lie in our own bed, sit on our own couch, talk to our family, watch t.v. in English. One of our heaters has gone pitouey , but our pipes didn’t freeze. Overall, our nest is still o.k.. Quickly we slide back into our everyday lives and habits. It is this ease in which we return to “normal” that calls us out to continue our journey.

I am extremely introverted. I don’t like to look in the mirror. Having my picture taken is pure agony for me. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. It takes a lot of effort to work myself up to step foot outside the door and do what others see as normal activities.

All this is in complete contrast to the other side of me. I am a bit of a free spirit. I love adventures. Since I was little I dreamed of working for National Geographic. I wanted to travel to every corner of the world and have so many experiences. Part of the reason that I decided to home school my kids was so we could go on adventures together, “home” school didn’t mean staying at home.

In mid-life I realized that I wasn’t achieving my goals, especially getting out into the world. I decided to ride my bicycle across the United States. I wanted to do it all in one go by myself, but I’m a mom and a wife, it’s hard to just go off on my own for a long period of time. Kevin and the boys became a part of that trip. We really bonded as a family. My parents joined us on the last leg with their camper and it became a multi-generational trip. After pedaling more than 3,000 miles, it was quite a feeling of accomplishment. We never gave up, because we were all in it together.

Certainly goals change over time, influenced by other factors based on choices we have made or discovering more about who we are as individuals. I no longer want to be a National Geographic journalist, but I am an adventurist at heart. The fact that it is so difficult for me to get out there motivates me more. If I never open that door, I certainly won’t accomplish anything. Plus, I need to work on replacing those negative thoughts.

There are other reasons for taking this journey. Both boys are off at college and starting new chapters in their lives, causing Kevin and I to re-evaluate our own paths. A few years ago Kevin fell off a ladder climbing down from our three story house. He broke several bones in his back. It was a miracle he was not paralyzed or dead. I am so lucky to have him still in my life and to see him walking around like his old self. Last year I was hit with a combo of health issues that left me with barely any energy at all, and a few extra pounds. We have both come to realize how precious our lives are. It only takes an instant for us to lose something or someone precious. We might not be able to travel together when/if we get older.

So, our travels have become a goal and a classroom for us. We want to just get out there and experience the world. We want to learn. We want to learn about the places we visit, as well as about ourselves. This blog serves as a way to document what we see and how we grow through this chapter in our own lives. It is not only documenting our external journey, but our internal “trip” as well.

We will need to turn the door handle to step outside again. Doing so involves a certain amount of trust. Leaving a good paying job, saying goodbye to our family and home, getting on an airplane where we are not in control, traversing countries and meeting new people that we know little about, equals a lot of having to believe in ourselves and trusting others to help us accomplish what we set out to do.

Kia Ora Aotearoa (Maori for Hello Land of the Long White Cloud/New Zealand)

We wake to a beautiful sunny first day on the start of our month long journey through New Zealand. Our favorite thing to do when we get to a new place is to get the lay of the land. The best place to get a panoramic view of Auckland is from the 1,082 foot Skytower. 

We are so excited that we are first in line, not for the Observation Deck. There are already people going up to walk on it’s indoor glass floor. No, it is such a great day. We want to be outdoors. I suggest to Kevin that we should try the Skyjump, but he didn’t feel like jumping off a perfectly good building so early in the day. We settle on the Skywalk.

Hi Mom and Dad! Remember when you used to get nervous when we liked to get too close to the cliff edges to look down?

We climb into very fashionable orange jump suits. As we make jokes about being window washers we step into harnesses and ride the elevator up to the top of the tower. Following our guide out onto the suspended outer rim of the building, we realize that we are really going to have to let go and put all of our trust into our safety lines. If you have trust issues or afraid of heights, that’s not easy to do.

Hi Matt and Zach! Don’t try this at home.You’ll make your mom nervous.

 “Try taking your hands off the rope.” ” Put your heels over the edge and lean backward. See the lines will hold you. ” “Look up and walk forwards. Now try walking backwards.” ” Now put your toes over the edge and lean forward over the streets of Auckland. ” Our guide slowly encourages us to push our limits. I have difficulty with the look up and walk instructions, but it was fun pretending to kick Kevin off the tower. He had just as much fun doing the same for me, there must have been a little pent up emotions from flying together for 24 hours the day before.

 

The view is amazing. The sparkling waters of Waitemata Harbor are dotted with sails. After all we are in the City of Sails where 1 in 3 families owns a sailboat. Our native guide rolls out the intricate Maori names of the islands and points to volcanoes in the distance, and some within the city. 

I’d like to take another turn around the rim. The jumpers looked like they were having fun, and it didn’t look so scary. Taking the first step out was the most difficult part. Going back in and down to ground level we pick up our complimentary hats with the Skywalk logo on the brim. We are now labeled as bona fide crazy tourists.

At our next stop we pick up our Mystery Machine, a colorful camper van that Shaggy and Scooby Doo would feel at home in. Driving down the left side through the windy streets of New Zealand in our wild wheels, cue  sound track:”Let it go..let it go…” 

6 thoughts on “Off to New Zealand – Let it Go

  1. Linda newman

    You guys are so brave! I have such a fear of heights. Kevin, do you remember when we went to the Grand Canyon and you got on a rock with just air beneath you? I was so scared and furious I went to the car and cried. Considering your fall from the ladder, weren’t you a little nervous hanging off a building?
    I just love the photos, and the pure enjoyment on your faces!
    Love, mom

    Reply
  2. Dawn Bunyon

    Wow! Wow! Wow! I love seeing you both with such pure JOY on your faces. What an adventure. You are both so brave.

    Reply
    1. Robin

      Hi Joy and Kevin
      Your wheels are fun!
      I loved the pictures of your Smiles standing on the edge of The Skywalk!
      Safe Travels Take Care Love Robin

      Reply
  3. Robin

    Hi Joy and Kevin
    Your wheels are fun
    You are both so brave to walk on the edge of that building. The pictures of your smiles are great
    Take Care Love Robin

    Reply
  4. norion5_wp

    We love it here. Wish it was closer to home. A month won t be long enough. Kevin and I are very hip in our van. The locals know to keep out of our way, lol.

    Reply

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