Before we head off to explore lots of new places we really want to spend time at some of our favourite local spots while they are still on our back door step. So after spending a wonderful xmas day with my family having a picnic at the beach we decided a quick get away was in order.
Roughly an hour and a half from where we live is a campsite beside Lake Tarawera at a spot called the Tarawera outlet. It’s a spot we have camped at many, many times and is a spot that never disapoints. Stunningly beautiful lake, crisp clear swimming water in the lake and in the river and a relatively easy walk to a nearby waterfall. Really what more could you ask for?
It is a little bit of a drive in through unsealed forestry roads and was quite late by the time we arrived. But the joy of our new way of travelling is that within 15 minutes of arriving I was serving up xmas day leftovers to my tired wee boy and with no real set up of camp required we had time for a stroll down to the lake before bed to wind down from our very busy day.
We woke the next morning to rain and a learning experience of having parked sideways on a sloping site and spent the night slowly sliding out of bed. So after breakfast we shifted to a slightly flatter spot where we could park where the front of the bus was pointing downhill and not the side. A much more comfortable position. With the bus sorted we decided to head off for a little walk along the river.
There is a track that follows the river until it goes through an underground tunnel and comes out at the Tarawera Falls, very beautiful with a neat swimming hole enroute but for this walk we decided just to go until Oliver had had enough and wanted to turn around. It’s rather lovely walking through the NZ bush on a rainy day, cool and damp but sheltered from the worst of the wetness. We found a spot for morning tea on some mossy boulders and hung out for some photo’s.
Luckily in the afternoon the weather cleared and we managed a crisp but refreshing swim in the lake and the river. It was the perfect little getaway after the excitement of xmas day, a great way to shift the focus from presents and over indulgence to family and nature. And the start in a way of our farewell of to our old home and old life as we ease our way into our new one.
From the moment Oliver came into our lives we started building little traditions around all those special times of year. Birthdays, Easter and one of Oliver’s particular favourites xmas. For us those traditions involve a lot of time with family and knowing that next year our family won’t be so close at hand it has made this xmas extra special.
Even though we are both completely sure that what we are doing is going to be an amazing experience for our whole family and a wonderful learning time for Oliver in particular, it doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes have doubts and worries about what we are doing. I worry that he will miss his life we are leaving behind, his kindy, his friends, our family! I worry that perhaps this is just something I want to do so much that I have convinced myself it is great for Oliver as well. I worry about him not starting regular school when he turns five and any impact that could have on him long-term.
Then I start to remind myself of all the wonderful things I believe he will gain from this experience. I remind myself that my family are amazing and they will make sure Oliver’s bond with them stays alive from a distance and he still feels their love for him no matter where we are in the country. I remind myself that he will have the invaluable experience of making new friends where ever we go and that this will be an asset to him in later life. Then most importantly I remind myself that for him to see his parents chasing a dream of there’s and striving hard to make an incredible life for our family is a very powerful lesson in itself.
So then I do what I have found I have to do many times as a mother. I push the big picture long term worries to the back of my mind and I focus on the little things, the day to day things that I actually can do something about in the moment to make a difference.
So this christmas season is being filled with special visits with our good friends. With making the most of the time we have with our family. With a picnic at the beach on xmas day. With enjoying all the local christmas activities that we have done in the past because next year we will have new ones to discover and new traditions to start. And of course with trying so hard to just slow down a little in the mad rush that this time of year can become and truly enjoy the precious four year old enjoyment of that special christmas magic.
About eight months ago we made a choice to do something completely different with the direction our lives were heading in. My husband and I and our four year old son lived in Tauranga, New Zealand, we loved our current home and the area we lived in. But for some reason we just weren’t quite as satisfied with the life we were living. We had already decided that we were wanting to sell and move to an area with more options for schooling for our son, at that stage we were thinking of buying in Te Puke closer to my parents. But then in March 2017 a camping holiday in the far north of NZ changed the way we were thinking completely.
We talked a lot on that holiday about how much we liked some of the small towns we were seeing, we realised at some point with all this talk that we were ready for a far bigger change then what we had been planning. Then once we got home and continued to discuss places we liked and where we might move to an idea we had always planned for once our family was grown and it was just us surfaced in a new light. Buying a house bus and travelling the country was something we had spoken of many times over the years but always thinking it was something that was just out of our reach for now. But the more we looked into it and the more we spoke of it we realised that this was something we both really wanted to do now with our son.
So then began a process that we imagined might go a bit quicker than what it has. We got our house ready for sale, listed it and slowly started telling people what we were planning to do. Finally at the end of September our house sold and the packing and sorting began. And at the end of October we put some of our belongings in storage, sold and gave away a whole lot more and moved ourselves and the remainder of our things to my parents house to begin our big adventure.
Then came the fun part, bus shopping!! After all our months of online looking and dreaming it was great to be able to actually go looking for a bus to buy. We had plans to buy a bus that needed very little done to it but the more we looked the more we realised that perhaps to get exactly what was important to us some alterations may be neccessary. In the end we brought a bus I hadn’t even been that keen to go and view as I thought it had to much that needed doing on it for my taste.
So that is pretty much where we are at in our journey at the moment, we have our bus at my parents place and are slowly chipping away at the jobs that need doing to get it ready for the road. Once again things are probably not going to happen as quickly as we had hoped but we are finding that bothers us less now and we are aiming to hit the road at the end of February.