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lifestyle, Parenting, Travel

Day One, Family Van-Life New Zealand 2020

July 6, 2020
#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com #travel #nomadlife #newzealand #2020

When I dreamed of this moment, I thought I would write about the excitement of finally driving out the driveway, the truck loaded to the brim. Ecstatic children in the backseat talking non stop about what they wanted to do. Hubby and I still sharing our dream of traveling the world, spending time with our children.

I’ve been wondering how to write this post. The first post on the road, living our new life.

Well. The reality so far is pretty different from our dreams. And it’s not just the change of destination. So I’ve decided to write this post honestly, warts and all. I only hope there is a happy ending.

Leaving Home

We did finally make it out the driveway.  After months of delays due to Covid flight difficulties, the lockdown, renting the house out, attending to various medical semi-emergencies, and new business deadlines, we finally hit the road!

Leaving our lives behind

How am I feeling? Well guilty probably sums it up. 

Miss M(10), the homebody, had a meltdown this week.  She never wanted to leave home.  She didn’t want to be taken away from her friends.  And she definitely did not want to leave her pets.  She has become such an animal lover.  Hubby suggested we let her bring Gorge, her potted succulent, as a pseudo pet.  But we are still expecting tears this week.

On the other hand, Miss T’s (14) behavior has surprisingly improved.  She is looking forward to taking “Instagram” photos in amazing locations.  But overall she still says the trip around New Zealand isn’t worth it, she would rather be “at home”.  And any joy we feel in finally getting on the road is met with a firm stare, a teenage eye-roll and a snarky remark about it should have been Europe. 

And Hubby.  He has been hit with deadline after deadline and resents the pressure this is putting on him.

So on our first day on the road, on what was supposed to be the start of the ultimate family journey way back in April, the excitement has gone.  It has been replaced with a feeling of ‘blah’.  That’s a slightly technical term I know.  But every plan we have made for this trip so far has been disrupted.  And everyone is over it.  It appears everyone now just wants to be at home. 

What’s next?

I don’t know what I’m waiting on to decide how I feel about this trip.  When will the moment come where we know we have done the right thing?  Or when we say that’s it, we are going home?  Will we give up on Europe and sell the camper?  When?

Are we pushing this dream too far?  Should we have given up and stayed home in our beautiful house, with our comfortable bed, our pets, and our friends??? 

Living in the Moment

2020.  Coronavirus.  We can’t do anything but live in the moment.  And to be fair, this afternoon has been a pretty cool moment. 

We are staying at the Lake Taupo Holiday Resort. The hot pools are great, and you can’t beat a cocktail from the swim-up bar. The girls are excited about this holiday park and seem to be in good spirits about doing a little bit of school work in the morning if they then get to go for another swim before we get on the road to Wellington. 

So fingers crossed 😊

New Zealand 2020
www.accounting4chaos.com
Lake Taupo Holiday Resort
New Zealand 2020

lifestyle, Parenting

Life-changing Lockdown Lessons

April 29, 2020

New Zealand has been in Lockdown for 38 days as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We have been at Lockdown Level Four, one of the stricter Lockdowns across the world. Essentially – stay home. But along the way, there have been a number of life-changing Lockdown lessons.

The easing of Lockdown

We are now on the eve of the Lockdown easing to Level Three. This will mean a few more freedoms. Some can go out to work if it is safe. You will be able to get takeaway food and real coffee! Retail remains closed, and many businesses will continue to struggle. If you are not at work, getting essentials, or exercising locally, you must remain at home. In your ‘bubbles’.

New Zealand has done well. Our “team of five million” has drastically cut the number of cases, our death toll stands at 19 to date.

But on the eve of easing Lockdown, its a time of personal reflection for me. I wanted to write not about the virus, and the terrible things it has caused. Instead, I want to remember both the time we spent in Lockdown and what I have learned. To consider how the Lockdown has changed me personally, for the better. About how it has been a period of personal growth. And about how those lessons learned in Lockdown have been life-changing.

A Life-changing Lockdown Journey

Lockdown has been a strange time. A time with highs and lows.

The low points came quickly, with my teenage daughter’s confusion and stress at being forced into a different life. A new and different routine caused her anxiety to spiral. I know in my heart that inside is a scared little girl, but on the outside she was an out of control teenager, taller than me, breaking things and threatening to kill her little sister.

Then she settled down. Settled into a new routine. A relaxed routine. Away from the pressures of her normal life.

And our family started to settle into lockdown life. Sleeping in, every morning. My morning run. A lazy coffee in the sun. Breakfast around 10. Work and school for a few hours. Lunch. Yoga or a bike ride. Free time. Wine time. Dinner. Netflix or a family movie. Sleep. And repeat.

The nightly driveway wines, our neighbors in their drive, us in ours. The kids playing in the culdesac. Tennis, riding bikes, skates, scooters. Reading books.

Board games. Teddy Bears in windows. Exploring the golf course. Collecting pinecones and mushrooms.

Starting a business.

Celebrating milestones

Along the way we celebrated and remembered life’s milestones. We celebrated my birthday. Remembering a year ago the amazing time we had with our closest friends, touring wineries in the Hawkes Bay.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a vintage pinot we had collected from a small Queenstown winery. With a cheese board. In front of a roaring fire.

www.accounting4chaos.com life-changing lockdown lessons

Easter arrived and we made hot cross buns and had an Easter Egg hunt around the garden. Miss M’s pet rabbit Minty decided her Easter Egg (rabbit) smelt pretty yummy. And ate it. With the family in fits of laughter, we decided Minty had a streak of cannibalism in her when it came to chocolate bunny rabbits.

Then there was Anzac Day. A day of remembrance for those that fought for our freedom in the World Wars. To remember those that did not grow old. And to be grateful to those veterans, now the most at risk in this pandemic. I rose at 6 am, stood in the driveway, and watched the sunrise as a Bugler in our neighborhood played The Last Post. Along the street, our neighbors stood in solidarity. We will remember them.

Lockdown Life Lessons

Before Lockdown there were two main pressures in my life. Work was the first. The second was my daughter’s behavior, and the stress it put on the family.

Whether it was leaving work, my daughter’s unexpected relaxation, or being forced to stay in one place, I have remembered how to stay still. I have found peace. And contentment.

I am present in the ‘now’. I no longer half-listen to conversations going on around me. Nod, aha, yeah, yup, ok. Until someone asks me a question. Usually my husband. And I can’t remember having the conversation.

I am happy. I’m content. And relaxed. I can enjoy the company of my husband. And love being around my children.

I feel confident again. The anxiety has gone. I can breathe.

Lockdown has been life-changing.

Take care.

XX

#Lockdown #NewZealand #Covid19 #Aspergers

lifestyle, Parenting, Travel

Life in lockdown – the end of a dream?

April 4, 2020
NZ in lockdown www.accounting4chaos.com

If you have been following this blog, you probably know that late last year my husband and I made a big brave life decision. We resigned from our jobs. Sold a rental property. And purchased a campervan that is sitting waiting for us in the Netherlands. Then there was the lockdown.

We were set to fly to Europe in April. The plan was to travel for the rest of the year and return in time for Miss T to start her High School exams next year. Really now or never on the timing.

Then the world started to fall apart. Just as I was finishing work, the kids were enrolled in the correspondence school, and our house was listed for rent, Coronavirus started to hit hard in Europe. The borders started closing.  

With a campervan in storage in the Netherlands, we started looking for a backup plan. We worked through our budget and started looking at caravans to travel around New Zealand. Although we have traveled much of the North Island, traveling around the South Island was definitely on our bucket list. We were grateful and excited to have such an amazing ‘backyard’ to explore in our own country.

Lockdown

Then, quite unexpectantly, and with only 100 coronavirus cases in New Zealand, we were all put into lockdown for at least a month. We must stay at home. Although my husband had work lined up (he is now self employed), with the lockdown in place he cannot go out to work, and cannot get paid. We can only leave the house for exercise, to get food, and for essentials.

When we dared to follow our dreams, when we decided to quit our jobs and travel the world with our kids, there is no way we could have ever guessed this could happen. A global pandemic. That we could end up both unemployed and stuck at home. A recession kicking in. Not even able to travel our own country. Living on our savings for our European dream.

The end of a dream?

So what now? We can only take this day by day. It is ultimately going to depend on how long this lockdown lasts, and how far our savings can take us.

I remind myself daily, it could be much worse. I am grateful we live in an Island nation, where we have managed to keep the virus out long enough to learn from other countries. Whereas other countries have suffered immense losses to human life, we have entered lockdown to regain control of the virus, hopefully before it is too late. My family is healthy and happy in our lockdown paradise.

Will we get out on the road? I doubt we will get to Europe anytime soon. But hopefully, we can get out of lockdown in New Zealand, buy a caravan and travel our own backyard.

As for Europe? Well, we own a campervan in the Netherlands. I hope one day we can get there. However, first, we will need to come up with a way of working while we are traveling. And we will need to find a way for our daughter to complete her High School exams from Europe.

One of my clients said to me when we first verbalized our European dream – when you get back, you will fall back into work and the chaos that is life, it won’t take long, but the thing that will change in you permanently is when you look at that horizon. You will look at the horizon and you will know you can pack up and reach for that dream, you will not be stuck in the everyday rat race. You will know you can walk away, you can achieve it. And that is what will stick.

That is what I want to learn, and for my children to learn. To be brave.

And in the meantime, I remind myself that when we traveled to Canada and the US for six weeks, people asked me what my favorite part was. My answer was ‘spending six weeks continuously with my children’. And I can do that right here at home.

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