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travel with chidlren

lifestyle, Parenting, Travel

Vanlife Dreaming in the Year of Covid, time for a reality check?

July 18, 2020
#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com

“Let’s not call it dreaming, let’s call it planning”. “Just do it, you won’t regret it”. “Follow your dreams”. I think they call it wanderlust. Well, I’m calling out Vanlife Reality.

I wanted to write about our amazing trip, to share our family’s Vanlife experiences with you. And they have been amazing. Our girls have learned so much already. Already they were starting to “play” again. To talk to each other instead of hurling abuse at each other.

But there have been so many bumps in the road in real life. And as easy as it would be to paint a perfect picture with the stunning photos we have collected along the way, I just can’t leave out reality.

So here is the story. The good, the bad and the ugly. The truth.

#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com
Lake Pukaki
Vanlife Reality

Dreaming up Version 2.0

After Covid-19 smashed our dreams of traveling Europe in a campervan with our children, our plans for Vanlife Version 1.0 were dead in the water. 

So we dreamed up our new wanderlust (Vanlife Version 2.0). We changed destination, re-gathered our plans, bought a caravan and hit the road here at home in New Zealand.

#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com #travel #nomadlife #newzealand #2020
Vanlife Reality

Life on the Road

We have now been living ”on the road” for almost a month.  The freedom is fantastic.  The views are amazing.  And the photos tell a pretty stunning story. 

But I can’t honestly tell you our wanderlust Version 2.0 is the euphoric state of calm family life an Instagram pic will tell you.  You know the one, where my husband and I sit in the sun discussing the meaning of life whilst the girls play in the sand, learn the history of their country and delve deep and meaningfully into their own culture. 

Not when our teenager has left us. 

For some reason, Version 2.0 didn’t work out like we thought it would.

Maybe it was because there were too many escape routes? In Europe, there would be no options for heading home for a bit.

Maybe it was because a chunk of our budget was tied up in a campervan in the Netherlands, so our caravan and vehicle aren’t as ideal as they could be.

Maybe it is because it is winter.

Perhaps home is just not as exciting as Europe.  The photos would challenge this statement.  But our teenager would definitely argue, New Zealand is just not worth being away from her friends. 

So our teenager boarded a plane in Queenstown heading north, back to stay with family, back to civilization.  Away from a caravan, and away from the close proximity it brings to her parents.   

State of Play, Vanlife Version 2.0

Whatever the reason is, our teenager has left us and our dream behind.

Husband is over living in a caravan.

Ironically, Miss M (10), who has been hideously homesick, seems to be settling in. Other than missing her sister dreadfully.

#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com #laketekapo
Vanlife Reality

Three weeks in a van, how do I feel?

Personally, I’m starting to settle into the new routine. I’m really enjoying homeschooling. Everything is slowly finding a home in the caravan, and the housework takes a total of ten minutes!

I’m loving the slow travel. Getting to see things we would never have seen on a whirlwind “Instagram” trip of New Zealand.

Then there is the freedom. The freedom to sit on a beach at 4 in the afternoon with a beer, watching Miss M collect rocks or build a teepee as the sun goes down. Or spending time actually playing, giggling even, with her in a playground after dark when we have it all to ourselves.  Exploring glow-worm grottos.  Climbing rocks and meeting friendly fantails.

We sleep in when it suits us.  I can go for long walks along the beach, or around a harbor.  There are mountains to climb and the feeling of my blood pumping through my body to wake me up.  Alpine mountain air to breathe deeply.

As for that happy ending?

Who knows. But we have had a great trip so far. Here are some of my favorite spots 🙂

#Vanlifereality #travelnewzealand #travellocal #newzealand #covid2020

Travel

The place I call home – a New Zealand Travel Blog

May 24, 2020

Covid-19 has been devastating across the world in so many ways. Here in New Zealand, we have been lucky enough that the virus is currently under control, and our lives have returned to a somewhat new normality. However, it hasn’t been without pain. The global pandemic has forced us to put our dreams on hold. Those dreams were to travel through Europe in a campervan with our children. Instead, we ended up stuck at home, in lockdown, unemployed.

But when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. So we have decided to follow the road where it takes us, in New Zealand. We have purchased a new caravan in the South Island, and are busy packing and planning for our “detour dream”.

In the meantime, I thought I’d write a series of New Zealand Travel Blogs on my favourite spots in New Zealand, from a Kiwi’s perspective. The inside word, the secret spots, the best sunsets, etc.

I’m starting this first post with a few highlights from my favourite travels. Each of these spots is a destination in its own right, and deserves its own blog which will follow in this series.

Northland

Our campervan trip around Northland marked our first family adventure in a campervan. It gave us a taste of the freedom it offered us, and the beautiful spots we could get to only in a home with wheels. And we were hooked.

www.accounting4chaos.com Northland
New Zealand Travel Blog

Northland is also the best place to experience Maori culture and to learn about the history of New Zealand, at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Having grown up around Maori culture and its traditions all of my life, I still found the visit to the Treaty Grounds and the Wharenui (Meeting House) moving.

East Cape

www.accounting4chaos.com East Cape New Zealand Travel Blog

A trip around the East Cape of the North Island of New Zealand is like taking a step back in time to when horses and bareback riders roamed the roads and the cars are straight out of the 80s. Along the way you can stop to collect cockles (clams) from the Ohiwa Harbormouth and cook them up on a seaside bbq. You can sample macadamia icecream (and marmite if you are brave enough), relax with live music in wineries, visit lighthouses and historic churches and watch the sunrise in the first spot to see the sun.

www.accounting4chaos.com East Cape
New Zealand Travel Blog
Noma, our first caravan.

Rotorua

OK, so Rotorua was originally in my list of “don’t bother”. The “culture” that overseas tourists flock to Rotorua for is deceptively fake. The landscape is forgettable, as is the lake. However, it has grown on me. Rotorua has fantastic forests and mountain biking. Which can be followed by mineral hotpools and a dinner out, equals a fantastic family day out.

Rotorua is also home to the Redwoods Treewalk. This swing bridged walk is 20 metres up in the canopy of 115-year-old Redwood trees, and at night is illuminated by huge David Truebridge lights, artwork in their own right. Taking the treetop walk under the stars is majestic.

Martinborough

If you know New Zealand, you may have picked up by this point that my “highlights” mostly mirror the best wine regions in New Zealand. Martinborough was no exception. In fact, Martinborough is an idyllic little town with fantastic cafes and wine bars. Our campsite was within walking distance of the township, and surprisingly, wineries! No driving required.

Martinborough was also a great base from which to take day trips – Wellington, Cape Palliser to see the lighthouses and seal colony, hike the pinnacles or spend the day sampling chocolates and antique hunting in the cute historic town of Greytown.

www.accounting4chaos.com Cape Palliser
New Zealand Travel Blog

Hawkes Bay

My love of the Hawkes Bay came later, and it crept up on me. The slogan says it all – Eat, Drink, Cycle and Art Deco. What is not to love? There is fantastic wine in unbelievable settings, tractor rides along the beach to see colonies of Gannets at Cape Kidnappers, fantastic parks and smooth cycle paths along the waterfront. And if that is not enough, the entire city was rebuilt in Art Deco style after the 1931 Earthquake and fires, making it a rare gem to explore in style.

www.accounting4chaos.com Cape Kidnappers
New Zealand Travel Blog
Craggy Range Winery www.accounting4chaos.com
New Zealand Travel Blog

West Coast, South Island

The rugged westcoast has also won my heart with its lush green bush, beautiful Nikau palms, stunning coastline and warm and welcoming locals. We will definitely be spending time in Hokitika again on our new detour dream trip.

www.accounting4chaos.com Hokitika
New Zealand Travel Blog

Missing…

There are some notable areas missing from my list of highlights. The areas you would likely see in a mainstream travel brochure – Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown. All beautiful spots. But i’m not a fan of visiting cities. And Queenstown has become overcrowded. Although i’m going to give it another chance, with overseas tourism shut down in New Zealand, it could suprise me.

I will be sure to include a post on where “not to visit” in this new series.

See you soon!

Ange

XX

#New Zealand #Detour #Dreams #Travel #NewZealandTravelBlog

www.accounting4chaos.com
New Zealand Travel Blog
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