Where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to…

Hello from the South Island! We have been here now about 3 weeks, and still have a little over 2 more weeks to go in the South. We’ve been camping, hiking, reading, schooling, driving, beaching. We’ve spent time with good friends, (Ev’s buddies from university days), Nik Woolford, Jason, Jo Tilson, Craig Adams, Nic Leach and Brendan. We’ve been biking, touristing, playing the ukelele, juggling, rafting and occasionally getting eaten by sandflies. We’ve been sailing, took in a high ropes course at Outward Bound in Anakiwa, and took shelter in a cozy camper during a rain and wind storm. We’ve hiked on a beach you could only get to during low tide that was so beautiful and so rugged. We watched baby seals playing in a tidal pool on one of the prettiest beaches in the world. We’ve walked along deserted rail lines from old coal mining days. We’ve paddleboarded and gone swimming in warm lakes. We’ve met lovely travelers from all over the world and many wonderful New Zealanders. We’ve watched sunsets that were so pretty I could cry. Nature…my happy place. Ah, its been good. So very very good. This blog post is mostly pictures because these pictures say it all…put New Zealand on your bucket list.

Pics from the northern part of the South Island (many pics compliments of Nik Woolford!)

Pics from the West Coast of the South Island

A few pics from where we are now…

We are 6 months in, time has flown  but our travels in the south has slowed the clock down a little. We feel a bit like home here. Home away from home. (minus the snow)…

Sending love and warm sunshine…

Nicola xo


I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more…South Island here we come!

Totara North, Northland, New Zealand…such beauty!

We have begun our journey to the South Island after 2 months in the North Island. We have reliable wheels, our car is packed with camping/hiking/swimming gear. We are set! All we need now is the weather in the South Island to settle down and treat us to the glorious weather we have had here in the North.

Didn’t catch any fish, but sure caught an amazing sunset, Kerikeri, New Zealand

We had a great adventure up at the top of the North Island, taking Jamey and Becca on their first overnight backpacking trip. We hiked along 90 mile beach, crossed headlands as they came our way and made it to Cape Reinga, the top of the country. The kids managed really well (with the occasional jelly bean for motivation!), we had wonderful weather, a breath taking sunset and all of us felt so accomplished after finishing our 17 mile (25 km) hike. It was so successful Ev and I are hoping to get another backpacking trip in while we head down to the South Island. A friend challenged a group of us to try to walk/run/hike 100 miles in the month of January. This hike brought me closer to that goal. I ended the month with 77 miles in and am now working on 1000 miles for 2017.

School work continues despite our kids complaints and we have been getting into a good rhythm doing school work right after breakfast. This is the part of the trip that to be honest, isn’t my favorite but very important so we buckle down and get it done, despite the complaints. We keep reminding them that if we were home this year, they’d be in school for 6 hours a day…not the 45 minutes we have them doing! Their comeback to this is, “but we would have our friends with us, and the way they teach us math at school it is more fun!!” So my teacher friends, what can I do to make math more fun…I’m open to suggestions!

The past few months have provided many social studies teaching opportunities however. Although we are thousands of miles away from the US, the news makes it seem like we are so much closer. The kids and I have had many discussions about some of the early decisions that Donald Trump has made early into his Presidency, and I am grateful that we have this time away from the US right now. I am more committed than ever to raise our kids to be humanitarians, open minded, grateful and to be not afraid. One of the hugest lessons from this trip is that no matter which country you are from, most of us human beings just want to be loved, cared about and respected. Sure there is evil in this world, but I align with the notion that “Love trumps Hate” and it is so important to me that my kids understand this. We have been given a gift of global perspective this year and for that I am very thankful.

So off we go. South Island New Zealand for 6 weeks. I love this part of the country so much. It reminds me of British Columbia, but instead of deer and bears, its land is full of sheep. We have been in a few cow crossing traffic jams, but I know that sheep traffic jams will be just around the corner.

Nature…my happy place! 90 Mile Beach, New Zealand

Sending you my love, thank you for reading and thank you for your comments. They fill us up!

Nicola xo