Feeling grateful.

Happy New Year everyone. 2017…wow, where did 2016 go? Time, please sss…lll….ooo…www down!

My sisters and their families left New Zealand Jan 5th and Jan 6th after spending 3 weeks in this glorious country. My heart felt heavy as those dates approached as I just adore my sisters and their families and love every minute of time we have together, which is not often enough living in 2 different countries.

Honestly I had been so looking forward to their visit, I hadn’t given much thought to plans for our trip after they left. Their departures truly left me a little blue and maybe feeling a little lost and took some wind out of my sails. I don’t think I was the only one feeling this, as Becca said to me, ” I wish I could back with them to Canada and you guys can pick me up on your way home to Idaho”. The time with their cousins was really special. Friendships developed, family bonds strengthened and for a kid, it was so great to have other kids around to play with.

But then something happened to us on Sunday January 8th, 2017 that shook me out of this funk. As we traveled down State Highway 2 in New Zealand towards a town called Whakatane, on our way to meet my brother and sister in law for a camping trip, a driver in the oncoming traffic fell asleep at the wheel and traveled at 100 km/hr into our lane. If it wasn’t for Evan and his incredible defensive driving and our guardian angels, we surely could  have been killed. Miraculously it was only the driver’s rear side of our car that was hit as the driver of the other car traveled, without breaking, into the farmers field on our side of the road crashing into and completely destroying a power pole. We all, including the other driver, walked away from the accident frightened, but not injured. Grateful.

our car, after coming to stop along the farmer’s fence, with half of the bumper bent backward
the other driver’s car…incredible he was able to walk away. Airbags and seatbelts save lives!


What a wake up call. What a lesson to learn. Talk about feeling grateful. We are all alive, we are healthy. We are so lucky to be on this adventure. We still managed to get to Ohiwa where we had 3 great days camping with our New Zealand family before our car completely died in the grocery store parking lot in Opotiki, New Zealand where our friends Dave and Collette live. Sure our car is no longer driveable. Big deal. We can replace that. Again, so grateful as it could have broken down in the middle of no where…

I was blown away by the kindness and compassion of the NZ folks who stopped to assist us after the accident, as well as the paramedics and the firefighters who were dispatched to the accident. The farmer whose field we crashed into pulled out our car with his tractor, no questions asked, happily helping us get back on our way. Days later, after our car gave up the ghost, Ev’s brother Aaron picked us up in Opotiki and drove us back to Auckland with his car fully loaded down with our camping gear…the car was so packed, we had to tie Ev’s guitar onto the roof. We pretended we were a touring rock band, called “Aaron and the carless”…at least we can laugh about it all now. So grateful for all of the help and kindness received.

rescued by Aaron, with Ev’s guitar on the roof!

This accident reminded me that whenever I am feeling drowsy behind the wheel, pull over. It was also an amazing reminder of keeping your eyes on the road, at all times. Let our accident serve as a reminder to all of you so you will stay safe as well. I am grateful to have you in our lives.

So now we are back in Auckland at Ev’s mom’s place, planning our next moves and figuring out our car situation. Evan’s brother Tim is here for one week visiting from Thailand so it is wonderful to catch up with him. We will likely head back up north to see the very top of the country for the next few weeks. We have a friend that we will house sit for in Kerikeri while he is away with his daughter for a few weeks. Grateful for a warm home to come back to in Auckland while we plan our next moves, grateful for safe travels for Tim and for us to have a great home to house sit when we visit the Far North.

lovely gorgeous New Zealand
like hamsters in a wheel, having so much fun at the playground in Opotiki.

Crazy that I was feeling sorry for myself. We are so blessed!

lots of love,


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I am excited to be heading out to see the world with my husband Evan and our two, soon to be adventuring kids, Jamey and Becca.

13 thoughts on “Feeling grateful.”

  1. So grateful you and your family are safe and unhurt. I love reading your blog and living vicariously through you. You make me want to visit NZ. What an experience you are giving your children and yourself.

    1. thank you Kathleen. So nice to hear from you. Yes, please please put NZ on your bucket list…it is country like no other!! I miss you. Have you guys moved yet?

    1. thank you Kris, I appreciate that. It is funny to think of how many dangerous driving places we have visited thankfully without an accident…for it to happen in NZ..although these roads are windy and twisty and the speed limits are way to high so it feels just as dangerous at times. Thanks for reading. Say hello to your family for me!

  2. Oh Nicola!! What a wonderful blog you have going. We really enjoy reading about you and your family’s journey! So happy you guys are safe after the accident 🙂 New Zealand is absolutely gorgeous!! Miss seeing around from time to time safest if travels much love!

    1. thanks Krista! so nice to hear from you!! Hope you guys are all doing well. Miss you too! NZ is amazing, try to get here some day!

  3. So glad you guys are all safe. The kindness of strangers is always such an amazing, rich blessing.

    In your picture captioned, “lovely, gorgeous New Zealand” I half expected to see Hobbits coming down the little road; so incredibly beautiful.

    Have fun and stay safe!

    1. thanks Jessica, yes this landscape is a bit out of this world…thank you for reading! Hope you guys are doing okay despite all the snow. Keep well!

  4. Hey Nicola! Love your blog and pictures–NZ is truly beautiful! I can’t help wondering, are you taking your pics with a mobile phone? Amazing! Missing you here in snowy Idaho!

    1. Hi Krista, I miss you! Hard to believe but yes the photos have been all taken by Ev’s phone!! It’s not hard to take a nice picture here, it is just so very beautiful. I hope you guys are doing well, despite the snow!! Hello to everyone at work, miss you guys xo

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