Just Do It

I think Nike had it right when they decided on “Just Do It” as their slogan.  You can apply it to more than just sports and athletics though.  It’s something that applies to all areas of life.  Jobs, dates, travel, hanging out with new friends….things that require a lot of thought for most people.  Things that require, to a degree, some risk.  Do the things you’ve been talking about doing.  Accept the invitation to lunch with that acquaintance.  Apply for that job you’ve been thinking about.  Go on that trip you’ve always wanted to. Life is short.  It’s so easy to talk and dream, but when it comes down to just doing it, it’s hard for a lot of us.

You can only plan so much.  You can only imagine so much.  What it comes down to is just putting one foot in front of the other, and doing it. Who knows; that acquaintance you go out for coffee with may just become one of your best friends.  That job you apply for may become the career you dreamed of. Then again, that acquaintance may remain just an acquaintance.  And you may not get that job you applied for.  But at least you’ll know because you did it…. You said yes.  You put yourself out there.  You did it.  And you learned more about yourself by doing, than you did by sitting and wondering.

I know we are in a unique position in being able to travel for a year.  We talked and thought, and planned and schemed.  And there were lots of questions and doubts about how the year would look and if we could make it.  But in the end, we just did it.  We went to places we’ve only seen in books and on TV.  Yes, some places were not as expected.  But some places blew us away.  And most of the people we met will stay with us always. And the only reason we got to experience any of it, is because we just did it. We weren’t always sure what we were getting ourselves into, but we did it!

So whatever it is that you’re thinking about trying or doing….Just do it 🙂

 

*Obviously common sense needs to be used when “just doing it.”  Don’t take a trip if it’s going to put you deep into debt. Start working and saving and planning to “just do it.”   Don’t quit your job until you’ve accepted that new position 😉  Work, plan and save before you “just do it.”

South Pacific

Aloha everyone!  We have made it back into Canada after spending 5 days on Oahu, getting on a ship and spending three port days at three of the other islands (Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island (Hawaii) ), and then five days at sea.

So, firstly, I got into trouble for not posting pictures from our time in the South Pacific.  We got on a cruise ship in Sydney, Australia and had 16 days of sailing through the South Pacific over to Honolulu.  This cruise was the only one that we had booked waaaaay back last January before we left home.  We started with 2 days at sea, which was a nice way to get to know the boat and our fellow travellers.  We had a really nice group of people to travel with on this boat.  Everyone (except one grumpy old man), was super nice, friendly and easy going.  And the itinerary was awesome.  We stopped in Isle des Pins, New Caledonia; Lifou, New Caledonia; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Lautoka, Fiji; Dravuni Island, Fiji; Pago, Pago, America Samoa; and crossed the International Dateline, getting to live April 21 two times.  We also got to take part in a “swim across the equator,” which is for first time sailors crossing the equator.  We swam across the pool and then kissed a fish at the end…salty and gross, but fun.  I washed my mouth out with soap after getting the pic 😉  At the different ports we snorkelled, hiked, checked out local markets, and hung out with friends from the ship.  We spent the days at sea going to lectures on the history of the islands, and learning about the different geology and animals found on the islands.  One of the things we really enjoy about the long cruises are the speakers they bring on board.  There was also a cultural team onboard for the first week from the French Polynesian Islands, who taught us different words, dances and some of their traditions.  The cultural team for the second week were native Hawaiians who taught us the history, dances, songs and traditions of Hawaii.  We learned a lot, went to trivia (yes, the boys answered quite a few questions that we had no clue what the answer was), watched the world go by, and made some good friends along the way.  As you can imagine, the scenery was impressive, but I think we enjoyed the friends we made even more.

Anyways, I hope you are all doing well, and as always, thanks for taking the time to read and travel along with us.  It’s hard to believe we are almost done with this year of travel. Your emails, messages, and comments have truly helped us along the way as we felt like you were with us, and not far far away.  I have a few more things to write about, and if there are any questions or topics you would like me to write about, please email me or let me know in the comments here.

Happy Spring, and enjoy the weekend 🙂

 

 

Kiwi Land

Another month has passed; I can’t believe we are almost at the end of our year already. There were weeks that flew by, and there were weeks that seemed to drag on forever.  Two and a half weeks in New Zealand were some of the weeks that flew. 2.5 weeks was not even close to enough time to experience all that beautiful country has to offer….we didn’t even try.  We decided to slow down and really explore the north island.  We debated going down to the south as well, but in the end decided it would be too rushed; and even 18 days on the north island was not near long enough to see all the sights they have, but we sure did try.  We also debated renting a camper van, but in the end decided to rent the car and stay in hostels and baches (Camping cabins) as much as possible.  We also like being able to  leave our bags and take off for the day without our things with us (if that makes sense).  In the end, we really enjoyed doing it this way, as we were able to connect with a lot of other travellers at the hostels.  The other nice thing was that we found the car easy to maneuver through some tighter areas and smaller roads that would have been doable with the camper van, but a little more nerve wracking.  But that was our experience and reasoning.  We saw LOTS of rental camper vans on the roads and those people seemed to be enjoying exploring NZ that way just as much 🙂

So, we arrived by boat in Auckland, and picked up our rental car immediately.  We headed out of Auckland after a quick stop for some groceries, and headed over to the northeast side of the island and a place called “Hot water beach.”  We timed it just about right, and hit Hot Water Beach at low tide.  There is a lot of thermal activity in NZ’s north island, which leads to hot water running just under the sand here. At the beach, we rented a shovel, and set about digging a hole.  If you dig in the right area, you will hit super hot water, which mixed with cooler water, makes a nice little natural hot tub.  We unfortunately did not dig in the right spot, but a group of people leaving their pool told us we could use it.  Jo made friends with everyone around us, and three “hot tubs” turned into one when he tore down the “walls” between all the pools.  We then spent about an hour hanging out and talking to everyone around us. It was a lot of fun, super relaxing, and a good start to the trip.

From there, we made it to our hostel just after dark, and decided to run out for some food.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been to New Zealand, but the roads are tight, twisty, and go up and down.  We felt like we were on a never ending roller coaster ride most of the time we were driving.  Every one of us got car sick at some point in the driving.  All that is to say that our hostel was on a bay, in a really quiet area…no houses, no street lights, no stores.  It was awesome.  But we were also really hungry.  So we drove about 20 minutes down the dark winding road and made it to a town, where we wondered why there was so much noise and lights. We discovered they were having a beach hop with old American cars.  American flags were everywhere, American cars were everywhere, and we felt like we had been transported back about 60 years and into another country.   It was really weird and familiar feeling being in New Zealand but seeing cars cruising down the main street that we would see at a antique car show at home.   It was a lot of fun.  I don’t think I enjoyed it as much the first night because I was a little hangry and more interested in finding food, but the boys loved it!

That was our first night in New Zealand.  From there we drove down to Tauranga, which is a neat seaside-ish town, and we drove around and explored Mount Manganui nearby.  Then we headed down to Rotorua for 5 nights.  This is a very active geothermal area, and the town smells a lot like rotten eggs because of all the sulfur in the air.  We explored lakes, beaches, bubbling water, geysers, redwood forest, and stayed in a really nice, comfortable, spacious Airbnb.  It was really nice to spread out, have a backyard, and meet people at the local park.  And we learned about the Maori culture.  They are a beautiful, welcoming, and gracious people, and we loved spending time with them and learning about their culture.  (I also really love Maori/NZ accents; I could listen to them for hours).

From there, we headed south to Napier, where we rented bikes and rode 30km through some gorgeous farmland, ocean trails, and vineyards.  It was a really good day out, and we all enjoyed stretching our legs and having fun on the trail.  We wish we could have had more time here, but two nights was all we had.  Then in was back up to Turangi, where we did a 25 km hike called the Tongariro crossing. I will post a separate piece on that, as it deserves its own 🙂  We stayed in another hostel and had a lot of fun with the people there; hanging out, chatting, and sharing that camaraderie that you do with fellow travellers.

Carrying on from there, we headed up to Hamilton, and then over to Raglan Beach. We chose Hamilton because it was central to Hobbiton, and the Waitomo Glowworm caves, both of which we explored on day trips out of Hamilton.  Hobbiton was definitely cool to see.  We really felt like we were there, not just on a movie set.  We took an early tour and almost had the place to ourselves.  Loved it! And to add to the awesomeness of Hobbiton, we ran into some friends from home.  We had no idea each other would be there, and I did a double take as I pulled into the parking lot and saw one of my friends from Ultimate standing there.  We couldn’t believe it!  And we took a really small tour of some of the glowworm caves in Waitomo. Jo especially was intrigued.

After Hamilton we went to Raglan, where we stayed at a campground and just chilled. Raglan is a good place to do that. Jo fished every day.  We played Frisbee and swam in the sea.  And we watched tv and read books.

We ended our time in New Zealand attending a rugby game in Hamilton.  The Chiefs won and the boys got to meet some of the players after the game.  They really treat their fans well.

So to sum it up, New Zealand was unexpected.  I have heard a lot of people like NZ better than Australia.  And I went there expecting to love it right away.  But it kinda took it’s time and grew on me.  We met a LOT of tourists, but really enjoyed the few Kiwis that we got to spend time with.  And after getting over the feeling of being car sick every time we drove, we really enjoyed the scenery and sights we drove past.  New Zealand is a gorgeous country….very spread out, and diverse.  We will definitely be back to explore more of this wonderful country that has stolen a little piece of our heart.  We love you Kiwis and your beautiful country 😉  Thanks for having us.