Hello from New Zealand or, as the natives greet you, “Haere Mai”
After extensive touring in the USA and Canada (Nova Scotia to San Diego and Vancouver to New York), we decided to ship our Leisure Travel Vans Freedom 2A to our home country and continue the lifestyle. Shipping from Long Beach, California to Auckland was all organized by Steve Curl, a Kiwi living in L.A., and after 3 weeks we were clearing New Zealand Customs and going through the compliance procedure for The Department of Motor Vehicles. We were able to keep our LTV all complete, standard factory specification. As the van weighed under 3.5 tonnes, this meant there was no need to change the steering to right hand drive as we drive on the left side of the road.
We have now happily relocated from Auckland to Omokoroa, settled in the beautiful Bay Of Plenty surrounded by Kiwi Fruit, Avocado, and Citrus orchards.
Our last trip on the road was along the coast of the Coromandel Peninsular, a 300-mile circuit and a must for overseas visitors as this is one of our scenic drives.
The first stop was the town of Thames, a historic 1800’s gold mining area with the usual tourist museum and the 1865 Brian Baru Hotel, one of the few hotels left from the raucous mining days.
Here guests can stay the night and experience “Ghostly” and ” Murder Mystery” plays. The world’s best Fish and Chips are served at the marina, though this is a claim made by most seaside resorts! Traveling along the west coast, we observed extensive damage to the road caused by a recent cyclone in the Pacific and, yes, we do have some stormy weather down here. The road passes through numerous holiday villages popular in the summer months with seasonal visitors and permanent locals who enjoy fresh rock oysters, mussels, and saltwater fish.
Coromandel was the next stop, another old town where artisans are evident with their crafts on display/sale as prominent “No Mining’ signs decorate the roadside. Leaving Coromandel, the road climbs over the range to Hot Water Beach. Dig out your own hot pool on the beach, allowing the hot mineral springs to seep up through the sand.
Driving the winding road along the east coast through the holiday resort towns of Matarangi, Onemana, Opotere, and Whangamata all native Maori names which sometimes take some pronunciation by tourists. All these locations have white sand safe swimming and surfing beaches. The hills behind the resorts are of native bush ferns, flax, and commercial pine forests.
We must now return to Omokoroa to enjoy the rest of our summer. Even the winter here is great. We may even get a frost!
Rod & Arlene Smith.
We are Snowbirds.
We are not your average Snowbirds, but nonetheless, we are now officially Snowbirds. We have just spent our first seven weeks south of the Canadian border.
We left Vancouver on December 18th and headed toward Mexico with no plans, other than visiting a few people en route. We didn’t leave with the intention that most Snowbirds leave within the mind. We had our eyes set on working harder than we could in the wet and growing our business along the way.
If you don’t know, we run an online yoga and wellness website, www.inbalanceforlife.com. The site has about 100 videos already online, with guided meditations, yoga and movement classes, essential oils, educational videos, and of course some lifestyle videos and our own blog. As well, news and schedules for all of Kaitlin’s training and retreats she puts on. It is just Kaitlin and me who run and operate it, completely out of our Serenity, which we also live in full time. So when I say we headed south to work harder, I mean to film classes and videos in the sun, be super productive and come back feeling accomplished.
Like I said, this was the intention. As we all know, sometimes even our best intentions get lost or changed.
Something we hadn’t quite let into our field of perception was how much our lives had changed in the last year. I had quit my full-time job as an electrician, moved home (I was commuting from our old home to Fort McMurray for work), begin the workings of building a new home in Nelson, BC and we ditched the permanent address and moved into our Leisure Travel Van. All the while filming videos and launching our new website and trying to be kind, loving and care for each other in the process. The latter half of this being something we had ignored somewhat. Put aside and waited for the glorious future to be our fairy tale.
By the time we were ready to leave Vancouver Island, we were all but completely disconnected as a couple. Our business was doing OK, aside from this aching feeling that we were working too much and not enough was actually being accomplished. We fought more than ever and had many serious conversations about how we are going to move forward as partners both in business and in life.
Like I said, we planned the trip with work ambitions galore and a week before we actually departed, we knew we needed something else. We knew we needed this time to find our wants, both together and as individuals. We knew that life on the road suited us, we have done it many times before, and that we would have time to heal, listen and see if our love was still as strong as it once was.
So we left. To find ourselves inside of work and love, after 13 years together we needed this, now more than ever. We rumbled down the Oregon Coast, continually blown to bits by the beauty and tranquillity. Being a surfer, I was in visual heaven. Not quite heaven because the lack of other surfers and the abundance of sharks kept me out of the water. We held the vision of getting as much work as possible completed, but we were continually railroaded by our thoughts and feelings, the fact that we had no internet and it rained more than we thought it would, or we were tired or irritated. We bounced back and forth from; get it done! To; let’s just relax this afternoon. Needless to say, the business goals were getting picked away much much slower than anticipated. The area we were doing the work was within ourselves and how we relate to one another.
If you’re reading this, chances are that you have gone on some trips with a partner of some kind. We all know that things can get tense, or irritable, especially when we are out of fresh water and full of black. What I am not sure of is how many of you have been on a trip with a couple of yogi soulmates who have let work and life get between them. We were determined to find the root, dig it up, smack it around, probe it a little more, straighten it out and re-bury it so it can flourish. Give our life a pruning, to keep the gardening metaphor going. There was some hard moments, some tears and some good chats about things we hadn’t shared with each other before. We were doing the work, and this alone told me we were on the path to healing. This meant we both cared enough to try harder, and try we did.
Somewhere in Southern California (we never made it to Mexico) we found some semblance of our groove. We laughed like we were 20 years old again, we hiked and found gems along the way. Our workload even improved, nowhere near the crazy goal we left with but improved nonetheless. I was happier, not just because of the sunshine, but because I was remembering why we came together, why we moved in together, why we married and why we bought this amazing RV. The answer to all of that was freedom. Freedom to be ourselves and not ask for permission or look back in angst. I continually work with this day today, but I am so happy I have awarded myself the ability and time to just take off and look for the peace within me. Kaitlin found space to create again, like a child with no care of who it’s for or what is it’s worth to anyone else. Which is pretty important, at least for her career as a public speaker, yoga teacher and writer.
We are fairly young, we grew up with ideas of how the world works as an “adult”. Jobs, mortgages, bills and kids, this is us trying to find out if that story is true or not. I am still searching and plan to forever, but from trips like this, I can see that the road is a very kind place as long as you give it the credit it deserves.
Note: Full-time RVing (in any type or make of RV) may have implications on policies including, but not limited to, warranty and insurance policies. Please do your own research before making the decision to live in an RV on a full-time basis.
Our 5-day trip down to Cannon Beach started out in Vancouver, BC. The first day of our trip consisted of a few hours of driving and a tour of the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington. For anybody travelling in the area, it is well worth the trip. It was amazing to see how something of such large scale is put together.
Driving down the Washington and Oregon coast was absolutely stunning. The views from the cliffs looking down on the coastline was a sight to remember. We stopped off at the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, OR. We enjoyed the tour, along with some tasty souvenirs for the road!
The highlight of the trip was most definitely Cannon Beach, OR. The views, the sand, and the town all made for an enjoyable couple of days. The beach features the famous “Haystack Rock”, which extends over 200 feet above water. What an impressive site! One interesting thing about Cannon beach is you can buy firewood (at least you could during our visit) in the town and make yourself a oceanside campfire!
By Mike, Lani, Ryan & Lori Elias