Trevor and I began our journey on Jan 17th, arriving in New Zealand on Jan 19th. Now, that might seem like a long time to get from one place to another, but figuring in the fact that New Zealand is a day ahead and about a world away, it wasn’t so bad.
I say that now, a month and a half removed from the situation. Really though, the most difficult part of getting here was stressing out about how difficult we had heard it would be to get here - particularly through customs. People...if you follow the rules, it’s not that bad! Don’t get me wrong, New Zealand is serious about who and what they allow into their country, but it was nowhere near the nightmare we were anticipating or the horror stories we had heard. Sweet relief! Until...we got to baggage claim. One bag - THE bag - with all the camping gear and almost all of my clothes was, of course, missing. [Pro tip: looking to become more of a minimalist? Narrow all of your belongings down to two bags and then check them both at the airport kiosk. Chances are one or more will be misplaced and you’ll learn to manage without it. When you don’t have what you think you need, you learn what you actually do, and spoiler alert: it’s not much.] All good, mate. We made it to New Zealand ✔️ Picked up our rental car ✔️ Tackled our first right side driver vehicle on the left side of the road going around a round-a-bout scenario (at least Trevor did - I just encouraged him with “keep left! - keep left! - keep left!”) ✔️ Checked into our temporary Airbnb ✔️ Vowed to stay up in order to beat jet lag ✔️ Failed miserably ✔️ 12 hours and a gnarly sleep hangover later, we were ready to explore our new home and couldn’t be more stoked. First though, the serious business of finding a permanent home (aka camper van). We had 3 days and were prepared with an extensive list of classifieds to do it. The first meeting was my favorite van on the list - it was beautiful. I couldn’t tell you anything else about it because we never actually got to see it. While waiting to meet in the arranged park location, I got a message with the disappointing news that it had sold just a few moments earlier. I swallowed my welling tears (dramatic, I know) and we chalked it up to the prospect of something better. Shortly into the next meeting, we were sold! Unfortunately, so was the van we were looking at...Looking back, I’d call both of these divine intervention as the van we finally ended up with was (while not quite as cute) much newer and from a dealership that gave us a mechanical warranty. Major score.
The practicalities were in order, the fear of homelessness was relieved, and a year of exploration had officially begun!