The weather of Norhtland, New Zealand over the last month has been crazy to say the least. One hour, you have crystal clear blue skies followed by a crazy rain storm then you’ll get a glimpse of an amazing rainbow and even more spectacular sunset. And that’s what we have been experiencing for the last few days, when cyclone Hola made an appearance. Some crazy wind and rain that rivaled any hurricane we experienced living in Florida.
As soon as the cyclone passed through Northland, we all had cabin fever and were ready for some outdoor adventure. We drove to Tauranga Bay and chose to do a 7 km hike along the coast. Boy oh boy, this hike was the most picturesque and beautiful we have ever done. Extremely green hills (due to tons of rain), turquoise water, dramatic cliffs and the freshest air on this planet - that is just a part of our experience. I really cannot put into words what we saw that day…I took million of pictures but once again, they do not do the justice. We all got sunburnt that day since we forgot our lotion, but it doesn't matter. It was a true slice of paradise, another magical surprise of mother nature and this unreal beautiful country. If it was our last hike of this trip, it’ll definitely be one of the most memorable.
One day after dropping the kids off at school, we decided to take a drive back to Matai Bay and enjoy an absolutely beautiful day on the beach. This beach has been our favorite and it made it even special because we were the only people there, so lucky! We simply relaxed and took in the spectacular scenery, for the very last time (tear in my eyes). This place is really magical and we were able to turn our minds off and simple breath the purest air this planet has to offer. Living in the present moment has never been easier…
Our lovely hosts invited us over for a dinner. They are such an amazing people, so generous, friendly and hospitable - we could not thank them enough for everything they have done for us. While Pete was making magic in the kitchen, Cecilia gave us a tour of their beautiful home. Pete built it with two helpers a few years ago and probably, it was the nicest home we have ever been to. Leo and Mila had a ball running around and playing with their two adorable dogs. We shared a heavenly meal, talked, laughed and simply enjoyed each others company. Pete and Cecilia prepared a true feast! Once again we were assured that it’s the people who make this journey unforgettable…and for that, we will be forever grateful :) It’s quite difficult to grasp that our time in New Zealand is coming to an end…11 months have gone way too fast, we have seen and done a lot but still there is a part of us that desires to see more and explore more.
Friday was last day of school for Leo and Mila. They had such an amazing time at the preschool, made so many new friends and bonded with the teachers. We went to pick them up a little earlier than usual and also brought a chocolate cake for the staff. Leo refused to go home in our car and lined up for the bus, haha. The teachers made a lovely card for each of them, where they also wrote special messages. They also received a picture book showing how both Leo and Mila enjoyed the school, played and made projects. Such a wonderful and thoughtful memory for them to have…We are so grateful that the director of the day care allowed them to be a part of their school for one month. We said goodbyes to our friends from the gym, exchanged contact information and I am sure we will keep in touch. In the evening, our host Cecilia came over with a bottle of wine and some souvenirs, how sweet! She and Pete brought for Leo and Mila some toys to play with on the airplane, and Rick and I received a New Zealand stone neckless - beautiful and so thoughtful, we are really going to miss this little community from Hihi. Amazing how one month flew by…I am sure that we will come back here one day for now, we are leaving piece of our heart here…
Saturday morning we cleaned up the place, finished packing, gave one last hug to Pete and Cecilia, and hit the road. The weather was beautiful so we decided to make a stop in Kerikeri and visited a local market. The Old Packhouse Market was so cool. It was a mix between arts pieces, fresh produce, clothes and food. We walked for a bit, grabbed a bite to eat and walked across the street to a chocolate factory, yummy! Kids enjoyed some sweets and the adults sipped on some coffee. From there we drove straight to Auckland where we rented a house for 3 nights. The place was very nice and spacious but we still have not gotten over the fact that we had to leave the gorgeous place in Hihi.
The next few days we spent on organizing our belongings, selling our car and exploring the city. Auckland seems like a really cool place. One third of New Zealand population lives here. We strolled through the central part of the city, enjoyed a delicious lunch and fully embraced our last moments in this magical country.
This is it…I can’t believe I am writing this…After 3 months in New Zealand it is time to say goodbye to this magical country and move on…I really don't know how to explain what we are feeling right now. Happy, sad, excited, scared, grateful, anxious…just to name a few. It’s definitely a bittersweet moment. There is nothing that will ever explain what we have seen and done over the last year. The memories we created will stay with us forever and I only hope that this is just the first chapter of our continued travel adventures. We have encountered so many amazing people, visited the most beautiful spots on this planet and forever grew strong family bond. This world journey changed everything inside of us. We see and value things that were invisible or rather unnoticed before. We contemplated many options for our next stop; Fiji, Hawaii, Japan, Chile, Canada? Ultimately we chose to go back to Europe and see my family. This trip started with family, so its fitting we are going to end it with family and begin planning our next steps. So for the next few weeks we will be in Poland and Germany catching up with our European peeps, yay!
Someone asked us what we have learned during this world adventure. Kinda silly question if you ask me because there is not enough hours in a day for me to explain it all. So let me tell you one thing that comes to my mind instantly - don’t be afraid to live your dreams. What I have learned is the fact that time is passing by way too fast and there is nothing more scary than waiting. During this year long journey, we experienced so many different emotions and there were times when we wanted to go back to our comfortable lifestyle of West Palm Beach, but every time we hit a bit of adversity, we would have the most amazing day or experience right in front of us. Looking back, I think we were out of our minds for thinking that, but luckily we always pulled through and kept going. We gave up pretty much everything we had back home and went after our dream. It was like an opportunity cost (I guess I learnt something in Economics class back in college and was able to apply it to the real life, ha) - sell the car and buy an airplane ticket, solid employment to fund the trip, leave the comforts of life in Florida and explore the beauty of this world; we gave up something in order to gain something else. We had a dream and made it happen. It was not alway cupcakes and rainbows but reading our blog posts I have a tear in my eye and can’t wait to one day do it all over again (I just need to win a powerball!) So have dreams, work hard and smart and make it happen. Never ask why but rather why not and live your life to the fullest (side note: I am reading this to Rick now and we are both crying, hahaha, dorks). We are sitting right now in our Airbnb rental in Auckland, drinking wine and packing our belongings…in the background there is Andrea Bocelli singing “Time to Say Goodbye”…So Goodbye to all of you! Thank you for following us and being part of our world adventure. Hopefully you enjoyed our journey and learned something new about this amazing world, love to all and until next time!
Oh and one more thing. . . the blog will go on, but our focus will change, we look forward to building a network of travel companions and helping people plan their perfect Holiday. More to come so don’t leave us!!!