Taking a Holiday with the Tribe

Recently Laird had an appearance for work in Auckland New Zealand which at that point we decided to take advantage and ALL go to New Zealand on Holiday.  Our family does not take vacations since it’s hard to justify when we live on Kaua’i and in Malibu, and the truth is none of us know how to really relax.
You know the romantic notion around going on vacation right? “Oh we will get to spend quality time together as a family”.  “New Zealand is so beautiful and what a great thing to have the children see other parts of the world”.  You get the drift?

Pack, passports, tickets, snacks and electronic entertainment for the nine plus hour flight and we’re off.  I look into my mind as we travel, and I recognize that I almost have a warrior/tour guide/ professional organizer/secretary mentality.  I’m slipping agriculture forms with boarding passes into the photo area of the passport, making sure the kids have enough matching outfits, answering all in coming work emails, and of course creating an organized home like base out of our hotel. Sound familiar?

New Zealand is stunning by the way.  The people are so cool and friendly, the land is lush and plentiful, and the freshness of the food is delicious.  After all it’s an agricultural country with lots and lots of space.
We landed in Auckland, spent one night and then flew to Queenstown for a day adventure and one night, then back up to Auckland for two nights while Laird worked, and then up to Raglan for a day and a night.
The six days we were there felt like twelve we fit so much action in.  My attitude was like “if we are going to be here we might as well take advantage and see as much as we can while we are here”.  I wasn’t thinking about lounging around and going shopping.  In fact I almost fell over when a local suggested a good area for some shopping.  Shopping?  I do think about eating, but shopping?  I’m not going to get into the amount of food I consumed or the types of foods I couldn’t get enough of.  Know what?  I enjoyed every moment of the three large meals a day I ate.  I swear right after breakfast the conversation drifted off to a plan of adventure lead closely behind with where we could gorge on lunch.

Now I ask myself “is vacationing with your family FUN?”  I’m not sure fun is the correct adjective or even the feeling I’m looking for from vacation.  Quite possibly I’m looking for an experience; an opportunity to see new places and meet different people, to show my children those places and people, chance to get out of my little world to open up my mind and eyes to the world all around me.  A world where people are doing different things, and thinking different thoughts from myself and the culture I live in.  How about a chance to gain some perspective about my own life and all the things I put energy into in my nice and neat life I struggle everyday to contain?

I’ll bore you with the pictures and looking back we did some great things.  Gondola and luge rides in Queenstown.  An amazing jet boat ride put on by some of the most skilled pilots who take you up the river, and give you the sensation that you missed crashing into the rocks just by inches.  Brody my four year old was suspect while Reece our eight year old couldn’t get enough.  Laird flew over Milford Sound and the fjords in a chopper.  We ate the most spectacular local dinner prepared by an amazing chef Scott (name).  He brought my family into his home and shared his culture through food.
In Auckland we observed families saying good bye to their sailor husbands as they embarked on the next leg to Brazil in their race around the world.  The conditions were severe and you could feel the apprehension of the brave men about to set sail.

We met Dennis a pet sheep of our new friend Julian who explained that he would just pull over for a moment to see if he could find his sheep.  As we drove down a country road and pull next to a field full of sheep our driver jumps out of the car.  Julian then proceeds to yell into the pile of three hundred sheep “Dennis”  “Dennis”.  At that point I observed a sheep looking up so I figured “oh, there is Dennis”.  In that moment a sheep comes running from afar right up to Julian.  Julian greeted the sheep with a familiar hello.  Apparently Dennis was a triplet that his Mom could not care for where then Dennis and his family took Dennis in.  He still treks with Dennis, and I say only in New Zealand.

Even though the trip is tiring, everyone starts to get a bit on each other’s nerves, and expensive, when the plane wheels touchdown I have a flood of emotions.  I’m so glad to be home.  I couldn’t be happier that we went.  I re enter my life with a more balanced vision, and I know for a fact I would have never witnessed a man calling his wild pet sheep had I not left the easiness of my home.  Dennis is not coming to my couch or on my email.

I am lucky I got to go to New Zealand, and see the things I saw, and meet the people I met.  This chaos and richness is what makes us who we are and puts the color into the fabric of our lives.  Believe me I’m uptight in my own way, but I know that I am happiest in change and movement.
So when I go into vacation (not on but into) I go with an open heart and mind.  I don’t have an expectation of what it will or should be.  I just live it and try to get the most out of each moment.  When I look back at the images it makes me feel a similar feeling to child birth.  All you remember is the good stuff, and you’re so glad you took the ride. Even if the kids fought every time they got in the car.
If  doors open big or small offering adventure, JUST GO FOR IT.

KIA ORA, Gabby
Kia Ora is a New Zealand “hi” greeting or means be well/healthy.