Wednesday 19 September 2018

Joining in the "Maybe the Moon" Blog Tour with Frances Ives and Buster Books - "Tell us about a significant journey in your life"

Today we're joining in with an awesome idea for a blog tour, to celebrate tomorrow's release of "Maybe the Moon" by Frances Ives - which will be published by Buster Books, we've been asked to write a blog post detailing "A significant journey in our lives".

Spinning the clock back a few years my wife and I decided on a honeymoon we'd never forget. We figured that if we could survive 3 weeks crammed into a camper van touring the North and South islands of New Zealand, we'd have absolutely no problem navigating the ups and downs of married life.

The journey began in a crowded airport - and continued with one of the most bum-numbing experiences I think either of us have ever sat through - a 26 hour plane journey to Auckland.

Wisely we didn't embark on the actual 'road' part of our road trip until a couple of days later, but after fighting off chronic jetlag and exploring Auckland itself (which is an amazing city of contrasts) we picked up our camper van and headed out into the wilds.

We had a vague route plan, an even more vague itinerary and not much other than a return flight / date booked (which, looking back, seems utterly crackers given how much planning we put into our holidays now!).

With three weeks stretching out ahead of us though, we began to explore.

Our home from home for 3 weeks. Not quite the cutest VW camper but amazingly comfortable
The first thing I realised is that camper vans are a lot longer than the car I drove at the time. Even though New Zealanders also drive on the left, it took some getting used to driving a huge van around - particularly on some of the roads over there that were little more than muddy tracks.

At the time we started out, "Lord of the Rings" had just wrapped up filming over there - so everywhere we went we felt like we were stumbling across scenes from the movie.

Lake Ianthe. Thankfully no hideous ghostly corpses floating just under the surface here!
Every day we'd wake up in our van, sometimes staying over in nicer campsites for a couple of days before moving on. We moved from Auckland up to the Coromandel Peninsula before cruising along the east coast of North Island - eventually ending up in Wellington...

Wellington. What a lovely funicular, missus!
Then it was time to get the ferry to the South Island. Again, the weather was closing in as we boarded - and navigated through the Cook Strait to landfall.

What has he got in his pocketses?
The South Island was even more full of contrasts than the North. One day we'd wake up in boiling hot sunshine, taking walk through volcanic reserves (and, in my case, moaning about the eggy sulphurous pong rather too much!)

Never, ever, EVER order a coffee here. Tewhakarewarewa Reserve in Rotorua. 

The next day we'd find ourselves on the snowy slopes or amazing glaciers of the Southern Alps...

Mt Cook. It was only after the holiday I remember reading that you weren't supposed to take Camper Vans up there. Oops!
Crowded House (a NZ / Australian band) once sung about "Four Seasons in One Day" and I can see where they got their inspiration from!

New Zealand is an incredible place, the native culture is amazingly inspiring so we were glad to dig below the 'touristy' surface of the place to discover more about the Maoris and their history.

What a gorgeous work of art. The Maori tapestry is quite amazing too. 
The journey passed all too quickly and soon it was time to say goodbye to our home away from home. Not before a bit of a faux pas though. Oops.

What an idiot! Moderately surprised to find that the camper could actually get up to any sort of speed, let alone be done for speeding. 
Our amazing Kiwi journey was just the start of an equally amazing life journey since. Now we have a gorgeous daughter who has joined us, and both of us vow that one day we'll go through all that bum-numbing again just to go back to Aotearoa - as it's the sort of place that you really can't do justice to in three short weeks.

I hope you've enjoyed our significant journey. Check out Frances Ives amazing lunar journey in "Maybe The Moon", out tomorrow and published by Buster Books.