The world has changed so much since my last post – back in 2019 we had just returned from a fabulous year in Spain and more, housesitting and travelling, exploring tiny villages and amazing historical and natural sites, catching up with our daughter and her boyfriend in Mexico and returning home for more housesitting in our home country. The plan was to work out where we could live, if we were not returning to our home in Wellington. We enjoyed some wonderful pet and housesits around central and northern NZ and decided that the Bay of Plenty would be a great place to try and settle. It ticked many boxes in terms of location, healthcare, transport links and friends already living there. More than anything, the weather was good, warmer and more settled than Wellington. We started looking and, after a few possibilities, settled on a lifestyle block of 2.3hectares ( 5.6 acres) just north of Tauranga. We never planned to have a rural lifestyle, but this property ticked all our boxes. We moved in at the end of February 2020, just three weeks before NZ went into lockdown, so we definitely had time to settle in and get the place sorted without the distraction of travelling. We gained a goat with the property and added 3 beef cattle and some alpaca to help keep the grass down. Sadly, we had planned a trip to South America (Argentina and Peru, Iguassu Falls, Machu Picchu and then to Mexico in mid 2020, but we know how the world shut down so quickly and it was another two years before we managed to catch up with our daughter in Mexico last year, with her now fiance!
Now, we are ready and able to travel again, packing up and renting our our wonderful home while we travel – first to Mexico for three weeks, culminating in the wedding celebration for our daughter Katie and her lovely fiance, Juan, in Cancun. Then onwards to the UK where we have secured eight housesits in a variety of mainly village and small town locations, with travel and exploration plans between, interrupted by a quick week to see the start of the Tour de France in San Sebastian and Bilbao in Spain at the beginning of July. We are excited to explore and discover parts of the UK we have not seen, but heard much about. Although his parents and sister were born in the UK, Chris was born in NZ and hasn’t the same calling for “home” as they had/have.
Chris hopes to find opportunities to cycle – but renting bikes is stupidly expensive and our travel makes it hard to buy and transport a bike. We will definitely be looking at options so he can continue to move his new knees. We look forward to discovering more about the land of our ancestors (on both sides) and enjoying (?) a British summer – it must be better than our past NZ summer that was the wettest we can remember.
We deliberately chose housesits based in small town or village locations as that was our greatest enjoyment in Spain, discovering local life away from large cities, however we did secure one sit in London on the Thames (with private parking) near Canary Wharf that fitted into some spare dates. We are excited to spend time with a variety of dogs and cats (plus a gecko and snake!!!) on our housesits. We will have some unplanned stops I’m sure, but our confirmed housesits are the Red markers and travel plans Blue on the map here.
If anyone reading this is in an area we plan to be, we’d love a chance to catch up – make contact, we enjoy meeting virtual friends in the flesh.
After our time in England we briefly cross the border to Edinburgh before heading to Ireland where we tour the Wild Atlantic Way for a week, and then fly to Geneva (France) to start on our next adventure in Europe from September onwards.
Currently we are waiting to leave, our house is packed up, the tenants have moved in – we are camping in our own B&B until our departure on the 1 May. There has been a lot of planning and research on my part – I love to plan routes and destinations and it’s been quite a while since we have had the chance to do so on such a scale.
Watch this space to follow our adventures – keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram posts and please let us know if there is a possibility to meet up.
Some photos of our new life in the country and past travel adventures we’ve been allowed in and out of NZ since restrictions eased. L-R: Our own beef cattle; serious lawns to mow; evening views east towards the ocean; friendly alpaca kisses; a milestone birthday; time in Mexico at last; Riding the Alps to Ocean cycle trail in NZ over 5 days; our snowy southern Alps; Rarotonga and Fiji trips; yes, we got positive too!