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Posts Tagged ‘home’


December 7, 2020

We left Tomomaru Bay and headed north to Te Araroa. On the way we saw views of Mount Hikurangi. Then we went east along the coast out to the eastern Cape of New Zealand. The road going east was quite run down, as were the fences, as livestock were roaming on the road. It was a drive of rugged and majestic views.

When we got to the cape, we took a family photo and then I took the kids up to the light house. There were 800 steps. The steps looked to be old rail way planks or something, at least they where put in to look that way. The kids climbed them great. It took us about 25 minutes. The view was marvelous.

The sun was setting so we rushed back down to meet Darren and drove back to Te Araroa to look at New Zealand’s largest and oldest Pohutakawa tree, also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree. We were astounded by its size! Then, we headed to Te Kaha for the night.

December 8, 2020

In the morning, we got up and drove to Omaio, where Darren fished and I read some stories to the kids, then we went onward to Opotiki, where we did some laundry and had a look around at the town centre. Then we found our campspot. There was a playground, which was nice. On the drive, we could see white Island just off the coast. White Island is an active stratovolcano and New Zealand’s most active cone volcano. It has been actively letting out gas for hundreds of years.

Click to read about White Island

In Opotiki, there were horses wandering in some of the parks. Apparently, many of the locals own horses and just let them wander around. We were constantly intrigued by the mindset of the people in this part of the country, in how they did things. It sparked a lot of conversation while driving.

One thing we were surprised by was the lack of freedom camping spots between here and Tokomaru Bay. There was essentially nothing for that long stretch. We had anticipated spending a lot longer in this area, but it really wasn’t possible to. The spots that were available were not always very nice. There was one place we quite liked, but there were behives in the corner of the paddock and lots of clover in the lawn; not a good combination with barefooted kiddos…

Pohutakawa Blossoms. We tasted the nectar and it was sweet!

December 9, 2020

Another thing we were surprised by was the lack of places to fill up our fresh water jugs between Gisborne and Whakatane, which is pretty much the entirety of the region known as east cape. If you want to spend a longer time in this area, you must have large water tanks with you. We would have been able to make our water stretch for about 10 days. This covered our drinking and cooking water. We would not have had enough if we stayed for the 26 days that our permit allowed. This information would have been really nice to know back in Gisborne.

In the morning we packed up and headed south on Highway 2 through the Waioeke Gorge. The views were beautiful. We continued until we were back in Gisborne. When we arrived, we realised we had a flat tyre and had to rush to get it fixed before shops closed, then we drove onward to the campsite we had previously enjoyed on Mahia Peninsula.

That evening, Darren helped another camper get into his vehicle after locking his keys inside. Then he went fishing with his spear and caught 10 flounder. We froze some, gave some away and ate some the next day.

December 10, 2020

In the morning, Darren tried fishing in the river again, while the kids and I played in the water. From Mahia, we drove south to Napier and settled in for the night. We essentially travelled in 3 days coming south what we took 3 weeks going north. It was a long three days, but I had an overwhelming sense to get back home and enjoy a bit of normality before starting work in January. We really enjoyed our adventure for how long we could do it though.

December 11, 2020

We did some errands that took most of the day in Hastings and then drove home to Palmerston North. It was very good to be home again. In the following days we did a lot of laundry, cleaning, and also picked the onions and garlic in our garden. It’s amazing how many weeds grow in 6 weeks…

For those who have been with me, reading from the beginning, thank you for coming along on the adventure with us!!

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It was bittersweet. Moving out of the bus we had been in for a year and half. That bus had become home. Beautiful memories were made there. Life lessons were obtained. We were finally moving into ‘our’ bus, the one we had spent so much time and energy building from scratch. I was at least a little bit sad. Darren said to me, ‘I know, but soon the new bus will feel like that.’ And I knew he was right.

Our old bus

We moved in with the help of Jessica, my highschool friend that came to visit us for a month. We traveled together and had a lovely time; it was sad to see her go home. (You can see more of her blog and pictures from our trip on the links in my last few posts). When we got back to the farm where we park most of the time, it took a little while to feel really settled. Quite a lot of stuff was still in the other bus.

‘What are we going to do with all this stuff?’ I asked?’ Since, along this journey we had given away, sold and cleared so much unneeded clutter already, so that we could fit into the other, larger bus. ‘How do we still have so much?’ I asked. Then I suggested that we get a little shed or something to store the things we don’t use all the time. Darren said, ‘No, I don’t think we should. I feel impressed that we need to fit in our new bus. We need to feel comfortable driving away from here and not coming back for whatever is left.’

It’s been a bit of a struggle. More than just the things we need to fit for functionality and comfort, are things we’ve been holding onto for nostalgic reasons. Things we are afraid to let go of. Are these things wrong to keep? Absolutely not, but we’ve been feeling through this journey, that God has been trying to communicate with us something deep. ‘I think He’s trying to tell us to just let it go, and to lean more fully on Him’, Darren said the other day. And I believe he’s right.

My brain has been ruminating on these things for the last few weeks. I’m feeling positive about the changes happening inside of me. This move has been another level of minimising, that I didn’t know was possible. And I believe it is freeing, if you are able to accept that, not letting it make you resentful. You can let things go physically, but letting go emotionally is more important.

Some things we’ve realized in the last few weeks are:

1. 95% of tasks can be done with minimal tools. The other 5% needs specialised equipment but is largely unnecessary and if it is a must, it can be borrowed, or rented. For example, I don’t need a waffle iron. I can live quite happily without waffles, and if I must have a waffle, I can borrow a waffle iron for a weekend.

2. If you have less space, you save money. I go to the shops and see all these cute and lovely things that I want until I think, ‘where will I put it?’ I leave with my money still in my pocket and then I realize I didn’t need the stuff anyway.

3. Less means more peace and freedom. If you are not attached to things you can get up and leave any time you want without worrying about your belongings. If someone is in need, you can freely give what you have. Less stuff means less time trying to keep it organized (which actually is very time consuming). If you have less, you can spend more time doing what you love instead of working to pay for your standard of living.

4. Less stuff and less space means you have to give up the way you do things too. It’s a call to embrace gratitude and to be content. That is one of the most worthwhile attitude I think you can have. It’s worth more than all the things you give up.

5. People have stuff and keep wanting more stuff because it’s a distraction from the things that really matter.

6. Everything we have truly is disposable. That is what I am being pressed to acknowledge. Things will wear out eventually. If I were to lose everything in a fire, it would all be replaceable. Even our very lives! We are here for a moment in time, the only thing really special about being you is how you can add to another persons life, and how you can be sure your heart is in the right place. If you can’t do that, what purpose is your life? It could be gone in that house fire as well and not matter. Clinging to things for nostalgic purposes is what people should do less of, because in the end God does provide all we need, even the comfort we yearn for. The important things in life are relationships and experiences. Life will be over as fast as last weekend. Time continues to march on, and stuff will not change that.

I’m not saying everyone reading this should go out and get rid of everything they own. But for us, we’ve been lead in this direction to help us understand these things. It reminds me of the story about Jesus and the rich man:

KJV Mark 10

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Our new bus

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We’ve come a long way in the last few months. Darren has had a bit more time off work and we’ve been able to afford a few more things. We’ve had a few realizations (again) about what kind of things we actually need, in contrast to what we think we want based on what others have, or the fact opinion that it’s important.

One of these needs was a smaller, but more engergy efficient fridge. I kinda just realized one afternoon on a whim, that I could do with less space. So, we had a look online and the perfect fridge was on sale, so we bought it. Providential timing I like to believe.

We also decided that having permanent beds for Boy and Girl was more important than extra pantry and kitchen bench space. Thus, the bunks.

Darren finished putting in the fire he made as well as the fire guard. He also started work on the drawers for under the top bunk, which will hold cultery. We have decided at this point that bins under the couch and bunks will suffice for real drawers.

Solar power has been set up, if only minimally. We plan to add on to it later. We have purchased a porta potti for the future toilet/shower room.

I bought a few rugs to make the floor a bit warmer, and made some curtains for the kids bunks. Wow, it really is starting to feel homey in here… we just need to get some water hooked up and I think we will be ready to move in!

This weekend we are taking the bus up into the ranges to help out at a camp that’s doing a work bee. I finished tidying up and packing this afternoon and thought it was a perfect time to get some decent photos without dirt and tools lying around. I’m getting excited now!

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Have you ever noticed how when you’ve been in a place for a while a special aspect of that place starts to reveal itself? I am positive that you’ve experienced it, but perhaps you’ve never given it much purposeful thought.

I find it fascinating to compare the way I think about a place when I first arrive to the way I think about it after having been there for a long time. I remember  the first day of my life as an Andrews University student. My recollection of the layout of the campus from that first day is one of disorder and confusion. Compared to today, everything was in pieces, rather than an integrated whole. It took a while for my mind to create an internal map of where things were. And even when that happened, the longer I was around, the more detailed the place became. Things and places that were always there, suddenly became a new part of the map. Finding these places is almost like opening a secret passage way. It changes everything.


I can remember first hearing about the hidden peach orchard on campus. It was my third year I think. How could I have missed that!? As it turned out, there was a whole myriad of trails and paths behind Burman Hall that I had no idea about. I’ve since taken good advantage of these trails.

The same goes for Bell Hall. It was always there of course, but I had never really explored  it until my fourth year. The downstairs portion was a complete mystery to me until then, a blank expanse in the mind map. It was a place where large portions of time were spent when it was discovered, as the education department was housed there.

The same thing happened when I was at Wisconsin Academy. One of the great things about being a Senior is that familiarity with the campus and buildings that you possess. It’s a special ‘in’ to the workings of the place that grants you a back stage pass of sorts.

What I’m getting at here is that when I finally arrive in New Zealand, my mind will have to start all over on a brand new mind map. I won’t have the ‘in’ to the workings of the place until I’ve been there a while. Perceptions of the place will likely change a huge deal from those first few months to what will turn into years. Familiarity will begin to set in and brand new things will be learned where I thought I new everything. It will be then, that the place will start to feel like home. This same process happened at Wisconsin Academy, at Andrews University, and will happen again at Longburn Adventist College.

All the shortcuts around the surrounding towns and cities will even be learned, as they were in these previous places. the feeling of home will settle in and I’ll stay until that chapter of life closes and a new one begins.

You too can learn from this. Aspects of your life may not feel familiar, but given some time, they will. It’s so easy to compare the new to the old as a way of protecting yourself from the sheer shock of the new experiences. But there can be a drawback to doing this. By comparing everything to the old, rather than taking the new for what it is, your growth and integration into the new will be prolonged and stunted.

So, with each new aspect of your life be careful to keep your comparisons to a healthy minimum. Take the new as it comes and let it be what it is, rather than comparing the old and familiar. Each new experience needs a new way of handling. Your experiences from the past can help you, but shouldn’t define how things are done.

Flexibility is key, and acceptance of the unfamiliar is pivotal.


There will likely be a large number of things in New Zealand that may seem different or even the ‘wrong’ way. But I have to remember, to be flexible.

I’ll be leaving for NZ in about a month now or perhaps a few weeks. It turns out that the Visa processing time is much shorter than I thought. 🙂

In closing, I’d like to ask, what are some places that have been ‘home’ to you? Did it take a while for you to feel that way? Has comparing the old to the new ever caused trouble for you in integrating with the present?


Have a happy week! 🙂

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