Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A New Adventure

I see it's been 4 months since my last post, which must be a new record for silence on this blog. Part of that is me pulling back from the internet--or trying to, anyway. I've found that reading a constant deluge of terrible news pushes me toward despair and gets in the way of my motivation to act. (As Matt Ford said on Twitter, "It's less of a news cycle these days and more of that BSG episode where the Cylons attack every 33 minutes.") I still want to stay informed, but I find it helps tremendously to limit my time online, fact-check all sources, and focus more on what I can do rather than stewing over what I can't (the 5calls website has been great for this).

But that's not my only reason for silence, and my other reasons are much more positive. Not only have I been doing a lot more writing, but I've been prepping for a big new adventure: in June, we're moving to New Zealand for 9 months.

Yep, New Zealand, and no, it's not all because of Trump. My husband is Australian; he moved to Colorado for my sake in 1998, about a year after we'd first met and fallen in love. For nearly twenty years, he's been far from his family, and he's missed them terribly. Yet we both love the mountains and all the skiing and climbing and wilderness fun Colorado has to offer, not to mention (in my case) the excellent jobs in the space industry. So here we stayed.

Yet we always had the thought of, "Well, maybe one day we'll move closer to Sydney." Especially after we spent a glorious but all too short few days tramping and caving and kayaking in New Zealand back in 2006. When my husband told me that Australia and New Zealand have reciprocal residency, so that Australian citizens can work and live in New Zealand without need for a visa, I told my husband half-jokingly that I'd move to the South Island any time he asked. I mean, just look at these mountains:

Stunning view from the Routeburn Track
Robert and I near Harris Saddle
Oh yes, I'd like to climb that one
View from the road to Milford Sound
Not to mention the kayaking and canyoning:

Kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park
Abseiling (rappelling) down a waterfall in Sleeping God Canyon
On our short trip in 2006 we saw only the tiniest fraction of all New Zealand has to offer. I knew I wanted to return some day and spend a lot more time exploring all that incredible scenic beauty. But I filed away a nice long stay as a "bucket list" item: something I hoped to do sometime in my life, but who knew when. After our son was born and grew old enough that traveling with him wasn't a nightmare, we talked about maybe spending a year in Australia or New Zealand, but for a long time the idea of heading overseas stayed more a fantasy than a serious plan. The logistics seemed so daunting.

But then last summer my husband got a remote-working job. And then came November's election, and January's inauguration. Suddenly the world seemed in a much more fragile state. Maybe there wouldn't be a someday waiting in the future. Rather than putting off our dreams, we should act on them now.

So that's what we've done. I asked my company for permission to switch down to as-needed part time status and do incidental remote work for 9 months. Because my company is awesome, they've not only granted me permission but been tremendously supportive. (Perhaps because everyone there is hoping to visit us!) Our plan is to move to the Wanaka area on the South Island of New Zealand for that sabbatical period.

Wanaka is a town next to the Southern Alps, right on a beautiful lake and close to Mt. Aspiring National Park and New Zealand's steepest ski resort (Treble Cone). The Queenstown airport is only about an hour's drive away, so we can easily fly over to Sydney on school holidays to spend time with my husband's family. (Our son will be going to school in NZ while we're there. He's particularly looking forward to the local school's ski program.)

I can't even tell you how excited I am about this. Exploring new mountains and canyons, skiing new slopes, going on family adventures, spending more time with our Aussie relatives...hooray!!! Plus I'll get to write a lot more since I'll be working a lot less: win all around. (Even for you, reader! Once we're in NZ, I promise to share many beautiful pictures.)

But just because I'll be enjoying myself overseas doesn't mean I'll bail on what's going on back home. I'm hoping my time in NZ will give me fresh energy to fight for a better future. I'll certainly still be donating money and voting and writing emails. The more I see of the world's beauty, the more determined I am to help preserve it and ensure we all survive to enjoy it.


  1. Such a fabulous adventure. Rooting for total fun!

  2. Wow, have an awesome time and best of luck to you & your family! And strong empathy with your feelings about news, the world, etc.