We regret to inform you that we will not be visiting you soon. Maybe in a few or 10 years, but definitely not soon.
It's really important to us that you know that this decision did not come lightly and we wanted to take a few minutes to explain ourselves.
First, though... Yes, we realize how close you are to Australia. Yes, we know that your people are lovely and your landscapes are stunning. Yes, we hoped to enjoy your meat pies and crawfish and pavlova and amazing wine. Yes, we really wanted to meet up with fellow travelers and family of friends, and maybe even get in a great walk or two. Yes, Jen has already visited you but she was excited about the idea of showing Patrick what she loved and exploring new areas with him. All along, our plan has been to hop over and stay a while after our Oz adventure.
But frankly, you cost a lot, New Zealand. And we mean A LOT. To do our trip right we would want to drive to all the South Island nooks and crannies which would require a camper, fuel, rented gear, groceries and park fees for at least a month. (Our 2-night budget Tasmania road trip cost us almost $500 so you do the math...) Add to that, our Australia visa inconveniently expires on 24 Dec, right around the time that flight prices from Melbourne-Christchurch are higher than what we paid to go from Newark-Warsaw, which is just ridiculous. And add to that, you still haven't figured out that the 0's and 1's of the internet don't actually require freighters for transport and as a result we would be paying arms, legs, and various other body parts just to try to use the web to secure housesitting or farm stays for our time on the North Island.
not so S or WA
And it's high season. Not only are tourist prices higher and tourist areas more crowded, farm stays are less abundant too. Of the 15 or so farms we recently emailed around Christchurch and Auckland, only 3 actually got back to us (and none had space within our date ranges). Sure, we could find some "in a pinch" places but we'd much rather learn new farm skills than help someone weed for a week straight just to eek out days on our visa.
And? We've seen a lot of beauty over the last 19 months, New Zealand. Would you really want us to visit you and say "yeah that's a pretty view, hey remember that view from the High Tatras of Slovakia?" or "cool glacier, hey remember that amazing glacier we saw at the top of Thorung La Pass in Nepal?" or "awesome hike, hey remember when we spent almost a month in beautiful Tasmania?" (We know that last one's fighting words, New Zealand. You don't want that, do you?)
And... we're tired. Not tired of travel necessarily, but tired of everything related to travel. It's really a full time job and we've had very few "vacations" over the last 19 months. We're so tired that we spent almost a month dragging our feet on a decision about buying Christchurch plane tickets. That was a sign. Last week we found a NZ Lonely Planet in a used bookstore for the unprecedented low price of $6 and debated whether we should even buy it. That was a sign. (We did buy it, which ironically probably sealed the deal on us not going.) And over the last two weeks we created a lot of unnecessary stress amongst ourselves just thinking about another 90 days in an expensive country. That was a BIG sign - it wasn't pretty, and we don't ever want to be in that position again.
Honestly, these last five Australian farm gigs (along with our numerous other farm stays) have really inspired us and we're eager to see what we can do with everything that we've learned over the last 19 months. The money we save by not visiting you this time around will allow us to enjoy our slow meander back to Oregon in the spring and enable a bit more flexibility as we settle into the next phase of this journey. Right now, that's more important than checking another country off our list.
So we're sorry, New Zealand. We didn't mean to smile so wide when we told our Lorinna WWOOF hosts we had decided our next step. We didn't mean to feel such relief when we bought our plane tickets to Honolulu. We didn't mean to gloat when our Hawaii plans started to fall into place so easily (thanks, you know who you are).
and we didn't mean to feel such freedom when we got rid of this list
made in April 2014, won't be needing it anymore
We'll see you someday, New Zealand. We promise. And you better believe it'll be sweet as when we do.
Jen & Patrick