But now all the cookies are eaten, and we've ticked Christmas off the list my mind has moved firmly onto other matters. We leave the UK in just 24 days! Having spent the last 6 months here, on and off, we've found that we took a different approach to our previous jam packed visits when we tore from breakfast to lunch to dinner with friends, only to return back home feeling in need of a holiday. Anyone who has moved countries then gone back to visit will recognise this scenario. While it was nice to see people, it rarely felt like you'd spent enough time with any one person. This 'visit' has been entirely different - we were determined not to leave in the same situation and the luxury of time has made us lax and with a feeling that we had all the time in the world but a reality that didn't match, we have spent a good amount of time with far fewer people than we would have liked, and now we are jostling to fit as much as possible as we can into the next three and a bit weeks.
But that aside, we have some other important business to address in this time. Those of you who know us will know that we're not the best planners (ahem, understatement maybe?). In 2 months time we will be in New Zealand for three months. That is the plan. But for now we have no flight to get us there. We have considered and discussed whether it would be preferable to travel North to South, or South to North, and we've come to a conclusion that for us, North to South is better. We'd always thought we'd buy a motor home at the beginning of the trip, and then sell it at the end of the trip... but now we're not so sure. Maybe the costs associated with it will be higher than we first assumed, so maybe we'd be better hiring one. Maybe it'll be too cold in a motor home on the South Island in late April//early May, so perhaps we'd be better staying in Bachs. And where do we want to see? We have a few places in mind, but I haven't even bought a lonely planet or rough guide yet, so I'm sure there's plenty more places that should be on our list but aren't.
We've been very lucky that my mums god-daughter is currently trialling a travel researcher, and we are the grateful recipients of that trial. He's come up with some suggestions that will help us on our way, but there's still much more to work out, and we've just got to that stage where we are starting to think that we really ought to do something about it. So I think there's a good few evenings on the internet ahead, looking things up and asking lots of questions to anyone who is vaguely in the know. While we're building up a bit of a following on this blog and our facebook page (woohoo!), I'm not sure there are enough followers yet that I can just sling the questions out there and wait for the answers to come flooding in!
So our research will consist of drawing on information fom previous visits to New Zealand, searching the internet, using sites like Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Trip Advisor and Boots n All, as well as official New Zealand tourist web sites, asking questions on forums such as the sites I just mentioned and helpful people who have already offered their advice such as Sarah Bond, a Dunedin based travel writer, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides e-books, and any advice that friends and family who have been there can offer. Where do you get your information from when planning a trip?