Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Travel inertia

A couple of days ago we were hit by an attack of travel inertia. I had expected this to happen, but not so soon (three weeks) into our New Zealand adventure. When we were travelling through Europe last year, we learnt that travelling slower works better for us; seeing fewer places, but getting to know them more intimately, and from reading other travelling families blogs, I’ve found that this seems to be a trend when travelling with young kids.

The drive to Glenorchy was simply stunning - wouldn't have missed it for any amount of upheaval!
But New Zealand is jam packed full of awe inspiring natural wonders dotted here there and everywhere across the country. The last few days, we’ve seen some amazing sights, but we’ve also covered a large number of kilometres, and we’ve been staying in places for one or two nights, taking things out the car, putting them back in, repacking bags so that we don’t need to get them all out at every stop.

As far as accommodation goes, it’s proved to be more costly than we expected (or than a certain unnamed popular guide book led us to believe), maybe partly due to the fact that we haven't keen to stay in youth hostels as the shared kitchen facilities make us nervous with the littlest hobo’s nut allergy (although I've just booked our first one to give it a try next week - watch this space!). But that means that I’m feeling a bit of frustration that we could have afforded a campervan after all, thus avoiding the constant bed hopping and lack of a firm base. Every time another motor home pulls up beside us in a car park (and believe me, there are so many there’s a very high chance of it…) we enviously check out their digs with a few sideways glances and marvel at how marvellous that particular one must be.

To top it all off, a couple of nights ago the Littlest Hobo was restless in the evening and started complaining of a sore tummy. As I was cuddling her, sitting in the bed that we were going to share that night, she vomited in a much more voluminous and projectile manner than I had even known before in her short life. Of course we were at a farmstay where we were only staying one night, there were no spare sheets in the cabin, and our spare pj’s were in one of the suitcases we’d left in the car, which was accessible only by being attacked by twenty thousand sandflies, so it all turned into a bit of a debacle, which we sorted in the end, but needless to say, it’s not what you need at 10pm in an unfamiliar place.

So when we arrived in the little cabin in Greymouth that we are currently staying in, we heaved a sigh of relief, filled the washing machine and swore that we were never travelling again. Once the littlest hobo was snuggled up in her bed we opened the maps and tore apart our plans for the next two and a half weeks until we meet our friends for Easter, taking out the stops that we’d been so keen to take and instead replacing them with a couple of days with long drives with a week in one place and a week in another. We came up with three different options and on a last minute whim, while we were trying to decide which of the two simpler routes we would take, I said ‘let’s sleep on it and make a decision by tomorrow night’.

I woke to a crisp sunny morning, opened the curtains and looked out to the ocean. There was a whole world out there and it was very inviting. I sat down with the guide books and read a little about the areas we had been trying to decide about, then when Mr T got up we made a plan for our day. We decided to keep it low key; a well needed rest day, stick to the cabin  for the morning, let the Littlest Hobo play with her toys and dance around to her music while we made our final decision so that when we headed into Greymouth in the afternoon we could find some internet access and start making bookings. The thing is, a good nights sleep and the promise of a day off had changed my mind, and I was all set to go with the original plan. Lucky for me , I didn’t need to call on my persuasion skills too much - Mr T really wanted to see some of the stops we had planned too. So it’s back to our first route, minus a stop or two, and I’m sure we’ll get fed up with the moving around again before we get to stop for a longer period, but we just need to keep reminding ourselves that this is our big chance to do it, so it’s now or never!

On a side note, we’ve booked our flights to Hawaii from here, and we’re just about to start planning our Canada/US adventure. We’ll have approximately 12 weeks from start to finish and we need to start on the West Coast (either San Diego or Vancouver looking most likely, as there are people we want to see in each of them) and we have flights booked out of Washington DC. I’m hoping we’ll be able to do it in a campervan this time, but we’re still working out the logistics and budget etc. Any suggestions of anywhere we mustn’t miss would be most welcome at this stage!

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