Happy New Year everyone! I hope all of you had a great Christmas and that 2019 has been off to a good start.
Being in New Zealand, I was among the first to welcome the New Year – in theory at least. I’m camping with a group of friends and we were all in bed by 10:30 and didn’t really welcome the New Year till the next morning. For us, any early start to be among the first to surf waves in 2019 was more important than staying up till midnight :)
It’s still the 1st of January as I write this, in fact, many of you might still be in 2018. It’s a beautiful sunny day here, I’ve been for a surf, had coffee and been for a walk on the beach. And now found some quiet time to write while most of the others are either entertaining the kids at the beach or reading or napping in the sun.
In other words, 2019 has definitely been off to a good start for me!
Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been a bit quieter lately and that the gaps between new blog posts (and social media activity) have been longer than usual. The main reason is that I’ve been on holiday. I’ve spent most of December in Germany with my family. I hadn’t seen most of my family and friends over there for more than three years (many even longer) and we haven’t had a Christmas with the whole family in four years so it was a pretty special time and I wanted to make the most of it, instead of spending time at my laptop.
I returned to New Zealand a few days ago but my holidays are not over yet (lucky me!).
After a couple of days of getting organised in Auckland and settling back into Vanlife (and overcoming the massive jet lag that seems to always hit me on the way back from Europe), I took Josie on the 4 ½ hour ferry ride to a magical place called Great Barrier Island. It’s an Island about 100km north east of Auckland. The one word that would describe Great Barrier Island best is ‘Paradise’. It’s an unspoiled, only sparsely populated, beautiful Island with white sandy beaches and no crowds - even at this super busy time of the year. I was planning to add some photos to give you an idea of how beautiful it is here, but the very slow internet connection was too much for my patience. While a bit annoying in this case, the lack of connectivity out here is one of the things that makes this place to special. I am trying to add some photos to Instagram and Facebook so check them out there.
We’ve been coming here with a group of friends for a number of years now; camping, surfing, reading, catching up, relaxing, eating good food and just enjoying the simple life.
It’s amazing how life just slows down in a place like this and everyone is relaxed and happy, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that there are no hot showers, no electricity, no flushing toilets, nor reliable cell phone coverage, or many of the other comforts we often feel are so important in our lives. It’s interesting to see how it brings people together. How kids of all ages suddenly play football together and don’t even care who is winning. How strangers talk about their lives will brushing their teeth or doing the dishes at the basic communal facilities. How everyone walks around with a smile, sharing a friendly greeting when you walk past.
It’s hard not to feel happy and relaxed when you’re in a place like this.
Right now, I’m just enjoying being here and spending time with my friends. But I’ll be here for three weeks and I’m also already looking forward to the last week when there will be just a few of us left and many of the other visitors to the island will have left as well. It will be quiet and peaceful and I’m looking forward to the chance to reflect a bit more on the past year and the one ahead of me.
2018 has been an amazing year for me and I would love to just keep going like this, but I also feel like I need to start thinking a bit more long-term again and maybe start making plans beyond just the next few hours. I’m looking forward to think about all that a bit more once things quiet down around here.
Besides the fact that I’ve been on holiday, there’s another reason that I haven’t been writing as much on my blog as I used to. I’ve been doing a bit of writing for other publications. I wanted to see if there is any interested in my content, stories and perspective beyond just my own blog so I reached out to magazines and websites who I thought might be interested. I was stoked to find that some were and that they have since published articles I wrote. If you’re interested, you can find the links below.
3 Reasons to be More Positive and 3 Tips to Make it Happen - Published by No Sidebar. Read it here.
The Overlooked Secret Ingredient to Happiness - Published by stevenaitchison.co.uk. Read it here.
For those of you living in New Zealand, you can also find an article I wrote about my trip along the East Coast to the Bay of Islands in the current Motorhome, Caravan and Destinations Magazine (Print only).
That’s all from me for now. I’m going back to enjoying the Island life now. The surf and weather forecasts are looking great and I think we have a few amazing weeks ahead of us.
I wish you all the very best for 2019. I hope you find the inspiration, motivation and that bit of luck to make this an amazing and meaningful year for you! And for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, I hope you’re summer holidays are as awesome as mine :)