A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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You Can’t See It All


I didn’t believe my wonderful New Zealand contact Joanne Black when she advised in her email that, based on the dates I’d given her and the distances we’d planned to cover, we wouldn’t be able to fit in Golden Bay.

We had a rented car and, for the first time on our trip, had easy control of our logistics.

Craig wanted to get as far south as Dunedin.

Our list included the penguin colony in Oamaru, zipping over to Queenstown, cruising in Milford Sound, up the west coast to the Franz Josef Glacier, a stop-over in Nelson and back to Picton before heading back on the ferry to Wellington.

No problem! (I am out of breath just remembering the list.)

The trouble was the five to seven hour drives in between our destinations. One night here, one night there, we had to keep moving to fit in everything. After all, we might never be here again.


But reality hit us when we pulled in to the hostel in Greymouth. The receptionist cheerfully asked from where we’d traveled that day.

The four of us looked at each other. We’d spilled out of the car after yet another long, curvy drive surrounded by New Zealand’s typical gorgeous scenery.

And no one could remember that morning’s awesome hike to the icy end of the Franz Josef Glacier. Too much amazement in too little time.

We learned this in New Zealand: You just can’t see it all. And if you try, you’ll be rewarded with a blurry, cross-eyed, sort of dizzy feeling.

We struck towns from our list. No penguin colony, no Milford Sound cruise, no Dunedin.

But we did get to Golden Bay and spent three whole nights in one place: A cabin near the beach while we unwound to the sounds of a rare northwestern rain, the weather conspiring to keep us from our relentless march to see it all.

We are rearranging the plans for our second six months to reflect the whole “less is more” lesson.

We’ll find nice places to put down temporary roots and take excursions from there. Fewer pins on the map, but, I think, more remembrances when we look back at them.

And a whole great list of places to see next time.


1 Danielle { 02.02.09 at 6:38 am }

We are certainly learning the its ok if you don’t see everything style of travel. You are so right about it makes what you do get to see more enjoyable and memorable.

2 Doug Spiro { 02.02.09 at 9:55 am }

A wise woman once said…”The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time.’ or as my mentor Phyllis Ward says, “try softer.”

Less IS more and I thought someone just made that up.

See I told you you were a good writer!!!!

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