In August 2014, while working at a convention in Orlando, FL I had a 5 minute conversation. That 5 minute conversation has turned into what will be a lifelong friendship.
Even before we had any definitive plans for travel, Liz told me 'yes, if you ever come to New Zealand, certainly contact me'. She lives in the North Island. We had no plans to visit the North Island. God had other plans.
Upon flying all 6 of us to Maui for $30, our plans and airline tickets were taking us to Christchurch, NZ on the South Island. We were told that the South Island was worthy of all of our time since we only planned to be in NZ for 1 month. When circumstances changed, we landed in Auckland instead.
Hi Liz -
We unexpectedly arrived in Auckland a few hours ago. We may make our way towards Hamilton tomorrow (actually today since it's 2AM). Any recommendations for affordable lodging?
Crazy 24 hours.
Also would love to introduce you to my family.
My NZ mobile number is...
Liz' response about 7 hours later following a phone call...
Good to talk with you. What a journey you have had.
This link will take you to Waitomo site, plus others in our region, but there are also some good walks by the caves:)
Our address is...I suggest using google maps. There is plenty of room although two of the kids will have to share.
We look forward to seeing you late tomorrow afternoon.
Amazing what can come from a short conversation in Orlando but that is the wonder of travel
Safe journey and watch out for NZ drivers – many seem to have forgotten basic road rules, especially in the countryside.
So we headed to thier house in Cambridge. And what a treat it was! On Liz and Stephen's invitation, we ended up staying with them for 4 nights. Generous, selfless, travel-ly, and awesome!
We were treated to Kiwi meals, Kiwi & Scottish humor (Stephen is a 5th generation Kiwi and Liz is from Scotland), wonderful hospitality, travel advice, and a complete proposed city-to-city, island-to-island agenda. Stephen helped us plan our journey down through the North Island & South Island, helping us book lodging, the ferry, and suggested activities. What more could you ask for?
Stephen and Liz are seasoned travelers having started traveling with their young ones in the single-digit ages; their kids are now grown and each loves travel as a way of life.
'Travelers' are special people. SPECIAL.
Travelers have such a laid back, unique and genuine demeanor and perspective. It is so refreshing to meet people such as this and eye opening to see how close-minded and 'sheltered' we've been in life. Donna and I are so thankful that God is allowing us this opportunity to see more of the world and meet freakishly awesome people. And we're thankful that our kids are experiencing this early in their life. There are so many Liz and Stephens that we've yet to meet.
We're only in month 1 and our perspective is already morphing before our eyes.
Thank you Liz and Stephen for extending the hand of friendship and showing us how to treat other travelers from the comfort of your own home. We'll see you again soon.