By the end of May, reality had set in and we knew we had to get serious. Unable to procrastinate any longer, we woke on the morning of June 2nd and, for the last time, dressed ourselves (hunched over in the front seats of Blue Rhino), brushed our teeth (standing barefoot in a NZ field), tied back the curtains, and drove back to Auckland.
It was a bittersweet moment in time, but the short drive and familiar faces of our Kiwi family made it all the better and we were thankful that we still had a week to share with them; looking back, most of that week was a blur. In between oldest cousin Ryan’s basketball game, middle cousin Maximillian’s footie game, and youngest cousin Ulysses’ “crazy hair disco”, we had one last family meal of fush n’chups, negotiated prices with potential campervan buyers, made a side trip to Takapuna Beach, and caught the All Blacks versus England in an epic rugby match at Eden Park!
With just four days to go, we struck a deal with a French couple and sold the “one and only” Blue Rhino for $2500 NZD (a price we were content with seeing as it was the “low” season for campervan sales). The sale also included one flat white, a cup of hot cocoa, and some baked goods over a nice conversation with the newly arrived WOLOers. Watching Louise & Antoine drive away with our home was a bit like selling a puppy – we were definitely attached to it, but we knew it was time for it to go on to a different family.
The last few days were spent watching The Lord of the Rings Trilogy on DVD (how could we resist), reminiscing, and trying to pack our luggage in precisely the same way we had when we left the States (while simultaneously trying to avoid depression). And, on our last full day, with clothes and bags still strewn around our temporary room, we threw all caution to the wind and ventured into Auckland via bus to enjoy an elegant, WOLO-style lunch at Orbit 360° Dining in Auckland’s Sky Tower (talk about lunch with a view)!
It seemed fitting that our trip ended with us suspended high above the islands, gazing out into the vastness of the blue sea and sky, eyes straining to see every corner of the land we set foot on and mind straining to commit every last detail of our trip to memory. We drank to celebrate what we had seen, all that we learned, how much we had grown, to the chapter ahead, to WOLOing, and, of course, to our return voyage to The Land of the Long White Cloud.
It was very difficult to leave such a gorgeous place; a place, to us, that represented such freedom and opportunity – a place that embodied the ideology of WOLOtude. Of course, it was also difficult to leave our Kiwi family, which, despite not having seen them for fifteen years, felt very much like a family we’d always known. For the few moments of sadness we felt when we took to the sky and said goodbye, we have a thousand moments of happiness and an unfaltering belief that we will be back in NZ before long!
– Go. Change your state of mind.
Next stop: The States
Song lyrics: One Republic “Something I Need”