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Warmth in a Studio in Taranaki

Gearing up for the Long Ride Home

sunny 12 °F

Kiwi time is just about over now and it's time to head east. I spent the day tearing apart bags, suitcases and carry-ons, rifling through paperwork, calling the U.S. Embassy (about Ralph - I'm told he might make it through customs due to his hard consistency -- yes, John, I wrote hard), doing laundry, and scrubbing New Zealand shells and rocks (if they want to get into America, they have to be clean as a whistle). Then I took a long, cold walk through the little township that is New Plymouth.

I don't care what Lonely Planet says, this is a charming, 1950's throw-back town that is as unassuming as it is COLD. So it's not a fashion hub or happening bar scene, it is right on the windswept coast and really charming. That wind though that keeps the surfers coming back year after year came a whipping off the water this afternoon and I found myself longing for a long summer day in Jacksonville. Brrrrr. You can all remind me of that in the middle of July when I'm whining about the heat. Halfway down the main street I stopped for some Fish & Chips, which was delicious. Despite not being that health concious about my eating choices these past 3 weeks, I don't feel like a puff-a-lump and based on the same fit of my clothes, I guess I don't look like one either. And those fish & chips smelled so darn good! Yum. So, yes, Chris, I'm ready to get back into the world of situps, and pushups and pull-ups. Ugh. I have no doubt that it is going to kick my @ss after being out of the routine for almost 3 weeks. I hope I can lift a telephone receiver, though, come Tuesday!

But, I have one more night here and I'm planning on eating whatever I want and ordering dessert! I bought another bottle of the same amazing Marlborough wine that Marge and I killed last night (NP lets you BYOB to most restaurants), so we're prepared to do that again (although I think perhaps we ought not drink the whole thing this time).

I do miss the familiar sounds and smells of Florida, and my family, friends and co-workers. I believe I'm ready to come home. I find myself already thinking about the beginning of the summer's session of creative writing, what movie Vince and I are going to see next, and what type of kayak I'm going to buy after I pay the charges from this trek around the globe. I'm looking forward to cuddling with Jaeden and watching his face light up when I give him the green rock I found the 2nd day I got here (assuming customs doesn't end up with it), helping Jayme find her perfect house and encouraging Ryan to continue his pursuit of whatever it is that he needs to be happy. Maybe it's MBR, maybe it isn't. We'll find out soon enough. I also look forward to working with the folks to find a new abode and settling in.

Three weeks of traveling to the other side of the equator have taught me a few new things. Go in the summer! :) I can do anything and go anywhere I want to. Having someone to share it with, though, adds a nice dimension. I've also learned that everyone needs to get away to clear their head. Some go farther than others, though, to do it. :) While this trip has solidified a love of travel, in general, it has also confirmed that I like where I currently live and look forward to enjoying what's right under my feet when they land in the sand this weekend. I know I don't like being in an airplane for more than 9 hours or so, and will keep that in mind when planning the next run for fun. Farm life is not for me for more than a couple of days, but I sure enjoy the recipes! Kayaking on the sea is amazing and I can't wait to do it again. Trotting on a horse for 4 hours hurts the @ss for more than 4 days. Sand flies live in New Zealand and I live in Florida for a reason - I will never complain about a peraniah gnat (aka "no-see-um") again! Dorkland will forever have new meaning, and the term Scenic Highway will from this moment on trigger an overwhelming need for antacids and Tylenol! Oh, and New Zealand has a desparate need for geography majors to help design accurate maps. Pass the word.

Thank you, New Zealand, and Margaret, for a wonderful adventure and some good old fashioned friendship. It was really quite grande and I'll never forget it. Or you. I look forward to seeing you both again, one much sooner than the other. Hugs!

Posted by FD Shepherd 21:36 Archived in New Zealand

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