New Zealand Accommodations

We stayed in 25+ different hostels/holiday parks along Te Araroa and most of them were great, but they do vary. We thought a review post might be helpful for anyone planning to hike the trail, or just visiting New Zealand.  A general observation is that hostels are more crowded on the South Island than on…

Virginia Beach

Not many extended families can really say they all get along, but J’s family can. As such, they have maintained a great tradition of family reunions. A first family reunion took place in 2012 in Virginia Beach, where his grandmother and some other family live. With 6 grandkids, plus 6 significant others, and now 5…

Summer Suggestions

I am behind on blogging. I mean, I am blogging here for Big Agnes and Gregory, but I am neglecting my own blog. My excuse is just being consumed by a major case of purging, going through our house and possessions with a fine-toothed comb. Also, we are trying to figure out our next move…

New Jersey

We are back in Danville and I must say, we had a great time in Jersey. It was jam-packed, as usual, but we got to see a bunch of folks. I previously mentioned that our last visit to Jersey was March 2014, so this was a long time to stay away. All of my family…

Currently: May

Currently spending time with/where:  I added this “currently” label because we bounce around so much! This past week/weekend, I took a break from Danville and spent time in dirty Jersey visiting family and friends (won’t hit everyone this time around … next time!). I mostly have been having some summer fun with the niece &…

Scenes From Danville

I promised I’d balance out my Debbie Downer posts, so here are some happy scenes from Danville! As I said, we have some really awesome friends here and have been squeezing every droplet out of our free time for some fun, despite the surrounding drama. There’s been lots of outdoor recreation, weekly 1/2 priced Sushi…

Post-Trail Blues

So it’s pretty suffice to say that since we returned from New Zealand, we’ve had a black cloud following us around, or maybe it is just reality overcompensating for our 6-month escape.  Someone said this line to us the other day and it just about sums it up: “Wish in one hand, shit in the…

RIP Mr. McKinley

If this week were not emotional enough, we have other bad news. Mr. McKinley passed away Saturday night. McKinley, who would have been 11 this June. McKinley, who was part of our Danville story as we adopted him in December 2004, shortly after moving to town. McKinley, who was my best coworker and kept me…

Our Danville Story

We’ve been in Danville, VA, since May 6. Danville, for those who don’t know, is one of our many home bases. Danville is a small town of roughly 40,000 people on the border of North Carolina. Manufacturing, tobacco and textiles were its main industries for much of the 20th century, with a key business being…

Bye Bye Colorado … Again

Earlier this week, we left Colorado and landed on the East Coast, specifically in Virginia. I am long overdue for a post on our current and future plans, but unless you want some nonsensical words strung together, you get a smattering of pictures from the rest of our time in Colorado. J’s youngest sister has…

Currently: April

Current mood:  missing New Zealand. Seriously, it is SO disappointing to be “back to life, back to reality.” It doesn’t help that everyday I do a little organizing/labeling/editing of our 1,000+ pictures and am instantly transported back to some point during our 5-month adventure. I find myself day dreaming and night dreaming of New Zealand. …

Epilogue 7: Sydney, Australia

We made the most of our 5 days in Sydney, taking all modes of transportation to get around (including walking of course!) and seeing a variety of sights and tourist attractions. We rented an AirBnB in Darlinghurst, which was walking distance from the downtown. It was a tiny studio apartment, but much, much better than…

Epilogue 6: Christchurch

Well, our 5-month New Zealand grand adventure has come to an end. We flew out on Friday morning and are now are in Sydney, Australia. This was after a brief “oh crap moment when the airline said, “do you have a visa?” And we said, “no, we are only in Australia for 5 days.” And…

Epilogue 5: Dunedin

Dunedin was never a planned destination for our post-Te Araroa travels. Dunedin was the Plan B when Mother Nature decided New Zealand should have the shortest fall ever and go straight into winter, thus axing our the last of our backpacking plans. We went from the snowy West Coast mountains to the rainy East Coast…

Epilogue 3: Queenstown

We scheduled in a little R&R during our post Te Araroa weeks in New Zealand and decided the perfect place to recharge our batteries would be at our favorite hostel, Adventure Queenstown. We booked 3 nights at the hostel in Queenstown. Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world, with opportunities to mountain bike, skydive,…

Te Araroa Stats

I plan to write more about our overall impressions and feelings about the Te Araroa, as well as some tips for people considering it, but for now, it’s just the facts. Anyone who knows me knows I keep track of as many trail statistics as I can! So here you go, the Te Araroa in…