As I said in my last post, this trip began (at least for me), as what seemed like a rational response to the emotionally fatiguing chaos of "the real world."
And it's true. But, it isn't exactly the whole truth. The literal genesis of the idea to travel between graduation in 2010 and Will's foray into law school in 2011 began with a life-altering decision made by Bill and Holly, Will's father and step mom, respectively.
Happily married psychiatrists living in Durham, North Carolina with their adorably astute (and just plain adorable) daughter, Maggie Rose, Bill and Holly decided to fulfill a life-long dream of living in New Zealand for a year. So, they found a nice older couple willing to rent their home in Durham for the year, found jobs abroad, obtained work visas, and last July, they shipped their belongings (bikes, kitchen gear, the works!) half way across the world to begin their year-long adventure down under.
Above is a lovely capture of the crew that Bill posted on his photo-sharing website. My understanding is that they went jet-boating in Otago, which is on the South Island of New Zealand.
They got settled in their new home and then made the mistake of inviting, in their words, "the kids." That would be Will [with me as the quintessential +1] and his brother Nick.
One thing to note about the Brothers Price is that they are always scheming, looking for ways to jump off high peaks, trespass in someone's yard or just cause some old fashioned mayhem. I then fall into the role of the reluctant follower, mumbling about how maybeguysthisisn'tsuchagoodidea? Above you can see them in South Carolina in 2008, plotting how to smuggle illegal fireworks across the border... of course.
So this epic trip began with a home base in mind— and what a home base it is. Once we decided that we would visit Will's family in New Zealand, it seemed only natural to extend our 'vacation' into China. Given our logic at the time, we figured it was only a hop, skip and a jump to get from Auckland to Southern China, so why not do it?
It turns out that to get from Auckland to Guangzhou, China it takes 2 planes and 24 hours.. but hey, who's counting?
Above, sigh..., is our soon-to-be temporary home in New Zealand. My understanding is that "mountain" that you can see from their deck is actually Rangitoto, a dormant volcano on Rangitoto island off the coast of Auckland. It was formed by a series of eruptions between 600 and 700 years ago, but is apparently not expected to become active any time soon (or really, ever again).
So our first stop is New Zealand, and the trip is getting close enough that I'll actually be starting to investigate what kinds of things we'll want to do there besides just explore the island. But, before we even get there, I have to figure out what on earth I'll do on a 13 hour flight from Los Angeles to Auckand??