New Zealand Time

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Only one more week!

I'm busy trying to finalize some details of the trip. One thing that I was planning on doing was working on a local farm. The scheme (this is local NZ language) is to sign up with Farm Helpers in New Zealand ($25NZ) and then they send you a list of farms. You work for 4 to 6 hours a day and they provide you with room and board. I wanted to select a small farm that had a variety of animals and activities. I found the perfect farm that was a biodynamic farm. They breed Highland cattle, sheep, milking goats, chicens, geese, pigs, horses, etc. It was exactly what I was looking for. I made contact and had dates set, but the owners had a sudden change in their employment situation and had to withdraw. I've identified a number of other farms and am trying to contact them to see if the dates I have available will work.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why New Zealand?

I guess that I had a choice of pretty much anywhere in the world to go for my sabbatical. Why did I pick New Zealand? My sabbatical had to be in February/March time frame. For me, that pretty much eliminated the Northern hemisphere. Not that I don't enjoy winter and some of the outdoor activities, but it seemed like I should go somewhere warmer. Africa was out because I went there last time and even though it was great and there are a whole lot of areas that I didn't get to see, I wanted something different.

I considered Viet Nam for a while. It was obviously a big influence when I was growing up (I reached draft age right after they ended the draft). I read some great things about visiting there and you can hike the Ho Chi Minh trail. Because of language and since I was doing this on my own, I decided to save that for another time.

Another area of consideration was Argentina or Chile. I went to Buenos Aires a year and one half ago and it was great. I loved the food, the wine and the people and the exchange rate was easy on the pocket book. I looked into going into a language immersion course to learn Spanish. In the end, I decided I'd been there.

This left New Zealand/Australia. I went with the family to Australia a number of years ago. I've had a number of friends that have gone to New Zealand and thought it was great. It met my criteria of being in the Southern Hemisphere, no real problems with language, and plenty of outdoor adventure things to do. Now all I had to do was plan the trip!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Getting started!

I'm a little later in getting this started than I was the last time. I am fortunate to work for a great firm that has mandatory sabbaticals every five years. Last time I went to Tanzania with some college friends, we set up the following blog.
When I started planning this sabbatical, I contacted my friends and due to jobs, moves, families, etc, they had to beg off. So, I got the privilege of picking and planning on my own. New Zealand is the location. My wife, Marlene will join me for 10 days (then she has to go back to work) and then I'm off on my own for 3 1/2 weeks.