New Zealand – Aotearoa
Land of the Long White Cloud
Finding your Roots
Link to an article highlighting a yoga practice to help establish your physical roots.
Using yoga to re-establish a sense of strength, stability, and ease has numerous benefits. Core strength is a major factor in your ability to get up and down off the ground in later years of your life. Something I am sure all of us would like to be able to do till our very last day. Working your core strength using balance as a teaching tool gives the added benefit of strengthening your balance skills. Balance is another physical skill essential to an active and independent life at any age. Tree pose is a great teacher for establishing a connection with your core strength and balance. Once you have established a consistent core engagement practice move that core engagement to your meditation practice and play with your breath. Try to stay connected to your core and breathe with steadiness and ease. This core activation will help with good breathing, which in turn helps to clear our minds of unnecessary clutter. And we all know how good it is when we clean out the junk!!
The first time I came to Aotearoa was about a year after my mom died. I was 25, it very challenging time in my life. Going to New Zealand alone felt scary but also completely natural. I let go and found myself in the arms of a group of women who helped me restore my roots and find reasons to continue growing.
My first time in New Zealand I played and coached on a semi-pro women’s basketball team. The physical training helped establish my physical roots, and my friends helped me strengthen my energetic roots.
This time around I used my yoga practice and leaned into my friends to help me re-establish my core and the strength to continue this journey around the earth.
The physical practice of yoga is intricatly tied with the individual person. How you move through your practice and what you choose to focus upon is tied to what you manifest in your life. I believe establishing a sense of stability, strength, and ease in your core is key to finding that same stability, strength and ease in your life.
Travel – Getting back to Nature
New Zealand is an outdoor mecca. There are limitless opportunities to be outside and enjoy the abundant natural wonders of Aotearoa. It was hard to decide where to spend our time. The decision was made easier knowing my priority was connecting with friends, meeting their families, and introducing them to my own family. It has been 15 years since my last visit!
We opted to travel by rental car and stay in a combination of airbnbs and hotel stays. My husband is not a fan of camping, but if you are looking to travel in New Zealand I highly recommend looking into renting a camping vehicle. We found lodging to be pretty expensive. It was challenging to find places to stay for $100 a night even when I was searching 6 months in advance. So, camping might be a great option for those on a tighter budget and it allows even more time in New Zealands great outdoors!
Raglan is more than just a world class surf beach. This uber hip little town has an adorable downtown with chic shops, fresh cafes, yoga studios, and fantastic coffee. With the help of my friend Alyssa we found a great hike with a fun small caving experience. Raglan is in the Waikato region and is not far from Hamilton. Loads to explore here. This is a link to some hiking trails to get you started.
On the road between Hamilton and Tauranga you can stop off to visit the movie set Hobbiton. It was a bit of a splurge to do this stop and we were a little worried we might have unrealistic expectations. The visit did not disappoint. It was wonderful and we all really enjoyed our visit. It is a guided tour and you get to have a beer or a non-alcoholic ginger beer at the end of the tour in the Green Dragon Pub. Loved it!
Located right next to Tauranga Mt. Manganui is touted as one of New Zealands best beach destinations. We had a fantastic time climbing Mauao, swimming in the gorgeous ocean, indulging in fresh fish n chips, and enjoying the numerous playgrounds and parks along the beach. The downtown area is a happening spot with loads of trending cafes, bars, and coffee shops.. There is a camp ground and hot pools right at the base of the mountain. You can’t go wrong with a stop here.
This is a hidden gem and I would love to spend a lot more time here. There are not a lot of amenities in O’hope, but it has an amazing stretch of safe beautiful beach, a darling clean park with good play equipment and a few cafes and shops. If we had more time we would definitely spend more than an afternoon here. If you love a chill beautiful beach with not a lot of shopping add this stop to your itinerary.
We wanted to make the drive from O’hope down the coast through Opotiki on Highway 2 to Gisbone. It is a beautiful drive along the coast, wetlands, and a native bush canyon. In Gisbone we were lucky to catch a tour allowing us to walk out and observe, feed and touch local stingrays! It was a great experience.
It is hard to see in this picture but Napier has a fantastic bouncy playground in the bay that is free of charge. We got there early on a cooler morning and the kids didn’t even need to wait in line. We were treated a visit to the Splash Planet water park which the kids loved. Napier suffered an earthquake in 1931 and was rebuilt with major art deco influence. Napier is located in Hawke’s Bay which boasts fantastic winery’s, fruit and veggies. And lots of wonderful people!
Momma – The power Whanau
“Whānau is often translated as ‘family’, but its meaning is more complex. It includes physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions and is based on whakapapa. Whānau can be multi-layered, flexible and dynamic. Whānau is based on a Māori and a tribal world view. It is through the whānau that values, histories and traditions from the ancestors are adapted for the contemporary world.” (teara.gov.nz)
When I was in New Zealand the first time I had the fortune to be adopted by my friend Kim. (She also took care of us on this trip when we were in Australia on the Sunshine Coast) She introduced me to her group of friends and what an amazing group of people they are. I had such a good year. They took me in and made me feel like I was home. They shared their love, family, traditions, laughter, tears, and life with me so openly. They made me part of their whanau and I felt whole again.
Being a mom is a tough job. Keeping tabs on all the facets of life that need your attention can feel overwhelming at times. The responsibility of caring for these beings is awesome. Being on the road with only one another to lean on is a special experience. and I know we are creating powerful good memories together. But, this trip is also a strong reminder how much we need family and community, how much we need our whanau.
The power of sharing meals together, laughing, crying, and playing together is essential for a healthy life. I feel so blessed to have friends and family in our life. As we travel around the globe we have seen a lot of different ways of living, but one thing that is consistent in every place we have been is the happiest people have a sense of community and strong family bonds. It is clear establishing and maintaining healthy relationships is an essential element to our growth, development, and quality of life. Thank you to my Aotearoa whanau for taking us in, nourishing our roots and restoring us to our healthy selves. We feel loved and ready to continue our journey around the earth.
Arohanui my dear ones,
Until next time
And enjoy the moments.