We left Croatia having experienced that true being on holiday feel. Six weeks of down time, something most of us haven’t experienced since we had Christmas school holidays. (Our summer holidays in New Zealand and Australia).

We flew to Frankfurt via Zagreb and enjoyed three nights catching up with Andrea and Thomas and their boys.

We also managed to share a dinner with Scott whom was in Germany on holiday. We hadn’t seen him for six months so was a fun evening with him entertaining everyone as he turned on his charm.

From there it was premium economy home to Sydney and 23 days of getting all our housekeeping appointments done eg: doctor,dentist, accountant, bank,real estate etc etc and enjoying spending time with friends and family.

After spending a night at our fabulous friend Cathryn’s we were back in our caravan at Umina Oceanbeach holiday park.

It’s a bittersweet time, you know that a lot of the people you catch up with that  it will only be the one time as we’re always pushing to get everything done in the timeframe we had allowed.

We had made a pledge when mum died in June to all go back to New Zealand for what would have been her 90th birthday and spread her ashes and do a clean up of the house, shed and garage for dad.

As it was it became a clean up so that the house could be sold.

Dads stroke two weeks after mum died forced the situation that he could not live alone in the house.

Getting mobile and able to live at my brothers house was the alternative to going into rest home. Either way he wouldn’t be living in the house he and mum had bought in 1956.

James and I flew out of Australia and onto New Zealand before our feet really felt like they had touched the ground. And in New Zealand we had to hit the ground running.

We had a week before my other two brothers were due to arrive to help for a bit so we busied ourselves getting the place clean.

In the end it was two 15 cubic metre skips full of garden and house waste along with countless trips to the opportunity shops to bring things to a manageable and comfortable level for living in and to put the house on the market.

The house sold quickly and we were able to live in the house till settlement January 25th 2019.

While the four of us were together along with dad and my sister in law and two nephews we spread mum’s ashes in a private moment before going to lunch to celebrate what would have been her 90th birthday. 

All four of us have different personalities but we all banded together to make all the things happen so that both mum’s wishes and dads needs were taken care of.

Unfortunately dad suffered a fall and cracked his pelvis and was hospitalised while this healed. We were saddened as we had hoped that while we were here we would be taking him out for little day trips. Instead we were visiting him in hospitals and interim care provided at a rest home.

After the brothers living in Aus left and the house sold we were then able to take some trips away rediscovering the beauty of this spectacular country.

From staying with our friends Paul and Michelle ( our 2017 world cruise buddies) in Omaha a couple of times, to three nights in Paihia the Bay of Islands, overnight on Waiheke, three nights in Pukeatua at Out in the Styx guesthouse and a night at Mount Maunganui  and finally making it to the Coromandel Peninsula the time up till Christmas was spent really enjoying the magnificent scenery, company of good friends and family and lots of day trips in the car or motorbike.

James has really enjoyed having a motorbike again and especially the time to ride it.

My brother Graeme has been generous with his time going for rides together and inviting James to go along with his friendly group rides.

We’ve enjoyed several Sunday afternoons going to Jervois Road to hear Leza Corban sing. Leza is a school friend and is extremely talented and just a joy to listen too as she sings a whole slew of genres. What a great way to end a weekend, a few wines and good music with a bit of dancing as well.

We’ve also been spending quite a bit of time on our iPads researching for our next few years of travel.

We have a couple of definite things planned and some loose ideas of what to do around them, research is invaluable so we don’t arrive somewhere without the necessary visas and or documents to prove we’re moving on ( some countries like NZ require proof of forward travel to allow you in). Of course in NZ those rules don’t apply for those travelling on an Australian passport.

It’s a difficult thing to want to remain fluid enough to take up opportunities as they arrive but still prepared so you can.

The weather has been a little unsettled but when the sun shines it’s spectacular.

Christmas time bought brother Jeff back and the new year brother Richard and his daughter Paris. Good family time and a chance for everyone to spend time with Dad and enjoy the last days of The Shaw family home.

We spent New Years at Omaha with our friends Paul and Michelle, what a hoot. They have made some wonderful friends up there whom welcome us along as well to all the fun and festivities. More great memories made.

It’s been great to catch up with so many friends from my childhood and it seems the years just deepen the bonds of affection and respect we have for each other.

As the last days of our stay in Te Atatu come to an end we are swiftly emptying the rooms and preparing for our next adventure of road tripping down through the North Island and over to the South Island before we will return to Auckland to say goodbye and fly to Sydney on March 14th.


  1. Hi J & J. So happy for you both that your still enjoying your travels. Sad about your dad having a fall, unfortunately as you know old age sucks. As you know we’re been in Vietnam but now in Cambodia. Heading to Singapore on Friday for 3 days then home Monday morning. Catch-up when your back. Annette


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