It's a bright sunny day here in Nelson, and although we haven't gotten up to much out of the ordinary since returning from Golden Bay, I thought I'd give an update anyway. We've been taking it pretty easy, with very few shifts at work this week, so we've been working on sorting out all of our things from the van, doing our weekly house and garden work around here, and today doing lots of laundry as the sun is bright and the line is empty (you have to make the most of that when five people share the clothesline!). We've written lots of emails and caught up with friends on Skype, sold Matt's surfboard, and plastered the town with For Sale fliers for Lucy. Selling the van is the last piece of the puzzle now, so send all your good thoughts this way. It will be a major bummer if we can't get our money (or rather, Matt's money) back on the van, but the fact of the matter is, it has to be sold before we leave New Zealand, if only for a thousand dollars or so. We have only gotten one offer so far, which turned out to be a scam anyway. Ugh. Unfortunately it's the wrong season to sell a campervan in New Zealand, but we'll hope for the best.
The biggest development lately is that yesterday Matt was granted the same free South Island pass from Magic Bus that I was, so pretty soon we will both be making a loop of the island by bus, blogging and photographing for the company along the way, in exchange for our transport! It's a pretty sweet deal, and is going to save us a lot of money- we'll just need to pay for accommodation and food. We're already pretty good at shopping cheaply, and with our BBH (Budget Backpackers Hostels) memberships we can get beds in hostels for as low as $19 per person per night. Matt's been doing a lot of work on updating and re-vamping his blog, and it's looking amazing. I really encourage you to check it out at http://thegreatselkie.blogspot.com. I love his writing style- very different from mine, and I feel like he gets to the heart of matters better than I do. I'm really proud of him, as blogging has been one of his goals for awhile and now his skills have gotten him a great reward.
I'm looking forward to one last blast of traveling before we go home. I'm ready for home and really excited to be there, but I think given how much of this country we've seen already, it's fitting that our last couple of weeks here will be spent on the road, seeing some of the epic land that is this island. We're both really excited to see the West Coast, which is legendary for its rugged terrain, alpine ranges and glaciers. We'll be well into snow season as we head south from Nelson, so we should get some amazing scenery. We're also looking forward to seeing at least part of the Fiordlands, although in this season it will look a lot different from this:
Lake Mackenzie, Routeburn Track, January 2007
Our bus trip is going to be a lot different from our travels with Lucy, and that's definitely going to be an adjustment. There are basically two modes of travel for backpackers in New Zealand: rent or buy a campervan and do your own thing, or go by one of many bus companies, stay in hostels, and carry everything with you in your pack. This will be the first time we've engaged in the latter mode, and I'm guessing it's going to come as a bit of a shock, but probably not a bad one. It's a good time of year to be staying in warm, dry Backpackers rather than camping, especially down south where it's already dropping below freezing. Also, it will be really nice to let someone else do the driving, and to have other backpackers around to share experiences with. Some bus companies do encourage a party atmosphere that's not really our thing, but we're also quite confident in our ability to get the experience we want out of a particular situation, so I don't really have many worries on that front.
We have just a few shifts left at Kathmandu next week, and then that will be it for us on the work front, and we should have our travel dates sorted out as soon as we know what our shifts are and figure out something regarding the van. In the meantime, yes, I will be watching the Royal Wedding tonight, mainly because I'm really curious about the juxtaposition of a very modern couple with the pomp and tradition of the Monarchy and find the whole thing disturbingly fascinating. It's interesting being in a Commonwealth country during an event like this and hearing all of the controversy around the purpose and usefulness of the Monarchy, even while almost everything is, like me, drawn in by the sheer magnitude of the event.
I hope you all are well and enjoying yourselves, and may you have some sunshine today, wherever you are!