Category Archives: We can do it blog challenge

” Lost and Found in New Zealand”

In the first of our “If we can do it blog challenge” series of posts I want to thank our guest blogger Vanessa from

What a great New year’s experience!!! This is inspiring and If Vanessa can do it so can you!!

After almost 2 years of events that left me emotionally battered, broken and beaten – including the sudden and unexpected end of my marriage on New Year’s Day; my trip to New Zealand with a close friend (Julie) and our mascot Wilhelmina the Wicked Wino, was not only a welcome distraction but also a time of healing, learning and self-reflection.  It was the most memorable holiday of my 35 years and provided some of the happiest moments of my life – to memory.

For two fabulous but cold weeks we:

  • Travelled over 3000km in a 2 berth Camper Van.
  • Took over 5000 (yes five thousand) photos.
  •  Visited 5 fineries, 1 zoo, 4 stunning lakes, 3 Speights Ale Houses, the Antarctic centre, 1 ice-bar and 2 fantastic word class snowfields.
  • Stayed in 6 camp grounds – 4 were amazing and 1 beautiful hotel.
  • Relaxed in 2 hot tubs and 2 hot springs pools.
  • Drank numerous bottles of wine, umpteen pints of Speights Chocolate Ale, 4 cocktails, 3 bottles of duty free bevies and 1 Bloody Mary.
  • Ate our way through what must’ve been 5 kilos of cheese.
  • Enjoyed a cruise on Lake Wakatipu, survived an ‘Arctic storm’ (simulation), blinked through a 3.4 magnitude earthquake, jumped off a cliff strapped to a gorgeous man at Coronet Peak and thrashed our way through the white waters in a raft on the Shotover River.
  • We visited so many towns and cities including Christchurch, Queenstown, Wanaka, Arrowtown, Mount Cook, Te Anau and Akaroa.

I can’t say this trip saved my life but it changed me forever.  It was my third trip to New Zealand, my first holiday as a single woman and the best holiday of my life, perhaps because I learnt so much about myself and because it afforded so many opportunities that I’d never have taken had I still been married.

Apart from the GREAT company (Julie, Wilhelmina and I laughed a LOT), the highlight for me was of course paragliding over Queenstown.  The cold, wet weather and gusty winds meant we almost missed out on paragliding off beautiful Coronet Peak.  Our first jump was cancelled on the drive up the mountain, but the weather finally gave us a reprieve and came good on our last day in Queenstown – someone was clearly watching over us.

I can’t find the words to articulately describe what I felt as I sat strapped to my handsome Israeli pilot, floating over mountains and valleys, streams, roads and buildings, farms, dams etc… For the first time in as long as I can remember, perhaps EVER, I was completely speechless.  It was such a short trip and I just wanted to take it all in.  It was breathtaking.  I was overcome with so many emotions – for the first time in a long time I felt everything was going to be ok.  I felt incredible joy – elation even; you couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face.  I felt content, at peace, I felt safe, I felt humble and grateful and fortunate and blessed.  And after some acrobatic turns over a field that looked like the head of a Roman statue, we landed – ever so gracefully with a thud on my bum instead of running on my feet – I screamed and laughed (scraughed lol) hysterically and uncontrollably.

The glide only lasted a few minutes but the feelings lasted for days and the ride back to our camping park was one of quiet contemplation.  I can’t remember a happier time in my life – though I hope I experience it again.  And though words escape me, I’ll never forget the feelings or the experience.

Vanesessa is “29 (OK 36) and single AGAIN, trying to make sense of the World and find my place within it”.

Vistit Vanessa over at


Twitter: MsNessa77

If you want to share your travel story with us please see the “If we can do it” Blog Challenge page on our home page.