A year on the road in New Zealand during Covid
by: Chelsea Dredge
We’ve been on the road full time for just over a year now, travelling the South Island from end to end with our 3 kids. During that time, the country has been through a lot of changes, and so have we as a family! Fear had us constantly questioning if we should head home or keep going; put our dreams on hold or hold fast.
When we began our travels, we had a very extensive spreadsheet outlining all the places we wanted to see and stay and things to do in the first 6 months. We felt a safety with our planning, however that feeling was quickly replaced with fear and anxiety when reality showed us our carefully planned itinerary wasn’t going to work. Life often has other plans.
We had to learn to adapt. To roll with change instead of fighting against it. For us that meant carrying on with our travels, knowing they might get stopped at any time (at one point they did, but it’s hard to complain when you are spending lockdown on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!). Things were largely out of our control and we didn’t like it.
Even though the future is often uncertain, we have found our daily adventures can redirect our worries into feelings of achievement, learning more and experiencing more than we otherwise would at home. Remembering to feel grateful for the way we can spend our days when so many around the world are confined to smaller and smaller spaces.
Knowing our time might be limited gives us the drive to experience all that we can, whilst we can. That thirst for finding out what’s around the next bend has won out over fear. Now we often don’t know where we will be spending the night until we are already on the road, heading towards an unknown destination, which can be terrifying for sure, but ultimately incredibly freeing.
What’s next for us?
Loose plans are to keep our lives simple. Explore something new each day. Find joy in where we are and who we are with. Let our curiosity drive us instead of fear.
What “Outdoors” means to us-
With 5 people living full-time in a caravan whilst travelling the country, very quickly you learn that being outside is a daily necessity!
We roughly spend 80% of our waking hours outdoors now, rain or shine we are out there.
Sunhats & sunscreen have a special place right by the door, ready to be grabbed and used each and every day. Wet weather gear and gumboots are at hand for everyone, because even the rain isn’t worth being packed into a small space with 3 energetic children for a whole day (or 2)!
The outdoors is our living space now; where we eat our meals, play our games, read our books, visit with friends, have our adventures.
It’s our space for uninterrupted family time, away from screens and distractions, allowing us to fully participate in our kids childhoods.
We get to slow things down, focus on today and learn about all our wonderful country has to offer. We learn about the history that surrounds us and the communities we are built upon.
Sometimes it’s not comfortable. Sometimes we want a break from it all and all we want is to spend the day on the couch and do nothing, go nowhere and speak to no one. Those days are getting less and less as the year has gone on. Our bodies now crave being outside in the fresh air & we feel it all that more now when we are stuck inside.
We often laugh about how on earth we will go back to living in a house after this, when all of our daily activities will be moved indoors. As a family we have changed so much over this last year that the thought of returning to “normal life” is daunting in the least. One thing we know for sure is that it won’t look how it used to. Our needs are different now and these habits we have spent the year cementing won’t just get tossed to the side.
Outdoors is our new normal.
Chelsea Dredge for Adventures with Rosy
PHOTO: Chelsea checks out Patuna Chasm