When we left Canada at the end of 2012, all of our letters home, blog posts and general musings were about a family in transition, travelling the world without a home. We were "The Homeless Hartlens". That was three years ago, and it is crazy to think it has been so long. I remember the first six months in New Zealand seemed like an eternity, probably because we packed so much into that time, and had all of the stress of Immigration. (as I write this we are presently waiting for the return of our passports with our permanent residency stamps!) 2014 saw a bit of a slowdown, although we did manage a two week trip to Australia, and another week in Fiji. By comparison 2015 has been a bit of a bore. I went home to Canada on my own for a wedding in July, and Steph went to Bali on her own back in January, but aside from that we have been fairly stationary. There was a week long trip to Golden Bay with our "New Zealand Family - Jenny and Richard, and I myself have ticked a fair few hikes off of my bucket list with my hiking buddy Patrick, but that is it. So I guess we have done stuff this year, but it just feels like we have been idle for some reason.
To end the year then, we need some excitement. We have been down on the South island for most of our time here aside from a few short excursions separately. So, with all of the complacency of Bali, and Canada, hiking and Golden Bay, it is time to get back to the frantic Hartlen travel schedule. We will close out 2015 with an epic North Island road trip, and ring in the New Year in the same fashion, in hopes that it will set the tone for what will be our most ambitious year of travel as a family yet, it will make 2013 look tame by comparison. And for those of you who know of our 2013 adventures, you will know that this is no mean feat.
In the weeks leading up to our trip we have taken on some extra house guests by chance, and it has made things around here interesting to put it mildly. If we cannot travel the world, we will bring the world to us! Just as we were homeless transients in 2012-13, we have welcomed some of the same into our home leading into Christmas. Over the weekend we had two young German families staying with us, each with a 9 month old baby boy, - 6 extras. In addition, we have a French couple Benoit and Clotilde living in their van on the driveway, but also in our living room - 2 extras. Finally, we have Atsushi, our Japanese home-stay student - 1 extra. This makes for a grand total of 9 extras, it has been challenging at times, but an experience not soon forgotten. Considering that there were 14 people in the house, and that one of them was named Clara, it has gone relatively smoothly.
So ends 2015 almost. Out trip starts this upcoming weekend, and we are really looking forward to it. My New Years resolution was to be more active with keeping this blog updated. I have failed. But 2016 is just around the corner...
Happily married to my beautiful wife Stephanie, and proud father of three beautiful girls, Aurora, Brynn and Clara. Master student, working in South America as a Social and English teacher: writing when I find time.