Recap – Month 4

Today it has been four months since we hopped on a plane and began heading west. It feels longer. We’ve done A LOT over the last month, some has been covered so far, and some hasn’t. Content is around two weeks behind real life, but this month I am right on time with the recap.

Let’s get into it.

Where we’ve been.

6 nights in Christchurch

1 night in Arthur’s Pass

2 nights in Hokitika

1 night is Arthur’s Pass

3 nights in Christchurch

3 nights in Melbourne, Australia

1 night in Christchurch

9 nights in Dunedin

1 night in Manapouri

1 night in Doubtful Sound

1 night in Te Anau

1 night in Invercargill

1 night on Stewart Island

1 night in Christchurch

Van with the stars
Photo by J. Howell Photography

The Breakdown.

18 nights sleeping in Phil

13 nights in motels

1 night sleeping on board the Fiordland Navigator

Amount Driving.

Time: 24.75 hours

Kilometers: 1949 = 1211 miles

A Walk in the Bush, New Zealand


Nephews born: 1!

George William Hazelrig Brinkley, the newest member to my very large extended family, arrived on May 4th. I can’t wait to meet him! And even though that won’t happen till the end of the year, his arrival to this world is the biggest highlight of the month.

More Good Family News.

Even though they won’t be arriving for another 6 days, we did cement plans with J’s parents a few weeks ago for them to visit. They are coming all the way from Alabama to travel around the South Island with us for two whole weeks. We couldn’t be more excited to see some familiar faces in person.

Travel Bootcamp.

I won’t be doing a solo post on this, so I will add it to the highlights. This was a one-day conference put on by three amazing women in the Travel industry. One Instagrammer, one blogger and one travel writer. Each gave two presentations where they discussed what they do and how they have turned their passions into careers. With 140 like-minded attendees, it was awesome. Its kind of amazing to be dropped into a room with people who understand, instinctively, your motivations for pursuing your specific goal.

It was an unequivocally rewarding experience. I learned a lot and received heaps of motivation. All with the added bonus of visiting Melbourne. Winning.

Castle Hill, New Zealand

Low Points.

Sleep no more…

Being so terrified that our campsite neighbors were going to murder us that I didn’t sleep at all one night. Yes, I am (and was) being a tad dramatic, but I’ve never been short on imagination. Our second night staying at the DOC campsite just outside Hokitika was terrible. When we arrived back at the site after a day out and about, a couple had taken up residence in the space we had been in the night before, all in all not a big deal. We were a bit annoyed as they had only a small car and tent, but had taken up a space large enough for our van as well as another larger self-contained camper. We know because that was the arrangement the night before. They had spread out across the entire space and had moved the fire pit into the adjoining spot, assuring they had no immediate neighbors. We took a spot directionally across from them, so we would still be close to the ablution block.

At first they weren’t causing any trouble, but as soon as they sun went down they began playing really terrible music extremely loudly, and proceeded to get ragingly drunk. Hoping they wouldn’t be total assholes, we bided our time till after 10 before Jason went to politely ask them to keep it down. Well, these guys were trashed and the most unfriendly Kiwis we’ve encountered thus far. He raised his fist as though he was going to throw a punch at J, but his girlfriend proceeded to “hold him back.” He asked J where he was from then started jabbering about how he was from the nearby town and so he was aloud to do whatever he pleased. As Jason walked away he muttered some nonsense about Frozen, which we still don’t understand to this day.

They continued their party for a while, but then I guess their friends decided to go home, revving their engine around the whole park and screaming out the window as they left. Very mature, guys. Then at one point they decided to flash lights into our van for a few minutes. I wanted to move to a spot further away from them, but J’s stubbornness prevented that from happening. I laid awake all night in a constant state of jacked up adrenaline, paranoid that they would throw a match into our gas tank. The next morning J said that would be impossible without us knowing, because the tank is locked. Good to know. It was definitely the worst night we’ve had in the van, even though nothing actually happened.

“The arsehole of the world.”

That is what rock legend Keith Richards noted of the little town of Invercargill after passing through on a world tour. I have to say, he hit the nail on the head with that one. We only stayed there one night, passing through ourselves, on our way to Stewart Island. We won’t be returning.

Hokitika Gorge, New Zealand

What we’re watching/reading.

Amazon released the 3rd season of the show Catastrophe and we binge watched that in one go. Its not hard to do considering each season is only 6 half-hour episodes. Its hilarious and we’re so glad the 4th season is scheduled, but sad it won’t be here for a long time.

We also went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 right when it was released here, which was baller because it was, like, a week before it was released in the States. And now we’ve seen it twice. Two words: Baby Groot.

I am currently watching (by myself, Jason does not partake) the final season of Pretty Little Liars. It is a guilty pleasure that I will not apologize for. As it is the final season, ever, I have started reading the series. It’s not great, so I also just picked up Captive: The Story of The Cleveland Abductions from a book exchange at a holiday park. I’m sure it will be a page turner… once I start.

Hokitika Swing Bridge, New Zealand



Would anyone else have confronted the campsite a-holes? Or just put in earplugs and hoped they would shut-up eventually? Also, anyone else seen GotGV2? What did you think? I have exhausted the current source of YouTube commentaries… I need more. 

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