I had a gorgeous van that was lent to me for my holiday with a bed in the back, and I managed to fit in my bike and sewing machine as well. I had a really good book that I was gonna read, and surprisingly didn’t think too much about my clothes because I didn’t end up taking anything warm…but it is a summer holiday right?
My first destination was Raglan. I went to spend that night with my really good friend Mr Sly who is the Potter there in Raglan. We talked a lot of business and he encouraged me, he treated me like a lady and took me out for dinner which was a really lovely start to my holiday. I spent my first night in the van at his place and had the best night sleep!
I then shot off to Taranaki to be with my Daughter for the Christmas break and Christmas day. It was a lovely time there, I didn’t have to do a thing! You know when you get to a certain age girls, your children start to take over and look after you so I allowed it and I loved it. I celebrated Christmas with my Daughter and my Granddaughter, my Son in Law and their babies who are Flo and Bungle their little Bull Terriers. We did some foraging for hydrangeas on Christmas day and spent some much needed and welcomed time with the family.
When I was in Taranaki, I did a lovely little trip around the mountain and I went to little places that I’ve never been before. In Ōpunake I took my bike and I rode through the streets because that way I was able to see more of how people live in these rural towns, and can take in all of the glorious architecture and abandoned buildings up close.
One of the things I really loved to do while on my trip was finding and swimming in the local pools. When visiting my daughter in New Plymouth I visited the 50m outdoor swimming pool which ended up being my favourite one of the trip. There was a great community of swimmers who would gather here each morning and I feel like it would have been a great place for me to stay and get to know people, but I had to move on.
I carried on to Napier with my friends who also had a self contained camper which was out on its maiden voyage. We had beautiful home-cooked meals every evening and ventured up to Te Mata Peak which is one of the highest points in the Hastings/Havelock area. It was beautiful looking out from so high up, we could see all the wineries in and around the valleys, and even could look out to the Cape Kidnappers. Of course we stayed for the sunset and enjoyed being out in the cool Summer evening, I guess you could say I am somewhat of a sunset chaser.
I absolutely love getting around and looking at this beautiful country, it always inspires me, from the people, plants, buildings and roads to the landscape and hills. In Napier I loved how all of the street signage had been changed to fit the art deco/art nouveau aesthetic of the city. I found the whole place to be incredibly inviting and vibrant, and it seemed they were really benefiting from the reduction in levels, it was bustling in the town centre.
I then headed to Gisborne after spending two nights in Opoutama Beach where we met Sally and Paku, a Mother and Daughter respectively. They were local Maori girls who lived in Wairoa who would come and camp up at the beach for weeks at a time, whereas myself and my friends were only allowed to stay 2-3 nights because we were from out of town. It is a courtesy of the local Iwi to allow outsiders to freedom camp on this land which we had to respect.
During one day I was there, as you know I’m very free and open with my body, I was going about in my bikini, just exploring the beach, looking at the rockpools or finding mussels. On this particular day Sally came to me, “I want to talk to you” she says “I want to say thank you for inspiring me to actually be more confident of my body”. I was really taken aback by those words, I didn’t think there was anything special about what I was doing but to see how much of an impact that had on this woman gave me such a warm feeling inside. All I could say in response is that this is my body, and so I dress it how I want to, and I am confident that every body is a bikini body, you just have to get a bikini on that body…ain't that the truth.
Sally also told me all about how she had just finished chemotherapy after a run in with breast cancer and a double mastectomy. Getting about on crutches and a sore back from an accident years ago made getting ready and going about day to day life really difficult for her.
She also told me about the difficulties she and her daughter have with finding plus sized clothes in rural Wairoa, so I packed up my red leather bag with the TCD pieces I brought with me and did a trunk show like an Avon sales lady back in the day…lol. They loved how I wore so much colour and how I mixed and matched my colours and prints, so what have I done? I sent them a little care parcel down to Wairoa to see if they will get into colour!
From Gisbourne, we stopped in and visited Whangara bay where they filmed whale rider and had a lovely tour of the beach before heading up to Tologa Bay before touring around the cape. These were again, places I had never been to before. This trip was really about spending time with friends, exploring our beautiful country and enjoying the gorgeous weather. I think some days I was going for a swim 2-3 times a day, fully relaxing and making the most of my time away. I feel like I’m rattling along a bit now, so if you’d like to hear more of the trip, let me know in the comments below but I think I’ll wrap this up for now. This was such a lovely road trip for me…so much so that I am extending it (slightly) with a trip back down to Raglan on Saturday (Tomorrow), taking that van for another spin.