Wednesday afternoon we spent in the Dallas airport, waiting for the Qantas desk to open so we could recheck the rifle, having had to leave security after our flight from Des Moines to do so. That had its adventures (firearms logistics will get a post of their own in due time), but soon enough we were through security again, eating not-bad thai food, reuniting with my parents, boarding a huge plane at 9pm, and flying 16 hours through a continuous night to land in Sydney at 6am. Thanks to the magic of technology and the international date line, Thursday had for us never came into being. 8 hours later we had regained two lost time zones, cleared customs in Queenstown, gotten our slightly sputtering Mitsubishi 4×4 from Rent-a-Dent (not joking), and were eating pizza downtown on a loud Friday night. A further 12 hours and I had fallen asleep before 8pm, slept for 9 hours, and am here right now, watching the sun rise over southern New Zealand.

It’s all actually happening.

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I feel obligated to say that we’re here thanks to the generosity of my parents. The internet exacerbates an aura already robust in modern American (and elsewhere?) culture, which pretends that everyone is more affluent (monetarily) than they are. Among other things, it is all but expected that once you reach a certain level of adulthood you’ll buy a house, largely irrespective of the financial details. M and my life is delightful and full of more options than we’ll ever have the time to take, but working jobs we love puts in place monetary and time constraints which are inexorable, and which we’ve come to terms with. These more prosaic lacunae are not often enough discussed out loud; the result being a collective mis-identification of what most of us can sustainably manage. So do not mistake us.

With this trip, discussions last Christmas pointed quickly towards New Zealand, now. My parents are both very healthy, but no one is getting any younger, and life is not getting any simpler. January-February was a good down time for everyone’s work, and if everything went to plan M would be neither too early nor too late in pregnancy, and thus still able to hike at close to full steam (nailed that one, btw). Most of all the decision hinged upon the increasingly obvious need, the older we all get, to do certain things as soon as possible if they are to be done at all. Which is why after a whole lot of sitting in small seats and a decent bit of airline shenanigans (Kiwi customs folks are very nice), we are were we are and all set to head north into the mountains after breakfast.

Updates will be available as the ambitious schedule we’ve set for the next three weeks allows.