Sunday, 11 March 2012

Why a boat?

For all my friends, family and co-workers back in Australia, I thought I'd fill you in on how this adventure started and how the hell I ended up in New Zealand. I only really told my closest friends where I was going, and for everybody else I kind of disappeared off the face of the earth. I've been here for about 1 1/2 years now, and I've only just stopped getting invites to parties and BBQ's back home. I've sent a ridiculous amount of 'Sorry, I moved to New Zealand' messages in that time and there's probably still a few people thinking I'm all safe and sound back home in Brisbane.

It's a girl meets boy story, although we had known each other for quite a few years.

Aussie girl travels to NZ once or twice a year to go skiing with awesome kiwi friends, who all share a similar love of launching themselves down mountains. Aussie girl is usually accompanied by various Aussie boyfriends and surrounded by many crazy Kiwis. Much fun is had by all.

For the second ski trip of 2010, Aussie girl gathers a group of Aussie friends and they go down south  instead of up north like normal. Kiwi friends are far away, but fun skiing times continue without them. However, Aussie friends are snowboarders - they sleep in half the day, miss all the good snow in the morning and then go boarding all afternoon before partying all night. Aussie girl has fun for a few days, but she wants to ski! Aussie girl is sad.

Kiwi boy calls Aussie girl - he happens to be skiing at a different mountain a few hours away, with no kiwi friends. Just Kiwi boy. Aussie girl runs away to find Kiwi boy, and then a week of crazy skiing ensues. Kiwi boy launches Aussie girl off EVERYTHING. Aussie girl falls over again and again. Kiwi boy picks her up again and again. Cue romantic music.

Lake Tekapo just after sunrise 

Garth getting excited

Garth behind me on a T bar at Mt Dobson

Exhausted at Mt Olympus

Snow angels in the powder at Mt Dobson

I never thought this actually happened

Roundhill ski field

So it was all very unintentionally romantic and beautiful. After the ski trip was over, I went back to Australia to work up north for a few weeks. When I actually made it home, I spent a day packing and headed off to Wellington for a month to see if this boy was worth throwing my life upside down for. The month turned into two, and eventually my wonderful family and friends just packed up my house for me and I never went back. I kind of just ran away, but I was running to something instead of from it.

Right from the very start we both talked about travelling together. We decided that even if we didn't work out as a couple, we should do a trip together. We have so much in common and we get along so well, so why not? We both wanted to travel the world, just like everybody else. But we're getting older and the idea of partying with a bunch of teenagers wasn't overly appealing, so backpacking didn't really sound like a great idea.

Garth sailed with his family a lot in his younger days, though mostly on small boats. When we were throwing ideas around one day he suggested we just sail around the world, probably as a joke. I think my response was something along the lines of "That is not happening. We are not doing that. Stop being ridiculous."

But after a month or so he really sold it to me - you don't have to sleep in a different bed every night. You have your entire house with you. You get to see a lot of out of the way places instead of just the touristy destinations. Sometimes it's cold and wet and miserable, but being an avid skier I'm used to spending entire days with rain and wind pelting me in the face, soaked to the bone, freezing my ass off and loving every second. And best of all, we could take our toys... we have so many toys. Kites, ski gear, my circus gear, a kayak, bikes, etc. At this point in time it doesn't look like we'll be taking any clothes, which is fine by me as long as I get my toys. Finally, the whole thing is much more of an adventure than anything else we could do, as well as a little bit crazy. Just like us.

So I decided to do a sailing course. The deal was, if I liked it then we'd talk about the prospect of sailing. Garth can fix things, he knows how to sail and he's clever enough to keep us out of trouble. So if it was something I could enjoy and do competently then it was an option.

Of course I loved sailing - it fits right in with all the other stupid things I love to do. It's fast, exciting and on water. I've always loved everything to do with the water. And even when it's not fast, there's something so wonderful about being out on your own with a gentle sea breeze blowing over your face. So we decided to give ourselves a few years to get ready for this adventure. Over the next year I did ALL of the sailing courses as well as a lot of race training, and we soaked up as much information as we possibly could. Of course we'll never know everything, but hopefully we're now good enough sailors to handle Heartbeat with just the two of us. Now we just have to learn how to fix everything, which I guess is the most important part of cruising. The main thing Garth needs to worry about for now though is figuring out how to hook my trapeze up to the rigging (circus style, not dinghy racing). 

And that's how we got here, with a 36ft boat and a dream of seeing the world. 

Love and best wishes,


  1. *Why A Boat? I thought titles were meant to be in Upper Case? :p Just teasing. You've answered some of my qs. I love you loads, Missy! xxooxxoo
    ( { } )

    1. Ainslie my dear, you are a turd. And I love you anyway. Titles are a style thing - if this were a newspaper article or a piece of academic writing, you would be correct. But this is the style I chose to use at 5 in the morning, and just to spite you I will now stick with it. But I still miss your face. xxx