Rainbows are no warriors

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NZ could be the country of Rainbows.

Who doesn’t remember this brave little country standing up to the world against the Nuclear tests and ships entering their waters in the mid-Eighties? Protests were big in the Netherlands against Nuclear bombs at the time, and here was a country that as a whole had said ‘no’. The sinking of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior by the French secret service was a sad event for NZ and had a big impact on NZ thinking. Suddenly NZ woke up and realised they needed to protect their rainbows themselves. Not with allies from the past, but with those who see the same rainbows in the South Pacific.

 This blue episode is certainly not forgotten, but New Zealanders wouldn’t be what they are, if they hadn’t moved on.  The Rainbow Warrior was re-sunk to become a beautiful diving site of the coast of Northland. The French tourists are welcomed with open arms and French markets are really popular.

 Rainbows in New Zealand are stunning. Before I got here I had never seen a full rainbow, seeing where it touches land on two sides, let alone a double rainbow. Here you often see them. I can see why legend would put a pot of gold at the end of it. Rainbows give hope. They are certainly not meant to be warriors.

No place like home(s)

 

one of the places I am lucky enough to call home

one of the places I am lucky enough to call home

So what’s your home? Can you only have one? I have many many homes and am very happy to take up more.

Home for me can be the fale in Fiji where I’m staying in for the week, where I have unpacked my suitcase, enjoy the company, eat my dinners and feel happy and comfortable. Home is New Zealand, where I currently live and when I travel internationally I am excited to fly back home to New Zealand. I’m also going home when I am visiting my family back in the Netherlands, where I grew up, where everything feels so normal even if I have been away for ages.

Home is Manly, Sydney, where I lived for 6 years before coming to New Zealand. Beautiful Manly, with its rockpools, local snorkelling spots, beach volleyball courts where we smashed lots of weekend hours away and where I made many friends. And of course Auckland is home, but so is the suburb within Auckland where I live. The local harbour beaches, cafés and people I know from the bus stop and walking the dog, they make me feel like home. And as soon as I drive north from Auckland, and turn of State Highway 1 towards Paparoa, I feel like I’m coming home again. Home to the trees, the stream, the neighbours horses and the vegetable plots on our 10 acre block.

Home is where I live and feel happy. So indeed, No place like home!

Holiday with a passion

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Just one of the many perfect holiday spots in NZ – Marlborough sounds

Holiday, ah now there’s a topic I can talk about for ever.  I love everything about holidays. The planning and anticipation, the traveling, the exploring and experiencing new cultures, languages, food and habits and the feeling of having all the time in the world to enjoy every moment of it.

One of the benefits of living in Europe, especially a small country like the Netherlands is that you can travel to other cultures so easily. We used to cycle for 30 minutes across the border and have a completely different experience in supermarkets, cafes and restaurants.

From NZ it is much harder to go and explore different cultures, as the closest other countries are at least 3 hours flight away. But then with all the holiday choices you have in NZ, you don’t really want to leave anyway. It’s just about the perfect holiday destination. There are so many incredible spots to go, where you could easily spend days, or weeks, if you had the time. Beautiful beaches, white on the east coast, often black sand in the west. Beaches that could easily be voted top beach in the world, but nobody is on it as there are so many to choose from. Then there are mountains and rolling hills, active and dormant volcanoes, rivers and lakes, rain forests and other native forest with trees so old and big that historic buildings in Europe fade away by it. And that’s just on land. The water provides lots of holiday opportunities too. Some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the world, fantastic whale and dolphin watching and don’t forget the sailing!

Combine this with the intriguing Maori culture, wonderful food and wine, markets, museums, concerts, bungy jumping and other adrenaline pumping activities, and you’ve got your holiday paradise.

The biggest downfall about holidays in NZ is that as New Zealanders you only get 20 days of annual leave a year. Definitely not enough to fulfil my passion!