How one family found happiness in New Zealand
How one family has carved out an entire month per year for rejuvenation, revival and bonding in the destination that speaks to their hearts
Many families enjoy returning annually to a favorite vacation destination or holiday home, but for pediatric emergency department social worker and mom of one Kristin Pearson, packing family memories into the typical week-long vacation time frame wasn’t doing it for her.
When I learned she and her husband have managed to preserve the entire month of February for their annual trip to New Zealand, I had to know how.
WHAT PROMPTED YOUR DESIRE TO GO TO NEW ZEALAND FOR A MONTH EACH YEAR?
Trust me, I understand the craziness of the idea. It felt out of reach when my husband Derek and I initially thought about it, but when I went to my boss and asked if I could use my vacation time in one chunk, she said yes! Now our trip is a yearly event that my workplace is ready for each time it comes around.
Derek works for himself and for him, it was even more difficult to make the time, as he has many clients who have to be aware of his absence. We ended up picking the month that has the lowest work volume for both of us, which also happens to be the month of all three of our birthdays and the end of the summer in New Zealand, February. It felt like the perfect time to go!
We decided that it was important to have an extended time to reset our own souls and have deep, lasting connection to a particular place. Having an entire month somewhere truly allows us, as a family, and as individuals to settle into a totally new way of living. We have a grocery store, playgrounds our daughter Clara loves, daily routines, and a church community, all of which helps us form rituals that are unique to that month. It is a true respite.
When we remove ourselves from the typical routine and habits of home, it opens for us a new level of connection with one another. Each time we see a different part of the world, our daughter Clara’s understanding of what is ‘normal’, what we ‘should’ look like or act like, moves and shifts and grows to encompass a more loving and kind acknowledgement of the world.
WHY NEW ZEALAND?
The country looked so magical and glorious and enchanting that we could not help ourselves. New Zealand did not disappoint and still does not, four trips later. As cheesy as it might sound, we find the most peace when surrounded by the architectural splendor of nature itself. You can keep your buildings and museums – give me the skies and mountains and waters. New Zealand has beautiful cities, but we truly love it for every moment we have spent outside with Clara up a tree, Derek standing in the middle of a lake taking the perfect picture and me, in my favorite position, horizontal on the grass with a glass of wine and a book.
WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PARENTS WHO ARE LEAVING VACATION DAYS ON THE TABLE EACH YEAR?
Do not be afraid to make vacation a priority in the life of your family! A month away sounds out of reach for most people, but small escapes can be just as meaningful. Bills, work, and responsibilities are real, but the beauty of getting away is that it affords us the space to disconnect from our normal world.
Allowing ourselves to disconnect is a choice, the same as spending a crazy amount at Target is a choice (guilty!), or buying that gym membership, or fixing something on the house or car. We have to choose the time away, choose it more than the other stuff. And sometimes the other stuff takes over, but the opportunity to redirect the ship back toward adventure and time together is never an unworthy endeavor.
*Read the full article in the Winter Issue of Twist Travel Magazine – order you copy today!
Founder, Walking on Travels
Keryn is a freelance writer, content creator, brand ambassador, local TV contributor and digital strategy consultant. Her work has been featured in Thrillist, Travel Age West, and other publications looking for authentic, well-written content. She is also the founder of WalkingOnTravels.com, a site for the active, adventurous parent.