When we spent a sabbatical year in New Zealand back in the ’90s, we spent it with Sons One and Two. On this most recent return, we invited Son Two to join us, and, being between jobs, he eagerly accepted. But for him, this trip wasn’t really a “return,” because on his first visit, he looked like this:
He was four then. He remembers NOTHING. Clean slate. When we traveled around, we generally went from playground to playground.
And when we hiked, we couldn’t go very far.
Now, having grown up in the family Church of the Great Outdoors, Son Two knew he was up for a lot of hiking on this trip. Not the kind of thrill-adventure New Zealand’s become known for. (After all, Kiwis did invent bungee-jumping, or “bungy” as they spell it.) He likes to hike.
But I think we were all relieved when he managed to peel off and enjoy some good 20something-style touring on his own. Not rafting, though we were all tempted…
As it happens, our good friends Nancy and Graeme live near Queenstown, NZ’s crown jewel of adventure touring. Their house is right above the Shotover River, where jetboats filled with screaming tourists roar up and down throughout the day. But Son Two didn’t need to pay for a jetboat ride…because Graeme has his own! A true Kiwi.
Son Two also rode the lift up above Q-town for a glimpse of the whole spectacle…
and spent a late night on the town with Graeme, capturing a scene I missed by going sensibly to bed.
But his true millennial attributes came to life when he announced he wanted to bungee-jump. Since he was paying for it himself, we had nothing to say on the matter (Graeme did use to work for A.J.Hackett, the bungee-inventor himself, but no more–so no discounts, sorry).
Yes, I have a video of the actual jump. But no–I didn’t want to upload it to YouTube just for the purposes of imbedding it in this blog. I’ll only go so far to violate my sons’ privacy. 🙂 These stills will have to do.
Good news: he didn’t break his neck. Nor barf (“chunder”) after his night out with Graeme. Phew.
After that, it was back to hiking.
But up north, in Abel Tasman National Park, I think we finally impressed him.
Blue water and sun, in January? Yes please!
Giving our sore feet a rest after all that hiking (tramping), we did some paddling in Marlborough Sound (Totaranui).
That won the Official 20something Seal of Approval.
But when we got back to town, the lil’ tyke showed he can still enjoy a good playground.
Do I recommend middle-agers traveling with their 20somethings? If you have one like ours–absolutely. Would Son Two recommend to his cohorts traveling with their middle-aged parents? We can only hope.