Well, we’ve got two sons.. Andrew who’s 40 and Alex is 38. Alex’s is with his partner Sarah-Marie and he has two sons . Andrew is living with his partner Jenna and about to have their first son.
I’m Chris, ex newspaper & commercial photographer and Fiona, Ex Nurse/Practise manager. I’ve worked at the NZ Herald, Auckland Star and several overseas newspapers. I’ve been self employed as commercial photographer since the early 90’s and although I’m still looking after old clients and friends, I have retired slowly without making a noise about it 🙂
Fiona has been a Registered Staff nurse for many years and a Mum. Over the last few years, she has become more involved in the administration side of healthcare after running our Internet company for 12 years or so. She is thinking of retiring shortly as well.
We’ve had Jet skis and a 40 ft historic Launch and I was very involved with the Classic Yacht Association for about 8 years while we did up Rorqual, our whale chaser. Being on the committee and arranging and helping others to arrange events for CYA Launches to go to meant that we felt obliged to go to all the events unless it was just silly… so we encountered some pretty interesting situations but it was a lot of fun and we met a lot of nice people.
It did get to a stage where we seemed to spending all our spare time with or on Rorqual and Madam invented a new word called “boat prison”!
One of the ideas we had was to try a caravan and see if that would eek out the lifespan of Rorqual, breaking it up with the odd caravan trip.
We bought a small 3 yr old English caravan called a Freedom Jetstream which were made in Poland by Enka as one moulded fibreglass shell with no joins. Completely self contained with Shower, Thetford toilet, Truma heater and boiler, Three way fridge and had a Queen size bed, the whole thing was only 600kg’s and 12 ft long! Also Double Glazed and insulated within an inch of its life, it was amazing.. we loved it.
We did a trip around the South Island in “Rafe” (now referred to as “wee Rafe”) and it was amazing… we were hooked.
Back in Auckland, we made a decision that we would sell Wee Rafe and buy a Motorhome that we could possibly fulltime in if we decided that was what we wanted to do.
After being spoilt with a European caravan, we knew that there was only one answer and that was a European Motorhome. After looking at what seemed hundreds, with the NZ dollar being as high as it was and the Euro being down, we went with a Dethleffs Globe 4 as it was from one of Europe’s biggest Motorhome stables and had won numerous awards in Europe. The Globe 4 is one of the largest vans of all the models giving us plenty of room for storage and living fulltime should that be what we decided.
May 2017 update.
We’re both about to completely retire and are heading to the UK where we’re meeting Motor homing friends, Gary and Dianne and in a rented Hymer, we’ll be travelling up to Estonia and back over 5 weeks. It should be a hoot.
When we get back from that in August, we’ll be full timing in Rafe but initially heading for the South Island.
May 2018 update
We’re back from 3 months in Europe and 3 months in the South Island. It was fantastic and most of you who read my musings will have see where we have been and what we’ve done.
It was really our first real break away from work for many years and I can now say I feel quite relaxed! One of the downsides of being self employed is that you can never really switch off and really get away from it.
Not being of pension age though, we have missed having a proper income. Fiona has her old job back permanently and I’m picking up the odd photographic and design job to keep the wolves from the door.
We are selling our house as it is way to big for just the two of us and are looking at maybe a townhouse or apartment in the same area. So we’re back to long weekends again for the time being. Its nice to be back in a house for a while but I am already looking forward to more trips away.
Dec 2022 update
I’m now completely retired now and Fiona is doing 2 days a week at the clinic so we’re just getting away in weekends and days off and in between looking after Grandchildren 🙂
I’m also doing a bit of volunteer photographic work for a local Museum.