10 March. 2015 - New Zealand

photos: Carly Brown
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Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud, a country rich in history of native warriors and sacred grounds. With Weather that moves at a rapid pace: relentless, unyielding, but undeniably breathtaking. It proves the perfect backdrop to a wild woman’s surf adventure. For these two creatives, taking New Zealand by Kombi is a chance to explore new lands, rekindle an ancient instinct of natural living, to surf the seas of unknown territory and draw inspiration from the limitless possibility of the open road.

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I CAN STILL SMELL THE AIR -- FRESH. CHILLED. LUSH Without opening my eyes, I lay in bed for an extra moment before rising, slowly engaging my senses. I feel the sun crisp my ankle through the gap in the curtain. Our van is filled with the smell of salty air, and as I come to, I hear the blessed sounds of static shushing, pulsations...yes, it is. Wavelets. We prepare for a hike around the headland and are approached by a charmingly battered blue sedan with a grinning chauffer. He knows something we don’t. Introductions are made while navigating craggy contours and we are delighted by the generous and humble nature of our new companion, Boycie. We share hours in the surf, peppered with life stories amongst an air of strange familiarity. Empty waves and mysterious mountain tops set the stage for our romance with New Zealand to commence.

Saying goodbye to Shipwrecks, I find myself holding my breath, resisting the pull to move on, as a journey so calls you to do. Even when the heart finds a home, it cannot prevent the law of momentum from propelling such a mission forward. We exhale into the sheep covered mountains as we turn our backs to the Bay and bind ourselves to the open road. 

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6 hours later: Wet, windy, weathered Raglan. Clouds and concrete is our welcoming view -- no thing ness.With the wind howling away all dreams of a surf, we instead hit the streets for a skate. Flying down hills and weaving through alleys along the water’s edge, the illusory backdrop escapes view behind a thick, pillowy curtain of fog. Our imaginations fill in the gaps of what “could be” from this quaint corner of coast, but we crave a slightly more tactile experience. Onward, we are driven.

At nightfall, we take of Eastward we trek, to the pristine beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula. A small adventure on foot beckons. We cross a bridge, follow a dirt path, hike through a forest and are led to an opening where there awaits -- a vast span of emptiness. White sand blankets the earth as far as the eye can see, collocated with the tranquil, turquoise tide that greets the shoreline like an old familiar friend. A tiny yet perfect wave peels before us, and Carly and I surf for hours on our lonesome. As the sun sets and the swell slowly disipates, we relish the solitude.

Chasing swell, we return to Raglan and the promise of long, open, walls roaring around the headland, screaming blue. We thrive on the mobility of our little home on wheels, care of Kiwi Kombis, essential to our nomadic livliehood. Every evening we drive to find a natural haven to bed down for the night. Each day begins with a run on the sand and a swim in the ocean, our temporary back yard. We carve out cubbies for hats, wetsuits, cooking supplies, dry goods, pullover sweaters. We keep go bags ready. Two weeks of sleeping under the stars, fueling each other’s wanderlust, playing ukulele, and enjoying the simple luxury of waking up next to waves. Basking in the simple life a van affords, we revel in the abundance of nature’s riches, for this is our ultimate wealth.