Guest Post by Felix

This is a pretty cool adventure!

This is a pretty cool adventure!

Here is a little insight into Felix’s world and his version of our European Camper van Tour.

Felix’s words when I asked him what he would like to share in a blog post:

Mom and Dad have taken me to Europe to live in a camper van this summer. I keep on asking… ‘Why are we living in a camper van?’ ‘Are we going to camp here?’ and ‘Is this our campsite?’

• I like to play with toys when I am camping
• Let’s go to the campground
• Are we camping here? – a question he asks multiple times daily
• Being in the mountains – I love you mountains
• Eating Yogurt
• Going to the park
• Living in a camper van
• Playing with someone else (which he rarely gets to do aside from mom and dad)
• Playing with my Momma and Dadda and Mark
• I like to play with my toys

 

My view of our Campervan (picture by Felix Schlarb)

My view of our Camper van (picture by Felix Schlarb)

My Seat in the Camper van.

My Seat in the Camper van.

Taking a little break on a hike.

Taking a little break on a hike – I love to look at the maps.

Running with Mom - so we can be just like Daddy.

Running with Mom – so we can be just like Daddy.

Hanging out on the bridge after Mom and I hiked and ran a little bit.

Hanging out on the bridge after Mom and I hiked and ran a little bit.

My toys.  Photo by Felix Schlarb

My toys. Photo by Felix Schlarb

The Train Ride to Zermott.

The Train Ride to Zermott.

The hike back down from Zermott to our Camper van.

The hike back down from Zermott to our Camper van.

Having FUN!

Having FUN!

Treats with Mommy in Chamonix, France.

Treats with Mommy in Chamonix, France.

Strawberry picking along the trail.

Strawberry picking along the trail.

YAH!! STRAWBERRIES!

YAH!! STRAWBERRIES!

Pretty cool hike with Mom in La Buet, France.

Pretty cool hike with Mom in La Buet, France.

Mountain biking in Switzerland.

Mountain biking in Switzerland.

Tow Truck and I being creative in the Camper van.

Tow Truck and I being creative in the Camper van.

More Toys - lined up while Mommy journals.

More Toys – lined up while Mommy journals.  Photo by Felix Schlarb.

Felix: We’re having a great time on our adventure. Our friend, Mark, has joined us for a few weeks and I really like having someone to talk to in the back seat.  I like it best when we get to ride in the Gondola’s – they are my favourite!

 

The Journey Begins

10374018_4166145049381_5858021014850475477_n (2)Written June 22, 1014

Phew! What a roller coaster ride it has been. We have been in Europe for a 16 days now and today it feels like we have been here forever. The days are beautifully long, mostly full of sunshine and the scenery is fantastic. We did a good job in preparation for this grand adventure. Jason was thorough in his investigation of the camper van, flights and we had most of our stuff packed a few days before our flight (quite unheard of in our previous adventures). We had a later flight scheduled which works well traveling with a child, as most of the longer flight was spent sleeping.   Once we landed in Amsterdam, Jaco, one of the individuals we were working with for our camper van rental, picked us up and brought us back where we would go over the details of our ‘new home’ for the next three months. Once that was completed, to include unboxing and setting up our bike, our next stop was the grocery store. It was a new adventure to figure out what each item cost as we could not read the signage. Also, the grocery stores we have been in so far require the shopper to do the weighing of the vegetables. We have shown up a few times at the cash and been sent back to do our own weighing.

After the grocery store, we began our first of many hunts for a camp site. We were sent in a certain direction by the camper van owners but once we arrived we were unable to get in the gates. We were not too disappointed as it was somewhat of a wonderland of a campground and we prefer the quieter, in the woods type of camping. We then used the map on our phone to navigate ourselves to the green part of the map, hoping there would be a little space for us to lay our heads. Fortunately, we did find a little spot and excitedly cooked dinner and set up our camper van for our first night. The next morning, Felix slept until 11 am!! It was a dream! Jason got up to run and stayed in bed relaxing and enjoying some solo time.

We needed to be in Chamonix, France, by June 16th, giving us ten days to take our time getting there. Our next few stops were in Brunnen, Switzerland where we spent two nights camping. There is a large lake in Brunnen where we spent our afternoons swimming and soaking in the views. Our Next stop was Saas Grund, Switzerland. We stayed at another lovely campsite for two nights, giving us the opportunity to ride the gondola as a family and get a taste of what Jason see’s almost daily. On our first night in Saas Grund, we went for what we thought was going to be a short hike with Felix. There were little houses along the way that motivated Felix up the mountain a little over one mile. It made my heart smile to see Felix enjoying a hike so much. When we got to the top, there was a little church where we went inside and lit a candle and said a little prayer. Felix was wide-eyed during the experience as it was dark and mysterious in the church. We realized it was getting late and dark and had to motivate Felix to hurry down the mountain. It took a little encouragement, however, we made it before it was completely dark. Witnessing Felix hike is probably my favourite experience so far.   Felix and I often go for hike while Jason is running. We even go for very short runs and ‘do what Daddy does’.

Our next few stops included visiting Zermott, Switzerland and a night and day near La Buet, France before arriving in Chamonix.

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Jason had a few days of filming with his sponsor JULBO in Chamonix and with the filming came a hotel room. How sweet it was to walk downstairs to breakfast, have a bath, enjoy a Jacuzzi and best of all…be taken out to delicious dinners each night of the filming. While Jason was working, Felix and I wandered around Chamonix in search of park, we hung out at the hotel as the more we travel, the more I find Felix and I our ‘homebodies’ – ironic eh? AND we took a ride on the gondola, which has to be one of Felix’s favourite activities. In Zermatt, we saw a gondola toy that he continues to ask if he can have a gondola toy at his next birthday.

Now for the emotional parts of the first few weeks. The truth is, looking back at my childhood and my way of being in the world prior to our adventures, I have been an am a homebody. I LOVE coming home to my own space, having a sanctuary where my family and I can just BE. I love the feeling of safety of home, the consistency of home, and I really enjoy having my own space. I grew up in the same town for the first eight-teen years of my life, which I still consider to be ‘home’ when I talk about it. There’s a sense of peace and warmth when I land in my home land and even more so when I step into my parents and sisters house.   I also love love love community. Wherever we have found ourselves, I take great pride in the friends and extended family that have become a part of my life.

Traveling has really stretched me and my ‘homebody’ self. It’s allowed me to create a space within where I can find a sense of peace, a sensation to call ‘home’. Sometimes I lose this feeling and get anxious, sad, and grumpy. Fortunately, it just takes some dancing for me to find my way back ‘home’ to me. One of my favourite things to do alone in the mountains is to dance with the mountains. There is strength and wisdom roaming in the hills. Dancing in my bare feet, with peaks surrounding me, I find great JOY and I re-find ME.

Amongst the stunning beauty of the Alps, I have a longing for my mom, my dad, my sister and her family, thinking of the deep love and the depth at which I miss them brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. I long for a hug from my friends in Colorado, Montana, and Canada. I long for a conversation with another mom friend, knowing that I’m not going through these crazy three year old experiences alone. Yes, I know I’m living and adventure that many are envious and many may not manifest in this lifetime. And, Yes, I am taking it all in. It is magnificent, it is stunning, and it is humbling to be surrounded by such beauty. I am doing my best to really enjoy each moment, BE in each moment.

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Here’s to the adventure, the unknown of each moment, and the joy that comes from relaxing into the now and most of all, here’s to dancing through it all.

Another Adventure has Begun…

Campervan Excitement!

Campervan Excitement!

We are off again, on another family adventure.  I really didn’t think another adventure would come so soon, however, I am grateful to be sitting here in Chamonix, France, enjoying a little down time to share a little of our lives with you.

It’s almost as if once we stopped our cycle touring adventure in New Zealand, there was already a seed planted for the next adventure. I give credit to my husband, Jason,who nurtured and watered the seed that has grown into a three month journey around the Alps in Europe.

We landed in Amsterdam on June 6th and have made our way through a few Beautiful towns in Switzerland and now are playing in France while Jason does some work and running in preparation for his race at the end of the month.

I am looking forward to keeping this blog regularly, even with internet that feels rather slow.  A chance to grow my patience!   Here’s to getting something ‘up’ on the web…now off to play.

 

 

 

Thank you 2013…Welcome 2014

What a wonderful 2013 it has been. Starting off with a bang on New Years Eve last year, Felix helped send off a rocket in New Zealand.  Throughout January to the end of April we thrived in New Zealand, living the dream travelling as a Family.  Mid-April brought us to Missoula where we were welcomed with open arms by the Wolf family, helping us with our job and house hunt.  Within a week, I was working a full time job…enjoying the perks of adult conversations and working through the trials and triumphs of being a working mama.  Summer was glorious in Montana, bringing lots of sunshine, lakes and camping. In September I realized an eight year dream of becoming a Nia Black Belt – YES!!!!  The fall and the gradual momentum into the winter has been full of life’s lessons, gifts and plenty of gratitude.  It has been a blessed year – Thank you 2013.

Stepping into 2014, I step with the theme of HONOR…

 

Nia Mini Retreat


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Join Maggie Schlarb, Nia Black Belt, for a Nia Mini Retreat.  Connect to self, play with others, rejuvenate and restore. Leave with helpful skills and tools, feel refreshed, and make every day filled with more JOY and relaxation throughout the holidays.

Saturday, November 16th, 2013 2:00-5:00pm

 Located at Open Way 702 Brooks Avenue Missoula, Montana 59801

Bring a friend and together pay $40 or come solo for $25

 

To register contact Maggie Schlarb, Nia Black Belt at maggie@maggieschlarb.com or 406-552-2663

Settling In…

Where did the balance of life go? What does balance me to me?  Before becoming a working mother balance was about getting enough exercise, food, playtime with Felix, time with Jason and having a little solo time on my own to rejuvenate   Quite simple, really relaxed.

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View from my morning hike to the ‘M’

Now I am on my way to finding my new rhythm and what balance looks like for me now.  I’m settling more and more into the rhythm of my work days.  During the summer, The Lifelong Learning Center (where I work) moves to closed on Fridays which means, yes, I get Fridays off.  Fridays also means I will be working my forty hours in four days.  It seems daunting and exciting to me as I have no idea what that feels like, but I am thinking Fridays off with family and friends will be worth it.  I’ll keep you posted – he he.

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Fun with Potty training – he is now potty trained!

I am getting an internal nudge telling me it’s time – time for what?  Time for me to show up and live out the dreams I have been fantasizing about for years.   And guess what – YES it is time.  Now I am ready to really show up.  For those of you who know me, yes I do and have shown up before, but there’s a different part of me that has been whispering to me for years; well, The little whisper is no longer quiet, my spirit is  speaking it’s desire to shine brighter, to be seen and to serve.  What does this mean? It means figuring out I fit all my passions into my life while also working forty hours a week.   It means pushing my self to an internal edge of enough and then going a little further to grow as a human being.  It means, including my family in these endeavors so get to play with them and play with my work.  It means continuing my Nia practice at work while working and utilizing the beautiful studio on my breaks to move my body.  It means speaking up, sharing my passions and helping others find and share theirs.

Beautiful hike in Pocatello, ID - a little solo timr for rejuvenation

Beautiful hike in Pocatello, ID – a little solo time for rejuvenation

I will still be writing on my blog, more frequently than the past few months.  I will be tweaking my site.  Making maggieschlarb.com more resourceful and informational.  I will be creating a newsletter, this way I can share with you when I post as well as when I will be teaching classes.  (There is an newsletter sign up on the right hand side of this page if you want be included).

Now I ask you…is there something nudging you? Are you listening to the that nudge?

Becoming a Working Mama

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I love this cutie more than I thought I ever could.

I am now entering week three of working full time and it has finally hit how much I miss my boys, and today, particularly my baby boy, Felix.  The first two weeks were exciting and new and a much deserved break from being always ‘on’ as a Mama.  It really felt like I was on vacation when I went to work the past two weeks.  However, reality set in today and I miss my boys incredibly.  I know they are fine without me, which might be the most difficult part.  They seem to be having a great time together, riding bikes, playing with friends and getting sorted out for Jason’s return to school in the fall.  I am quite impressed by the amount of things they do each day.  But it is with a sad heart I sit here and type as I know what I a missing during the day.  We have been so blessed to have been able to spend each day together as a family over the past year and I am ever so grateful for our experiences as well as for the great job I have landed.  The good thing is, I enjoy what I am doing at work, I am busy and learning how to dance in this new role.  The best part is coming home to big smiley faces from both my boys, it is such a great feeling, life truly is good. 

 

 

 

New Zealand Finale

Hello All,

Here is my last post about our final weeks in New Zealand. It is a little late as the past few weeks have been busy.  To give you the quick version, we have been in California, Colorado and then driven to Montana where we have found a place to live AND I got a full time job.  More on what’s happening here in Montana and how I’m feeling about becoming a working mama.

New Zealand Finale

We have now been on US soil for two weeks.  It’s amazing how time can fly visiting with family and friends.

I want to share with you the Joy of our final weeks in New Zealand.  After finishing the bike tour, we were treated with five days at Ginny and Ross’s house.  To me, it felt like we were with family, particularly the way Ginny and Ross would treat Felix as if he was their own grandchild.  We got to see how the gardens had grown over the last three and a half months and enjoy eating from them as well.  We got to meet the two new calves that were born while we were gone and we go to see the chickens daily which was one of Felix’s favorite things to do.   We decided to sell our bikes and ended up selling them to a lovely couple in Wellington.  They were so lovely, they even let us stay at their house as the day was running late and we had yet to eat and sort out a place to camp. Speaking of camping, we rented a campervan for our time on the North Island.  We rented from a company named Rocket ship/Space ship who name each of their vehicles.  Our campervan was named “GONAD”: how lovely.   Gonad was later to be nicknamed “Gonaddy”.  Felix will still ask about ‘Gonaddy’ if he sees a van that looks similar.   It was lovely to wheels and an engine under us, being able to see a bit more and stock up on food.  We slept relatively well together in the van, Felix even had his own sleeping spot which gave a little more room to Jason and I.  It was a treat!

We first travelled just outside of Wellington to camp at a Department of Conservation (DoC) site. It was a wonderful site with many trails for all of us to enjoy.  Some of the campsites we stayed at even had hot springs that were free.   We were amazed that we were camping on a Friday night and we had the hot springs to ourselves.  We got to go on a rare family hike along the river.  It was wonderful to hike as a family as you know it was either biking together or Jason running while Felix and I hike together.  We even enjoyed a quick family skinning dip before the sand flies ate us alive!

Next onto Taupo where we stayed at a holiday park and enjoyed the swimming pools and more hot springs near by.  It is amazing how many geothermic attractions the North Island has.  After Taupo we made our way to Rotarua where Jason raced the Tarawera 100km race.  We got there early and were able to explore more hot springs and stay at a few low-key campgrounds on the edge of some beautiful lakes.  It was nice to be in one area for a longer period of time.  There was a lot of press and activities planned for elite athletes.  I was proud to see my Jason in the spotlight.  Jason ran a great, yet very tough race.  He was doing really well at the beginning, but when I saw him at the 85km mark I was worried.  I have never seen him so exhausted and almost defeated but he pressed on and finished the race.  He will tell you it was the most challenge race his has done since the 100 miler. He had to walk backwards downhill, he found sticks to use to aid him in s l o w l y running the last parts of the trail, he even laid down to rest for a few minutes.  It’s incredible that he pushed on and finished the race.  Felix was a trooper throughout the day, waiting and anticipating Daddy to run by and then wait again.  I was a proud wife when he came through at the finish line.

Pre-race Family Photo – It was EARLY!

The day after the race, we got to hang out with Tim Olson, another professional Ultra runner and his wife Krista.  We had a great time driving up to the Coromandal and enjoyed a fabulous dinner together.  Tim and Krista left early the next morning to do some exploring before their flight home the next day.

Felix wearing Daddy’s medal with great pride.

Both Jason and I were feeling we didn’t feel like adventuring too far and our goal was to find a few quite campgrounds with trail access for our final ten days in New Zealand.  I wanted to take advantage of Jason’s recovery time to take a long day adventure while he and Felix played and rested together.  I ended up going for a five-hour hiking adventure on a lovely misty day.  It was spectacular; not only because of the scenery but it was nice to get out on my own.  I love my boys dearly, but I also love my time alone in nature.

Our final days in New Zealand were spend in Auckland with our new friend Jean.  He graciously invited us into his home (I’m not sure if he really knew what he was in for) and took us around to his favorite places in New Zealand, to include an volcanic island. Jason went running, while Jean and I hiked with Felix to the top of the Volcano.  That night, he treated us to an amazing dinner out. It was a fabulous end to time in New Zealand.

 

POST NZ BLUES…

Since we have been back to North America, both Jason and I have experienced a slight sadness and/or depressed feeling.  Not because we are sad to be back.  For me it is a bit of sadness of the end of such an incredible journey.  We really grew as a family while adventuring in New Zealand.  It was a bittersweet end as we were and still are feeling ready to be a little more settled into a routine in a community.

We are currently enjoying some time with friends in Boulder.  In the next few days we will be packing up the Truck and making our way to Missoula, Montana.  I am excited for a new adventure, yet sad to say Goodbye to Boulder one more time and really sad to leave some very special friends in Colorado. Thank goodness for technology, keeping me in touch with loved ones all over the world. 

We will have a big shift of family roles when we settle into Missoula.  Jason will be heading back to school part time to start; he’ll continue his running and take on more time with Felix.  I will be heading back to work full time which is exciting and I know will require a bit of time to adjust.  I have been so fortunate to not only be home with Felix for over two years, but also have had Jason around full time over the last year.

I am ready to take on this next adventure in Missoula.  I just have to remind myself to choose happiness, worry less and if all else fails, dance my worries and fears away.

 

 

Switching Gears

It’s official, we have now cycled 2898 kms around the South Island of New Zealand.  Yesterday was our last ride, cycling 77km along the east coast arriving in Kaikoura at 5:30pm.  It was a beautiful ride along the coast, with a section of a seal colony to keep us entertained. Felix was amazing.  Over the last few rides, he’s decided to forgo his regular nap, which means, to him, his rides are A LOT longer. He must know it’s time to switch gears and can feel the excitement and anticipation of change.  Smart kid!

Over the past three and a half months, we as  a family have gained so much strength in working together, living with less and getting around without the help of a motor (well a few buses).  Not to mention the physical strength both Jason and I have gained.  I am so proud of us.  Jason for his incredible tenacity for pushing though, running and cycling almost daily.  Felix for his patience and his ease for changing locations on a regular basis and me for gaining confidence in myself on the bike and the crazy roads of New  Zealand and for pushing through the many moments of ‘ENOUGH’ on this trip, giving me so much strength and power for future challenges.

I feel very grateful for all the time we have been able to spend on the South Island as it has beauty beyond works.  Cycling along the Catlins brought our first real beach views, swimming with Dolphins, and watching the yellow eyed Peguins come back from a day of work at the ocean.  The Otago Rail Trail brought lots of wind, but no cars.  Then our time in Alexandra with The Smith’s was full of fun, adventure and hospitality.   Waterskiiing with The Smith’sat Lake Hawea is definately a highlight to our travels.  We spent a good chunk of time in Wanaka, which felt a little like the Boulder, CO of New Zealand.  The West Coast blessed us with glorious weather, only the first night was rainy and full of sand flies, then sunny the rest of the way up the coast – unreal.  One of my favourite rides was on our way to Punakaiki.  It was a glorious sunny day with a hilly ride along the coast.  Jason and I both enjoyed solo adventures in Able Tasman National Park as well as some time in Picton viewing the Queen Charlotte Sound.   If you hop over to Jason’s blog, you can hear all about Wharariki Beach, in which we had to climb a MASSIVE hill to get there.  It’s been quite a ride, and that’s just touching the parts of the trip that come to mind immediately.

Although the cycle touring portion of our travels our complete here in New Zealand, we still have a little over a month to visit with The Smith’s again, stay and play at Ginny and Ross’s in Christchurch AND tour the North Island with a vehicle.   But for now, I am savouring this moment of joy for completing such a wonderful adventure with my family.  ~ Maggie

 

Travelling Tales from a Two Year Old

As most of you already know, my Mom and Dad have been toting me around New Zealand via bike in my trailer aka ‘The Chariot’.  When we first got to New Zealand we had a few days on Ginny and Ross’s farm which was really cool. Mom says we’ll go back and visit again before we leave the South Island.

My Family at Curio Bay

Most of my afternoons are spent in the Chariot.  I usually fall asleep after playing with Mom in the morning and stretching with Dad after he runs.  When I wake up, I get to get out  and play.  I love it when we stop by the water so I can splash around while Mom and Dad eat.   After they have eaten,  Mom packs my lunch in my special pack, then back into the chariot for a ride to where we set up the tent.

 

Icecream with Dad in Outram, NZ

One of my favourite parts of the trip so far was visiting our new friends ‘The Smith’s’.  We arrived in Alexandra to Vanessa and Simon’s house after a good day of Chariot riding.  I made myself right at home with their three kids, Sophie (8), Ruby(4) and Max(3).  They have A LOT of toys! My two favourite toys I played with there were the shopping cart and the camper van.  I really enjoyed having other kids around to play with.  We all enjoyed each others company so much we decided to play longer. I got to go on a car ride all the way to Bush Camp on Lake Hawea.  Vanessa and Simon have a boat that we all played with along with more of their friends.  We camped as a big group at the lake for two days.  All the other kids could go back and forth to the lake by themselves so I thought I could too – unfortunately I got in trouble every time I left without bringing anyone with me.  Oh well.

Running on the Otago Rail Trail with Mom.

 

We then took another car ride to Wanaka where Vaness and the kids camped with us.  We got to do more playing and hanging out at the holiday park.  While Mom, Dad and I were having some lunch in the kitchen, I was playing on my chair. I turned myself around and leaned forward, before anyone could catch me, I was on the ground and crying.  I hurt my foot and Mom was really worried. It hurt to walk on but I figured out a way to place my foot so I could continue to walk around and play.  Well, Mom and Dad were worried about the way I was walking, so we all travelled back to Alexandra with Vanessa and the kids so I could see their Doctor friend and get some x-rays.  I was not willing to sit still for the x-rays, NO WAY – have you ever been in an x-ray room?  They are a bit scary. The lady decided that Bun Bun would get an x-ray before me to show me how it was done.  I thought it was really cool to see inside of Bun Bun.  It still didn’t make me want to have an x-ray but they made me anyways.  Turns out, I did break a little bone.  The bone I broke was the first metatarsal of my left foot.  I didn’t need a cast though, just a bandage to  support my foot. We have been having fun playing in Wanaka waiting for the wind to stop.  I really don’t like the wind here in New Zealand.  Mom and Dad waited for a less windy day to get back on the bikes.  I can tell the wind makes Mom a little grumpy,she doesn’t talk much during the ride on windy days.

New Years Eve Rocket Ship

On New Years eve I got to help set off a really cool rocket. It took me a bit by surprised.  I was quite upset when it was not longer around to see.  Fortunately, the man who makes the rocket offers a $40 reward for anyone who runs up into the hills and brings it back.  That’s where Dad comes in. He ran all the way up the hill and brough back the rocket.  I was very excited and Dad seemd happy about the $40 too.

 

 

I celebrated my second birthday in Makorora.  It was a great day.  Mom and Dad sang Happy Birthday to me throughout the day.   I even got some new toys to play with.

My Birthday Celebration

 

One of my most favourite activities here is swimming with Dad.  He likes the cold water better than mom and likes to splash about.   I am getting more confident in my swimming and this makes Mom and Dad proud.

 

Swimming with Dad

I enjoy some of our days out of the Chariot and on Mom’s back in the Ergo.  We got to see two different Glaciers; Fox and Franz Joseph.

Family Hike to the Glacier

Mom had her birthday shortly after mine.  She’s old now – 30!!!

‘Happy Birthday to Mom!’

 

Zip Line with Dad

The playgrounds in New Zealand are really cool.  Dad and I got to ride the Flying Fox when we camped at Quinny’s Bush recently.

 

In a cool cave by the ocean.

 

We spent a few days near Wharariki Beach. It was great. I got to run in the sand, see baby seals swimming in little tidal pools and hang out in caves.  We also met a really fun couple named Martie and Elaine, aka Mot and Lainie.   I really liked hanging out with them too.

Mom says we are now close to finishing up our biking part of New Zealand.  I wonder what the next part of our adventure here will bring?  ~ Felix