Prologue: Just a few words before we begin our adventure

It had been a couple of years since I had been overseas and five years away from New Zealand and Fiji.  I was starting to get the feeling that it was time to change that long interval.  I picked up a contract job in September that was to last from one to four months.  If the job lasted the four months, then I would have enough money to travel.  Two months into the job, my supervisor came to talk to me and looked like he had something to tell me, before he even spoke I asked “Do I get to go to New Zealand?  We'll keep you the full four months.  YES!

I wasn't sure if the time was right to go in monetary terms, but I started to think about things.  Life is much too short to let it slip by and I don't believe in reincarnation so this is my only chance on this Earth.   I was still very strong and fit, but not getting any younger.  There were a few trails I wanted to tramp in New Zealand that can be pretty rough.  Who knows what will happen in the next years.  A car could plow me over when riding my bike or arthritis could cripple me or lightning could strike.  Whether that lightning strike is in the metaphorical or literal sense really doesn't matter.  I suspect that when I'm fifty, I'll still be able to do these trails as a solo hike, but I'm certain that I could do them now.  It was with that spirit that it was time to go.  Come January 13th, I boarded a plane and was off.

These travel stories are written to give a person an idea what it's like to experience New Zealand and Fiji.  But they are also written for me so that when I'm 89 years old, in a nursing home with my mind mostly gone, I can look back and remember that life is good and what a great world we live in.  I'll say to the nurse, "You know, I remember one day when I was hiking on the Dusky Track and there was a tree that...."

I hope that I'm able to transport both of us to a far-away and beautiful place.  I'll give it my best try.