Interesting things we’ve learned from our new Kiwi friends

Things we have learned about life during our recent travels…

Taking another look at life, from a different view, is quite challenging.  As you are probably aware from our blog posts, we literally sold our entire life, jumped on a plane and flew to another country to “get a different view”.  Well, it was definitely worth it!

Maybe you are not exactly ready to follow in our footsteps, so taking a moment to think about what we have learned and apply the ideas to your life, just might be a little easier 😉

 1.  Sense of Community.  Seems simple, but if you think back 20 years ago, we knew almost every family in the neighborhood, even possibly the town (depending on the size).  We ran around with our friends in packs and had weekend gathering with the families and sometimes, even the whole neighborhood. Remember block parties? Family shindigs?

Our life was not like that anymore.  Just before we left, we were busy working, running the kids to school and to their extra activities, making dinner and getting ready for bed…just to do it all over again the next day.  This left little room for connecting with neighbors, friends and family.  If we did have a little time, it was only a very small few we would make time for.  This is sad, because we lost our sense of community.

Open your eyes, there is a world around us 😉

Once we arrived in New Zealand, we began mixing with the locals and making connections.  The more we chatted with people, the more we realized they were all saying, “my friend ….. knows …. and can help you with …..”.  Basically, people knew almost everyone in their town or close to it because, when someone needed something, they knew who to get help from.

The other thing which is common here, is trade.  Yep, old school trading one’s services or products for another’s services or products.

Think about that on the most basic level.  Before the time of big grocery and hardware stores, you went to the little shops in town and talked to “Joe” about needing to fix “xyz”.  You might not have all of the money, but “Joe” knew who you were and would just “add it to your account”,  let you borrow his or would come over to help after work.  This is that sense of community, supporting the local businesses who were there when you needed them.

We realized the whole time we were running around, working, taking the kids here and there, we were actually in our own little world, no connection really to anyone, just a superficial one.  Could I depend of those superficial connections in time of need?  Probably not.

2.  Connection to Farmers.  Ok, this is sort of the same as “Sense of Community”, but the difference is, we need to know where our food comes from. I am sure you have heard this cry before, but in reality, it is true.

A long time ago (30 years or more), my grandmother would take us to multiple farms to pick up vegetables, fruits and meats. I actually do not remember a grocery store trip with her. She knew how to get her produce directly from the people who produced them.  What a concept!

Well, when times got busy, the big grocery store was a quick and easy way to get everything we needed. But we lost the direct connection to our farmers and the ability to question their practices of how things are done. Once the farmers supplied the large grocery stores, their processes had to change to deal with the larger volume required. Thus, opening the door for practices which may not exactly be healthy for us and our families (such as using chemical sprays instead of just planting crops the bugs hated next to another crop, etc…).

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Do you know which honey adds sugar & water during processing?  Either, get your honey directly from a beekeeper you know or call the company and directly ask (even if it does not show on the nutritional ingredients label).

Anyway, here in New Zealand, we started a practice of getting 80% or more of our weekly groceries from our local farmers market. This does several things:  allows us to question if they utilize organic practices or what types of sprays are used and when they use them, the cost of our grocery bills are dramatically reduced, we get to know our producers personally and support them directly!  It is a win/win situation because the grocery store is still getting 20% of our support, too 🙂

@caringbees ❤️'s farmers markets!!!

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So, take a moment and do a quick internet search for “’your town’s name’ farmers market”.  It is best to do it in the summer, while produce is plentiful and farmers are more out and about.  This way you will be able to ask them if they also have produce through the winter, using a greenhouse or something to that effect. It never hurts to ask 🙂

3.  The BIG O.E.  What is the “BIG O.E.”, you might ask?  It is the “Big Overseas Experience”.  When I heard about this, I was just shocked!  The overseas experience is when a young adult graduates high school or college and leaves the country to travel, by themselves or with friends.  Yes, seriously, as young as 18 years old!!!

The way the “Kiwi’s” look at it is, this is the time the young adults experience what life has to offer, to grow and learn about what they might want to pursue in their future career and to fully take care of themselves through immersion.  How in the world do they afford this, right?  Here I am thinking the parents save and save, then give their kids a chunk of money to live off of….uh, NO, not at all.  The kids actually work and save for the plane ticket to the first country, along with a little extra cushion, then nothing else (most of the time).

Where will your dreams take you? Follow @caringbees to find out where ours takes us! #caringbees

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Now the next question is, how do they live with no extra money for posh hotels and food?  That is where I learned the key to all this…. youth up to 29 years old (on average) are allowed an open work visa in just about any country.  With this, they fly to a country, locate a backpackers/hostel place to stay for inexpensive (dorm like room style) and read the boards for temporary/seasonal employment or even “woof” it.  If a person is interested in a certain field, it is their opportunity to intern.  The reason this all works, is because, ideally, the person shouldn’t really have bills to pay for, except their food and dorm style lodging.

Another way to get around with more varied types of work is “woofing”.  Woofing is when a local business or private person needs help and is willing to give room and board (food) in exchange for work.  This might be gardening, farming, working in a factory, nannying (watching children), etc..  These “kids” actually make it work!

It is really amazing to have conversations with these travelers.  We have met people as young as 18 from Germany to 24 year olds from France.  They too know about this “Big O.E.”, but it’s not as common as it is for New Zealanders.  The knowledge these kids have about responsibility and the sense of a greater world is just dumbfounding.  When I have a chance to chat with these adventures, it is always a highly intelligent, worldly conversation.  I am very impressed each and every time.

There are some travelers who may even know three or more languages, too.  One young couple traveling, started their journey from France to Russia, then Mongolia to China to Nepal, then to Vietnam and Thailand, finally landing in New Zealand. Now, WoW!!!!  And they were only 23 years old!!! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

So, what are your thoughts on all of these recent lessons we’ve learned?  Do you have any thoughts, questions or epiphanies to share?  I look forwards to everyone’s comments and hope to learn from you, too!

For now…give bees a chance and plant bee friendly plants without herbicides or insecticides!

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Where have we been?

Oh gosh….where to start?  I meant to blog weekly and worst case scenario, monthly.  The next thing I knew… I started receiving messages asking when the next email blog would ever post 🙂  I finally realized, I was putting it off because I had SO many pictures, I was just overwhelmed with deciding how to narrow them down.

So, with that, I will attempt to break things down between several posts…so bare with me! ❤

Well, let’s begin with our amazing flight leaving Los Angeles, CA.  We flew United Airlines and we were overwhelmed with the fantastic flight crew and airplane’s entertainment!  We expected a long boring flight and only food for purchase, like typical flights within the States.  Apparently, transcontinental flights come with all kinds of perks, like continual feeding (I think it was four to five times we were served, so much I could not eat the last “snack”) and free multimedia (movies, games, music, TV shows, etc…).  By the time the flight was over (approx 13 hours to Australia, our stopover location) we were begging to stay on.  We did not want to leave!  I think we could have lived there permanently 😉  Thanks United Airlines Flight Crew!!! <3<3<3

Finally in New Zealand!!!!

Finally in New Zealand!!!!

Once arrived in New Zealand, we dedicated our time to the North Island of New Zealand.  Their winter runs roughly June through August.  So, the more we drove South, the colder and icier the roads would be.  We really wanted to avoid cold as much as possible, since we left the States during the Spring, just to enter another Winter  😦

(Note to self:  never travel continually through winters….next time, only travel during their summers, it will make our lives much happier 🙂

Well, we’ve managed to log most our travels around the North Island, so I will begin with our RV’ing experience first.

Here in New Zealand, they call RVs or motorhomes, “caravans” or “campervans”.  We rented our caravan from Britz.  They had the best “winter deal” available on the island.  Speaking of deals, I read about how New Zealand allows “freedom camping” in tons of areas.  This would mean we did not have to pay to stay at an overnight campground, just park for free in the designated areas.  This sounded great, so we upgraded to the RV with the contained bathroom for those freedom camping days.

Here is where the trouble began…apparently, the heaters in the campervan only work when plugged into a powerstation.  Freedom camping is essentially a parking spot. No power, no water, etc… With winter setting in, it was too cold at night to not have heat (we tried several times)  😦

So, the money we would save freedom camping did not happen, but at least we had a warm place to stay and an attached bathroom for the middle of the night trips 😉  An average campground cost us between $40-60 NZ$/night.  If the site had extras like hot pools or upgraded parks and facilities, it was up to $70-90 NZ$/night.  So, you can imagine, it got pricey when you add in the daily cost of the campervan.

Back to the story…we picked up the camper at 5pm, just when they were closing.  They gave us a quick tour and a pat on the back.  Then we were off!  Well, not really…we then realized we needed to overcome some slight issues:  driving on the opposite side of the road, how to drive a large campervan vehicle, at night in a foreign place, where we did not book a campsite (thinking we would freedom camp) and then to top it off,  it was down pouring rain!!! Yep, quadruple threat!  Luckily, Fritz took the reins on it all….oh boy, though, it was surely stressful.

So, note to self, don’t travel to a new country and arrive at night without a place to stay and no directions 😉

Welp…there is the first post in a long series  😉

Oh, before I forget, communication is key, so we bought a NZ SIM card to use with our iphones…but note to self:   purchase a phone with a plan, instead of trying to unlock a phone, backup contents, perform a factory reset and then finally a full restore 😦

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Anyway…give bees a chance…please use natural pesticide methods, such as companion planting, etc…!  ❤ Caring Bees!

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New Zealand, Who Knew Amazing People Live Here?

Ok, I seriously mean that in the nicest way.  🙂

Back in 2008, I stumbled upon this article/advertisement from National Geographic.  It simply states, “We are not alone.” along with the image of the United States surrounded only by oceans (see below).

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When I read its contents, it made me realize how important it is to educate our children in the larger sense of the world.  There are other countries, people, cultures, animals, insects and everything else to learn about around us.

The article resonated with me so much, that I still have it with me right now…7 years later.  I have to wonder if this article, plus Oprah Winfrey having a world traveling family of 6 on her show,  stimulated my interest in the possibilities of family travel.

Anyway, back to what I was saying…the people of New Zealand are AMAZING!

We met Dick & Geraldine.  They winter a few months in the northern island at a great motorcamp in Muriwai Beach.  They helped us feel at home.  In fact, they reminded us our our favorite neighbors from the Midwest, Dick & Carol 🙂

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Dick & Geraldine

They have been a great local resource for directions, things to do on the island,  and generally caring for our well being.  So much so, we just have to hug them when we see them!

Next up is Bruce.  He owns Waimauku Food Station and has the best fish & chips!!!  I love that he prides himself on the sourcing of the food he sells.  From the seafood to the ingredients in his healthiest smoothie, all clean sources researched and vetted by him!

Oh speaking of a smoothie, he has this amazing “stress buster” smoothie that even Fritz loves!  I seriously can not believe Fritz will drink something with spirulina, chlorella, barley & wheat grass!  But yep, every time we walk in there….there he goes ordering it!  Thanks Bruce for turning us onto this drink!

While talking with Bruce, we discovered he use to have a beehive.  They were doing great until one day he noticed a few wasps coming around.  Shortly after that, he discovered all of his bees were gone, literally left the hive and never came back.  He mentioned the wasps in New Zealand destroy beehives and take their honey.  What he thought was odd, was the fact the honey was still there and the hive was not destroyed.  His next thought was maybe wherever the wasp came from, there might have been someone using pesticides to rid them and inadvertently killed his bees.  His last thought was, recently a maize (corn) field was planted and wonders if they were using harsh chemicals.

Bruce has given us some contacts to follow up with in regards to New Zealand bees.  Once we finish our tour of the North Island, we will be contacting them to get more insight into the current environments the bees have here.

Well, we’re off to meet more friendly New Zealanders!

Give bees a chance…use natural pesticide methods!

❤ Terra

Caring Bee’s “Bee Report”

Hello everyone!  Wow, we’ve been really busy touring the North island of New Zealand and the time has been getting away from us 🙂  There are SO many amazing adventures around every corner!

Well, before leaving the United States, we made a few beekeeper connections:  my Aunt from Indiana, Meljess Bees from Murrieta, CA & Crystal’s Pure Honey from Vista, CA.

My Aunt spoke about amazing things happening with the EPA’s actions to Protect the Pollinator project issued by the President of the United States.  In the EPA’s link provided above, they specifically mention the use of neonicotinoid pesticides being a large part of the cause of bee die off.

She mentioned a few months ago there was a “town hall” gathering of sorts.  It involved Purdue University, IN State Chemists Office, local farmers, public and bee keepers to brainstorm on new ways to save the bees.  Ideas such as reducing neonicotinoid pesticides, choosing to use non-fungicide seeds and planting native bee-friendly wild flowers (such as thistle, locus trees and white clover) on State lands.

As for my Aunt & her husband, two of their beehives, out of the 6 hives, created swarms.  She said this is great for the bees because they must be strong enough to decide to split the colony, to expand further.  This is not great for honey production since there are less workers on the current hive, but great for honey production next year!

In Murrieta at Meljess Bees, the bees are doing well, but they are taking a lot of steps to make sure the bees have access to water and stay away from pesticide crops.  They do this by creating connections/partnerships with local farmers to bring the bees in and pollinate the farmer’s crops.

Jessica mentioned they did have problems a few years ago when a farmer was not being honest with them about their pesticide use.  It decimated a few of their hives due to this dishonesty and broke a trusting relationship.  Since then, they vet any new farmers with a fine tooth comb, so to not loose any more of their bees.

We also spoke with Dale & Chrystal from Vista, CA.  Dale mentioned initially, the current biggest concern is the lack of water for the bees, here in California.  He is seeing the hives not producing very much honey, because the bees have been eating it to survive.

The second thing he mentioned was the neonicotinoid being of grave concern.  He described, if a farmer is using this pesticide, it will literally take out the whole colony.  He also, like MelJess Bees, has long time relationships with the farmers to avoid any loss when pollinating their fields.

I hope this update gives you a small look into the varying degrees of the status of our bees.

Next update will be an international one, yeah!

Give bees a chance…use natural pesticides, not chemicals.

Terra ❤

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The Family World Adventure Begins with Caring Bees!

Good Day from down under, New Zealand style!!!

Yes, we made it!  What an amazing journey we started and can’t wait for what each new day may bring 🙂

To catch you up a bit, I have been writing a lot about our experiences and lessons learned, but realized, this would be quite lengthy to post through the blog….so, I guess I will be writing a book in the future!

Anywho….Here is a “quick” synopsis of the preparation, the flights & arriving in New Zealand:

As you can see by the above images, we started packing and then ran out of luggage for the rest of the stuff.

Below are images during the estate sale.  Everything was pulled out and displayed for the sale.  We had a great turnout, even for the rainy, cool days.  We have to thank Leslie, Will & Melanie @ Strictly Business for their amazing job getting things to move.  Their two weeks of hard work paid off….thank you!!!

After the day’s sale (3 days total), since the kid’s beds were sold, they created forts to sleep under for the night 🙂

Then, here is what the aftermath looked like from the sale, which all remaining items went to a local donation charity:

Finally, now to move our stuff to the hotel.  Should be no problem, right?  Wrong!  It took three trips to the hotel to move everything out of the house.  Needless to say, there was more “shedding” in our future!

Ugh!  Finally to the hotel for a peaceful night sleep….

And…..were off!  Jet setting across the world!!!

We rented an RV (aka Caravan, as New Zealander’s call it) and headed off towards the beach!  Sounds easy, right?  Uh, not really.  It took us two days parked somewhere in Auckland just to get adjusted to our surroundings, learn how to drive on the opposite side of the road, get internet connections up and running and recover from “jet lag”.  But once that happened, the adventure started up again!

All in all, it was worth each step to land where we are right now.  Our future is bright and beautiful…we look forward to sharing more!  To keep up with our updates, don’t forget to follow us at:

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr & Twitter!!!

Items on my blog To Do list:  posting the kids blogs, more beautiful scenery images, what we have learned so far from our local beekeepers, etc…  If you are interested in asking us a question, please do!  I may even answer it in a blog post, too!

Give bees a chance….don’t use pesticides…

❤ Terra

 

How to have the ULTIMATE Family Travel Adventure!

Hi and welcome to CaringBees.com!!!!  Thank you SO much for joining/following our exciting family travel adventure!

So, you are probably wondering:

“Who, what, when, where, why and how is this family traveling?”, right?

Well, the actual question I ask back to you is:  “Do you want the short or the long version?”

Here is the short version, sort of:

Who?
Let me introduce you to the adventure team:

Fritz – our team spirit

Terra – our motivator

Ky – our researcher

Kai – our marketing guru

What?
Caring Bees was created because our family is passionate about our health and discovered Manuka honey, specifically, to have amazing versatile natural caring/healing properties, above most other foods and herbs!  Also, we have great concerns about the future of our lovely bees and would like to look deeper into this issue, find out what we can do to help and share with the world!

When & where?
Now, 2015-16!  To New Zealand, Australia, Fiji then who knows where else!!!

Why?

Bees are the most important insect in the world.  If they die, we will be left to manually pollinate everything, in order to survive.  Our goal is to bring awareness to this utmost important issue and also research ways each and every one of us could help around the world!

As for personally, we do not want to live with regrets.  The timing is right for us and we feel, if we do not take the opportunity now, we might not have the chance to do so in the future.

And what are you going to do after that?  Well, the future always brings opportunities, so we are excited for all of the possibilities!  Worst case scenario, after our great adventure, we could come back and start over. 🙂  We would rather live with having an amazing experience traveling, learning and educating the world and coming back broke, than to watch the days pass by, wishing we had tried.

How?

Selling our “stuff”, will give us the money needed to get going.  We will also be looking for online ways to create additional income and sponsorships, to continue our work of learning and spreading the word about the delicate bees.

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The longer additional version:

Why?

– Ever since I was a young child, I dreamed of traveling the oceans, like Jacque Cousteau.  I am a huge advocate of making childhood dreams and passions come true (my Uncle tells me, all of the time, I need to be a motivational speaker).
– We would like our children to experience other cultures and to further their understanding of the world.
– I would love for my husband to have a break from overworking and spend more time with the kids.  He has longed for this, since they were born.
– And, one of the biggest issues affecting all living things seriously needs our attention…our planet’s bees…

What about the kid’s schooling?  The answer is: homeschooling.

Homeschooling allows us the freedom to travel, yet gives an opportunity for the kids to learn in a larger platform environment.  More on homeschooling in future posts 🙂

I hope this gives you a well rounded sense of the who, what, when, where, why and how 🙂

Our next posts will document some of our steps taken to prepare for such a journey and how you might be able to use our experience for your family’s next adventure 😉

Give bees a chance…

❤ Terra

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