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…).


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!!!

A photo posted by Caring Bees (@caringbees) on

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

A photo posted by Caring Bees (@caringbees) on

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!


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 😦


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


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