Last Day in NZ

In just a moment I begin my journey to the airport again. Time to move onward to Chile. It has been a good couple of days here in NZ, catching up with some dear friends. These days, although there are more people that I would have really loved seeing while here, it is prudent to spend good amounts of quality time with few than a few moments with many. Perhaps the next time that I am here…

Catching up with Walter and Teresa.

New Zealand – it’s all over now

After five days in New Zealand, I am now on the plane back to Argentina. My time in New Zealand really flew past during the race around to try and catch up with as many people as possible.

Met at the airport at midnight by Walter and Gail, we managed to stuff the large amounts of luggage into his car and returned back for a quick catch-up that lasted until 2am.The next day was a work day, so it was not easy to get up too early.

Catching Walter by surprise with the camera.

The next day I went along to work with Walter. Well, if truth be known, I slept in while Walter went to work, and then when he returned for breakfast I joined him in the return. At the office I caught up with Gail again, and met Leanne, on the desk across from Gail’s, where I spent a lot of time.

Journey to Snells Beach
Saturday morning saw me traveling up to Snells Beach. A train took me to Auckland city, where I felt compelled to track down my favourite old Indian Curry house for a delicious meal. A bus from here took me up to the outer limits of Auckland city on the north-side, where I planned to try hitch-hiking.

auckland city
Auckland city as seen from the harbour bridge.

When the bus driver heard that I wanted to hitch, he told me that I was in the wrong place, and needed to walk over to the other main road, which was a 20 minute walk from where the bus stop was. The bus was empty however, and when the driver realised that, he told me to stay aboard and drove me over to the main road, stopping amidst all of the traffic so I could get off. Nice guy.

On the bus heading north.

Once on the main road, I had to walk a fair way before there was room for cars to stop, where they could pick me up. On the way I passed a bus stop with someone waiting. He told me that he was waiting for the bus that would take me even further north, to a much better position for hitch-hiking, and that it was coming shortly. So I waited.

Finally at Waiwera, home to the famous hot-pools, and the place where all roads north join into one, I stood on the side of the road and stuck out my thumb. Within two minutes a driver had stopped and offered me a ride.

Snells Beach
The beach that I used to visit almost every day. Snells Beach.

Riding with a Killer Dog
Looking into the white coupe car with sports seats and a huge lump in the bonnet, I discover that the passenger seat is already occupied by a young pitbull pup which is reluctant to surrender his position. Eventually he does, after physically thrown into the back seat, and I take his place.

No sooner had we started our journey than the driver asked me if I had any "cones" or "weed." To his disappointment, I told him that I was fresh out of them. Perhaps it was my Bolivian bag that suggested to him that I may have walked in those circles.

As the journey continues, I learn that his young pitbull has a destiny of tearing people apart. The driver’s idea is to train him up so that he can leave his car open and the keys in it, and let the dog guard it. There is still a lot of training yet however, as the dog slinked over onto my lap during the drive for a cuddle.

Conversation ran more or less in staccato fashion, between loud bouts of Bob Marley. Initially it was rap, but on my suggestion we moved onto Bob. There was great pride in the volume of the stereo and I was given the full blast level so I would know just how good it was. It was so loud that the pain no longer came from my ears but from my entire head. On getting out I discovered that half of the back seat was occupied by one gigantic speaker.

jonny and hayley
Jonny and Hayley.

Meeting Friends in Unusual Places
Finally, I was in Warkworth. Heading up to some of the places where I remembered my friends used to live, I guess it should not have been surprising that after three years they were no longer there. So I continued through the town to the road that leads to Snells Beach and waited for a ride.

Cars were not coming along this road so readily, and as the evening pressed on with fading light levels, the cold was increasingly harder to ignore. Unsure of what to do, I stuck it out a little longer. Then to my surprise, there was a voice calling my name from behind me. When I spun around, it was an old friend, Eric, and his wife.

steve and angela
Steve and Angela.

Eric normally lived in another part of New Zealand, and although I had wanted to catch up with him, it would not have been possible. Now I was in the car with him. He told me that he was not planning on stopping for the guy that was hitch-hiking as the car was very full, but as they passed by, he realised that it was me. How thankful I was. Both for the ride, and for the chance to catch up during the short trip.

Frank and June
Frank and June.

In Snells Beach I catch up with some of my dear friends during the evening and the following morning, then turn and head back down to Auckland again. This time I get a ride down to Waiwera and take the bus from there all the way to the city. Another train ride and I am back at Walter’s place again.

Brenda’s place, where I stayed.

Last Days in NZ
The remaining time I have in New Zealand is spent hanging around the office with Walter, having fun with the staff and chatting about all sorts of things… as you do. One of the highlights of this time was enjoying dinner with Leanne, a time of much laughter and candid conversations. After dinner she presented a bottle of liqueur which Walter identified as being Austrian. A golden yellow, the bottle also contained myriads of flakes of gold that would float around for ages after shaking it, although you could not taste or feel them while drinking it.

Austrian Liqueur
Austrian liqueur with gold flecks all through it.

Tuesday is a day for finalising everything and saying goodbye to my new friends in the office. In the evening, at 10pm, after farwelling Walter, I climb aboard the plane that will take me to Argentina. When I arrive there, it will be 7pm on the same day. I gain three hours even after a 13hr flight. Nice.

flight path
Flying from New Zealand to Argentina.

Now in New Zealand

Today I am in New Zealand, tired after a long day of travel yesterday, but happy to be here. During my short 3 days that remain I hope to catch up with at least some of the many people that I would love to see while here.

Things went wonderfully smooth throughout all of my travels, from checking in many bags on a one-bag flight without any extra charges or problems and being able to check them right through to Auckland from Brisbane, to having a hotel room and meals supplied for me by the airline because of the delayed flight, and then being upgraded to business class on my flight to New Zealand.

Now, if only I could get some sleep.

Brothers Three

Sometime in 2001, while living in New Zealand, I headed with my elder brother over to Japan where our youngest brother was living for a while. The idea was to catch up with him and check out where he was living as well as get to see some of this fascinating land called Japan.

It was a fantastic time, just us three guys, as we travelled from city to city, and temple to temple. Bush walks with bell-toting-bear-scaring hikers all around us, thousands of steps leading up to temples on mountain tops, and views over nearby highly populated areas. Train travel on super-fast and high-luxury trains from Tokyo to many other cities in the south. Temples and museums and temples and old towns, and temples and parks, and temples and foods. A highly amazing journey through belief systems, cultural diversity, technological marvels, and even the “nostril of Budda” (which was really only a hole in a temple support pole).

During this journey of “The Brothers Three” we stopped in at some of the amazing “fun” centres – a building filled with video games, activities, and photographic booths. Wanting to “capture the moment” of our time here, we all stepped into one of the photo booths. It seemed important to capture some of the fun and amazement we were experiencing in our travels, and with some creative facial expressions we came up with this. The Brothers Three. Amazement. Incredulity. Lost for words.

The Brothers Three
Brodie (youngest), John (oldest), Me

And so we were as we travelled around this amazing country. Faces of wonder, taking in all of the new sights and exploring so many differences. A fun photo. A fun time. The only time we have ever travelled together.

The Brothers Three.

Many thanks to my good friend Jorge who recently found this photo burried in some books I gave him ages ago and went to the effort of scanning and sending me a copy of it.

A Brief Background

In 1998 when I was working in Cairns Australia, God called me to go to New Zealand. About eight years before that I had seen a short video on a place called Lifeway College* over there. This was now the same place that I believed God was calling me to move to.

At the end of that year I sold up all my gear and bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand. Once at Lifeway College I studied for six months on their core course which was called the CE course. After this I moved onto the college staff. I remained there until leaving four years later.

During my time in New Zealand I had started to plan for a long term stay in the country. It was around this time that God then called me to go to South America. To be sure I understood this was important, He told several other people independently of me that I was going too. When they told me, not knowing anything of what I was thinking at the time, any doubt I may have had, had vanished.

Realising I was leaving my many friends behind and wanting to remain in contact with them, I started RobAbroad, an email list that sends to everyone at once. This way I could tell everyone at once what I was doing regarding leaving for Argentina. It has been a wonderful tool during these days of constant change.

The contents of the emails have now been placed on the internet. Not so everyone in the world can see them, but to make them more accessible to those of my friends who don’t have email but have access to a computer somehow.

In the interests of continuing friendships and maintaining contacts.


* The Lifeway College that I knew is now sold to a NZ church and in a very different location. For that reason, I have linked to the original website through the Internet Archive. I have also provided a link to an image capture of the old Lifeway website.

The Call – Late 2002

Sometime later in 2002 a feeling started to grow inside of me that told me I was leaving soon and should get ready. But leaving to where? Get ready how? I didn’t really know. My decision at that time was to throw away and sell any junk that I was hording and I thought this would be sufficient. Little did I know how much more I would have to do.
Continue reading “The Call – Late 2002”

The Call – Early 2002

After wanting to learn a language for a long time I decided to take a language course at University. Having considered German and Japanese first I finally rested on a course that included Spanish, French and German in a combined degree. I thought that by taking this course I could concentrate on the languages I wanted (being part-time) and therefore learn them faster. However this was not to be.

Just after this, I started making plans to visit Japan. My younger brother, Brodie, was living there and during a phone conversation the previous year I had promised him that I would visit. So without the funds to do so I was making good on my promise and looking forward to spending time over there with Brodie and John, our eldest brother, who also decided to join us.

With the feeling that God was going to move me on soon and not knowing where, I considered this trip to be a great opportunity to see what Asia was like in case this was where I would be going. So I made plans to visit China and Thailand on the way back but never made it there. It was too difficult or too expensive to work in with our planned trip, so Japan was it.

After returning home from Japan, my interest in the place had increased dramatically to the point of considering living there. I started looking for opportunities to go. I found none, but was in no rush.

One day as I was driving to work, I was thinking through the money I owed in various areas. As I was praying, I had a distinct feeling of urgency to pay out all of these debts. Although it took a while to start this process, once I became serious with it a strange thing happened. Instead of only wondering if I was moving on and if so then where, I started to get some definite directions about it all, and it happened very quickly too.

The Call – 2001

Sometime late in the year I got a feeling that God was going to move me on. Sort of a gut feeling that you know something is going to happen but there is no sense of timing or detail to it. So I didn’t know where or when and figured that it would be a fair while away too. Therefore I simply kept these thoughts in mind but kept going with what was in front of me to do. There was no need to dwell on it greatly at the time.

I am leaving…

To my wonderful friends, good mates, and whanau. Greetings.

I have some news to tell you all…

it is now time to leave New Zealand.

That’s right. I am leaving Lifeway, FTN, and New Zealand. All at once really. And not too far away. I will be back in Australia (from whence I came originally) by the 28th of May. That gives me about 8 days left here.

And I will miss this place too. New Zealand is a very beautiful country and has tremendous customs and culture. The people I have met have engraved themselves onto my heart and I will surely miss them greatly. They have been a wonderful part of my life during the 4 1/2 years that I have been here.

What follows is a multi part series. First is my history in New Zealand and what I have done during my time here. Then details on how and why I know God has called me to South America will follow. This is the different events and processes that took place to get me to the point I am at now – holding a one-way ticket to Brisbane.