So I am turning 50 this year. Firstly, I can’t quite believe I am 50 and secondly, does anyone else think that is old?
I remember when I was about 15 years old and I looked to my future of where I would be at about the age of 40. It was nowhere near where I actually was when I got to that age: I was going to have kids, a husband, probably a house, definitely a flying car! Something along those lines anyway. But as I approach this milestone, I look back over the last 50 years (well the years I can actually remember) and I think about what I expected and what I actually got.
In no way is this a poor me post – far from it. I think I have lived a pretty full life.
Sure, I didn’t have kids and I don’t have a husband, a house or a flying car (most upset about the last one tbh) BUT I do have a really good job that is well paid and allows me the freedom to travel to some places I never thought I would ever visit. I am nearly debt free and though I don’t have a house, I am happy with where I am with my living situation. I honestly have never felt like I missed out by not having a family of my own because I love my nieces and nephews and had some amazing experiences with them over the years. Plus having my nearly 4 yr old great, great niece is almost like having my own kid in a lot of ways.
I am happy with my lot and I wouldn’t change any of it I don’t think.
Anyway – this wasn’t going to be a post about all that, this is going to be a post about what I have decided to do for my birthday this year…
For over a decade I have gone somewhere for my birthday – London (twice), Hawaii, Helsingør, Oregon, Sydney, and of course home to Christchurch a couple of times. Because of this, when planning for my 50th I knew it would have to be a pretty special place that I went. The plans were to go to Malta, because I had wanted to go since finding out my dad had been stationed there in WW2 with the NZ Navy, and then onto London, because … well.. London!
Then Covid hit and all travel plans were put on hold.
The world is now opening up again but I honestly don’t feel that Malta is now the right fit for this year so I started looking at alternatives. I thought about doing a cruise around New Zealand, and even toyed with doing one from NYC to Canada return. I thought about doing a train trip across Canada – this is one of my bucket list items but it is quiet expensive plus the dates of travel didn’t really work out with my already booked leave. In the end I came up with 3 options:
South Island road trip to Milford Sound: While I have done a road trip to many places in the South Island – including a lot of places I would be going on this trip but I have never been to Milford Sound so the idea of being in such a beautiful area of the world on my birthday was a real drawcard. The other drawcard was obviously that I would get to see my mum for a few days as well. The downside is that NZ is really expensive to travel around – petrol is beyond crazy expensive and in some places you stay, you have to pay for wi-fi. Not to mention, there is a lot of driving involved. To do the trip I am planning, it is around 1533km all up. NZ might be small but it driving around it does take a while. But I guess when you get views like these, it all makes it worthwhile right?
Road trip around Cornwall in the UK: I have always wanted to do a road trip around Cornwall. In 2010 my sister and I based ourselves near Exeter for about 8 days and did day trips around the area but we never got into Cornwall. It has been on list for a long time and when I went to the fishing town of Whitby in Yorkshire, I became obsessed with fishing villages. I know that Cornwall has some really pretty seaside villages that would fit the bill and the plan was to be around Mousehole for my birthday. The upside of this trip is that I would be going back to England – I was last there in 2017 and it feels like a lifetime ago now. The downside is travel to the other side of the world in these uncertain times – especially with everything happening over in England lately with strikes etc. It just makes me rather apprehensive about going there at the moment.
Canadian Rockies and Lake Louise Winter Escape: To be honest, this wasn’t really on my radar until recently but when I found out about this trip I was like “I have to go!!” I mean the Canadian Rockies AND Lake Louise!! Going to Lake Louise and staying at the Fairmont is like a dream of mine and I love train travel so taking a train through the Rockies is kind of a no brainer. The best thing is that this whole trip (well except for the airfares) would be the cost includes accommodation and transport. The downside is that it is pretty expensive – the most expensive of the 3 trips. Last time I flew to Vancouver in 2019 the return trip was around $1000 because I got a really good special. Currently prices for a return trip around $2300. This is definitely something I would love to do and I actually think I might plan this for next year’s birthday … or London … or both 🤔
I ummed and ahhed over these 3 choices for quiet some time – especially the first two but then it came down to me thinking logically about it all. The Canadian Rockies would be so damn awesome but the cost was just too much for me at this stage of the year when November is fast approaching so I axed that one.
The trip to England would be so freaking good and I have been aching to go back there for so long. Part of me regrets not going there in 2018 or 2019 but it is what it is and I know I will go back one day but it won’t be in November. Just the logistics of getting there and getting around in the current climate was giving me too much anxiety so I decided not to do this trip.
Which left me with going home and visiting Milford Sound.
While this is still quite expensive, in the long run, it is actually the cheaper option and while I haven’t really done it as cheaply as I could because it is my 50th birthday after all and I do want to make it something special.
The trip will begin with me flying into Christchurch for the night with my mum and then heading off the next day to Lake Tekapo for the night – obviously this whole trip will incorporate stops along the way.ueenstown for a couple of nights – to be honest here, I am not a huge fan of Queenstown, I mean it is pretty sure but it is so darn touristy. The main reason why I am spending two nights there is so I can drive out to Glenorchy and go on the TSS Earnslaw (basically doing touristy things 😀).
Then came the decision about how to get to Milford Sounds – I could have driven from Queenstown, but it is a heck of a long drive. I could have taken a tour, definitely a long day – around 13 hours all up. I decided that I was going to spend a couple of nights in Te Anau, which I have been to for a friends wedding but it was like 20+ years ago so it has been a while haha. I contemplated driving to Milford Sound myself but decided to go the tour route and book a tour that included a Milford Sound cruise. This is going to be on my actual birthday so I am definitely doing something I have never done before.
After a couple of nights in Te Anau I am driving back up to Christchurch via Oamaru for one night. Oamaru is well known for its Steampunk festival but also has this very cool Victorian Precinct, so if I can’t go to the real England I can at least get a bit of England in New Zealand. From there I will head back to Christchurch with a few nights with my mum before flying back to Brisbane. All up I will be away for around a week & a half.
What is kind of fascinating to me is that all 3 options I came up with for this birthday trip were somehow intertwined with being near or on the water – didn’t actually realise that until I was sourcing photos for the post. It is funny because I am a Scorpio – which is a water sign, I was born in 1972 and not only was that the year of the rat but the year is also belongs to Water on the basis of the Chinese Five Elements so 1972 is the year of the Water Rat!
Well, it is interesting to me 😀
So there you have it.. my plans for a very different 50th birthday than I thought I was going to be having but honestly, after two years of not being able to go anywhere I am very glad that I am actually able to leave the country at least.