the peaceful drone

Since February 5th, we’ve driven 4,316 kilometers of New Zealand. From the southwestern corner of Te Anau to the northern crest of the Bay of Islands, we took a peek at its various glory. And we couldn’t have done it without our trusty 2007 Nissan Note. We have lovingly used and abused this rental car, and there’s a good chance that she may require new tires, brakes, battery and suspension *after* we drop it off this evening. Faithful steed.

We spent half of our nights in Airbnbs and the other half camping. Here’s a look at some of our favorite spots.

We found a favorite sour gummy worm and safely navigated the other side of the road. We’ve entered the phrases “good on ya” and “cheerio” into daily conversation on a trial basis. We collected sea shells and rocks, curled our toes in sand and sloshed through snow, stared at both sunrise and sunset. And we’ve done a fair amount of documentation.

The absence of work and the freedom of travel has lended itself to a bit of writing…it had been a while and it felt good. We took our share of photos and videos. I try to keep Jeff Tweedy’s words on repeat when I have a camera. “Don’t forfeit your memories,” he told his audience in Memphis several years. This was in response to the majority of his Wilco fan base who were photographing/recording a concert. So I look intently at the curves of a coastline, listen to the baby seal bark like E.T., watch the movement of a thousand narrow waterfalls propel into the sea, and then I close my eyes and ears. Those moments will not be forfeited.

But who are we kidding, there’s a good chance we then snapped a photo or started recording. So sorry, Jeff.  This one’s for you.

And at those truly remarkable places, there’s a good chance Andrew took a ‘dronie’.  Most of the month of January I would come home to the Airstream covered in 3D-printed bits and soldered wires. Turns out he was building what would be our travel companion quad-copter (or peaceful drone).

He did an enormous amount of research, learned how to proficiently pilot, and attached our GoPro camera for some aerial footage. It’s light and compact enough to throw in a backpack and hike/kayak to more remote locations. And it has been awesome.  Andrew flew that thing over every kind of landscape while I waved and chewed the inside of my mouth (dronies over oceans make me nervous). What a stud.

We have loved being guests here and know that the stories we’ve collected will indelibly mark our stories to come. For that, we are thankful.

So we leave you with our beloved dronie and some of his best work.

Routeburn Track 

Milford Sound 

Kepler Track

Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom)

Wharariki Beach 

Abel Tasman 


Cathedral Cove  

Urapukapuka Island  


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