Kia ora dear whanau. While mother earth takes a massive break and families around the world are self-isolating to protect each other & everyone around them, most of us have suddenly found ourselves with more of that elusive and valuable asset – time!
Approaching this pandemic with a positive attitude can be helpful, but I realize that this can be a difficult time on a practical level when we are all cooped up together, especially if you are trying to work or study from home. The thought of a whole month (😲+) has left some wondering how on earth they will get through the month of confinement without going stir crazy! Therefore I’ve made you a list of suggestions or ideas to get you started, because this is an opportunity to make this an overall joyful experience with our families.
👉START: I came up with the idea of an “idea jar” on day 1 and it’s been a total winner! I totally recommend starting here, selecting a piece of paper from the idea jar is the first thing the kids do upon waking. Here are some ideas for you or your jar.
P.s. I will highlight (*) the ideas where the kids can just do it themselves (it will depend on your kids age but most will work for 4+ years) – then you can get on with a little work or just have a break!!😊☕
Please tag forestfamilynz on instagram and facebook to share your marvelous creations!
🌿🌲🍂Not all classrooms have 4 walls. Have fun, slow down, be present, sit in the sunshine, practice gratitude, be kind & love.🥰✌
I wasn’t going to write a post this week. I’ve gone back to studying this year and for the last month I haven’t really had the time to go out and do much adventuring. So as uninspiring as that is, I got to thinking …. nothing much is ok and should be given as much value as all other things sometimes ☯️.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to do things, when actually doing nothing is really important. I know how important it is for my kids to be “bored” and how it helps to build creativity and resilience, so I guess the same goes for me right? At mindfulness the other night I had a realization (I tend to have at least one every time I practice, thanks Jane 🙏!) I distract myself from “boredom” (aka time & space) with things like… food, wine, Facebook, Netflix and yes even adventures! It got me thinking – are my thoughts that bad? Are they not worth making the time to sit with?
Making time to practice mindfulness allows me the space to think about “the why?” Why do I do the things I do? Why do I feel the way I feel? It’s about learning to recognize what I’m thinking and then not passing judgement on it , or myself.
It was great just to come to that realization and acknowledge it. But also to acknowledge that sometimes its ok to want the distraction. We need to be kind to ourselves – the things we do and the things we feel are all OK 👌.
It is a strange time at the moment with us all being in “lock-down”, but I’m actually feeling pretty optimistic and positive about how things are going to be on the other side – with more people getting back to basics, living in a more local way and putting the environment before economics.
I’m not saying giving ourselves time and space is always easy or that the next month is going to be without challenges but maybe with a bit of time, compassion and thoughtfulness we can come out the other end stronger and healthier and more connected.
So enjoy doing nothing much and remember you can still smile with your eyes 👀 when your mouth is covered 😷.
Nga mihi, Anita ✌️🥜🌿
Make sure you check out our facebook page – Tammy has been picking up my slack and putting out some pretty rad posts for us all during these testing times.
On New Years day I went on a hike with a group of friends including the charming Leah. During our walk she told me about her recent experience doing her first triathlon. It was such a cool story I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing more about that experience and happily for us she agreed!😊
In December 2019, you did your first triathlon. What made you decide to give it a go?
Leah: I started to do regular exercise last winter (2019), I built my running up slowly to 3 km and then to 5 km runs. I started thinking… I’m keen to try something I have never done before! Around the same time I was introduced to mindfulness and I started becoming aware more of my thought patterns.
How did mindfulness influence you in the decision to give triathlon a go?
Before practicing mindfulness I had a lot of negative self talk, lot’s of reasons why I shouldn’t try something new, a lot of excuses too. But as I started to learn more about mindfulness and about noticing my (often self-limiting/negative thoughts) I decided to challenge them, and the idea of doing a triathlon took place!
That’s such a positive step! How did the triathlon go? What did you enjoy and what was hard?
The ocean swim was SO hard, because the waves were really big!!! The swim section was held at the Mt Maunganui main beach. I literally just stood there on the beach looking at the waves wondering how on earth I was even going to begin while watching the other competitors run into the ocean. My little girls who are 6 & 8 years old were standing on the beach watching me and they were crying because they were worried about me. As I stood there I thought about all the months of training I had done leading up to the event, I also wanted to show my girls that I am a strong and to be a good role model to them, to try even when it’s very hard or seems impossible! I thought I have to try! That was when a serendipitous moment occurred and I met Gene👼. Gene is a volunteer lifesaver from the Mt Maunganui Surf lifesaving club.
Gene asked if I’d like his help (yes!) and helped calm my nerves by talking to me, helping me to see a way that would make it possible for me to give it a go. He gave me his surf lifesaving board so I could lie on it and paddle, while he swam next to me- supporting and encouraging me throughout the whole swim.
His support and that of the other volunteers on the course was what kept me going. Thanks so much Gene 😊especially, but also to all the other volunteers on the day!
What I loved…I really loved the bike section, that was really enjoyable, and the run, although it was hard at the beginning it was also pretty good too (everything was easy compared to the swim!) My goal was to finish, get the medal and I did that so I am proud of myself for giving it a go and now I have ticked ✅that new thing off my list!
That’s an amazing! What a huge challenge that you overcame, you should be very proud of yourself! You mentioned you have a list of things you want to try, what else is on your list?
Later this year I intend to visit my family in Japan, where I am from and while I’m there it is my goal to climb Mt Fuji in Japan. It takes between 5-7 hrs to reach the summit and I want to be up there to see the sunrise! There are huts you can stay at on the way up. Another thing I’d like to do is walk the Tongariro Crossing to celebrate my 38th Birthday later this year. I’m also researching trail running events… and I’ve recently started learning the piano via YouTube!
That’s very inspiring! Do you think you will do another triathlon?
Yes, but not in the open ocean!
What advice do you have for someone considering doing a triathlon for the first time?
Once you set the goal, do what ever training you can fit in. Show up for yourself, but at the same time don’t overthink it, just do it!
😀Thanks so much for sharing Leah! Can’t wait to hear about hiking up Mt Fuiji!
Glamping Tramping! Get ta crew together and treat yourselves 🥾 🥂 🌿
Beautiful mountains. Stunning coastline. Spectacular cuisine and Great friends. What more could you want for a 3 day adventure away. Check out the video below from my trip away on the TORA coastal walk.
I have to say doing a three day hike with only a day pack was pretty awesome not to mention being catered for 😋. Having done this walk during a very dry February, I think I’d also like to see it in October or November in all its full green lushness. We walked for about 12-15km per day and everyone in my group had walking poles and used them on day 1 and 3 due to steep terrain.
For anyone thinking of doing the trip, here are some notes from my trip and tips I think I would have liked to have known in advance:
As I stated at the top: Glamping Tramping! Get ta crew together and treat yourselves 🥂
What happens on TORA stays on TORA 😜
Have you done it? What were your highlights?
Wanting to do it? – If you have any questions, flick me a line below. I’d be happier to have a korero 📬
While you are reading this post, I will be sat in a little caravan in remote, hilly, bush clad Coromandel on the eve of an 8 hour adventure race…nervously pouring over maps with butterflies in my stomach! This is my first 8-hour adventure race, with four 6-hour races under our belt it was apparently time to up the anti (yes, thank you Catherine😜). Our team, “Hopscotch Mafia” consist’s of my two good friends, Catherine & Simone. Our other friend & the 3rd team member is wisely joining us as support crew this time around. A girls weekend then, but perhaps not your average girls weekend!
The race we are doing on Saturday 7th March is called Raiders of the last arc the catch phrase is “enter the unknown” which I find unsettling and exhilarating in equal measure! The adventure races we have done in the past have included a rogaine/orienteering section (I love this part) requiring some map, compass and strategy skills- basically a giant treasure hunt! We typically run between the stations, as you generally get a bit of a rest walking around, staring at the map and searching for the station. You also complete mountain biking sections- usually through farm land or on forestry roads, with a few big hills thrown in for good measure! And then there’s mystery activities. One of my favorite memory of a mystery activity was when my friend Catherine had to wade around in the duck pond, wet up to her waist searching for the right decoy duck🦆 which had a code on its bottom. 😂 It still makes me laugh thinking about it!
These photos are of our team doing the Whangamata 6 hour race last year. It was a total mud-fest on the bike (as you can see, and a lot of bike pushing…) and yeah it was hard at times and we went the wrong way once, but we still had the best time!!!
I was nominated in that race to wear the wrist tag (which you need to get “punched” once you find the station) so it was me 👇scrambling down the hill or sidling around the pond (Catherine was hoping to get pay back but to her dismay I remained completely dry!) 🤣🤣🤣…
So why on earth do we this to ourselves? Wouldn’t a girls weekend at the caravan with a good book and couple of bottle of vino be better you ask???? To be honest we do usually end up asking ourselves that very question around hour 5! But there are a few reasons:
So spare us a thought on Saturday, because Hopscotch Mafia will be “entering the unkown!”😮… our mystery activity clue said we all need to bring lifejackets & glow sticks!!!??? Thinking I might be getting wet this time around!🤔😆🏊♀️
If I have reception during the race I will try to post our progress via Facebook so don’t forget to find us there too!🤙 #blood, sweat & tears
The theme these past school holidays seemed to be – Enjoy the journey 🏞
I feel like I always try to enjoy the journey and be present in the moment. But sometimes the realisation that you aren’t actually present slaps you in the face when you least expect it – it’s not about trying it’s about being.
So on a recent long walk all of the kids at some point complained, about the walk and about how tired they were. But what I noticed was, at every break we took, they sat down only for a couple of minutes then jumped up and were playing in the bush or stream, chasing each other around and just seemed to have lots of energy. They didn’t care about “getting there”, that was all me (sometimes that just comes as part of being responsible).
I was like 💡 “ah huh” they actually just want to play.
So factor in more time to be playful/imaginative while hiking … the track times are good as guides for how much walking needs to be done, but why not factor in an extra hour or two to really make something of the journey. The boys ended up being Amazonian Farmers and the girls made up new names for themselves and had a whole story going about the adventure. Distraction can sometimes take away from a moment, and quiet reflective walking is not really going to last long for the kids. Maybe a mix of all of them is the best recipe.
I don’t know about you but I find “playing” with my children hard – we are just not on the same level …. But these past school holidays, I took more stops, played in the waves, swam in the cold streams, did bombs off the jetty, danced like no-one was watching (much to my children’s embarrassment). Therefore – I smiled more, laughed more and connected with my kids on a whole other level.
Kids really can teach you so much, when you truly open up!
Doesn’t that sound appealing! I read a book recently by Penny Watson called Slow Travel which showcased wonderful places in the world to slow travel, the benefits of connecting with people and nature, stories from other slow travelers, companies that offer slow travel experiences and ways to travel slowly i.e train, bicycling, canoeing, walking.
So what exactly is slow travel or adventuring you ask?
Slow travel is about resetting, it’s about connecting to yourself, others and nature, it’s about being present & open to life, magnifying joy and of course slowing down.
Life in the modern world is (as we know) extremely busy. Commonly asked questions are “have you had a busy day” to which we answer “yes”, commonly answered questions to “how was your day?” are “it’s been crazy busy!” Perversely there seems to be a certain pride in rushing through our daily lives, in being “crazy busy”. But are we really coping? Mental health and anxiety are on the rise and we are more disconnected from nature than ever.
Have you ever come back from a holiday and said “I need a holiday from my holiday!” Yeah me too! However my most recent holiday was a 5 day camping trip to the isolated Coromandel peninsula and I really got into the gorgeousness of simple pleasures and slow living and I came home feeling so relaxed and refreshed that I’m very keen to try more conscious slow adventure and travel!
Essentials for slow “mini” adventures: A curious mind, the courage to slow down and breathe, a willingness to create/set aside some time (a minimum of half and hour- the longer the better), perhaps your old digital camera, try putting your phone on silent (maybe one day you will even be able to leave it at home entirely!)😮🤣🤣 A paper map, pack a picnic and water if venturing further, a pad and pen, and walking shoes.
Here are some slow “mini” adventures suggestions to try:
– walking in nature with others, walking in nature alone, sitting in nature aka “forest bathing”, canoeing or kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, making a camp fire (except when there’s a fire risk!), camping, hiking to the top of a hill, riding your bike, a car trip with no real destination, take a yoga or meditation class, invite your friends around for a slow cooked meal, star gazing, write a postcard or letter, a star filled night walk, fly fishing, wild swimming, talking to a stranger, sitting alone without distracting yourself with your phone- just sitting.
If you still don’t know where to start take the lead from the kids, they are pretty amazing at this! Just go with it.
To get you in the mood–
It’s my dream that people will start to re-connect with nature and realize we are all interconnected and not separate. Slow adventuring and travelling is totally a great place to start.
What does it mean to be resilient?
Resilience is the capacity to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma or stressful situations, it is basically the ability to “bounce back” from difficult experiences.
Strength/Toughness 💪 (both physically and mentally).
I’ve always believed that bush walking helps build resilience in children (and in myself), but on a recent hike with the kids, I really saw it, like “light bulb moment” 💡.
It was an overnighter with decent 6 hour (including stops) days and it was a first for a couple of the kids. We knew we were going to need plenty of distractions up our sleeves. But even so, all the kids at some point complained about the long walk, especially after the breaks, they just didn’t want to get started again. But here’s what they learnt – sometimes you just have to keep going – putting one foot in front of the other (and also that once your muscles are warm again it gets easier 😜).
That’s the thing about hiking especially multi-days …. there really is only one way to get out – walk 🚶.
It actually forces you to be resilient. It’s hard and tiring, you can take many breaks but eventually you have to just keep going. To push through boundaries you didn’t know were there. To know that when things seem so hard and tiresome after however many hours of walking 😫🥵 – you can do it! I believe the younger children experience this, the better – what a tool to already have going into adolescence.
Children and adults alike – we all need to learn that hard work pays off, especially emotionally – how we feel about ourselves. When you have completed a hike – no one has done it but you. You did this, the achievement is all yours and no one can take it from you. Be proud of yourself 😁🥰😎.
Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems – Gever Tully
(NB to keep on walking is not always the answer – not applicable to being lost or in a survival situation, where staying put could mean your survival).
In the last week of January my family and I went to the beautiful Waikawau Bay camp ground for 5 blissful days of getting back to basics! No internet, no phone reception & no power. I am still on cloud 9 and bathing in the relaxed state of mind I came home in!
The strange thing is, that it was a really relaxing holiday yet totally action packed! For example upon waking the kids were straight into their togs and off to snorkel, do bombs or play with their nets in the creek that runs through the campsite. After breakfast we were either swimming, snorkeling, spearfishing, surfing or fishing down at the beach. We also had a couple of kayaks so the kids were up and down the creek in them or catching a wave. This type of routine was broken up with meal times, cups of tea, games of ‘top trumps’, rock pooling, more swimming in the creek, cold showers and occasionally a chapter of my book. After dinner once the sun had set there began massive games of spot light! Such awesome memories.
My friend and I snuck in a bush walk on the 2nd to last day along the Matamataharakeke track, leaving the kids with the dads for a morning 👍. The track starts at the back of the campground and winds its way up to a view point over Waikawau Bay, Great Barrier and Mercury Islands … it is well worth the uphill effort. We had a half hour break on route and were only 15 minutes over the recommended time of 3 hours. Due to the hot weather and steepness I was glad I didn’t bring the kids on this walk, although if you wanted to do a walk and have little kids you could always walk for ~20 minutes and there you will find a series of stream crossings which the kids would have liked, then turn around and go back the same way. In my opinion this walk would be better suited to 10+ years old.
If you’d like to find out more about this track and see some photos click👉 here
🤙I’ve been pondering the success of this trip and I think it was due to a combination of factors, such as:
I’m really looking forward to returning here next summer and feel like it could become a bit of a family tradition.
Happy adventuring ☮
If you’re in the Tauranga/Bay of Plenty area this summer and are looking for some good tracks to do with the family, check out these 5 tracks below:
Click here for info on more walks and huts within the Bay of Plenty area. If you tried any of these walks or others, we’d love for you to share about it – comment below 👇
Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️🌿