new zealand!!–waitakere and waiheke

we are on a plane from auckland to hong kong – one of our very longest legs…and so after our amaaaaaazing week in new zealand i finally have some time to share some photos and descriptions from the first stop on our grand adventure. as i’ve been sorting through pictures, i can’t believe how unrepresentative they are of new zealand’s true splendor! we totally fell in love with that country.

we got off the plane in the dark and very rainy morning, having lost a whole day on our flight across the pacific due to the international date line. we got our rental car and set out through auckland as the first light of day crept in. it was very foggy and drizzly but we could tell we were entering some deep jungle bush as we drove towards the waitakere ranges regional park. this is how it looked when we arrived at the visitors’ centre:IMG_4991IMG_5000
(i was excited to get a picture in this huge frame with the incredible view behind, but this was the best we got that foggy morning!) …. we decided to try driving down to the coast, hoping it would clear up.

and it sure did! the coast and bush were absolutely spectacular.IMG_5019
IMG_5011 IMG_5022IMG_5014IMG_5024IMG_5029IMG_5030IMG_5039

we drove into the little black sand beach town of piha and climbed up lion’s rock:

we did some more tramping through the bush:

and experimented with our new gopro camera and stick:

then got a better shot at the big picture frame!:
^^ can you spot the rainbow??^^ you can’t tell so well in this photo, but the jungle is so so dense!IMG_5084

we decided to drive back to the city and take the ferry from auckland to waiheke island. the boat ride was awesome and tramping around the island was provided really beautiful ocean and vineyard views.IMG_5086IMG_5094
^^ see the city out in the distance??^^

and the boat ride back at sunset! it was exhilarating.

an amazing first day in new zealand. we couldn’t have imagined then that we’d only seen such a tiny bit of nz gorgeousness. more to come from another long-ish plane or train ride!

i love traveling with the boy. he’s really the best.


aaaaaaand we're off!

we are at san francsico international airport, waiting to board the first of the twenty seven flights we will be on in the next eighty days. it was a crazy, wild, crazy whirlwind getting everything packed (for the trip and moving out of our place) and saying our goodbyes (we left for the airport directly from a little farewell party in our dear friends' backyard) -- but here we are, hoping we have what we really need, looking up last minute confirmations and itinerary items, and bubbling over with excitement and anticipation (stewed with some real exhaustion of body and mind!). this dream is really happening!!

i will be trying to blog as often as possible from our trip - you can also follow along via instagram.

here's the final lineup:
march 24-april 1 :: new zealand (we decided to go to both the north and south islands!)
april 1-april 10 :: china (hong kong, then yangshuo, then xian, then beijing, then shanghai)
april 10-april 12 :: train from shanghai to lhasa (yes, 48 hours on a train!)
april 13-april 18 :: tour through tibet
april 19-april 30 :: trekking on the annapurnal trail in the nepalese himalayas
may 1-may 4 :: recovering and exploring in pokhara and kathmandu
may 5-may 7 :: hot air ballooning and cave dwelling in cappadocia, turkey
may 8-may 10 :: istanbul
may 11-may 16 :: johannesburg and safari in kruger national park and private game reserve
may 17-may 20 :: capetown and the cape of good hope (and...ian convinced me to do shark diving!)
may 21-may 25 :: dubai, arabian desert and abu dhabi
may 26-may 29 :: buenos aires (and a quick ferry trip over to uruguay!)
may 30-june 3 :: quito, banos and the ecuadorian amazon
june 4-june 8 :: galapagos islands
june 9 :: arrive back in the usa!

here's to a biiiiig adventure!


wedding photo books from shutterfly!

i’ve spent countless hours the past few weeks on shutterfly’s website digitally creating a book of photographs from our wedding as a gift for the boy’s parents, and another as a gift for my parents. it has been a ton of fun to reminisce on our incredible wedding day and the magic of all the connected celebrations. i designed the book pretty much from scratch, so it took a lot of time and thought, but shutterfly made the process easy and i loved how customizable everything was.

when we got back from our roadtrip, we were soooo excited to see this box on our doorstep!:


we opened it up (it’s now on its way to the boy’s parents in texas) and were totally blown away at how awesome it turned out. the quality of materials and construction is seriously amazing and it just looked so good!we were freaking out as we stopped all unpacking and any other activity to flip through it on our couch. we can’t wait for both of our sets of parents to get their book!!


i wanted to share a few glimpses of the inside of the wright side’s book.
I can’t recommend shutterfly highly enough!


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