As this month’s personal hobby, I am working on finalizing our travel plans to New Zealand. Things are starting to swing into focus. My goal is: have a wonderful experience at LIANZA; meet many fantastic librarians; see libraries; see a wonderful country; get some quality time with Sandy; chill out…
I realized as I was putting my plans together that some parts of my life have become very oblique to anyone not following me on FaceBook, now that I am flying through the Tunnel of Academic Library Administration, hanging on to my seat for dear life. (Overheard at an event today: “Oh, that’s Karen Schneider–I don’t see her too much any more.”) I recently realized I had been losing vacation days for several pay periods and wondered how I got in that predicament (which I promptly addressed by taking a couple of days off, and will take several more over the summer, though we’re being prudent about travel and other expenses so we can enjoy New Zealand).
Part of it was hospice care for a wonderful tabby we adopted in early 2011 after our old tabby died and Emma, our elderly tuxedo cat, was clearly lonely. Prada, the new tabby, was healthy when she arrived, and quickly fit in, but right before the fall semester (my life now being driven by the academic year) was stricken with a fast-moving, highly pernicious oral cancer. She soldiered on, a brave and uncomplaining lass, but needed much TLC on a day-to-day basis; and when Prada finally left this world early this year, we couldn’t bear leaving Emma alone again, but of course, we wanted to be careful about not just rushing out to get any new kitty. So the vacation count crept up me, and then it was spring, and honestly, there’s no time for vacation during the regular semesters. (Prada’s successor is Samson, a hearty 8-year-old ginger cat who loves all of us and approves of our generous meal plan.)
Anyway, these rough plans are driven by a few things, such as our preference for cities and sedate activities, my wish to do my talks before my personal travel, the KiwiRail schedule (which in an effort to “to transform the service into an internationally recognised tourism product” has reduced service to an awkward several days per week), my unwillingness to drive on the other side of the road (I did that for a year in 1984–my very first car, a junker purchased on the RAF Lakenheath “Lemon Lot”–but I wouldn’t risk it now), and my vague sense that we should have footfall on both islands, even though I would not suggest that a Kiwi visiting the continental US should also travel to Alaska and Hawaii. Because it’s the semester and there is Much To Do, as well as a busy time for Sandy’s job, and yet we are also cognizant this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we’re trying to balance this trip so it is neither too long nor too short.
But it’s a draft — not a final plan. Input welcome!
First Draft, NZ Itinerary
Friday, 9/21 (pm): Depart California
Saturday 9/22: Arrive Palmerston North, check in, decompress/de-lag. We will look terrible and behave strangely, so probably an in-room night.
Sunday: more de-lagging. Church somewhere? A stroll on PN’s Square? Possible conference event in evening.
Monday, 11:30-12:30: Lead workshop on change management (working title: “Change is Easy, You Go First” — thank you, George Needham)
Tuesday night: Conference dinner
Wednesday: Closing keynote
Wednesday: driven to Wellington, library tour en route
Wednesday – Friday/?? Wellington, put up by colleague. Beer, I’ve heard. Much to do in Wellington.
Friday 9/28? Ferry to Picton, find way to interesting town, stay overnight
Saturday? Wine tour in area. Stay overnight.
Sunday: stroll around, chill out. Church somewhere? Stay overnight (or ferry back to North Island and stay there).
Monday: ferry to Wellington, stay overnight
Tuesday: Overlander from Wellington to Auckland; stay over in Auckland 1 or 2 nights
Wednesday 10/3 or Thursday 10/3: depart NZ for US. Return. Wish we were back in NZ!