Five months – many changes

Hi all

I’ve not posted much since early in the year because I decided to make some changes. “Down sizing” I believe some call it. As some of you may recall for quite a few years I’ve been re-modeling the inside of a very large 32ft. 3 axle caravan.

It’s now back on the road. Getting it there took a big push of many weeks, most especially as I went through everything I own and threw out literally over a ton of it.

Right from that moment when we take a deep breathe and utter “right”, the work has had a magical flow to it. All I could deduce from this [with my mouth often hanging open] was that it affirmed I was doing the right thing.

This sort of process I realise looking back from the delightful solitude of the Hawea River, where I’m now parked up for awhile, creates space of a somewhat spiritual flavour.

But what it may all be about, is by getting rid stuff and simplifying life I feel ready and able to easily adapt to opportunities and change!

At times my tank was running near on empty and then as is often the way you realise:

1] who has the inclination to “be there” for us, but can’t

2] those who can and are , and may not even realise it, as it’s just what they do.

Either way I felt supported one way or another by everyone who knew and I managed to not cherish any opinions while developing a deepening sense of gratitude for how it’s all worked out – and still is. Thank you everyone!

First stop [which maybe for awhile] on my new journey is by the lower Hawea River just 5 mins drive from Wanaka. Yes, it is chilly, but I’ve now a total of 120mm of insulation layered in my still tall ceiling. That took a bit of work too, but well worth it!

Actually that the technology is now available has been a significant factor in deciding to try some “change” in life.

My Land Cruiser camper supplies the electricity [which even powers my old washing machine now fitted in a spare corner behind a curtain], and also now hosts the highest speed Internet I’ve ever had, and my landline phone, via a radio link to Hill End by the mouth of the Cardrona River. All for a monthly cost a third that I’d been paying Telecom…
Hawea River

The same spot in the warmth of yesterday afternoon. That’s me to the left in the distance. The grey house near the center is another house on wheels. Just by coincidence [that flow again!] it belongs to an old climbing/tramping and ski touring mate Bruce from Ranfurly, and he is on his first prolonged “roadie” after building it for about a year. His setup is very different to mine [wood stove v. my hi tech diesel heater, height v. the length of mine, and possibly I’m lighter, but both demand the use our larger 4wd vehicles. It’s been fun to have brews at each other’s home and swap ideas as to how to live this way – experimentally for both of us. Btw this site costs us $7/person/night – no facilities except for “long drop” DOC Kiwi style toilets, which I find just fine…
Hawea River Swing Bridge

In the months it has taken to make these changes, and to keep my clients happy as I’m still working [not quite full time], I made an effort to get away regularly to keep my batteries charged. Thus I made two trips to Southland on photographic sorties. This shipwreck is near Bluff…
Shipwreck at Bluff

My cousin’s son got married in town too, and I was asked to do photos in her amazing garden…
Wanaka Wedding

I also kept up my regular volunteer work for the Dept. of Conservation. This kea was a bit sick – recovering I think from an injury in the West Matukituki Valley in Mt Aspiring National Park, and while cautious did not mind me getting up close…

My other trip to Southland was to Milford Sound for an overnighter in the back packers. I’d never visited this crazy tourist infected spot before for more than an hour or two. It turned out to be a delightful thing to do!…
Mitre Peak Milford Sound

Homer Tunnel en-route to Milford Sound
Homer Tunnel - Milford Sound

For both trips to Southland I was able to bypass Queenstown on my return by taking the public 4wd drive road through the remote Nevis Valley to Cromwell. It always takes me several hours as it is just so beautiful and photogenic, reeking of gold mining history too…
Nevis Valley

On another weekend I lived in style in a motel in Queenstown and did the long mt. bike ride up the Arrow River into the old historic gold mining ghost town Macetown [semi restored by DOC] to sample the autumn colours…

Once again I attended the annual Autumn Art School in Wanaka in order to push my photography learning along. This was my best shot for the week. That is a chainsaw dangling – minutes later the tree top above the guy toppled down past him.

Earlier I mentioned “making space”. Well, it can be filled with creativity I think, which seems to be happening to me One way it manifests I suspect is in these photos! And somehow I seem more able to work very fast making them, probably because I’m not thinking much, yet taking time to let whatever story is inherent to reveal itself…
Wanaka Autumn Art School

More DOC volunteer work trapping predators in the Grandview Range between the Lindis and Clutha valleys…

Yet again more DOC volunteer work checking trapping tunnels in Matukituki Valley…
Matukituki Valley

Ice Puddle Matukituki Valley

A grab shot in rain and good light while driving through Wanaka, that I applied some new techniques to…
Plantation Road Wanaka

Another application of new found skills on trees in Lake Wanaka…
3 Lake Trees Wanaka

I made a couple of trips to Dunedin to see my son and do some other things, and found him in fine fettle. He now has a degree in chemistry and is continuing on doing papers in botany, archaeology and anthropology. A professional student methinks – I’m very proud of him…
Dougal Dunedin

Up the Matukituki Valley again – whew I now realisie the days in there have added up – delightful times!Matukituki Valley Matagouri

Rob Roy Mt Aspiring National Park

Local shots around Lake Wanaka again – often taken on my evening bike rides…
Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka Tree with Shags

A more recent trip into the Cromwell end of the Nevis Valley to experience it winter wise…
Nevis Valley

Nevis Valley

And now that cross country skiing is again possible I duck up to the Snow Farm regularly, but not this weekend as I have a mild head cold, and I think need a rest!…
Snow Farm

The Hawea River out my door is raging filling Lake Dunstan so us NZ’ers enjoy having power, except I’m now off the grid. I have to be quite careful getting my water by bucket…
Hawea River

A self portrait at the Snow Farm last Wed…
Snow farm nz

Lastly for photos, a delightful fantail on the Hawea River last evening…
a delightful fantail on the Hawea River

So now at last with space it is time to stay aware of self and the surroundings so as to follow that flow I talked of that just may come about when we follow our hearts, and don’t over think things!

Recently I was talking to my friend Bob McKerrow wayfarer and of International Red Cross and telling him of my changes and straight away he suggested I look up the work of Sterling Hayden. Bob quoted below in part, and I found it verbatim on the web.

So I here on-pay to you all Bob’s consideration and compliment:

From Sterling Hayden:

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… cruising, it is called.

Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

“I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer?

In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?


From Hayden’s introduction to Wanderer’s 1977 edition

“So it is no wonder that the mass of people regard the wanderer as a cross between a romantic vagabond and an irresponsible semi-ne’er-do-well who can’t – or won’t – fit in. Which is not to say that those who are fated to stay at home and toe the line do not look at the wander with envy and, yes, even awe, for he is doing what they would like to be doing, and something tells them they will never do it unless they either “strike it rich” or retire – and once retirement rolls around, chances are it will be too late. They know that too…..

It would be remiss if I didn’t add that if you want to wander, you’re going to have to work at it and give up the one thing that most non-wanders prize so highly – the illusion of security.

I say “illusion” because the most “secure” people I’ve encountered are, when you come right down to it, the least secure once they have been removed from job and home and bank account. While those unfortunate enough to be locked into some despised and unrewarding job are even worse off.

And if I have been favored with good luck all down through the years, I can also quickly single out scores of men and women spread around this beleaguered old world who, without “luck” have managed to live lives of freedom and adventure (that curious word) beyond the wildest dreams of the stay-at-homes who, when fresh out of school, opted for that great destroyer of men’s souls, security….

“They never taught wandering in any school I attended. They never taught the art of sailing a vessel, either. Or that of writing a book. It’s all so mysterious and – yes- enchanting. And that is what I suppose this book is all about. For whatever its merits, I would like to think that there is just as much of frustration and failure (call it lostness if you will) as there is of the free-swinging, far-rolling time when, however rough the going, you have the feeling, F*** it! I wouldn’t swap places with anyone else for anything on this earth.

Which is how I feel now, aged sixty-one and still more or less broke, slowing down in some ways and picking up steam in others, still with a roller skate on one foot and an ice skate on the other, yet only too well aware of the wisdom of the words:

“…But I think he swaggered
So he could pretend
the other side of Nowhere
Led Somewhere in the end.”
_H. Sewall Bailey

About this Like Minds Blog Donald Lousley

  4 comments for “Five months – many changes

  1. Brian
    July 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    HI Don
    great post and amazing range of shots – we head to Gt Barrier tuesday – back in 2 weeks – or should I have said 2 years !

    look forward to a catchup in a few months – will be in Wanaka early Oct with canadian friends – cheers Brian

    • Donald Lousley
      July 27, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Thanks Brian. Glad you’re finally away. It should be interest! Looking forward to your visit, and I’ll probably be down your way before long.



  2. Ian
    July 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Beautiful photos, Don. I like the philosophy too, but I think I have possibly got too enmeshed in the security! I will try to get down your way again soon. The Nevis road sounds interesting……

    • Donald Lousley
      July 28, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Yes, I’m always on for a Nevis trip 🙂

Comments are closed.