20-20 hindsight

Back in Auckland last night and tonight for a one-day laundry, internet, exercise, and comfort stopover.

The drive down from the far north yesterday was long, through increasing concentrations of civilization, the ultra-hip crowd at the Victoria Super Market, the car noise in Auckland, the flat taste of all the food.

It seems quite clear to me at this moment that the WWOOF stay at Mara Whuena confirmed that I want to lead that lifestyle: surrounded by nature, eating food grown on site. Was that clear from the previous posts?

This is a really big deal. I had constructed this elaborate vision of an off-the-grid organic paradise in New Zealand. This change of lifestyle was the central positive why-are-you-going theme of our move here. Our stay at Mara Whuena, and now my feelings a few days later verify that this vision is substantively sound.

The questions that remain are large ones, but they are about implementation, not searching for a new way altogether. Like this country — at first the questions seem small but on closer examination they are huge. Where do we settle? North or South Island, warmer or colder, near the coast or inland, near a bigger city or far away, and what is the general community like? What size of land, what projects to take on, what features of the land. What long term strategic vision for possible expansion? Five hectares in a nice area with the right features would be just fine for us, but the “artists colony” concept remains alluring with the idea of creating a place to draw other like-minded people for permanent or shorter stays. That makes it a much bigger project. Too much? If we are setting ourselves up for the next 40 years, then no. If we are doing it for the next 10, then yes. Plots of land aren’t getting any larger or cheaper, though. Does the “get it while you can” lesson learned the last few years of my life apply here as well?

Once we get to Christchurch, Kathy and I will begin working on our near term capital allocation plan. Do we want to subdivide the Clyde Road property? How much will it cost? Where will the funds come from? To borrow or to spend cash? What is the outlook when it’s done? Furnished medium term rentals, sell off some or all of the units, no mortgage or how much mortgage? The questions continue.