there are some news: We have updated our design business site, and moved everything under one roof: The Schickedanz Travelling Design Haus!
We’ll be continuing the ‘Liberty the Great’ blog here, and Hannah’s illustration blog will be there too – she has just published a fresh post called ‘A new year, a new site‘. If you want to see what we have been up to work-wise while living on the road, check out our our work portfolio.
And don’t forget to follow ‘Liberty the Great’ over here. Thanks!
The distance to family is one big drawback of living down here, so I was very grateful to be able to partly reconcile this fact when my mum, sister and niece came for a visit eight months ago. Talking, writing, skyping is never enough to truly explain your life down here.
We went for a trip (in our house) through the North Island together, and it was the perfect way of sharing this slice of our Kiwiana lifestyle with them. This included sleeping in the bus with 7 people (once or twice, which went amazingly well) and attending the Tora Tora Tora festival at Wairarapa’s South Coast. Tora Tora Tora is a great little family friendly event with amazing music and a fantastic vibe in a stunning location. In perfect tune with the musical performance, a lunar eclipse on Easter Sunday at midnight completed the visceral experience of the moment. Magic!
Family, please come back as soon as possible.
Tora Tora Tora
Wellington & Kapiti
A quick update: We were just having a little one week holiday, in Ohiwa. With a beautiful setting next to Ohiwa Domain, and an ocean beach and a huge tidal inlet right outside the door, this must be one of the nicest campgrounds we’ve been to. But maybe it was just that we actually took some time off to enjoy, and to have Lisa, Thomas and Cassidy camping with us, that made it so special. I just wanted to share some Bogenschiessen here – there’ll be another post on Ohiwa and some exciting small but crucial changes to our bus real soon. In any case, the days away from routine gave me time to
- rivet some metal onto the bus
- restring my budget bamboo bundle bow (After heavy use over a couple of days it finally broke. Fun though and I can’t wait for the next iteration, using proper wood.)
- whittle a coffee tamper
- undent the chimney cowling
- go surfing and try out my new wetsuit
- read about President Ezequiel
- enjoy some BBQs, G&Ts and Monteith’s Doppelbock
- chat with an old friend
What a great holiday; this may well become an annual institution.
A few people have asked me what it is like to be in the bus in winter. To be honest, it can be a struggle and feel like waiting out the dark and cold days. But it also has it’s perks, like chopping firewood, and being warm and cozy inside when it’s howling outside. That only becomes a problem, as we experienced, when the screaming southerly turned our fireplace into a forge one night. Scary!
We decided to go to Hanmer Springs for a few weeks. The kids were pretty excited about staying at the grandparents’ place, in the strawbale cottage, and that definitely made things easier (ie regular baths). The bus worked well as a deluxe office during that time: a calm place to retreat to, to start a fire and have a cuppa. Even though it took til 10 or 11 some mornings for the bus to warm up enough to take off hat and gloves, those were my cherished moments in the bus.
Winter also brought us Otis’ birthday, and the Venus/Jupiter conjunction. Hanmer Springs treated us to a few winter snowfalls, lots of hot chocolates, plenty of hours at the skatepark, and the daily ‘sharing’ of Opa’s breakfast.
All in all, winter was great. Towards the end of our time in Hanmer I noticed the itch to get back into the bus properly though, and to continue north, following the call of the winterless north (“Hello, Thomasssss… Come here…, if you really believe that it’s nice anywhere in New Zealand in September…”).
South Island, we’re back
Yay, we got snow!
Warm & happy times
We’re on the road for one and a half years now. Living in New Zealand full time again, I notice how easy it is to get used to its amazing countryside. When ‘the nature’, as the Germans say, ceases to blow you away on a daily basis, it’s crucial to treasure the small things. It’s meaningful to surround yourself with beautiful things that are easy to appreciate. I am happy we brought our Ahoi Marie cups from Hamburg on our trip, rather than just any odd ones, for fear of breaking the precious ones. Consequentially, we have lost one of them at Tora Tora Tora. Now I often wonder whether there’s an afterlife for designer cups, or who might enjoy its presence. The other two still give me a bolt of joy every day I take them out of the shelf. Amazing!
On grandiose beaches, with a surround sound of giant waves rolling in, it pays to notice the small rocks and pieces of wood carved by the sea, or how colours of sand mix into ever evolving patterns. Amazing!
We have just found a heap of ram’s horns here. They are actually insides of squids. Amazing!
Also, always in our company, are two little explorative animals, searching, demanding, giving, learning. Amazing!
Appreciating small things lead to enjoying bigger things, and it’s an addictive game to play. Every small item has a bigger truth; there’s granular self-similarity. I’m trying to enjoy small things on a daily basis. I feel it would be such a waste not to.
Oh, by the way, we’re around the East Cape now and there’ll be more soon!
Ok, just one more. We’re parked up in our home-on-the-road, Liberty the Great, in Te Awanga in the Bay of Plenty. It’s an awesome campground, right on the beach, and we’re loving the feeling of impending summer. There’s a legend in these parts of a beautiful woman called Pania who lived in the ocean, and fell in love with the son of a chief. She could only be out of water at night, and had to return to the ocean at dawn. Given the setup, it’s not suprising that treachery and betrayal ensued, and she and their son fled back to the water, never to return. Here she is, back in the ocean as a single mother, nursing the boy who grows up to the kaitiaki (guardian) of the area, a taniwha (spirit) who often disguises himself as a shark, a stingray or an octopus.
SO here it is, drawing #100. It’s taken me 231 days to get here, as opposed to my proposed 100, but I’ve stuck at it and made it through to the end. I’m good at having ideas and starting things, but not that awesome at getting them finished, so I’m pretty proud of myself.
Some things I’ve learned along the way:
- Creating is good for my soul
- I really enjoy pattern and embellishing an otherwise simplified drawing
- I like drawing people most of all
- Doing what I enjoy and sharing it with others is a great way to get jobs I really enjoy 🙂
- I’m ready to take my illustration work to the next level. I’ve got a brand new website in the pipeline, and projects and products bubbling away in my head, ready to explode. Stay tuned for more!
A little about this picture though… I don’t know why, and people around me are probably actually tired of hearing about it, but I’m just so damned tired all the time. It’s really not helping in getting extra curricular work done (hence, in part the tardiness of this project) and I’m trying to work on a solution, but in the meantime, this picture is dedicated to deep deep sleep I only dream of.
If you’ve enjoyed these 100 drawings, and are interested in working with me, either as an illustrator or a graphic designer, please get in touch, I’d so love to hear from you. Or if you have any ideas for a collaboration, sing out! And if you’d just like to say hi, I’m cool with that too.
Off to bed now – I deserve it!
A couple of months ago we’ve arrived in Wellington, and this is what it felt like:
We have been looking forward to this moment for a long time. Finally in Wellington, WITH our new home. Two nights at Russell Terrace behind the zoo and now we’ve moved to the South Coast. And what shall I say? Wellington is greeting us with the mildest, calm autumn weather – we’re frigging swimming in Princess Bay in April!
Rock pools, beaches, mountain views, mobile network, free – is this the camp we’ve always been looking for? The kids get right into exploring, assimilating, crab-like, crawling ragged rocks, clinging to cliffs.
This wild, remote and yet so close coast draws us in again. It always felt like a special place of wilderness when we lived in Wellington; respite from the coolest, tiniest big smoke in the world. After traveling all over the South Island, it’s great how this can happen here, right at our past doorstep.
Now here’s another blast from the past post, I’m sorry. Frantically trying to catch up with the months. Pretend it’s late March and summer is drawing to a close.
Half a year after climbing over the Haast pass to dive into mild climates, spring, summer and beachiness, we’re heading over to the NI. Hard to believe that the first leg of our travels is coming to an end.
We’re in Nelson for the last two weeks. My days pretty much consist of playing on the beach, and a little work. Luckily, Otis and Elliott are enjoying this mode of getting through the day as much as I do.
I have a sneaking suspicion that our long warm summer is coming to an end. We are going up to Wellington after all, and it’s officially the first day of autumn. The seasonal change marks our leaving the South Island and closing the first chapter of our time in the bus. Only another year! Oh no, what will we do?
Hello, everybody, and sorry for our absence in the last couple of months. We’re catching up quickly, but here’s a little retrospective first.
Nearly half a year ago now, our camera had fallen out of the top shelf, while driving through a curve and it has been broken ever since. Last week we finally replaced it and recovered the photos on its drive. A glimpse into the past – our Fantastic time at Mr Fox River and Punakaiki.
I have been having this internal debate for the last few months about which of the two bays I prefer: Tasman Bay or Golden Bay. They both mean beach, the elements, tides, and now summer, to me.
Our summer started a week before Christmas and has not stopped yet. I think I can get used to that!
Summer really hit us when we arrived in Upper Moutere for house sitting (Hannah has mentioned this here). Alina and Niko from Hamburg came for a visit there, and, girl, can she take pictures! Not only that, but she was so nice as to give them to us, a memory for our special time at the hopkiln. Thanks, thanks, thanks! Here are a few:
We were lucky to meet Amanda, Dan, Nika and Ciela on our travels – they enriched our lives with stingray watching, cockling + mussling, and playpals for the kids. We met on and off over 4 weeks in amazing places: Motueka, Collingwood, Totaranui, Pohara and Marahau.
Abel Tasman Park knocks me off my feet every single time. I can to dig the golden sand all day and play with the tides. Tractors and boats in Marahau are a combination of awesomeness almost too much for Elliott, especially sitting in a boat pulled by a tractor. In Marahau I also discovered bamboo as a building material for all sorts of things. So far I made: cups, a bundle bow, a paddle + a raft. But this may warrant a separate post.
Otis and I on our first overnight hike ever
Elliott bringing home the ba..mboo
We arrived in Golden Bay four weeks ago and followed the road right up to Collingwood.
Sleepy and laid back, it is situated on a tiny tip of land separating the mouth of the Aorere River, in the Ruataniwha (“Taniwha’s den”, or, even scarier, “Two Taniwhas”?) inlet, and the calm waters of Golden Bay.
There is fishing to be done, and Otis would be doing this all day at the moment. He went fishing with Gary, the camp manager, at high tide off the pier one day. They didn’t catch anything, but later on, Gary came around with two smoked Kawhai fillets. Absolutely delicious, and luckily for me, Otis likes the idea of fishing better than actually eating the fish once it’s smoked.
Days passed just combing the beach on the way to the old steam train (“it looks like a rocket!”) playground, or the Courthouse Cafe, or the place where you get real fruit ice cream. Summer is great, and in a place like this, days rolled into one.
My shirt’s ripped now, I haven’t worn shoes for a couple of months, and my only shorts can stand by themselves with salt (hang on, they’re Cactus pants, so they do that anyway).
There’s a piece of land for sale at the corner of the beach. It would nicely fit a bus. We could build a loo and shower, and a hut for work&play and we’d be set. It even comes with a wrought iron gate.
Holidays are fulfilling, with Hannah’s sister and family coming for a visit. We’re at Para Para beach now and it doesn’t get much closer to beach life: swimming, digging, lazing around, waiting for the tide to return, more swimming. It feels great to be in tune with the tides and to recognize them as your main indicator for what to do with your hours of the day. The kids have lots of cousins to play with all day, and on one and the same day, Otis learns to ride his bike we’ve been lugging around since Wanaka, and Elliott masters the balance bike. Great stuff! In my mind, I already see bike trips, camping trips and explorations of unknown territories.
We’re passing through Takaka, and coming to Pohara Boat club, continuating the maritime theme. We see stingrays, a pirate ship with a Cafe on it, and meet up with Amanda and Dan and their two kids again, who we met in Motueka a few weeks before. Fantastic :)!
Takaka itself is the hippie center of the universe, or at least of the southeastern part of the northwest of the South Island. You couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a clothing bell or somebody’s aura. It’s lively, colourful, musical and generally BO-ie. I’m enchanted and am trying to imagine what our boys will be into when they’re 20.
Oh, we also went to Wharariki beach, one of my favourite beaches in New Zealand. Seas of sand and seas blow my mind, and the sandblasting is invigorating. We can’t get past this place without getting some nice dune surfing in. To my delight, Otis really loves it.