Kia Ora – Greetings from the land of the long white cloud!
I’m more grateful than ever for the blessings USANA has brought into my life – the loving, generous friends, the health and energy to squeeze every drop out of every day, the financial means to live our dreams no matter where in the world those dreams take us, and the freedom to simply say “why not?” when opportunities like this month-long trip down under present themselves.
The 10-year USANA birthday Celebrations in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand exceeded all our expectations. The speakers were outstanding and the USANA leadership both in the field and at the USANA corporate level in this part of the world is outstanding. Not only were we educated…we really celebrated. Ric and I were honored to be guests at the USANA Gold Retreat sandwiched between the two Celebrations. We’ll never forget the people we met, the Gala Dinners, the time spent on the harbors, the evening spent at the site of the Sydney Olympics – it was all over the top! Thank you especially to Jim Doherty for a very special evening he put together – a red carpet dinner cruise around the spectacular Auckland Harbour – complete with a visit from “Prince Andrew” and “Marilyn Monroe.” It was one of those rare evenings when all the walls came down and Bill Duncan, Fred Cooper and I shared intimate details of our lives that we had not really planned to share. It was a beautiful evening.After that last evening on the Auckland harbour, Ric and I packed all our dress clothes, donned our jeans, t-shirts and hiking boots and hit the road. A few highlights:
Ric – in his endless pursuit of the ultimate adrenaline rush – jumped from the Auckland Sky Tower…basically a 16-second base jump into thin air. I breathlessly watched with my feet safely on the ground!
We spent several days in the Bay of Islands, a magnificent destination punctuated with dozens of coves and over 145 islands that have thankfully escaped development in a sparkling bay with water ranging in hue from a pale turquoise to a deep azure blue. We cruised around the islands, watched dolphins frolic around our boat and ate some of the freshest seafood there is. The Bay of Islands also has deep historical significance and we learned much about the sacred history of the Mauri culture at the Waitangi National Reserve.The Coromandel Peninsula juts out into the South Pacific Ocean and offered us some of the finest beaches we’ve ever seen. The towns are quaint and historical and although the area is quiet, we found lots to grab our attention. We took a trip on the unique Driving Creek Railway, burned our feet at Hot Water Beach and went sea kayaking around magnificent Cathedral Cove.
The Kauri Coast with it’s ancient and impressive Kauri trees took our breath away. These trees reminded us of our own Northern California Redwoods and we hiked numerous trails stopping to gaze in awe at “Tane Mahuta” a 2000 year old giant of a tree that has been dubbed the “Lord of the Forest.”
We’re now in the Lake Taupo Region in the Central Plateau of the North Island. We’re falling far behind our original travel schedule because there is just so much fun to be had. Yesterday I got the thrill of my life riding the famed Huka Jet Boat to Huka Falls. You’ve probably seen footage of these boats that travel at ridiculous speeds spinning their way up shallow rivers. I thought my heart would beat out of my chest and I haven’t been able to wipe the smile off my face! Today we’ll be hiking in Tongariro National Park. With its towering active volcanoes (Mt. Ruapehu blew in 1995), Tongariro is one of NZ’s most spectacular parks. It is best known for its role as Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
So…there you have it. This is what time freedom looks like. I think many of us (including myself at one point) see that freedom – the ability to do what we want, when we want and with the people we choose – as some distant point in the future…after we’ve achieved some high benchmark of success in USANA.
In reality, the memories that add color and definition to our lives begin as we give ourselves permission to enjoy the journey, no matter what our current rank. I had no idea ten years ago when my family and I travelled to Australia and New Zealand to help launch these two promising markets that my life would be impacted as it has been. A part of my heart and soul will always remain in this exquisite land down under.