Post roadie musings
Taking Zeenya on the road to spread New Zealand with joy and colour has always been a dream of ours. And after 5 years in the making, we finally got down to the South Island for some rainbows and laughter.
Having set off on a sunny Friday we quickly established a van packing routine that got carefully refined over the 12 days. The routine involved Sarah (Menlove) leaving everything beside the van and Chloe going to town on Van-Tetris. Yes this is a thing, and yes she loves it.
We started off our first Pop-up in Rotorua, grateful for Aircon at the Millenium Hotel as it was a ripper of a day. It was so incredible to meet some more of our super fans or activewear addicts as we call them, in person. Heaps of the ladies were participating in the Tarawera Ultra Marathon the next day so it was a fast and furious 3 hours.
The next day we headed down to Palmerston North, all the while checking in on everyone running via the TUM app, seeing incredible photos of everyone participating and generally nature frothing.
Palmy turned it on for us both in gorgeous weather and in turn out. So many ladies were new to colour and it was incredibly humbling to see our fans (that we'd not met before in person) helping out new ladies into the right fit and styles for them. 2 hours was definitely not long enough and it was a colour hurricane in the Manawatu Striders Clubrooms. A huge thank you to the club, and Kate Southern for hosting us and allowing us to take over for a short period of time. (Sorry for the lack of Palmy photos, we were just having too much fun).
It was a quick bite and quiet moment before hitting the road to Wellington for the ferry Monday morning. But of course, anyone who lives in Welly will know that Sunday afternoon traffic on the back of a long weekend means this 2 hour drive can reallllllllyyyyyy stretch out. It took us nearly 4 and a half hours to reach Newlands. Having decided we could spread more joy along the way, Chloe achieved a life long dream of "traffic jam dance parties" by getting other people to dance and sing along with us as we crawled our way to Otaki.
Does anyone else get nervous driving onto the ferry? A little worried about Fran the Van fitting in the tight spaces, we cruised up on deck, grabbed some brekkie and then it was see ya later North Island. Leaving the Wellington Harbour nearly caused said breakfast to 'rise on up' so both of us had to race to the back of the boat before we lost it. It didn't take Sarah long to no longer look as pale as her white jumper and soon the smiles were back. The journey through the Marlborough Sounds was just magical, sunshine, open skies and salty air.
Originally we had planned to do a pop-up in Nelson, and although this didn't come to fruition we decided to stay there anyway. The drive through is just stunning and we can't wait to explore the area more in the future. Queen Charlotte Track anyone?
We both loved travelling new roads and taking time to stop in nature. This however, meant that any Google Maps time needed a minimum of 2 hours added on to it for us to arrive at our destination on time. Lots of early starts and long days ahead. Especially the drive down to Christchurch to our next Popup and Sarah's workshop. If you live in Christchurch and haven't yet been into The Welder, go check the space out. Full of lush plants, small boutique shops and restaurants, it's a great place to hang out. Sarah hosted her Body Liberation Workshop there while Chloe did a pop-up. We also met more fans here, including one whose hubby wears his Zeenya to Parkrun at Hagley Park on Saturday mornings. See, we told you that Zeenya's are unisex if you want them to be.
This was the first time we had been back to Christchurch since the earthquakes and found it barely recognisable. Whilst we didn't head right into the city centre, it was incredible to see how much work has been done, and how much more there is still to do in the city. Christchurch is really shaping into a vibrant and forward thinking city which is very cool to see.
Time to head to our old University stomping grounds of Dunedin. A quick stop in Oamaru on the way to share a cuppa with Rose (a previously Instagram only friend) and then the memories came flooding back in. Queue a 2004 - 2009 Spotify Playlist and into Dunners we drove. Compulsory stop for photos on the Physical Education School steps then onwards to our accommodation just South of the Octagon. Sarah was presenting to a group of secondary school girls around Body Acceptance that night to Chloe stayed in the city to wander around in her puffer jacket for old times sake. Honestly it wasn't that cold, and the jacket was just the most handy warm top. Promise.
We were totally delighted to have met raving Zeenya fan Anne in Dunedin who stalked us down via Instagram to come and try one of the skirts on in the carpark of the hotel. Thanks Anne for coming to find us and sharing your love of colour with Zeenya.
The main purpose of our trip was to be present at the Inaugural South Island event for the Spirited Women - All Women's Adventure Race in Alexandra. Not only were we part of the event expo, but we had a team racing on the Saturday too. But no journey through Central Otago in summer is complete without a stop in Roxborough for excessive amounts of stone fruit. Life changing apricots.
Alexandra can be incredibly hot and dry, and we were not left disappointed on our arrival day. You could feel the excitement in the town as we drove in. Or maybe that was just our excitement. Either way it was awesome to arrive. Meeting colour lovers is very much our jam. Being part of Spirited Women is also our jam. It's like a jam sandwich of happiness really.
The excitement of registration day was very cool to be part of. We got to meet Tory Dougherty, Zeenya Ambassador for the first time in person. She has a gorgeous 2 year old daughter who really loved our dinky pop up change tent. We also met Kate and Kylie our other two team mates, and we quickly became the unapologetically un-photogenic team of brand new friends. Pose us for a photo and we're a lost cause.
Race day nerves definitely kicked in at race briefing the night before, then the next morning it was on the bus and off to the start. Without going into major details, we had an epic time, trekking, riding and kayaking through the Central Otago landscape. We had one particularly bad navigation to the *ahem* oak tree but otherwise it was a smooth day out. And better friends at the end of it all.
After celebrating at the finish line, then again at the prizegiving on Sunday morning, it was onwards for Fran the Van and her trusty crew of two. Failing to see Mount Cook due to cloud, a quick dip in Lake Tekapo it was a stopover in Methven. For those of you who know, we went to the Blue Pub, not the Brown Pub for dinner. Excellent choice.
Needless to say we could have spent a lot more time in the South Island, boosting north to Blenheim via Kaikoura, where we were stoked to see dolphins and Orca from the side of the road. Not to mention extremely cute seal pups playing together. Our car loaded with fruit we found ourselves at the front of each stop/go light on the roading rebuild. And what better way to make someone smile than to give road workers fruit and to have a yarn. We wanted to make sure that everywhere we went we greeted people with kindness and left them smiling. After that day it felt like mission complete.
One more trip on the Interislander had us back in sunny Wellington. Just kidding, it was grey and raining but we didn't let that dampen the mood for our Wellington popup! Hosted by our Ambassador, Eve in her Life in Motion studio, we got to see old friends and make new ones whilst having some laughs and sharing colour.
Getting into the van for the last part home, we knew it would take a lot of loud singing and dance parties not to feel sad about the end of our trip. But have no fear, we're already plotting options to come and see friends that we've not yet been connected with! So if your town missed out on a visit, please give us a shout out and let us know where you want us to come to next.
We want to give a special thank you to everyone who hosted us around New Zealand, Clem and Nicola, Penny and Mike, Kate, Eve and Jas, Emma and Graeme, Tash and Kirk, Amanda and Trent.
A huge hug and feeling of appreciation for everyone who took time to come and say hi to us at any of the places we turned up. Taking our online community and meeting up in real life rocked our worlds. It's hard to explain the gratitude we have for all of you who support what Zeenya is about and what we do. Thank you for loving colour and adventures like we do.