Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Here's some super-exciting news:

Readers Lucy (née Ellis) O'Donoghue of Auckland and Stephen Sparrow of Christchurch are in the process of arranging a tour for me in the beautiful country of New Zealand during Holy Week next year.

So far, Lucy, who is preternaturally well-connected, well-organized, and kind, has already secured a slot for me at the Eucharistic Convention...well, here you go, and then you'll know as much as me. I told her my main concerns were coffee and wifi, which shows you where my "spirituality" is at.

Her response:

"Here are some points I'm keeping in mind...

- flying from LA to NZ you 'lose' a day since you cross the dateline,

- it's important to have a full day to recover from the jet lag when you arrive

-all flights from LA (on Air NZ which is the best airline) leave in the evening and arrive 'two days later' in the early morning.

- driving NZ is about the best way to enjoy the country and I would recommend it over flying any day. It's also an easy country to drive in and there's one, single, (at many points) two lane highway from top to bottom in the country so it's hard to get lost...(man, we sound like the boonies! you imagine how huge the US seems to me!) You could either drive yourself - the beauty of a solitary road trip - or someone else (me?) could drive for parts...or you could take a train.

- Mass of course everyday somewhere will be top of the list. Coffee and wifi second (free wifi is more and more common in NZ in public spaces too).

Tues 2nd April - Leave LA in the evening

Thur 4th April - Arrive in Auckland 7am. Recover...drink decent coffee (NZ is huge on good coffee too so that will be a highlight!). Get to evening Mass

Fri 5th April - Enjoy Auckland...then Evening Speaking engagement in AKL diocese

Sat 6th - Sun 7th April - EC - speaking once, maybe twice - TBD

Mon 8th April - Drive/train Auckland to Wellington (8 hrs max...crossing through the Tongariro National Park with snowcapped mountains and NZ 'desert' and pine forests and Lake Taupo and the entry into Wellington along the stunning Kapiti Coast)

Tues 9th April - Enjoy Wellington (let's hope the sun shines) and the heart of good coffee in NZ...lunchtime/evening speaking engagement

Wed 10th April - Daytime/lunch speaking engagement. Fly to Christchurch after lunch (or alternately...take the ferry to the South Island and use the day off to drive the coast from Picton to CHC...?)

Thu 11th April - Day off...!

Fri 12th April - evening speaking engagement in CHC

Sat 13th April - speaking engagement in CHC or perhaps even Dunedin...?

Sun 14th April - Depart from CHC to LA in the late afternoon/evening."

So how about that? After all that activity, I may need a retreat. I have my eye on Southern Star Abbey. It's in rural, dairy-farm country and has spotty phone reception (will my phone even work over there? where am I?), which sounds just about right.



  1. You must be VERY excited. What a wonderful opportunity!

  2. How exciting for you! NZ has got to be one of the most glorious spots on the face of the earth. Sounds like a steady schedule -- and I'm betting you'll have life-changing impact on not a few folks...

  3. What a splendid itinerary! Hope you might have a chance to meet Bishop Dunn in Auckland - he is great!

  4. Remember to bring back some Middle Earth relics.

  5. How odd. I was looking at NZ on Google Earth last night, for no particular reason.

    Congratulations! This is exciting.

  6. Dunedin! Yes, Dunedin! I'll take you to see the royal albatrosses...

  7. Dunedin, yes, Dunedin! I'll take to see the royal albatrosses.

  8. I was talking to a new zealander the other day in scotland and she told me they get hundreds of earthquakes in NZ, probably minor ones though....

  9. WOW!!! Awesome Heather. You are going to the other side of the world. Congratulations and will pray this all works out.


  10. There is NOTHING I love more than discovering a new country and NZ the homeland of my sister in law and home of a dear friend coming here to visit THIS month after 13 years, is a dream of mine. Can I come, too? (jk...) Second best is reading and hearing about the itineraries and experiences of others on their travels. Thanks, Heather!

  11. Isn't the whole thing incredible? I sort of haven't let it sink in yet. Of course I'm humbled, grateful, excited, nervous...everyone says the landscape is simply gorgeous. Yes, earthquake country (I'm sure there'll be a huge one while I'm there; no, I shouldn't even say that!), but of course living in L.A. I'm somewhat used to that...Someone assured me yesterday they have good coffee there, too...Most to the point, the people seem welcoming beyond belief. That's the real deal...anyway, I'll keep us all posted...

  12. One thing may be a bit of challenge: driving on the "wrong" side of the road. If you have driven in England or Ireland, it will not be a problem. But if this is the first time driving differently, it may take a little while to get used to. Don't expect to get a rental car and zip off. That said, there is so much to see and do, it would be wise to get an experienced native to organize your itinerary according to what you most want to absorb and enjoy.

  13. Say hello to Gandalf and Frodo for me..
    Would love to go there someday.
    Pat Pulliam


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