By Sheenagh Morrison

I’ve travelled to New Zealand over 10 times because I have family down there.  Family is very important to me.  So is travelling!

It is 14 hours on the plane from Vancouver direct to Auckland. This trip I had a two hour layover in Vancouver.

I love traveling because I see my family, and I’m always seeing or experiencing something new.

The turbulence on the plane still makes me nervous. I try and rest before I go on a trip.

I’ve done it so many times now that I know what to expect and I’m not nervous about the other parts anymore.

On this trip I first stayed with my mum’s brother and his wife in Auckland. I met my young second cousins for the first time.

They are 1 and 2 years old.
I also met up with my second cousin on my dad’s side for coffee, which was nice.

I then went on to Wellington and stayed with my dad’s younger sister and her family for a few days.

They showed me where the damage was from the earthquake. This was interesting to see.

The cousins I stayed with I hadn’t seen in 17 years, so it was nice to re-connect with them and hear about their  lives and their jobs.
I then went on to Christchurch where I saw some more cousins and their babies, one of which was a month old .  I got to bath him and hold him a lot and walk him.
I also had a sleep over with my cousin Tom and his family. I then went on to my family in Dunedin where I met my second cousin, Elliott, on his 1st birthday!
Then we went down to the Arrowtown / Queenstown area for Christmas and New Years at the family cottage.

I took, Rocket, my dog friend, for a lot of walks and swims and saw lots of other cousins .
It is really special when I see my cousins, as I only go to New Zealand once every 3 years.

It’s special because they live so far away and they are my friends, so I try and spend so much special time with them as possible.

My advice for others who have family far away is to try and call and email and stay in touch.

It is sometimes very difficult to be far away from them especially at times like when they get married and have kids.

When you do get to see them, cherish those special times.