Missions can be a defining point in one’s life, or just a few bloody good days to remind you how the little things in life should not be taken for granted. I am not sure who first said it but I could not agree more with the saying - ‘the best things in life are free.’ As I reflect back on my fondest memories, most of them have been revolved around activities like a surf, a jump, a night at a mate’s batch, a dare, spin the bottle, strip poker, the back of the bike shed, or the time you made the ginger kid do something really funny so he could hang out with you. All of these glorious things are free and are timeless classics which should be embraced during any great adventure, bearing in mind that the back of the bike shed can be somewhat harder to find these days - but fear not, there are still plenty of gingers around.
In order for a mission to be successful there are a few things that must be considered during the planning process. These include a car with the potential to go off road, sideways or preferably both, testosterone, toys hand crafted with kiwi ingenuity, a few cold ones in a chilly bin, testosterone, nudity, peer pressure, spontaneity, a few bucks for diesel, cans of food, eggs, and testosterone. I have used the word testosterone more than once because on missions it is usually the imperial force behind most decisions made, resulting in an exciting mixed bag of outcomes, most of which are unfathomable to the female mind.
I believe location is not as important as you may think, because the true skill and art of a good mission maker or ‘missionteur’ lies in the ability to adapt to the surroundings and mold a great time out of the most minimal of resources - often this is where the best stories and memories are made. For those of you who are new to this or have been away from the game for a while and your time is precious, then a concentrated effort on location definitely still has its place. Whether it’s a weekend with mates, group bonding session, stag do (yeah!!!), or work retreat, the aim of the adventure must always be taken into consideration when planning the location. It doesn’t matter if you are roughing it or high rolling, the surroundings will help set the mood and tone of events to come.
The most important factor with location is to get out of the city or town in which you are based, as it is hard to let go of inhibitions and truly throw yourself into whatever may be happening when you’re still in your comfort zone. This area needs to be far enough away so that everyone realises they cannot just ‘shoot home’ if they need to, as escaping the reality of your everyday environment allows you to relax more effectively. The East Coast of New Zealand is a great place for all types of missions as within small vicinities you will find all that’s required to fuel a great adventure. I know it is extremely broad to say the East Coast of New Zealand but there are so many great spots the whole way along the coast. The West Coast is also good but for more secluded and private reasons where a desolate ruggedness may be a better environment to achieve your mission objectives.
Speaking of the West Coast, one of my favourite places to go for missions would have to be Shipwreck Bay in Ahipara, which is found at the southern end of 90 Mile Beach. Not only is it one of New Zealand’s best surfing locations with its endless array of left hand point breaks, but all the other activities this area offers make it so incredible. I could rave on for ever but instead I will give the average daily itinerary for a mission at Shippies.
Shipwreck Bay, Ahipara, New Zealand
Rock up at dawn and first things first: hit the waves, followed by a feed of Mitchell’s special omelettes. Fuelled up and ready to go it’s off in the truck to find the biggest, baddest sand dune to bomb down on the body boards; after consuming as much sand as the human body can take it’s back to the truck for some serious 4wd action. Three hours and an extremely sore neck later we arrive at a breathtaking secret beach, where it’s out with the surf casters to catch the necessary ingredients to construct a ‘champwich’ (similar to a sandwich, but way better). After absorbing the champwich it is back to the waves, but no sooner than waiting ten minutes after eating (yeah right!). After surfing till we can no longer see the waves come and land on our heads, it’s back to our strategically placed (free) campsite to have some beers by the fire and yarn about the day and who’s bigger and better and in which ways.
Missions are all about the people and the moments that are created. It is the memories which have the real impact on your life. If you are unsure of where to go, dig up an old memory of a place that is special to you and relive this with people you care about. Plan but do not over plan, and find something that scares you, then do it twice.
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