And we have our memories of an amazing couple of months. And images, both mental and in digital form. (I have also printed out family group photos and grandchildren cutie-pie pics for albums ... you cannot beat the real thing when it comes to photos - or books for that matter).
Here are some memories of a trip south we made to my birthplace, Orepuki, Western Southland:
Gemstone beach keeps Orepuki on the tourist trails ... I remember as a kid keeping on our bedroom window sill, jam jars full of water to keep my stash of gemstones bright and colourful - until an algae-green sludge smothered their attraction and I had to throw them out again, allowing the rain and air to keep them instead.
My son and I treated ourselves to a sunrise visit to the beach. Magical.