Growing up, Karl and Rebekah had very separate goals in life. She wanted to be an artist, he a pilot. However, after they met at Victoria University, where they both were studying, they flatted together and, as Karl puts it, “didn’t stay strangers for long”.
After Karl graduated with a degree in English, and Rebekah with one in Cultural Psychology, they decided it was time to experience more of the world. “In the space of one night we quit our jobs, packed up our stuff and were heading to America,” says Rebekah.
Five years passed, and in that time they settled in the small Charlestown community of West Virginia. “We found ourselves living on 350 acres of land in an old-school Washington family home,” Karl remembers.
Focusing on sustainable living, Karl and Rebekah set up community gardens from scratch coupled with roaming chickens and goats, cooking great food and practising yoga. “We took it upon ourselves to try something different.” Following the success of their unique lifestyle, the couple decided to establish an internship programme, which gave interested people the opportunity to work hard and live off the land. “It was such a good place to learn different things because we saw so much potential. We explored ideas from scratch and it became a testing ground for a lot of other projects we have today.”
Two years ago Karl and Rebekah felt it was time to return home. Having arrived back in New Zealand, Karl bumped into an old friend of his. “He was looking to start up a glam rock tribute band in Palmerston North and I said ‘Sure why not!’”
That’s one of the great things about this area; you can live in the country but still have the benefits of a city at your fingertips
Having grown up in Manawatu, Rebekah saw it as a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. Moving to a dairy farm just out of town, Karl gained a greater understanding of living close to the environment and with nature. “That’s one of the great things about this area; you can live in the country but still have the benefits of a city at your fingertips.”
Now well and truly settled, a day-in-the-life is still far from traditional for both Karl and Rebekah. Rebekah is a trained teacher in healing and yoga and is also a Zero Balancing practitioner. “Zero Balancing is a system that works with the bones. Bones hold a lot of tension, so it is important to relieve this through movement and the holding of specific points.”
Rebekah splits her time between New Zealand and America, where she teaches workshops, yoga classes and therapy sessions. “It suits my understanding of the world. I enjoy learning and teaching a system where the body and mind work together. Sharing in the excitement of seeing the joy on my clients faces when that pain is relieved is priceless.”
Meanwhile Karl operates the state-of-the-art Palmerston North City Library book bus, which he says he stumbled upon by “pure luck”. “I saw the value of learning to drive larger vehicles, so I got my class-2 licence and found a job that combined my love of English and driving really well!”
The mobile library houses more than 100 books and travels to districts around the area serving anyone with a hunger for reading and fun. “I love the variety of personal relationships that I have created. It is amazing how close you can get to some people through what they share with you,” says Karl.
“One day a child stopped dead in his tracks and asked if I was magic. I said, ‘Yeah of course I am!’ As he walked off under his breath I heard, ‘I knew you were magic’. Giving people something to remember, nurturing curiosities and making those connections make me know it is worthwhile.”
In the space of one night we quit our jobs, packed up our stuff and were heading to America
During the time they have together during the year, Karl and Rebekah spend their time “talking until the cows come home”. “We both have enquiring minds, so we chat all about the philosophies of the world. If we go and see a movie you can guarantee we will talk about it for three hours afterwards.”
Managing Rebekah’s time between America and New Zealand has its benefits for the couple. “It is a chance for us to broaden our horizons,” says Rebekah. “I have grown up with my time split between the two countries, so I have my ways of dealing with everything. I travel with the fruits of the season because when it’s ripe it is awesome, like the papaya in Maui and the feijoas in New Zealand. I tend to follow the ripe avocados of the seasons.”
Karl agrees that although being apart can be hard, it is a great opportunity to recharge. “I refuse to be caught in the codependent phase of a relationship. Although I can’t do what Rebekah does, we have modern technology to help us and I’ll just take the avocados when I can get them.”
For this year Rebekah will be back in New Zealand in December, while Karl will be on the book bus and practising with his band for the upcoming wedding season.
The future is a blank canvas for the two, who believe that maintaining flexibility in life leads to great things. “The world is changing really quickly. We live in a dream world with the ability to go wherever the wind takes us.”