"The building we were in was badly damaged, was left on a lean and the fire stairs collapsed. We were trapped."
We are Andy, Amber, Jake & Daisy...and we escaped!
On Feb 22nd 2011 we (Andy & Amber) were sitting in a hotel room 25 floors above Christchurch City, New Zealand. At 12.51pm a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck just 5km deep, we were 10km from the epicentre. Due to the shallow depth, close proximity and quick ground acceleration caused during this earthquake, Christchurch was devastated with many buildings collapsed and 185 people tragically killed. The hotel we were in was badly damaged. It was left on a lean and the internal fire stairs collapsed. We spent the next 4 hours trapped on the 22nd floor waiting to be either rescued or be crushed to death (so we thought) in one of the aftershocks. We ended up being rescued off the roof of a neighbouring building by a crane but by that time we had already spent around 4 hours in fight or flight mode. It was the most terrifying experience of our lives. In the months after the earthquake Andy was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which in turn lead to depression and anxiety. Later that year we had our first child Jake and Amber developed Post Natal Depression after a pretty scary birth.
After a few years battling our mental illness we have come out the other end better than before...but with a new found understanding of the meaning of life. We feel that life is made up of an undetermined number of hours, we don't know how many and it could be over at any moment, so we don't want to take it for granted. During the difficult years that followed the earthquake we had two amazing kids Jake & Daisy and we realised that we were indeed wasting our lives by going to work everyday and putting our kids in daycare just so we could have a nicer car, bigger TV and flasher house.
So, we want out! We want out of the prescribed 'normal' life, we want to be free to spend as many of the hours we have left, together. We want to watch our kids grow up everyday, have amazing experiences with them and truely live. So...we bought an old school bus and over 12 months Andy converted it into our off grid tiny home, by himself! Now we travel New Zealand full time and put it all on YouTube. By giving up the expensive house, car and modern consumerism we have been able to reduce our costs enough to limit the amount of work we need to do. We hope that by documenting our travels and sharing our journey we will be able to inspire a few of you to buy a little less stuff, live a little more simply, and be a bit happier.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for helping support our dream.