By PHILIP CHANDLER
Queenstown may become the long-term home for a world-travelling Canadian family who’ve been ‘‘happily stuck’’ in New Zealand since the first Covid lockdown.
After travelling through 97 countries since 2013, the Patton family, soon after arriving in NZ
in March last year, spent their eight-week lockdown in a house in Queenstown’s Fernhill, before taking off to see the rest of the country.
The ‘digital nomads’ — Chantal and Tyler and their daughters Julia, 17, Angelique, 16, and
Chloe, 13 — returned to the same Fernhill home last week, before resuming their travels.
Unless they’re successful with their application for an entrepreneurial visa, the family will resume their world travels soon — initially through the Middle East, then Europe and Africa.
Chantal says it was interesting being back in Queenstown as last time the resort was closed — ‘‘now you can feel the heartbeat of the whole community’’.
‘‘You’re kind of like the Zermatt of Switzerland or the Aspen of the United States — you’re like that unique.’’
Since starting their travels, Chantal and Tyler have continued running their online marketing company, while their kids have been home-schooled.
They’ve also amassed about 60,000 followers on their ‘Growing Up Without Borders’ social media platforms — a number that’s doubled since they’ve been in NZ.
Chantal says once they reach their target of visiting 197 countries, they’ll consider basing themselves in either Rotorua, ‘‘cos it’s kind of central to everything’’, or Queenstown, ‘‘where you’ve got all the beauty’’.
Julia, however, may return to Queenstown sooner — she’s eyeing up enrolling in Queenstown Resort College’s hospitality management course after about another year’s travelling.
Chantal admits world travel will be harder due to the global Covid pandemic and is ‘‘a little nervous’’ even vaccinated people can pick up Covid — ‘‘and then obviously everything changes’’.