No, I’m not currently in the middle of the ocean, but I do feel like home has moved a little bit closer to Christchurch since the last time we talked.
Maybe it feels like home here because of how much coffee I’ve been drinking… you can take the boy out of Seattle, but you can’t take the Seattle out of the boy. In fact, I have a cup of joe (creative juice) in my hand right now. I wish I were lying when I told you how much of this stuff I’ve been going through… the issue is that the french press I bought is an ENTIRE LITER, and I figure, “Might as well make the whole thing, and drink the whole thing.” I’m going to get stomach ulcers.
In other news, March – what a month! Peaks were reached, rivers were paddled/descended by other means, waves were ridden… I jumped in very cold water, saw some of the bluest water, and sat in some of the naturally warmest water. Hm, water.
Month 2 did honestly did make what was already feeling pretty homely feel even more so. At this point, I’m really settling in with a solid community and I don’t even have to Google Maps my way everywhere anymore – it’s great. The thought of being 2/5 of my way through my time in New Zealand is the worst, so we won’t go there.
Let’s go somewhere else: the brain. One of my favorite things to ask people is, “What have you been thinking about recently?” I don’t know about you, but I know about me, and so I know that I tend to think a lot. Any of those quiet spaces in my brain, when they’re not occupied by school, any task at hand, etc., get filled up by something else. And I reckon this happens for you too. I want to know, what’s going on in that big, beautiful brain of yours? I like knowing this because what you spend your time thinking about inevitably shapes how you’re living life, what you’re feeling, and what you do. The opposite of that is also true: what you do shapes what you’re thinking of. Unless you’re a mindless robot. If you’re keen to know what’s on my mind, here goes:
1. The weather is as unreliable as election polls. It seems like everywhere you go people always say, “The weather is crazy here, so unpredictable. If you don’t like it, wait 5 minutes and you’ll have a new season.” I must say, New Zealand might have the most spotty weather I’ve encountered yet. After weather forecasts spoiled weekend plans multiple times, I set a rule for myself that I would decide on what I wanted to do and go for it regardless of the forecast. Too many times I called a trip off on account of the weather, only to be greeted (somewhat to my pleasure) by a bluebird day. No more! If you always wait for good weather, you’ll never do half of the things you want to. Is that a metaphor for life? It could be. Come sun or storms, forget about the weather – that’s a fine way to live.
2. Accept the fact that people you meet in passing might be just that. That can be a difficult thing to accept. How do you know when a friendly face on the trail might be one actually worth keeping around? The worst is when you realize that a person actually is after they’re gone. It’s like when you’re trying to think of that catchy song you heard but you just can’t remember the lyrics, and so can’t look it up. You’ve met a cool person, but perhaps they were just meant to be around for that moment. This juxtaposes the next point:
3. It’s easier to be a passer through than a builder of something real and lasting. It’s one thing to go to a place and gain from it, but it’s a whole other thing to go to a place and leave it better than you found it. Environmentally and socially – how can you leave your thumbprint somewhere in a way that benefits people’s lives? I don’t think this has to be done every time you travel, and I’m certainly not saying that I do this or even know how to… But it is something to consider.
4. Priorities shift. Going into an experience such as traveling abroad you form a perception of what it’s going to be like, and boy it can be wrong. Things change as you realize that maybe what you thought you would focus on/accomplish during your stay becomes less important once your boots are on the ground. I believe this to be totally okay. Prior to coming to New Zealand I thought it would be a good to idea focus on photography, and to reach out to some companies for gear sponsorship and perhaps write stories for publications. Gradually, though, my desires shifted from wanting to be on the job to wanting to be fully in the moment. I just want to live and experience this place and not necessarily be responsible to sharing it. Woo!
Sweet as – got that all finished. Here are some favorites from the past month:
Favorite Thing I Done Seen:
Last weekend’s trip to Wanaka and Mount Aspiring National Park could not have gone better. Day one: Isthmus Peak and the best views of the lake valleys. Ice cream. Day two: pies and backpacking into Brewster Hut (pictured). Cozy hut, great travelers, adopting British friend from Day One. Best light I’ve seen in New Zealand, a cloudless night sky for stargazing. Day Three: Climb up Armstrong peak for sunrise, pies, Hamilton soundtrack. Ice cream.
Favorite Thing I Done Ate:
Pies. Piiies. PIES. Pies bring out Jack’s crazy eyes. Bacon and egg has to be my favorite. Why are pies not a thing in the States?
Favorite Adventure I Done Did:
Out of all the adventures from last month, my favorite one has to be a simple day surfing. Three mates and I hit the beach on a sunny afternoon and got so pitted. The feeling of catching a wave and riding it until it can be ridden no more…few things compare.
Favorite Theme Song I Done Listened to a Bunch:
waves – Tame Impala Remix, by Miguel and Tame Impala
Favorite Sport I Done Photographed for the First Time:
Favorite Thing We Done Repelled:
Favorite Lake I Done Seen From Above:
Favorite Bird That Done Took Flight Near Me/Best Animals:
Favorite Moment That Done Looks Sad But Was Actually Great:
Favorite Plant (Done):
FERNS. They are by far my favorite plant on Earth.
Other Done Stuff:
And there you have it folks: Month Two.
Last weekend a group of friends and I went tramping around Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring National Park – it was incredible. Whenever we were hiking up some steep slope and becoming quite tired towards the top somebody was bound to ask, “How close do you think we are?” To which my friend Carolien would faithfully respond, every time, with: “We’re closer than we’ve ever been before!”
I found that to be an awesome, simple truth: putting one foot in front of the other will sure enough get you where you need to be.
We’re closer than we’ve ever been before.