I have only dreamed of going to New Zealand for about 16 years now, but on January 7, 2018 it became my reality. This trip has been years in the making, but I have realized that I am not quite prepared. But this is not necessarily a bad thing; I see it as an opportunity. I did not plan out every single thing I wanted to do in New Zealand because I figured the most memorable and meaningful stuff would be the things not planned out. I didn’t plan on listening to the birds at 6 AM in Fiji after a 12 hour flight while walking from the plane through the warm air to the interior of the airport where I would try to find the best spot to watch the sunrise and end up crouching in a corner looking at mountains. I didn’t plan on crying at first glimpse of New Zealand from the airplane, I just anticipated that. But I did not plan on crying while flying over the whole North Island and listening to beautiful music before I landed in Wellington. I did not plan out meeting so many wonderful people and drinking lots of tea in Wellington, or listening to the train go by early in the morning while waking up after my first night in New Zealand. I did not plan out being mesmerized by the Sounds of the South Island while coming in on the ferry, or walking through a rose garden while it’s slightly raining in Nelson, or finally feeling the warm sea water on my feet.
Some of the things that we remember the most are the little and spontaneous things. These events and moments are important, and they should not go unnoticed. I try to see the beauty in all things, and New Zealand is full of so much beauty. Every day there is something new and wonderful to experience, even if I am in the same place…especially if I am in the same place, because it is then that I can learn to love a place more and more each day. With every passing day I fall in love with New Zealand more and more. This blog will be about all this magnificent beauty in the world that I am experiencing, my struggles, my triumphs, my loves, my losses, and everything in between. Over these next 6 months I will cry and laugh more times than I can count. It will be an experience of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to share it. So, it all begins here. And it’s just the beginning…
Arriving in New Zealand was unreal. After four flights that all had their unique twists (i.e. I had to get off at LAX, get my bag, and go back through check-in and security), I arrived in Wellington and was absolutely overwhelmed. A city right on the sea, with houses in the hill covered by trees and greenery. Everything was new, and it was more than I could have dreamed. I fell in love with Wellington right away, and even though my time here was short, it was wonderful.
Ducker and Theresa, whom I have known since I was 5 years old, and the first reason for my desire to visit New Zealand, picked me up from the airport and we embarked on our adventure. Weaving through streets, trees, and neighborhoods on the “Flyer” (bus), I was mesmerized by the new place and especially by the fact that we were driving on the left side of the road. We exited the Flyer near the train station, and took it up to the neighborhood where their friend Darrell lived. This is where I met Chico, the lovely cat you see pictured above with Darrell. I didn’t feel so tired because I had so much energy from finally arriving in New Zealand.
The next day was full of the beautiful sights, sounds, and people of Wellington. These are the photographs that you see above. The weather was perfect, and my heart was full. Tuesday was the adventure on the ferry, travelling from the North Island to the South.
I had never been on a boat of significance before this one, and wow was it amazing! We left Wellington, crossed Cook Straight, weaved through the Queen Charlotte Sound and others, and arrived in Picton. As you can see from the photographs above, my entrance to the South Island was breathtaking. Blue seas and green everything else. I will never get tired of the beauty of New Zealand.
The purple chair where I sit often and look out the window at the beautiful scenery.
I will always be in love with this beautiful view of Tasman Bay.
The rose garden where I walked in the rain and smelled the beautiful flowers.
Seagulls are relentless, and people must strike back with water guns.
On my way to the beach.
Christmas in New Zealand.
A view of Nelson from the center of New Zealand.
Every night there is a different sunset even more beautiful than the last.
Tahuna Summer Sounds
Saturday Market Adventures
A bookstore in Nelson
It is at this point where we transition to another journey of mine. These first 2.5 weeks of my New Zealand adventure were beautiful and incredible, but never had I experienced so much growth in my life as I did when I traveled the South Island by myself. I desired to see more and do more. I am in New Zealand, after all, and I knew I had to journey away from comfort and familiarity. So with the help of my dear friends I made travel plans and packed my backpack. These first couple weeks were really just the beginning…