It’s funny… Earth seems like such a large place until you dab your feet into each of her seas. I feel so comfortable in New Zealand that it’s hard to believe the rush I felt as I exited the plane in Auckland eight months ago. Everything was significant then – my first steps south of the equator, the cackling over kiwi accents and nights asleep underneath the stars of the southern hemisphere. Everything was new and exciting.
Eight months in, I am burdened by speeding tickets, damages to the car, dwindling hours at work and escalating power bills. The vacation morphed into the real world I thought I had escaped. My child-like wonder for everything new will never pass, but in an attempt to escape the familiar, I have hit it head on.
However, it’s a detached familiarity. There is a sad realization when you find that you have become numb to the here and there of life. People you grow to cherish slide in and out of your life with an eerie ease. You learn to treasure the now, catalogue the past, and look forever forward to the future for fear of tearing up over the could-have-been.
I came to this country halfway across the world alone. In doing so, I allowed myself to become whoever and whatever I wanted without any tattlers from my past to call out my bluff.
Charles, my best friend growing up, went by Richard during the years he lived with his family in China. He said he was a different person there. He even had me convinced one cloudy autumn day that he had been a child spy that killed someone. Another childhood friend, Elliot, was suddenly struck with agoraphobia and came back from his mental breakdown as John.
I always wanted that superhuman ability to change who I was. But, if I’ve learned anything, solo travel only brings you closer to realizing who you are at the core.
So, it is with excitement and a slight hesitation that I head to the North Island to travel with my good friend Abby from home (that is to say one of the places I call home – the Virgin Islands). I am leaving the South Island that I have grown so accustomed to, for a brief soirée with the North Island before I set out to dab my foot in another sea – before I get too comfortable again (or before the bills and tickets threaten to put me on the street).
But, before I go, here is one more look at the South Island. I have moved every file off of my computer and onto an external hard drive just to keep up with the excessive amount of photos I have amassed. If I told you how many pictures of sheep and cows I have slowing down my Mac right now you would surely buckle over.
As MarkontheMap approaches its 1st birthday, I am curious to hear what your favorite stories or photos were. Or, if you have any suggestions or comments for the blog, I’d been keen to hear those as well. It’s nice to get a little feedback once in a while.
Alas, here are a few shots (that never quite made the cut) that sum up the beauty, purity, and quietude of the South Island.