5 years ago, I went on the trip of a lifetime.It was such a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment into what I want and need out of life, that I remember the place for what it was and what it taught me. In my mind, there is no place more magnificent, gorgeous, free, mesmerizing, mystical, enchanting, carefree, delightful, daring, challenging, mysterious and yet, like home, than New Zealand.
The memories I have of that trip abound and I frequently find myself chatting about the amazing places I saw. From the greenest rolling hills to the most pristine beaches to the most craggy & imposing mountain peaks to Milford Sound (look it up on the InterGoogle) every twist and turn brought me closer to peace. The thing that I remember most are the friendly and welcoming people. The Kiwis have the most amazing outlook on life. After spending two weeks there, among them, you can see how their life is inspired by their surroundings and you just, literally, never want to leave.
It's funny how I saw all those interesting places and sweeping vistas, yet this is the photo I chose to share. It was our second to last night in New Zealand. We had stopped in the most out of the way lodge one could find, on the shores of Lake Ohau. It's just a dot on the map... if it's even on a map. Standing on the patio, cocktail in hand, surrounded by new friends, I felt like I was experiencing a place that no one had ever seen before. The ripples on the lake seemed to be perfectly made by angel's wings. Mt. Cook stood looming in the distance as we watched the sunset. Yet, over on a picnic table, near the edge of the water, were these rocks. I'm not sure the story behind them... a bored drunkard playing with them over a beer or a child from earlier collecting them at the lake's edge and setting them out to dry, perhaps? But it just spoke to me, in some strange way, and I climbed up on top of the table, with my cheap, old point & shoot digital, and snapped one of my all-time favorite photos. Somehow, for some reason, this photo just embodied my experience there.
Deep in my heart, I know I will get back to this place again. Puff and I have decided it will be our 10 year wedding anniversary treat to ourselves. The prospect of it excites every piece of me. It will be so much better to experience it with someone who wants to be there and will enjoy every second of it. Puff will relish in the twists & turns of the mountain roads and I can just see him hiking trails and sipping water from glacial fed streams. And I just know we'll find a wide, empty field to tramp through and stand alone with our arms out-stretched, twirling to look in every direction to soak up some of God's best work. And hopefully, we can fall in love with not only New Zealand together, but maybe fall in love with each other all over again. The land of the Kiwi's has amazing powers.