The air is clean, crisp, and cool. As it blows softly against skin my sensory memory kicks in and I am immediately transported to North Carolina.
I pause for a moment, close my eyes, and smile. I’m far from the rolling, wooded hills of North Carolina though. Instead, I am in New Zealand and about to experience the road trip of a lifetime. Well, really it’s the only road trip I have ever completed.
Three other American friends and I decided to head to the South Island of New Zealand during Spring Break. Beginning and ending in Christchurch, we drove to places such as Dunedin for a tour of Speight’s beer brewery and then on to Queenstown. With a downtown that seemed to be all of three blocks, Queenstown was a city that nature decorated with its beauty. Across the South Island it was as if people decided not to compete with nature architecturally. Instead, mountains, bodies of water and even the occasional glacier or two dominated the skyline.
The landscape was beautiful there.
And the landscape was deadly.
While trecking up the Franz Josef glacier our group had to come down early because of rain. What was a once placid, serene hike with a slight drizzle had turned into trek with stinging rain. Noticing my hesitation, the guide came and held my hand more than once to help me over blocks of ice (are we noticing a pattern here?).
It was on that glacier that nature humbled me.
Days later, the group—which one of the members nicknamed The Fabulous Foursome— took a short helicopter ride over Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. It was a moment of privilege and a moment of fear as we whirred above The Sleeping Beast (what I now refer to glaciers as). We landed for all of 10 minutes, and it’s 10 minutes I still can’t believe I experienced.
Seven hours later, I would be in a different locale sailing on the ocean.
That post will have to come at a later date. Keep traveling around New Zealand with me throughout the week!