Well. A week ago I blogged from a backpackers in Wellington, I wrote most of this whilst in a camping ground in Kaikoura, and I am posting it from my friend’s house in Christchurch. In between I have spent a lot of time zooming around the South Island of New Zealand taking pictures, writing things, and throwing up.
Yes, throwing up. Ugh.
I was practically born on a boat. My parents were fisher people then and when it comes to the sea, it’s usually the rougher the better for me. I’m usually the one laughing when everyone else gets seasick. Last week karma came back to bite me in the ass when I got so ill on the early morning ferry crossing that I had to be seen to by the ships medical staff and carted off to a cabin with people standing watch for the next four hours.
I also managed to screw up my knee again – having been told by my physiotherapist only hours before that the one thing I mustn’t do is kneel, I proceeded to spend several hours on my hands and knees throwing up, and although I was too ill to notice or care at the time, I’ve been feeling it ever since.
I was ill before I got on the boat, and have been ill pretty much ever since. I think it has finally run its course now, fingers crossed. Clearly it was something more than just seasickness but still, serves me right for being a smart ass all those years. On the plus side, I think I lost a couple of kilos and I found out that the cabins on the Bluebridge ferries are really nice.
I do not, however, recommend this as a technique for weight loss or as a way to get an upgrade! :/
I do, however, recommend road-tripping as a cure for just about anything that ails you. For all the miserable moments I’ve had over the past week, I’ve had some absolutely amazing ones as well and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.
Snow capped mountains, sparkling rivers, beautiful beaches, misty valleys, salt flats stretching for miles, sunbeams twinkling through the trees, dew dripping off wild flowers, tumble weeds, train tracks, tunnels, seals, sea birds and pianos in random places – these are just some of the amazing things that I have encountered over the past seven days or so.
By far the most incredible thing we have seen is a deserted country road with fields full of falcons all around. I’ve never seen so many in my life, let alone in one place, at one time. We drove up and down the road very slowly several times, just watching them. It was unbelievable.
In Nelson, my little niece who we had gone to visit overheard me saying that I needed a new book to write in, so she took some of the small amount of pocket money her Mum had given her especially for our visit and bought me a hard cover book. Said book now has flowers from her school’s front garden pressed in it, has taken up residence on my lap and is recording all my ideas and ramblings as we go along.
At Marfell’s beach we found an old swing made out of an old buoy on a rope. Naturally, being a grown-up, the first thing I did was run and play on it (although I did test the rope first!).
We haven’t really had much of a plan and we haven’t really stuck to what plan we did have. We have pretty much made it up as we have gone along and used the technique of “where does that go? Let’s find out…” to work out where we are going.
We haven’t had internet, phone, or even power a lot of the time but what we have had is an absolute riot. We have been to places we’ve never been before, and discovered places we never knew existed before. I’ve found so much inspiration that I haven’t known whether my headache was from my illness or from trying to hold all the ideas in.
Whilst not having those things on hand takes a bit of getting used to when you usually take them for granted, I’ve actually enjoyed not living my life on my gadgets and having to come up with creative ways to work around not having them. I’ve even discovered a couple of surprising advantages to not having power.
It’s made me a better photographer, because I have to be careful about the battery, so I have to be pickier about my shots. It’s improved my note taking because I only have so much space, and my drawing ability because I have more time to just sit and stare at things and try to sketch them. It’s made me improve hand writing because I need to be able to read it later on, and it may even have made me a better writer because although I actually quite enjoy writing by hand, it can be hard going after a while, so it discourages me from unnecessary fluff and encourages me to make the most of the words I am putting on each page.
It’s even made me more organised and efficient, because I am studying as well as travelling and as well as having maps of all the beauty and interest spots I also have maps of all the free internet and libraries across the country as well so that I can get my assignments done, and in on time!
So, as much as I have moaned about being ill and about my knee, any discomfort pales in comparison to the sheer awesomeness of road-tripping around your country with your best friend (my Mom, who, somewhat handily, is also a former nurse) and finding inspiration left, right, centre, above, below – all around.
Right now we are taking a break from the road in Christchurch, restocking the car, spending some time in our city, and catching up with our friends and the outside world before we head off for another few days in the wild blue yonder. We don’t really know where we’re going. We don’t really care. We’ll know it when we see it, and we’ll enjoy finding the path that takes us there.