Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back in the states but still not home.

Hello from L.A. You read that right, L.A.
I did arrive safely back the states today but
unfortunately too late to catch my connecting flight.
Quantas was having a technical difficulty, which meant
a late departure from Auckland. Lucky for me, they made
up for this inconvience by putting me up in the Hilton
and providing me food coupons. So I guess I wasn't
meant to come home just yet.

I am updating this blog from the Apple store in Santa Monica.
It's the only place with free internet access. I took the #3 bus
(20 minutes and a .75 cent ride) to have a look around and find
a book store. I was watching Oprah today and she was featuring
Eckhart Tolle's new book "A New Earth" in her book club.
(Another interesting side note about this topic is that she and Eckhart
are teaming up on March 3rd to create a worldwide on-line classroom
around the book. Go to her site for more info or to sign up). I needed
more reading material for the rest of my journey home and really loved
his previous book "The Power of Now". My flight (hopefully) leaves L.A. at 8 am tomorrow,
arriving in Tampa around 5:30 pm. I am looking forward to seeing everyone once I have had
a chance to get over my jet lag. L.A. is an interesting place to begin my transition back into American
culture. I do believe it is the exact polar opposite of New Zealand, so my
head is spinning a bit. I'm doing my best to flow with the "different"
energy of this place and working to find the higher purpose/meaning
of my layover here since I would not have 'chosen' this myself.
The drastic contrast in these two realities makes me appreciate even more
how special New Zealand really is. I already miss it very much and will be
planning my return very soon. If anyone has to chance to visit this magical
land, do not hesitate, just get on the plane and GO!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Two more days until my flight home.

I knew this day would come eventually, when I would
be blogging about my return to the states. I have exactly
two more days in NZ and so I am just making the most
of each moment I have left in this beautiful country.

I finally made it to Akaroa a.ka. Banks Pennisula
(about an hours drive south of christchurch) and I finally
have my own wheels which is a nice for a change.
I love having the freedom to go where I want to go, when I want to go
and it's fun to pay back some of the rides I caught during my month long adventure.

Akaroa is as beautiful and chilled out as I thought it would be
so it's been a great place to rest and reflect before my journey home.
I will try to update pics in the next couple of days so you can see
how magical this place is with your own eyes.

Tomorrow I am taking an early boat out to go see the Hector dolphins
that live in this area. The next day I think I will go for a nice hike
and a swim at the beach and then it's off to the airport.

Much thanks to Joseph for agreeing to pick me up from the airport.
I'll pay you back with a great bottle of NZ pinot my friend. And Shannon
and Roy get ready for your bottle as well.

Looking forward to seeing all the wonderful people in my life back home.
I have missed you all and look forward to reconnecting. Until then......

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Back from Doubtful Fiord

Just a quick to say I am back from my kayaking trip
and will write more about it once I've had a rest
and some time to reflect on the experience.

The pics are up though and ready for viewing so enjoy
those in the meantime.

Today is January 20th and I only have 10 more days in
New Zealand so I am spending today just sorting out
how I want to spend the rest of my time.

May do the Kepler Track tomorrow which would mean about
3-4 days in the back country, so I may be off-line again
for awhile.

Eventually, I need to start to head North again to Mt. Cook
and then over to the Banks Peninsula, then home on the 30th
from Christchurch.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Depart in 6 hours for Doubtful Sound

It's 11:30 pm and I just finished getting all of my gear and food sorted
for my two day kayak/camping trip in Doubtful Sound. I really wasn't
planning on being up this late before the trip but there were quite
a few details to get sorted.

The YHA in Te Anau where I am staying in going to store my gear for me
while I'm away. They also have wi-fi so I am using this opportunity
to update my blog and load some new pics of the Milford sound trip.

My day starts with an early 6:20am pickup. Then a quick boat ride
across the lake and a drive to our put-in spot. I figure we'll get on
the water by 9:30 or 10am. We had our pre-trip meeting today at 5pm and it
seems like a good group of people (about 7 of us). The weather is suppose
to cooperate and two whole days of sunshine is predicted, which is unheard of
in this part of the world. So keep your fingers crossed and send those sunny
florida vibes my way!

This particular trip is a budget breaker but it's completely worth the cost
to have this unique experience. I figure I would pay the same amount to
jump out of a plane and it would be over in about 15 minutes. But with this
trip I will get about 48 hours of enjoyment. A much better deal in my mind.

I'll get back on Saturday evening and stay for another night at the YHA.
After that I really don't have a set plan. The first half of my trip was
so rushed and mapped out that now I just feel like going with the flow.
Ideally I would like to meet up and travel around with my Israel friends
(who have since bought a sweet campervan) but those boys are free spirits so it might not happen. If that's the case, then I think I'll start to head north to Mt. Cook so I can get in some good hiking. My feet should be good to go by then!

It's midnight and way past my bedtime so I'll just say "goodnight".

Monday, January 14, 2008

Only got two days in Wanaka

I'm sad to report that I had to leave Wanaka early
due to massive blisters on the soles of my feet.
These were gained from a two hour barefoot ultimate match,
where against my better judgement I decided to play without
shoes. Definitely made the wrong play and am now paying the price.

Since hiking is now out of the question for atleast a week,
I decided to keep heading south to Fiordland, where I can get
off my feet and onto my ass for some kayaking. Hopefully by the
time I head north again to Mt. Cook, I'll be good to go and a
little wiser as a result of the experience.

I'll do a day trip in Milford Sound on Wednesday
and a two day kayak/camping trip on Friday/Saturday.
Hopefully the weather will hold and I'll actually
get to paddle in some sunshine!

Will try to get the lastest pics updated once I
get to Te Anau. And I finally added all the Abel
Tasman pics from my cannon that decided to finally work again.
Anyone need a new Kodak digital camera, sell it to you for
cheap?! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Franz and Fox Glacier...

Much gratitude to Bonnie and Steve from Tasmania, who
offered me a ride from Hokitika to Fox Glacier. Their kindness allowed
me to see not one but two glaciers on this trip as well as the Hokitika Gorge.
It was a treat to get off the tourists bus and see the NZ countryside with good people in a tiny, red rental car. Thanks for making room for me and sharing your biscuits!!

I shared a dorm at Ivory Towers (the only hostel in town) with some nice girls.
Amy was from Ireland and Natalie was from England. Turns out that Natalie and I
were booked on the same full day tour of the glacier, so we were able to share that
experience together.

Words really can't do justice to what it's like being on a massive glacier so I am not even going to try. Simply put, it's amazing and something everyone should experience at some point in their life. Despite being a bit cold at times and a little damp throughout the day,I definitely want to spend more time mountaineering and exploring glaciers in the future.I've never seen or experienced anything like it before in my life. Just AWESOME!

Left Fox this morning and arrived in Wanaka (outside of Queenstown). I am couch surfing here for a few days with a couple of american guys (Ross and Steve). This place reminds me a lot of Jackson Hole so already I'm a happy camper! I hope to get in some amazing hikes and some QT in nature.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On my way to Fox Glacier

I'm leaving Hokitika today with a couple from Tasmania who were
kind enough to offer me a ride to Fox Glacier.

I took the plunge and bought a new camera for the last leg of my
journey so new pics should be forth coming.

On Saturday I will go on a 8 hour (roundtrip) hike up to the
glacier with one of the guide companies in the area.

Then on Sunday I leave for Wanaka where I will couch surf
with a couple of guys from America.

Really getting excited about this part of my trip. Lots and lots
of hiking, camping, swimming, kayaking, mountain views, etc.