My last update was 6 months ago.
Since working in Wanaka while living in a van down by the river, quite a lot has happened and I have been all over the place. I’ll hit the highlights here and write detailed posts on the most notable experiences in the future.
Mike and I were in Wanaka until February 8th. After an adventure in Aspiring National Park, I put in my two weeks at each of my jobs and we booked it south to the overwhelming intensity of Milford Sound.
After a couple miserable days with a bout of food poisoning there, we felt the trip needed a bit of a kickstart on the adventure front, so we headed to one of the only multi-day backpacking trips in the Fiordland that won’t cost you $200, called the South Coast Track. With a rocky start and three massively rainy days out of six, it was a rough experience to say the least.
Continuing east, we traveled through The Catlins at the very bottom of the South Island, where there are a lot of easy-access waterfalls and a distinct lack of gas stations. We discovered this the hard way when the only hope we had was closed and Tia Rose sputtered to a stop about halfway to the next available option. Luckily, some nice farmers noticed our plight later that night and gave us 5 liters of gas and a place to park for the night.
We filled up and started north toward Dunedin, checking out the Moeraki Boulders along the way. After a couple days in Dunedin, we decided that our post-New Zealand destination should be Bali. We booked our flights in the Dunedin library for March 20th, leaving us about a month left to adventure.
The time before we left for Bali saw us complete a figure 8 across the South Island. We took off from Dunedin, crossed through Wanaka just to restock, and stopped in Fox Glacier for a few days. The first two days were rainy, but we lucked out and had enough clear days to hike to Welcome Flat hot springs.
From there, we drove north up the west coast, I developed another unfortunate round of food poisoning in Oamaru, where we met up with Mike’s friend and fellow traveler, then booked it to Nelson for a couple relaxing days.
She went off to Christchurch and we headed back south toward Kahurangi National Park, where we attempted Mt. Owen and hiked to the Thousand Acre Plateau. The beauty of being two days from the nearest farm is hard to describe. We didn’t run into a single soul on the way to the Thousand Acre Plateau.
Finally, we boarded our first flight to Bali, where we spent our first and last few days in Kuta (tourist central), explored Ubud with its monkey forest, saw two traditional dance performances, went scuba diving in Tulamben, snorkeled and drank way too much on Gili Trawangan, and met so many amazing people along the way. One reason we met more people in Bali than New Zealand was the cheap food and beer. We were even able to stay in some pretty nice hotels for just $10 each per night. Though the financial situation was amazing, the heat really was not my jam, and at the end of our 4 weeks there, I was ready to go.
Mike and I parted ways, he to commercial fishing in Alaska, and I back to New Zealand in the hopes of finding a job. It was a wild four months of traveling together, but it was time to go off in our own directions again.
Once in New Zealand, I went hard on the job search in Christchurch and Wanaka. Although winter was right around the corner (mid-June and it was mid-April), I didn’t have the finances to live two months without a form of income. So I sent out application after application in the hopes of finding anything that could keep me there. Sadly, it was the low season, and the only position I found that had potential didn’t pan out.
Three weeks in, I made the call to put my van up for sale and find adventure back in the U.S. A week later I was on a 31 hour flight from Christchurch to Columbus, completely exhausted, and ready to be in a stable environment for a bit.
My incredibly supportive parents took me in for two months while I worked to save money (in Ohio, with no mountains). After a week in Maine for the 4th of July where we sent my grandma Shirley’s ashes out to sea, I drove out to Colorado with the best road trip buddy (my mom), and that’s where I’ve been since, climbing, hiking and mountain biking through life. Still feels like home.
And I’m leaving in a month. Because of course I am.
I can’t stay still for the life of me, so I’m taking a road trip to the Pacific Northwest the first week of September, where I’m enrolled in the National Ski Patrol’s Outdoor Emergency Care course and hired on to be a ski instructor in Washington this winter. Anyone who knows me will understand how huge this is. I have been skiing since I was two and snowboarding since I was 10. My hope is to gain experience this winter and, if I can swing it, fly down to the southern hemisphere in late spring to patrol for the 2017 winter season there.
It’s hard to believe how much has happened in just the last six months. It’s good to look back on days like today when I’m working ten hours. Anyway, thanks for reading if you got this far, I’ll be sure to keep these footprints wandering.