Backpacking in New Zealand

In February 2023, I had the opportunity to go on an incredible adventure backpacking through New Zealand. As we trekked through the wilderness, the terrain switched abruptly from tropical, to burned forest, to desert Martian like landscape, to woodsy, to grassy fields, with every step we took. Physically, it was a greater challenge than anticipated, I had blisters on blisters, and my body ached, but persevered. It is astounding to think that I relied on my size 6 feet and 130 lb. body, on my back all my belongings and supplies, to carry me for miles upon miles. I learned valuable lessons about my strength, grit, determination, warrior spirit, while exploring this stunning place.

There were such magnificent sights! We saw a school of dolphins leaping in front of the ferry, Orcas teaching their young to hunt stingrays in a bay, two cyclones which halted our hiking progress, and felt a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that occurred in the ocean off the coast of the South Island.

I fell in love with the Tolkien world of Middle Earth when I first read The Hobbit as a child, followed soon after by the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Visiting Hobbiton was a bucket list item. Spoiler alert- the Hobbit homes do not have an interior but being on the Hobbiton movie set felt authentically like being in the Shire.

This journey was a dream come true. My outlook towards the future coming out of it was filled with hope and promise. Unbeknownst to me, the universe had other plans, my travel companion and I’s connection will forever be preserved in this moment of time. Had I known we would not be a part of each other’s futures, I would have never wanted this time to end. All we can do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us. I will cherish the adventures, the memories, and the peace it brought to my soul to see more of the endlessly intriguing world we live in. Is it possible to both treasure something and grieve it at the same time?

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