So my last post ended with a lonely boy and me being a loner. Nice
The days following my last post amplify the proof of my contentness with being alone. I suppose they aren’t lazy days.. I just didn’t climb any mountains.
So, I am on February 24th in my journal and I began to consider my favorite quote again.
“The boy felt jealous of the freedom of the wind and saw that he could have the same freedom. There was nothing to hold him back except himself.” -Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist
At this point I was still traveling with Anton in our comfortable little rental car and I was not enjoying my time quite honestly. I felt as though I had become a grumpy, ungrateful tourist to be honest. Anton is great fun and an awesome mate to travel with, but I had become to comfortable with the situation and wasn’t stretching outside my boundaries or challenging myself anymore. I pondered on this thought for the next couple of days.
We drove to Te Anau and as we arrived at the hostel we decided to ask the reception about doing a day tour to Doubtful Sound. HA
What we didn’t realize was that you had to be on a bus then a boat then a bus then a helicopter then probably a magic space ship or something to get there. Plus it costed like $400 and the trip began at 8am. Oops, guess we didn’t research that one enough.
Instead we stayed in Te Anau and I needed some alone time so I went to see Hateful Eight at the cinema. I am such a loner. I mean really, I used to feel bad for people who were alone at the cinema.. As if they didn’t have anyone to go with or something but no.. Going to the cinema alone is awesome. I of course snuck in some snacks and ginger beer because I didn’t wanna pay a million extra dollars for a candy bar. It was a prett lazy day and I was just in sort of a slump of a mood.
The next day we went to the very well known Milford Sound. It’s apparently rated as one of the most amazing things to do in New Zealand and maybe even beyond. I don’t know the details you can google it if you wanna fact check me. The drive over was incredible. We left around 6 or 7 am (I didn’t journal the time so of course I forgot.. Bad memory. Not important. Continuing on..) and it was pouring rain the entire drive but we were surrounded by the incredible scenery of Fiordland.
I made a really terrible choice and wore jeans with my rain coat. As we arrived we had to run to the building and even then we got soaked. We were taking a cruise to see the Milford Sound so we waited for the boat to load up. We took off on the boat and even just the start was full of water shooting off of the mountains, which we found out was all rain water and the most there had been all season. We got to see just a glimpse of Milford Sound which was still incredible through the fog and rain.
I essentially drown on the cruise. Not only was I getting a free shower (shoutout to the backpackers who can appreciate anything free) but I was also taking a nice video of a waterfall when the captain decided it would be funny to drown me in that as I stood on the deck as well.
Throughout the cruise we saw Dolphins (smallest of its kind), seals sun/rain bathing (maybe just getting a free shower also, and penguins. This apparently was quite a lucky sighting because it’s not often you get to see all in one day.
Remember the jeans I wore? Like I said terrible idea. I was soaked head to toe and everyone knows how bad wet jeans are. We headed back to Te Anau and went to the library. Why? Well, not to further our education but to get free wifi of course. It was so funny to see so many backpackers sitting on the sidewalk outside of the library. Good stuff.
We were sort of working out plans and that same thought just kept coming back to me about traveling. I just wasn’t enjoying my time as much and Anton was about to head further north and I guess I sort of just had the realization that I could do what I wanted. So.. I broke the news that I wasn’t going to continue the trip with Anton. Sure it would make my journey harder with more hitching and busses and unknowns but that’s what I wanted.
We drove to Queenstown, had no plans for accommodation (which you have to book way ahead for Queenstown) and I bought a bus ticket headed east for the next morning. Anton found a hostel with a last minute cancellation so he took the room. I went for the luxurious 5 star accommodation instead and I slept in the back of the rental car in the YHA parking lot. Yep.. Shoutout to YHA for free wifi. Good times.
The next morning I hopped on the bus to Dunedin and headed back to lonerville.i was feeling as free as the wind.
Dunedin was quite nice. It was bigger than I had expected and had a sort of Scottish feel in my opinion. (Never been to Scottland and it’s probably nothing like Dunedin but whatever). Also, it’s a college town completely. Although I did know the architecture in Dunedin was so fascinating. The day I arrived I wandered around town and during dinner two guys invited me to join their table. (Seriously I must look like the biggest loner because people always do this.) The guys were from Canada, Mackenzie and Brett.
We had nice conversation and wandered around for a bit. Later on we wandered around Dunedin and met a guy with one arm who decided to join us for the night. It was O week so all of the freshman for Univeristy were in town and everywhere was a party. It was ridiculous. Couches were being burned and the streets were full of young people. It sort of skewed my perspective of the calm, beautiful New Zealand I had been enduring. But hey, everywhere has a college town and I just happened to be in it.
I went to the Dunedin farmers market where I got some local honey and fruit. I always try to get groceries at the market if possible. Afterwards I decided I would walk and find “Th World’s Steepest Street” I figured I would arrive to the street after about an hour of walking. Little did I know I was going to be waking through sort of weird parts of the outskirts of Dunedin. I got quite nervous so let’s just say I arrived in much less than an hour. (I should join the US Olympic speed waking team probably)
I started my walk up an intense street but I didn’t get far before having to stop to avoid ruining some tourist photos (and/or photobombing them… I mean, you can decide what you think I did) I trekked the rest of the way up and looked at some snazzy houses along the way. The homeowners had little shops set up so you could get souvenirs or certificates saying you climbed the street. I’m boring and just took a photo instead.
I headed back toward town and checked out the botanical gardens. To be honest I’m not much of a garden person. It was nice but I just sort of passed by quickly. I then was passing a museum and thought “hey I should go in there..” Nope. I’m also not much of a museum person. (Maybe someday I will appreciate these things more..) I arrived back to the city where a 3 on 3 was going on in the Octagon. It reminded me so much of heritage days back home.. Definitely made me miss Montana a little. I wish I would have known about the tournament because I would have found some backpackers to play in it with me.
The next day I decided to check out a church. I was sitting in the octagon and a man came up to me and started grabbing my hands. He was quite large and I was pretty nervous. He pulled me up and asked what I was doing and he was smiling so big. I told him I was going to church and he said he was coming with me. I was sort of afraid as he was quite grabby I headed toward the church when I felt safer. As we went in some guys recognized my expression and came to assist the situation. They invited the guy to come with them and they directed me to a group of girls (thank you!).
The message was so powerful. “Whatever is overcoming me has to obey Him.”
We often get caught up in the facts and stories rather than focusing on the headline. Jesus IS the headline.
Going to church was so good. I was surrounded with amazing energy. It was an incredible experience. I couldn’t help but smile the whole time. I immediately met some girls who were there for their first time as well and I just felt so comfortable (thanks Jesus).
After church I took the city bus to the beach and I read The Alchemist for the millionth time.
“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possesions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written with the same hand.”
ABANDON FEAR. That’s what I decided to do.
That evening I went to another church service at Equippers. I was immediately greeted by a really sweet girl who sat with me. I was confused when the music started because I was actually at a crazy rave dance party. People were jumping and yelling and partying really.
The message at this service reminded me to pull Jesus back down to reality. To make him real. I guarantee Jesus was a jokester. He too walked this earth and He isn’t just a piece of artwork. Let Him be REAL.
After the service a woman came up as I was talking to someone and introduced herself, Cathy Frew. She had been hosting a backpacker who was now actually at my hostel and he too had come to church. She invited me to dinner and I went out with a group from the church and her family.
They were so incredibly generous and they bought my meal. We stayed for awhile and when leaving they mentioned that they would be in the same area next week, Lake Hawea and Wanaka. Cathy said she wasn’t going to say goodbye that way we would see each other again. (Spoiler alert; I saw them again. Stay tuned for the Wanaka post)
The next day I met up with Michael Porter. Who is this? A guy I met on a high school DC trip from North Dakota. Hadn’t seen him since. Rather than ever meeting up in the US, New Zealand seemed more convenient.
It was actually so awesome to see a familiar (5 years ago but still) face. It was awesome to catch up. He is going to school in Dunedin this semester so maybe we will see each other again before my trip is over. (Spoiler alert; we haven’t yet)
Well that’s it for the lazy days of regaining some mental strength and venturing on my own again. Next up, Wanaka. Favorite place in New Zealand and my goodness did it get fun.