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Two Years Ago…

May 25, 2009

I love to travel.  I don’t know where the bug came from, because growing up in Connecticut the only places my family ever went were Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.  Suddenly, after college, I decided I absolutely had to get around a little more! I spent the year I was 22 living and working in Vermont and Montana, plus a cross country drive between the two that included stops in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico (where I slept on a picnic table overnight with a T-shirt tied to my head for warmth!), and Wyoming. And of course I drove through all the other states that I didn’t stop in! Oh, and I also went to Montreal, Canada, for the first time while I was living in Vermont.

Later that same summer I travelled around and stayed in a tent in Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Kentucky.  Just after my 23rd birthday I moved to Virginia! It was a crazy year, I can’t believe I saw so much of the country that year.

I moved back to Vermont for a little over a year, then finally settled in the town I live in now, in the mountains of western North Carolina.  Even though I now have a mortgage and two cats, I have still managed to go to Hawaii twice, California twice, Florida once, multiple trips to South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, trips up north to New York and Connecticut, and two years ago, a two-week trip to New Zealand.

I wanted to share some of the pictures from that amazing trip, that I left on about two years ago from today. (If I could find my travel journal I could be even more exact, but I don’t know where it is!)

When I arrived in New Zealand they called my name over the PA system and asked that I head to the Customer Service desk of the airline I flew with, Qantas. Honestly, I wasn’t that upset or surprised, because I had flown from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Houston, Texas, to LAX, to New Zealand, so there were quite a few stops. They told me they had lost my bags but presented me with a lovely “Female Overnight Kit”.

I thought I already was a female?

I thought I already was a female?

I looked seriously hot after traveling for over 24 hours with very little sleep, didn’t I?

Thank goodness you can't smell me

Thank goodness you can't smell me

I was meeting a friend (Christy, of Christy’s Sweet Ass Beans) at the airport, because she was flying in from Hawaii, where she used to live.  I hung out for two hours until she arrived, then we went to pick up our rental car and attempted to learn to drive on the left side of the road with very little sleep! We were seriously bummed that this bad boy didn’t have a CD player.

A tape deck? Are you kidding me?

A tape deck? Are you kidding me?

But who cares about these pictures, you want to see gorgeous and interesting stuff, right?

Don't they look like they have pants on?

Don't they look like they have pants on?

On the ferry to the South Island

On the ferry to the South Island

Rainy me at Pancake Rocks

Rainy me at Pancake Rocks

Beautiful mountains, lots of rain and fog

Beautiful mountains, lots of rain and fog

Some waterfall.  Must find travel journal.

Some waterfall. Must find travel journal.

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

Jen & Christy in Milford Sound

Jen & Christy in Milford Sound

New Zealand has more sheep than people, no joke.

New Zealand has more sheep than people, no joke.

Scariest. Hostel. Ever.

Scariest. Hostel. Ever.

Man on Fire!

Man on Fire!

Hike in Hanmer Springs

Hike in Hanmer Springs

Man, I could go on and on with the pics, this is bringing me back. I do wish I could located my travel journal right now, though, because I was dealing with some emotional ups and downs on this trip that I would discuss in more detail if I could remember them more clearly.

I think for many years I thought taking a trip would erase what I was feeling; anything I was struggling with back home, any sadness or anger, any issue I didn’t want to to deal with. I think that can happen during a weekend away, but when a trip gets longer, like this two-week trip to NZ, or the multiple long trips I’ve taken to Hawaii and California, life always catches up.

I think I could have enjoyed this trip even more if I was in the state of mind I currently (mostly. sort of.) reside in.  Back then I wasn’t meditating, was in a long distance relationship (with the man I’m still with, who, ironically, is far away again right now), and felt a sense of not knowing where I was going with my life.  Christy had just gotten married and was so happy and glowing, and also seemed to be exactly where she wanted to be career-wise, which was a far cry from my own career outlook.

Even typing that reminds me, though, how we always compare ourselves to others, but really we’re only seeing a snapshot of what’s happening in the other person’s life.  Now, two years later, Christy and her husband have a baby, but she is no longer working and is unsure what direction she wants to go.  Now I’m the one with the great career track while hers is in temporary limbo. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I just think it’s amusing how we look to others to measure ourselves by, yet really don’t know what has happened in their life of the past, what is going to happen to them in the future, or even if what they’re presenting is accurate.

This trip was amazing.  I’d love to go back. In fact, I’m just going to say right now that I’m going to write in my gratituture journal “I’m thankful for my second trip to New Zealand” to set it in action.

I really did, at the time of the trip and shortly thereafter, wish I’d enjoyed myself more, gotten “more” from the trip.  But I no longer see it that way.  I am so, so thankful for the experience that I had, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Looking back on it now I can see how staying present and meditating daily will help me wherever I go, and how from now on I plan on keeping my center no matter what state I’m in or what continent I’m on.

Travel is good for the soul: the people you meet, the bonds you form with your travel partners, the strength you find in yourself when something goes wrong. I am so happy to have experienced what I have and can’t wait to see even more of this beautiful planet we live on.

And FYI: When I went to New Zealand I made only $12/hour at my job, and the first time I went to Hawaii I was only making $10/hour! It is possible to travel, even on a budget, so I don’t want to hear any excuses, but I’ll save that for another post!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 26, 2009 7:13 am

    Oh my gosh. I just found your blog and you have no idea how much this post meant to me! You’re amazing, and you’ve been to so many places. Holy cow! After this past year I’m dying to get out and about again, and trips around the US may be the answer, there’s so many places to go in this large country of ours. You have one great blog dear 🙂

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