Living in a Cloud

 

Dense air sinks into my lungs out here, it crawls up my body and clokes my hands; the fog hovers above the oceans and hangs into the trees. Bellingham, WA is a cloud: one i’ve found myself living.

At the head of my bed is the window of my room, in my purple house. It looks out on the aging power-lines in the back ally, past our frosted backyard, and through the clouds that sun peaks through; a surprise that rocks my eyelids back while I lay in my warm bed postponing the day. I have become use to waking up to layers of grey piling from the concrete and draping from my skyline to the ocean, but lately the sun has been chasing the clouds.

It turns out being in a cloud is just what I needed to finish 2015. Starting this year in New Zealand in their height of summer, feeling the ozone-less sun beams sink years into my smiles, to spending a Spring and Summer in Vermont, to finishing the summer off and starting the fall in California to finally settling in Bellingham. I’ve had a lot of sun this year.

Long days filled with sunshine pouring onto me while casting on the rivers in New Zealand to the sun that greeted me after sitting at my desk at Alpinist. Being in blue skies my thoughts and all stability feels a need to explore every inch of that sky. It’s like Spring in Vermont when it reaches 50 degrees after months of 20 below and you feel your chest open and your back straighten. Sunshine and blue skies let my brain explore the world. It’s invigorating and also exhausting.

Being in a cloud I have begun to see through a microscope. The sinking clouds let me see what I’m doing rather then what the world is doing.

Looking back at 2015 I have no idea how it all happened. Now that I’m back from New Zealand people ask me why I went or what I did and I still haven’t found an answer. I decided to quickly to go, arrived with less then no plans, and somehow found the most amazing places, people and thoughts I’ve ever seen all because the blue skies of California shared its sun with New Zealand.

What brought me home was an internship at Alpinist Magazine. My dream magazine. I use to collect issues in boarding school and flip through the pages during study hall dreaming of being in the Himalayas, Andes and in the Sierras; being lost in the snow and ice that my mentors suffered in before me. Seven years later and after adventures and a fluctuating relationship with climbing there I was in Jeffersonville, Vermont. Writing and working with the people who created my dreams growing up. Interviewing my idols and in the end having a piece of my own for people to read while they flip through the pages of the Alpinist.

After creating dreams, finding ideas, thoughts and accomplishing them I somehow I ended up in an amazing home in Bellingham, WA. The moment I walked through the doors here I wanted to sink into the old floor boards and never leave. The windows are big, the walls are aged, and the kitchen is trimmed with a blue. Up the creaking stairs I have my own room. Closing the door and dropping my bag in my new room was a feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time. When I worked at Alpinist I lived at home but except for that I haven’t had my own room since I was 18 and subletting in Burlington. This Lavender home filled with three amazing people is the best way to live in this cloud.

This cloud hides the sun, makes me forget I’m surrounded my mountains and doesn’t let me see open. Stars, blue, sun and sunsets. It does let me sink into my home and feel my thoughts dance through me as I plan my next step in blue skies.

Back in Vermont: Another Summer // Part II

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, she finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

The ice turned to slush, melted and now it’s pouring into the rivers and streams that I’ve begun to swim in now that it’s 80 degrees outside, a humid 80 degrees. The ice has melted into the lake, Burlington is flocked with people each day the sun shines, and the dry Spring has lead to trails filled with people from the Adirondacks, through the Greens and into the White Mountains. People are outside everywhere after six months of hibernation.

For me, coming up on my third summer in a row, I’m not basking in the sun as it breaks through our thick grey sky. I am smiling as I watch the flowers blossom from the brown ground but other then green trees and colorful flowers the sun doesn’t bring many smiles to me. I feel the warmth of the sun and struggle with imagining months of hot temperatures again, turns out I’m not a summer girl even though I’m about to enter my third in a row. I’m just trying to hold onto Spring for as long as I can, even though it’s 80 out.

Carbondale, Colorado. Not Vermont but pretty damn pretty in Spring too.

Carbondale, Colorado. Not Vermont but also damn pretty in Spring.

As summer comes and I keep reading about snow. Interviewing people who just climbed in Alaska, who suffered in cold temps for days. Somewhere far away it’s not summer. Interning at Alpinist and reading stories of alpinist’s climbing the highest mountains has made me realize how I am truly not a summer girl.

I read all the past issues of Alpinist before I started this internship I got lost in the stories that I read back when I was a freshman year in high school. During study hall I’d run my fingertips across the thick cornered edges of my collection of Alpinist and Rock and Ice that I hoarded in my dorm room at boarding school. I felt like I was 14 again, dreaming, seeing myself in mountains with knife-edges, in  valleys where gully’s of steep snow and ice pour towards me, climbing mountains that reach so high my lungs search of oxygen. I re-read stories my idols wrote, read new ones, and felt the mountains come back. I remembered the feeling that made me love climbing and the mountains in the first place. The feeling of being in the unknown.

Working here transports me far away from home each day mentally, I travel back to the high crisp peaks of the Himalaya’s and see new landscapes fold open in my imagination.

Physically, I’m in the state where I graduated high school, lived by myself for the first time, worked for the first time, where I met people who will always be in my life. I’m still in Vermont, the place I grew up and started and stopped climbing. After a year away I’m home in the state that seeps stories from my past from each rock structure that protrudes on the curves of I89, and from the cracks in the Schist at crags I learned to climb.

Papabear living the life that I grew up dreaming about.

Papabear living the life that I grew up dreaming about.

Vermont is a small state but this summer I’m interning 45 minutes away from Burlington in a place called Jeffersonville. I’m living at home for more then three weeks, which I haven’t done since I was 17. I’m not working in Burlington, which is where I have worked since I was 15. I’m 45 minutes away. It’s a small state and 45 minutes isn’t that far, but right now it feels like hours away from the place I grew up and that’s what I need.

Interviewing people who are exploring the unknown and facing periods of suffering, seeing mountains in their most vulnerable beauty. Landing in a plane on a glacier, looking up at granite walls that they’ve never even seen pictures of. Having to retreat off climbs because they had no idea the actual scale of the thing they were climbing because from the glacier they called home for that week the cliffs looked a lot smaller then up close. Being in a place that they just didn’t know where or not someone had every been there before. That is what I use to dream of.

As life does, it wrestled my imagination and hopes to also explore the unknown and conquered my imagination with reality. A reality I thought was true, that the world is so developed that there is no unknown left, that if there is unknown you have to be super-human to get there. Life wrestled my imagination and won back then but this time, after being dormant for years, my imagination is revived by reading the stories that created these dreams in the first place. It doesn’t matter which one wins anymore, reality or imagination, because life has different reality now and my imagination is invigorated with a new reality. I’m dreaming of snow again, of ice and big mountains. Of going to place that I don’t know if anybody else has been there. I’m living the reality of exploring my backyard and seeing what 45 minutes away has for me.

Summer approaches and the trails near me become more busy, the cold snow-melt rivers become popular and the crags overflow. Places that I use to feel were my spot, my unknown, but as time goes on the knowledge of their beauty is unleashed and brings the masses. These places aren’t the unknown anymore but I’m interviewing people who have been to the unknown and that makes it okay. It makes me appreciate the people in the now crowded places because I know somewhere, probably in Alaska, there is a place I can call my unknown.

For now I’ll smile as the flowers bloom and the blossoming trees ripen green, I’ll cringe with the heat and gaze as the sun sets over the still lake, erupting vibrant colors from the horizon. Being here trying to escape another inevitable summer is okay with avalanches of stories cascading through me; distracting me from the heat.

Back in Vermont// Part I

I came home in April. The trees still lifeless, the dark frozen ground sparsely covered in snow, and the sky coated with one thick cloud that turned everything grey; a kind of cloud I forgot existed. The grey would break maybe once a week, maybe even for a few days, and open a blue that would instantly install life into the ground, plants and people.

My first day back I went up our local mountain Camel’s Hump. The last time I had been up the Hump was Christmas 2014, which was also the time I broke my foot on the hike. This time my jet lagged eyes opened with the fresh air, my skin hurt from a cold air it hadn’t felt in over a year, my asthmatic lungs wheezed in confusion as they inhaled brittle air instead of the warm moist air in the jungles of New Zealand. Everything eventually adjusted and at the summit, which we had to ourselves, I could see what looked like all of Vermont. Brown branches of trees blanketed the landscape with only a few houses and roads carving out boxes and lines. Lake Champlain in the distance was still frozen, a thick blue with dark whites covering the lake all the way to New York. On the very windy summit I saw that I was home; a realization that usually takes me a few weeks to understand whenever I come home, but right then I saw where I was.

Winter didn’t shake away for Spring for quite awhile. At first it got me down, I wanted to bike on the waterfront alongside the green trees, go to the farmer’s market and hike on warm nights. I couldn’t imagine six months of even colder Winter. I wondered how I ever got through those long winters. Then I remembered the things that make the cold fun like ice climbing.

On Easter, when we use to go to a family friends house in Burlington and climb on their inside climbing wall, hunt for eggs in their beautiful garden that would be blooming with Spring and in the evening sit outside after a dinner of lamb and mint sauce. This year’s Easter it was not the same, it was snowing, I went ice climbing, and I got frost nip on my cheek.

Dad took me up Mt. Willard and I remembered how to swing my tools, how to weight my crampons, and how to smile while suffering. On the approach to the climb I was post-holing up to my knees and Dad would keep walking as I would struggle and ungracefully fumble out of my post-hole while occasionally laughing when I saw him post-hole too. Once we started climbing it all came back.

The pain my my calves came back first. The first pitch was long gully of steep snow. My footing would switch from french stepping to toe pointing. No matter what style I used my calves hurt. It was pains that I missed having though. The kind of burn that only happens in the cold winter while climbing ice.

“Just let me know when you want a rope, no problem” Dad said as the gully got a little steeper.

The he walked behind me, and must have been smiling at how slowly I was going and laughing because he knew the first-climb-of-the-season-pains I was going through. We got to our first real ice pitch so that meant it was time for me to be on a rope. Dad climbed fast like he always does but that day he couldn’t climb fast enough. I stood belaying him at the bottom of this steep gully of ice and the wind roared down and went straight to my core. I shivered in my down jacket and felt my cheeks turn into a shell of ice. I began to climb soon enough with my big belay jacket still on.

Every year on my first ice climb of the season the same thing happens to me. I get the screaming-barfies in my hands. This time it happened to me when I was eye sight away from my dad so he could laugh at me while I cringed in pain, close to tears and vomiting. The screaming-barfies are the worst. But during them I couldn’t climb so I looked behind me and saw the mountains that made me love all this in the first place, the White Mountains. I saw the snow covered landscape and remembered how winters are filled with just as many beauties as summer.

On our way to the summit dad ran ahead as I post holed up to my hip each step. After too many times sinking and getting stuck in the cold snow I decided to drop my pride and crawl to distribute my weight and did it all the way to the summit but of course I started to stand when I saw my dad.

The summit of Willard is a bit like Camel’s Hump. They’re both small mountains, nothing to be put in record books and could easily be considered a big hill just as much as a small mountain. At the top of both of them they open up the landscapes that I grew up with and love. They show me where I am and how I should be nowhere else. Even if it is a cold a grey place.

On our way home I looked through our photos from the day and saw a white chunk of skin on my cheek in one of the photos. It was Easter and thankfully it was wintery enough that I had gotten frost nip.

Me at the coldest belay after yelling at my dad for taking the time to take photos and making me colder :)

Me at the coldest belay after yelling at my dad for taking the time to take photos and making me colder 🙂

Not Ready to Go but Ready for Home

“Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled—to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world.”

 ~ Mary Oliver

I got to New Zealand with one 45 litre, orange, Patagonia bag. I left with the same. I could see my whole life packed into 45L. I survived six months with a pair of shorts, long underwear, yoga pants, a long sleeve shirt, two fleeces and my beloved nano puff jacket. My yoga pants now have huge holes in the thighs from holding flys for fishing, I lost my long underwear on my last hiking trip, my yellow nano puff is not as bright as it use to be and my long sleeve shirt will never recover from the smells it endured. There was rarely a day I didn’t wear everything in my pack as the shadows creeped, cold winds hissed, and the sun peeked through the clouds. I had exactly what I needed.

Clothes are just clothes in the end, but in my trip they were all I had. Packing my bag everyday I got to know each little smudge and each lose string on every piece of clothing I had. They all grew old and worn. I did too. Not only is my skin aged from living without an ozone layer, my hair blonder and my feet scarred with sandfly bites I also have a clear head after months of being alone and feeling what that means.

When I got to LA to see my friend Taylor and I realized how little I had and how much everyone else had. I wore the same shirt everyday I was there and switched between shorts and yoga pants. When I got to LA I felt the same salty breeze drift off the waves and through the sandy beaches, I heard the silencing crashes of the waves, echoing the waves on the Abel Tasman but I saw women in bright yoga pants wearing diamonds and looked up and saw million dollar homes. These weren’t Kiwi beaches. My time in New Zealand was over. Now an ocean away.

I left New Zealand so suddenly that I didn’t really believe the plane I was on was taking me away from the small islands that are filled with clear water, jungles, friendly people, and absolutely nothing poisonous. I kept thinking that at the end of the 12 hour flight I somehow would still be in New Zealand. My ticket and departure came so quickly. I never had a ticket home to count the days down till, I didn’t arrive with a return; I arrived with questions. 

One week I was bungy jumping and hiking through valleys with the setting sun making every shadow a stroke of paint on a canvas and every mountain side with alpine grass become golden. The next week, not even a full seven days, I was booked for a flight to the U.S. My money was low and I still had people to see in the U.S on my way home. But I also had people to say goodbye on the northern tip of the South Island and people to travel with on the north island, people to see in Australia and more experiences to be created in the place I was in. 

People, mainly fellow travelers, asked me if I was ready to go home. They asked me as if I was an alien reporting on what the planet earth was like. Like I was the one taking the first steps on earth and discovering humans for the first time. This bubble that us travelers were in was popped just for a second to let me out and then immediately closed and they continued their happy ways. Another one gone back into the real world to see if the can make it.

Was I ready to leave New Zealand? I don’t see how I could be, ever. There is always another hike, another river, town or Kiwi to laugh with. There is always more in New Zealand. It’s small but dense with adventures. At some pointsI felt ready to go home to ice climb, to taste Vermont cheese, to see my family, to eat local meat and have breakfast at my favorite resteraunt, Penny Cluse. I wanted home but was happiest where I was. Happiest hiking alone, seeing everything without the distraction of a companion, even though some hikes all I wanted was one. I was happy in the freedom I had. Hiking with no schedule some days and just sitting on a moss covered log for hours watching the valley seeing waterfalls, thing and long, erupt from the dense green and grey rocked mountains, because I had nowhere else to be. At some points I was ready for home, to indulge in comfort, some days I was, but not the day I left. 

I wasn’t ready to go but I am ready to be home at the same time. I wish New Zealand was a weekend trip away not 24 hrs of traveling away and not a few thousand dollars away. I’m ready to come home though because I have even more adventure waiting for me. Not only the adventures of eating Ben and Jerry’s again or the adventure of eating each type of cheese from Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, I also have an internship at Alpinist waiting for me. I have my family of course and I have the White mountains and Adirondacks a weekend trip away after a year of being away from them. Time to see the Green Mountains again after a long year of being apart from them. To be cradled in my home mountains again.

   

 Translating nature through different mediums is essential, more posts will soon follow as I creep closer to Vermont. 

There are No Sandflies at Night

Let me just give you an idea of where I am, what I’ve been up to, and where I’m going before we get in depth here. I am currently writing from Queenstown getting ready to go fishing for a day with a guide, which is a long awaited Christmas gift from Papabear. I spent the last week in Dunedin with the most radical lady around, a friend named Montana from camp. We had an epic weekend because it was my last with her and last in New Zealand.

I left the city and entered sandfly territory again. The Matukituki Valley. A valley with high Schist peaks and alpine grass. Sometimes, at just the right angle, you could see past the alpine grassed peaks and see sheer rock peaks, and some cradling glaciers. Layers and layers of mountains creating big blue sky windows that opened a world of glistening and melting snow. Water falls, long, thin, exposed; all poured randomly out of the rocks and peaks. All of them feeding into one river, the Matukituki river. 

A river who’s main source is the melting glaciers higher up in the valley near Mt. Aspiring. A calm river for the most part. It flows swiftly but the water is so clear it’s hard to see how fast it is actually going. From high up on the trail I could see the bottom of the river. This water wasn’t crystal clear like the Young river or many others in New Zealand. The water was thick. Clear but thick. It had dark colors and big whites. It looked like elegantly moving ice. Felt like it too. Our whole hike we crossed streams that fed into this power and walked along the cow pastures that it carved through. Waterfalls pouring out of the valley walls closest to us and bigger and bigger peaks becoming more exposed the further back we hiked. 

The whole hike was with old and new friends. I was finally one of those people hiking in a group. I had seen so many groups of four hiking together while I hiked alone, they always walked with a little skip in their step as their conversations flowed and I walked with a little extra drag in my step as I counted up to my hundredth step for what seemed like the hundredth time. I saw their cool extravagant dinners, coffee together in the morning, laughs on their hikes. I was those people this trip and it felt great and it all started during my visit in Dunedin. 

After a week of visiting my friend Montana in the glass covered streets of the college city Dunedin we decided it was time to rent a car and find a place to explore and escape to. Mt. Aspiring hut. We rented a car and the amount of freedom that came with that was amazing. When we rented a car I felt we could go anywhere in New Zealand. No bus schedules, no hitch hiking, no small mountains roads to hike up; we could decide exactly where we wanted to go. So we grabbed two more people who love to play in the mountains and went for a drive, hike, then another drive, then a bungy jump. A weekend with plenty of playing.

We started our hike late. We woke up early on Friday but I moved slowly as my body remembered what being in college felt like. After a wonderfully mellow week of hanging out in the botanical gardens while Montana was in class, going to ridiculously cheap yoga classes, and ending each day snuggled up in flannel sheets while eating frozen mango with Nutella and watching dexter with Montana, a night out past 1am and more then two drinks had a toll on me, but we got on the road by 10:30 or 11:00.

We drove and drove and somehow I was in charge of directions and in retrospect I definitely navigated us the longest way. But we finally got to Wanaka. We went to the grocery store in Wanaka and bought food that wasn’t tuna and couscous like my dinners on every other camping trip. We got curry ingredients, s’more tortilla ingredients, hummus, chicken; we were going on an overnight trip so I didn’t have to carry everything I have in New Zealand, we had a car so I could leave stuff in it. I wanted to pack the whole grocery store. I wanted to cook a steak (we stuck with curry.) One night trips with four people at a hut that has gas stoves is pretty fun, so we did as the French do and ate very well in the backcountry. 

Before we got to our dinner we had to hike two hours up the golden valley. I had not hiked this late in New Zealand before. When I’m by myself I worry about the dark creeping up on me, I worry about the sun setting behind the mountains while I’m in the jungle. With friends we didn’t walk in a rush to beat the sunset: we hoped to catch it.  The constant approach of night isn’t so scary with friends to laugh with. 

It was the most gorgeous time to hike. The mountain’s Schist plates were highlighted by the setting sun. The full clouds hung on the peaks, dark blue and orange. The glaciers were a different white, a cream orange white that made it hard to look away. The gold pastures more gold. The talking more enthusiastic because of the changing sun and the hike more entertaining while laughing.  Hiking whole the day darkening and getting ready to rest for the night is beautiful and peaceful. We saw one person on the busy trail. We had the valley to ourselves.

That night we ate well. We had dessert, we shared, smiled and slept in a small out-cove in the hut that was meant for three people but we fit four. At night I saw the stars with no worries chasing me to my sleeping bag. We all stood under the Milky Way, quiet, still; all appreciating the same moment. I missed seeing stars and night. Night is one of my favorite things; I feel like I’m spying on earth while she sleeps. Everything’s is quiet and I get to just sit and watch the silence. Alone it’s scary at times. Alone I would crawl into my tent to escape sand flies, but with people I didn’t want to go back in side, I wanted to watch the stars twinkle like they do down here with no ozone, watch for shooting stars and hear earth sleep. When I did I discovered there aren’t sandflies at night. 

The next day I woke up early and saw the alpine glow on the snow covered peaks. An alpine glow I haven’t seen in a long time. Everyone else woke up just after me and we shared a quiet morning with bursts of laughter. We hiked out and saw the sun move the opposite way out of the valley. We saw cows, cow poop (lots of it), streams, played on bridges and saw more people. We got to our car and feasted on hummus, crackers and olives until the sandflies started joining in on the feast. 

That evening we drove to Queenstown to eat delicious gelato at the beach, go bungy jumping off a bridge and into water, and ate really nice food and drank really nice beer. It was perfect. Then they drove back to Dunedin and I walked into a hostel and am a solo traveler again. Not for long though, I’ll be back to the states soon enough. 








Young Valley

I saw mountains like I haven’t seen in a long time.

I finished my jobs in Wanaka and had a friend drive me to the start of a trek. Two hours out of town. As he drove away in his truck that echoed his Kiwi heritage, I felt isolation blanket me like I haven’t felt before. I felt my arms wanting to reach out into his rear view mirror, I felt words wanting to come out of my mouth to call him back, but I was far in his rear view and I knew I couldn’t go back this soon. I usually can’t wait to be alone but this time I felt how far away I was from help, and how far I would get.

I was out in the wilderness alone again and I felt it. My phone out of service, my friends far from a shout away, but the wilderness and mountains closer then ever. I settled into my tent. I felt like I was sleeping in my own bed again. I slept deeply that night, for the first time in awhile. I woke up and stepped out into the damp grass and saw the clouds drift from the west coast, each getting caught on the schist peaks around me. I heard the river’s faint roar from the valley, sounding like a friend calling from the distance. The crystal clear water that slid silently but roared with it’s density reminded me I was in the right place.

I packed up my bag trying to remember how I always got it all to fit, what goes on the top and what set up distributes the weight evenly. Then I walked deeper into the mountains; in river valleys, over mountains, through jungle, beside cows and through sandflies. Deeper and deeper. Further from the road and closer to the snowed peaks.

The mornings started late in the mountains, the sun didn’t rise into the valley until ten or so. Each morning gently woke me up and guided me deeper into wilderness. I’d walk as the birds woke up, before the sandflies, under the trees that were so far untouched by wind or sun and beside the rivers that stood so still at some parts. I felt like I was spying on nature. I’d calm my breath thinking that with any sudden movement nature would startle and fly away just like the native birds.

At the end of the first valley I was stopped by steep climbs all around me. I walked to where the river found it’s source at a steep waterfall and where the peaks didn’t bother with tree-line and just soared their grey schist peaks as high into the sky as they could. I saw the trail carve steep up the mountain pass then guide along the ridge line. There was no where but up.

The whole trek I felt like I wasn’t walking to finish but walking to stay. Each step on the steep climb I felt closer to the top but I also felt that step guiding me towards the end. I wanted to stop going up but I didn’t want to start going down. The mountains kept begging me to turn around, to turn my gaze away from my feet and the summit and look up at their snow covered, jagged peaks. I kept seeing the mountains grow as I got higher and higher, matching the height of other ridge lines that looked impossibly high from the valley floor. I wanted to camp right on the side of the mountain and feel the weather sling the walls of my tent on the exposed mountain side, but my steps kept following the route to a safe valley to sleep.

At night I camped under a bright sky. A black blacket filled with light, swirls, the moon. The mountains looked even more beautiful under the faint light of the moon and shadowing far above me as I slept in the golden meadows of the valleys below. After my first night I couldn’t sleep that well even though I had long days that should’ve made my eye lids fall with exhaustion like it did my legs, but I got to spend my night looking into the stars. Insomnia was okay with a view like that.

I never felt alone on my trip after my first night. The feeling of isolation and being stuck in the wilderness soon fell away behind me just like the noise of the highways disappeared. I felt companionship as I looked down into the deep blues that skirted through the grey river beds, when I looked behind me to see the mountains, or when birds hopped along the trail beside me. I wasn’t in Vermont this week but I felt like I was back in my own bed, house and safe with companionship. I felt I was home this week.

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No Plans, No Money, No Problem

On Sunday I stop making money and start spending again. I stop having the same schedule everyday and start having no plan. I’ll have to start paying for a place to stay, food to eat and plane tickets will soon follow. That just means I’ll be in the move again and I can’t wait.

My work asked me to stay longer. They’d give me a raise and give me a new fancy title. I told my traveling friends with a little bit of drool hanging out of my mouth from the idea of more money spinning around in my head. They all were so excited for me. They saw it as the dream, I had a job that would sponsor me to extend my visa, I could make more money, and stay for the winter season. In their eyes, and mine for a second, it all seemed sorted.

I woke up today and immediately remembered that I’m not in New Zealand to be promoted at a pizza place. I’m here to explore, learn, and travel, not make money.

Money almost trapped me. The want for more, always, never having enough. I told myself I didn’t need anymore money. I’ve never heard that before. I always thought you always need more. I could always use more of course but at the moment with the amount of money that I’ve saved up I’ll be able to survive until I need to go home. So I turned down more money because for the moment I’m fortunate enough to not need anymore.

So I decided to leave the temptation of staying and making money and instead to spend what I have until I can’t explore anymore. Next Sunday I’ll be gone from Wanaka and I didn’t think I’ll miss it but I will. I’ll miss coming home to my friends, having drinks after work and complaining about customers, I’ll miss free pizza of course and I’ll miss knowing what and who is around me. I made connections here that I didn’t think I was going to make. People are what makes a place so hard to leave.

I’ll miss these people and their laughs so much but at the moment what I miss more is my me time. I keep sighing in relief knowing I’ll be back into the mountains and rivers soon. I’ve been staring up at these snow capped peaks around me, seen where the river goes on the map and have just been waiting to go into the picturesque landscape. I’ll be back to having dinner on my stove alone, camping in my yellow tent, feeling that crisp air in me and waking up with the sun to the mountains.

I have no plans except one fishing spot I want to go to for five days. The days, weeks, months after that I have no plans. I have no flights or destinations to type into my calendar. Being in the working world again and having plans and days off I thought I needed one to go travel. I absolutely don’t and that’s an easy thing to forget. You don’t always need a plan. I didn’t have one before and I feel a lot more comfortable going into my next step with no plan.

I can’t wait to see where no plan takes me this time.

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