photos of some birds in city wetland
Toilets are always a problem in differnt countries
the annual christchurch winter arts festival has something new all the time
Why is it that when I am traveling I have more faith in myself and in God, the universe, Buddha, [insert higher deity name here] then when I am home in the comfort and familiarity of my environment?
There is something about traveling that allows me to let go and trustthat all will be ok no matter what goofy, hair brained, or scary situation I might be in, all will be ok. Traveling is about stepping outside our daily comfort zone and brazenly shouting to the world, “ok, let’s dance!” I jump enthusiastically into situations that I might otherwise shy away from if the same experience was presented to me back home.
Travel is freedom, exploration, and connection with self and with others. I have found nothing else on this planet that provides such an array of learning and growth opportunities while having fun. Ok, granted not all travel is exactly fun, plane rides today are more like overpriced outdated rail cars that are never on time and rarely have seen a cleaning agent. Despite the less colorful and cheery aspects of travel what you are given in return for stepping outside into the unknown world is priceless. Your life experiences are precious and can never be taken away from you. Travel is a very wise investment and can fit any budget, so there are no excuses.
Plan, budget, research, and enjoy. The memories you make while traveling will be with you for a very long time. The experiences you have may just unveil your authentic self, now that is a worthy investment of money and time.
‘You must be joking” I said.
There before me are the skeletal remains of something they tell me is a bridge. Well it goes over a river, so maybe that qualifies it.
My mind paints a very different picture when visualising a bridge – solid, safe, secure, enough material to ensure I can’t fall through. This structure does not live up to expectations. Perhaps my friends were right.
“You’re crazy” they had said. “Why work during your holiday?”
“Not all holidays have to be in exotic places. Anyway, I’m investing in New Zealand” I’d loftily replied. But now, reality has struck and my fears surface.
The wire ropes seem strong enough to hold the structure, but how, with my fear of heights, was I going to cross or do any work actually ON it. Most of the decking lies on the riverbank. The water looks clear, cold and fast – waiting for me.
This is the second time I’ve offered to help NZ’s Department of Conservation with a project. Previously I’d spent a week at the Te Anau Wildlife Centre helping with a visitor survey and it had not produced this level of anxiety. Other differences were great weather compared to pouring rain and working alongside the delightful Takahe at ground level instead of on an ancient packhorse bridge surrounded by mosquitoes.
Convinced by my white face, the man from D.O.C relents and assigns me a land job; wire-brushing years of rust off the guy-ropes. Painting them with an oily mixture keeps me safe for another couple of days, time to get used to the structure, then suddenly I find myself looking down at the water that’s rushing by. I’m on the bridge! My fellow conservation volunteers cheer.
And so the days continue. Water drips constantly from the end of my nose and glasses, the track becomes more and more slippery as we struggle to the top with heavy timber planks.
So when you visit Milford Sound, take a little side trip. Wander down the sign posted track and think of the blood, sweat and my fears that helped restore part of our heritage.
Next time I become a conservation volunteer it will be with projects that won’t involve fear. I’ll go monitoring long tailed bats in the Eglinton Valley; or perhaps I’ll provide visitor information somewhere warm; however I haven’t explored the Caitlin’s nor Stewart Island . . . maybe they need me down there?
Or will I carry on as I am? Pulling out pinus contorta seedlings when I go tramping in the Tongariro National Park, pick up plastic along the Napier foreshore or in the Arthur’s Pass National Park, recycle all I can. None will cause adrenaline surges like that packhorse bridge but all invest in New Zealand and help with the clean green image we love to portray.
So, if you think a conservation holiday is something you want to be involved in. check the Department of Conservation web-site http://www.doc.govt.nz then let me know about your adventures.
border crosssings can be fraught with problems and danger