Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 25: A New Kind of View

I've struggled with writing for this blog since I began traveling because I have so much to tell you about; I don't even know where to begin.

My instinct was to start with my first adventure — a trip to the lush, picturesque Bay of Islands — and continue on chronologically, but I just don't feel like writing that way. I want to write about what strikes me at any given time, and that may be something I did today or something I did two weeks ago.

I felt a bit paralyzed because I had no idea how to proceed. Today, I decided to continue with a strategy that has worked well for me so far, and that's to do whatever the hell I want.

So today, I'm writing about today — day 25 of my travels. Next time, who knows? Don't worry — eventually I'll reflect on all of the most incredible things I've done, like hiking the Franz Josef glacier (day 20) and plunging 134 meters over the Nevis River during my very first bungy jump (day 22).

Fact: Glacier hiking makes you feel like a badass.

Umm, yeah. About this.

It's really crazy how many adrenaline-pumping, once-in-a-lifetime activities I've packed into the last 25 days. But most often, like today, I'm just doing things I would normally be doing anyway: sitting on a bus, chatting with people, reading, eating, running.

It's just that the view is a little different while I'm doing them.

Rather than watching Seattle's streets wake up on my way to work, I see this view out the window on my daily commute.

I used to eat lunch in front of my computer or dash over to a nearby fast-food joint to fill up. Today, I leisurely munched on brie and crackers while perched on the rocky shore of a glacial lake.

My old Seattle neighborhood, Ballard, has no shortage of lovely running trails, but today's three-mile route along the winding Hooker Valley Road in Mt. Cook National Park easily trumped them all.

And rather than looking out my bedroom window to see the neighbor's dogs barking and jumping around like crazy yet again (seriously) or the garbage truck rumbling down the street, I just see... whoa.

I did nothing out of the ordinary today, but every run-of-the-mill activity was enveloped by New Zealand's surreal majesty.

I've traveled through this country for 25 days now, but never before have I stopped everything I was doing several times an hour to gaze around me and think, my God, what an incredible planet we live on, and how lucky am I to get to experience so much more of it every day.


Now for a few general travel updates!


I'm still in one piece after nearly four weeks of travel, but I have had some minor health issues.

I was sick for a few days with a nose that ran like a faucet, and I'm pretty sure I cleaned out a few hostels' stashes of toilet paper (too cheap to buy facial tissue, party of one). I've been taking Allegra every day to successfully manage my seasonal allergies, plus a multivitamin to get those nutrients that spoonfuls of Nutella don't provide.

By far the most painful and annoying ailment I've suffered is sandfly bites all over my feet and ankles. Those little black suckers are far worse than mosquitoes, as my bites itched like crazy for about a week and still haven't fully healed! My bug spray with 30% DEET didn't even seem to deter them.

I also scraped both of my big toes one night by tripping over my flip-flops. A carafe of red wine may have been involved in that incident, but who's to say, really?


I was devastated by the loss of my travel towel on day 10. Even now, I can perfectly picture it hanging on a hook in the Taupo hostel where I left it. I've since replaced it with a regular white towel, which doesn't fold up as small or dry as quickly, but it's much more absorbent and nice to use.

This morning, I thought I lost the lock I use for my main pack, but I later found it sneakily hiding in the bottom of my food bag. Even though I have a backup lock, I was once again devastated when I thought I'd lost the one I usually use. I have so few belongings now that the loss of any one item feels like a huge blow. Backpacking is weird.

I broke my first pair of sunglasses on day 3 and my second pair on day 6. I bought my third pair on day 9 and have treated them like a precious artifact ever since.

I tossed my cheap, flimsy, destroyed Old Navy flip-flops in Wellington (day 14) and replaced them with Havaianas flip-flops, which are much more comfortable. I really only wear flip-flops or running shoes 99% of the time, so it was very important to upgrade!


Kindle, Klean Kanteen water bottle, purse, Havaianas flip-flops, lululemon Groove pants, both of my cameras, laptop, Diva Cup. Seriously, the Diva Cup is the greatest thing ever.


A pair of lightweight, stretchy jeans. A dressier pair of sandals (I have the perfect pair... in Seattle). A few dressy tops for going out. A lightweight cardigan. I guess I could stand to do some shopping.


Wearing a full face of makeup or doing my hair. I feel incredibly fancy if I actually put on makeup or borrow someone's blow dryer for a night out, but it also feels like wayyy too much effort to do those things every day. Using a hair straightener is beyond luxurious at this point!

Feeling bored. I never really feel bored.

Going to work.


Alone time (although I am grabbing more of this now that I'm running regularly again — and I update my running blog quite frequently, by the way). Being able to talk to or see my parents at any moment. Catching up with friends. Stretching out in a big, comfortable bed. Easy access to fresh food and lots of healthy options. Having fully charged electronics.

And free laundry. My God, free laundry.


I have only a few days left in New Zealand before I fly to Australia! I plan to spend about a month there before I move on to Southeast Asia. I'll be sad to say goodbye to NZ, but I look forward to warm weather and sunshine (I hope) and catching up with a few friends in Sydney and Melbourne.

See you in Oz!


New here?


  1. Great update...Sounds like New Zealand was a success...Looking forward to reading about Oz!

    1. Thanks, D.J., looking forward to getting there!

  2. Fantastic update. I do love seeing your updates in my inbox. They get me excited for my own trip beginning in 11 weeks.

    1. Oooh, that's so exciting! Have a great time preparing for your trip!

  3. Good on you Devon - always best to focus on Today! Great to see a glacier pic in there. You've definitely seen some of the best places in NZ. Have a great time in Oz and keep up the blogging!

    1. Thanks, Nick! I've gotten to do some really amazing things this time around in NZ — hopefully I'll come back someday and do even more.

  4. ha ha ha. you sound like me in my journal writings. I am always deterred from writing what I want because I'm behind from previous activities and as a result nothing gets written! So, you have encouraged me to not worry about order but write what's on your heart for that moment. If you write everyday for a month, great. If its once a month, its better than none at all. I loved your post and appreciate your update on what your glad you brought and wished you had. Have a great trip to Oz!!!!! On a side note I'm gearing up for my first 5k at the end of the month and think often of your advice and find encouragement from your posts on running. Thank you for sharing your life! Rebecca Singleterry

    1. That's a good way to think of it: Something is better than nothing!

      AWESOME that you're doing your first 5K!! Very exciting. Enjoy it, and relish the moment you cross that finish line!

  5. Great Update? Havaianas are THE BEST - and they never get stinky...
    Good luck in Oz!

    1. They are sooo comfortable so far! And I never even thought about stinky-ness, so that's great!


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