Hey Travel Family,
We’re back home after an incredible nine days spent exploring New Zealand’s South Island. I don’t think words can quite describe how excited Matt and I were to pick Laker up at the airport in Christchurch. After so much time spent planning and looking forward to it, we were all buzzing with excitement to kick the trip off and it did not disappoint. Right from the moment we set off, bound for our first destination, Twizel, I realised just how special the trip was going to be. I thought back to us sitting in our living room, talking excitedly about the idea of a New Zealand snow trip and made sure to take a moment to appreciate how grateful I was that we actually made it happen.
When you’re younger, trips like this one seem to come up a lot. With fewer big life commitment and responsibilities it’s easy to go away for the weekend, plan an interstate trip or even get everyone together for a week or two overseas. Those little adventures, even just the big night’s out on a Friday, Saturday or even sometimes a wild Wednesday night, become commonplace. So common, it feels like they’ll never end, even when your wallet and internal organs are desperately wishing they would.
As time goes on, the dynamic understandably shifts. As we get older we become more invested in work or fall in love and our priorities shift. It happens in lots of different ways but slowly, over time, those wild weekends, quick trips away and weeks spent abroad become a memory, relics of a bygone era. When you do manage to make your calendars work and finally get together, you talk about those same adventures, again and again, laughing and joking at fond memories and funny stories. Maybe someone suggests something like, “We should do it again!” and while everyone agrees, there’s an unspoken understanding that it’s probably not going to happen. Yet, suggesting the idea somehow keeps the possibility of another adventure alive.
When I was 21 I found myself craving that same sense of adventure. I needed to break out, to go somewhere else and experience the world. It was a desire so strong there was really only one thing holding it at bay; fear. I was terrified to travel by myself! The idea of going to the other side of the world all on my own, not knowing anybody and having to take care of every possible situation that could arise all by myself was frightening. So, I tried to find someone to go with me.
But there wasn’t anybody who could go with me. Worse still, there were those who said they would but when the time came to book things, they backed out. For them, the desire could be suppressed. For me, it couldn’t. Every now and then in my life, I have these moments of absolute clarity and they’re usually based around the same realisation; that nobody is going to do something for me. I have to do it for myself or it won’t happen.
That’s how I ended up booking a one-way ticket to Paris on my work computer, all alone in the office at 7pm. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.
It would have been much easier for Matt, Laker and I to talk about going to New Zealand and having another adventure, but not actually do it. We could’ve continued our routine of catching up a few times a year and talking, again, about all those fun memories from times gone by. It would’ve been easy to feel like our best adventures are behind us, accept that and just keep moving forward. But, we didn’t. Instead of letting another year go by, we grabbed onto the opportunity and made it happen. We found the time and money to make it happen, we booked everything, got organised and did whatever it took to make the trip a reality.
Sitting in the passenger seat of our motorhome, I found myself keenly aware, just as I did at 21, that you can’t wait for someone else to do something for you. If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen. There’s no valid reason for our best years to be behind us, for our adventure days together to be over and for travel to be something Matt and I just do together. All the work that went into making the trip happen was absolutely worth it, no questions asked! Now, when we get together again, we’ll be re-living new memories, along with the old ones.
There was a lot I took out of our trip to New Zealand but this lesson is definitely the biggest. It has been a reminder to me to make the effort to have more adventures with best friends. It’s a reminder to not let things slip by because it all seems too hard because, when you do make it happen, you remember just how special it is. I’m so thankful to have had those nine incredible days with two people I love so much and have a whole lot of amazing memories to look back on.
Life has so many ups and downs but it’s the unexpected things that take your breath away. Losing someone you love forever is a real wake up call that growing old is a privilege and not something we’re entitled to. We truly don’t know what the future holds and it’s so very important to take every opportunity you can when you can.
If you’re interested to watch our adventure for yourself, the first of our three-part New Zealand RV road trip series will be going up on YouTube tonight! I’ve had a little sneak peek this afternoon and it makes me smile ear to ear! It’s pretty amazing that Matt and I will be able to look back on these videos and watch all these adventures for years to come. One heck of a travel diary, if you ask me!
Have a great weekend, I’ll talk to you next Friday.
Love, Phoebe x