I Love…. Thrill: Adventures in New Zealand (Day 4-6)

“I will never bunjy jump. I will do a lot of things in life, but not bunjy jump” —-Kim in 2013

Fast forward to 9:00am on New Years Morning of 2014. I am standing in line to bunjy jump. I have number 19 and 58 written in big markers on either hand, indicating my weight and my order of jumping. My heart is racing a bit, but not as much as I anticipated. I was more concerned about the rain coming down, and if my braids were still in. Is there something wrong with me if this is my biggest concern? Thankfully I had already paid the day before, so I couldn’t back out. The rain, the cold, any last minute fears, would not stop me. As I stepped up, and they started wrapping my feet with the cords and patting, I thought my heartbeat alone was going to push me off the ledge. I was starting to feel the nerves.  I wasn’t scared about the end result. I knew I would survive and nothing would go wrong. The adrenline just kicks in, and its rewiring your mentality to quiet it. Except, nothing I said internally worked. My heart kept beating. Let me rephrase that, it was rapidly pounding and felt like it would break through and open up my chest at any moment.

My logic was… if I start 2014 with this, it is going to be an incredible year. It’s not that I felt that I had to do it, there was no pressure from anyone, nor myself. But It was a need. I have done a lot of crazy things in my life (hiked Machu Pichhu alone, sailed 700 miles back from Bermuda, ran a few half marathons, skydived, lived in the Bahamas, skiied Mt. Washington… call me crazy yet? I think they call it an “adrenaline junky”). Crazy is what keeps me going. I am always looking for the next crazy, the next thing to make my heart beat louder than the last. Bunjee jumping was not on my initial list, for no reason other than I had no interest in jumping off a ledge and being saved by rubber bands. Now, I am thankful it made it to my bucketlist.

I don’t necessarily live by the “YOLO” or “live with no regrets” mentality. I actually make it a point to not hold anything as a regret in life… everything happens for a reason, even if it seems stupid at the time. Even if it is dissapointing, disheartening, or sad, it will come around to make sense one day. It is not worth runing this moment, this breath in life, if you can’t change it.   I like to take advantage of the moment I am in .And what better way to be in the moment than jumping off a 200 foot bridge?

On the plane to New Zealand, I read My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir. It was one of those books that you finished, and you were so proud of her, but also motivated to do something yourself. It is about a journalist who is in a quarter-life crisis, and makes a resolution to “do something everyday that scares you”. I just love this idea. I tried it for a few days, but there isn’t enough in life that scares me. I would be better off with doing one thing a day to have me be in the moment.Anyways, this book is truly an inspiration and I highly recommend reading it,it will get you off the couch, and make you feel good about your life. She is funny, she is insightful, but most importantly, she makes you be reflective.  It will make you appreciate every experience, even something as simple as speaking to a stranger, or trying a new food. Every experience matters.

Now, Back to reality. I am on the bridge, waving to Greg. I tell the guys to push me, and they laugh. They ask me if I want to touch the water, and I say ” Surprise me”. And then?  I just go. There is no time to think, there is no thinking period. I just go. And it’s over in 2 1/2 minutes. It was really very easy, much easier than I thought it would be.  I was able to add it, and cross it off of my Bucket List at the same time. If you follow your breath from one moment to the next, everything else will just happen organically. 

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Afterwards, Greg and I made a 3 Hour drive to Lake Pukaki, and an overnight in a hostel in Mount Cook. There wasn’t much to see on the drive to Lake Pukaki. The only town of interest would be Wanaka, but it was foggy and rainy, so it just looked like all the other lakes. Apparently Wanaka is a huge destination for summer houses. We drove through downtown of Wanaka, which had a ton of restaurants, bars and shops. It seemed less “hippie” and more normal than those in Queenstown (just 30 min on the other side of the mountain).

There wasn’t much else to see on the drive besides Lake Pukaki. We did drive through Linds pass, which felt like it was something out of the Dr. Seuss book or movie. I felt like I was one of the balls of fur from Horton Hears a Who. We stopped so that Greg could nap (obviously) and I went and hiked around the lookout. It was certainly a scene that I will never see again!

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The next stop was Lake Pukaki, which is utterly breathtaking. There are no words. In a very different way than Queenstown was. It kind of was like, we were driving and had been in some pretty gross towns (Tinsel, an old mining town.. with absolutely nothing), and out of no where came Pukaki. It  was one of the most beautiful surprises of my life. It is the epitome of turqoise, there is no other way to describe it. It is caused by sediment coming from the mountains, and it is the must unreal color, fake color ever. Had I not seen it for myself, I would think it did not exist. We spent some time walking around and in the lake, and just amazed by the vivid colors. We drove all along the perimeter of the lake to get to Mt. Cook. The hostel was grimy, it was downpouring for our entire time, and it was cold.  Downpouring. Drenching. Freezing. It didn’t give Mt. Cook a good name for us. We were supposed to do 3 glacier hikes, but ended up just looking at pictures of the glaciers. As Greg itierated, “the pictures of it look very nice”. We left the next day, and I stopped at a short, 40 minute glacier hike. I did it alone, and Greg played on his phone in the car. It was very neat and interesting to see, but I was soaked for the remaining 3 hour drive. We arrived in Christchurch where we met up with Miles and Carolines family. We had a low-key night in Christchurch for Miles’ last night as a single man. It was great to be reunited with our fellow Americans.

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The glacier at the end of the freezing cold hike.

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Hiking by myself to the glacier. Notice the wetness.

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In Front of Lake Pukaki.

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