Monday, January 23, 2012

#28 Gear

I'm coming back to the 30 Days of Indie Travel Challenge on BootsnAll. Prompt #28: GEAR. The right gear can make or break your trip. What gear did you wish you had on your most recent trip?

Packing for my trip to New Zealand was challenging because I didn't know what to bring. My friend Lucy had confirmed that she'd pick me up from the airport and this was all I knew about what to expect because she was too busy with work to fill me in: "Dang, I am making some sweet plans. I hope you are keen for an authentic kiwi adventure... EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!!!! No tourist shit, you're going straight to where the crazies all live." So although I brought the typical things that you need when you're traipsing around and staying in hostels — flip flops, towel, a decent amount of underwear, nail polish, of course — I wasn't totally prepared.

Lucy picked me up from the Christchurch airport in a car packed to its sunroof of stuff for an epic voyage: food, sleeping bags, tent, even a futon mattress so we could sleep in the car if needed. We stopped at her parents' house to grab a few things I didn't have. Lucy wanted me to have hiking boots and a rain jacket, because she was hoping we would find an awesome place to go tramping. But all she could find were her dad's size 42 boots and XL jacket. We packed them in the car.

I really needed walking shoes that were my size though, so we stopped at the mall so I could buy a pair of sneakers. Everything in New Zealand is way more stupid expensive than here, so the cheapest I could find on my quick 10-minute browse through a Foot Locker type of store were a pair of New Balance sneakers on sale for $80. It pained me to pay that much for a pair of shoes when I had 3 or 4 pairs of old running shoes at home that would have done just fine, but they weren't doing me much good 8349 miles away. I had even thought of bringing an old pair of running shoes, but had decided against it. I should have gone with my first instinct!

But the shoes served me well. They took me to this glacier for example:

Here are a few other things that I think I will pack for my next trip regardless of where I am going:
  • Headlamp (to read at night and walk in caves and find random things in the car)
  • Nail clippers (in case I break my big toenail in half trying to pull myself onto a rock while swimming in a river as I did on this trip)
  • Disposable camera (there are places I don't want to take my fancy camera, mainly ones involving water: kayaking, sailing, and river exploring)

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I didn't have much time for New Year's resolutions this year, what with an early family Christmas, the busiest couple of months at work in my young professional life, kinda (but not really) planning my current adventure, and squeezing in as many freelance assignments as I could to afford Christmas and travel without going broke. 2012 resolutions would have to start with 2011 reflections, so I suppose I'll start with that.

This was the year I stood up in my first wedding, completed my first triathlon, and pitched my first glossy magazine piece.

It's the year I started the first job that I feel is 125% a good fit for me professionally and personally.

It's the year I decided I was ready to move in with this guy I've been seeing for the past four years.

It's the year I decided to work on my posture and my swim stroke.

It's the year I decided I needed to be a more compassionate person.

It's the year I decided it was time to let some family stuff go.

It's the year I dyed my hair red.

It's the year I won a trip to France.

It's the year I found out a friend had cancer and the year I felt one of my closest friends start becoming not-so-close anymore.

The year Jake and I finally made it to Cedar Point.

The year I finally made it to New Zealand.

The year I finally made it back to France.

The year I started waking up early to write.

The year I worked too hard.

The year I decided to reach out to a part of my family that hasn't been a part of my life in years.

The year that actually went smashingly well, all things considering, despite me falling into a rut of completely over scheduling my life so as to accomplish the most things possible in every hour of each day, but also the year my byline appeared in more legit articles than ever before.

So 2012?

I think I need to take time to especially appreciate smaller things: the delicious cups of coffee, the changing of the seasons, and other little but beautiful happenings that ask to be a part of my life every single day.

I plan to work just as hard this year, but I also plan to be better at managing my time so I can better appreciate good books, snow, and hearty, full glasses of wine. I am even thinking of investing in a big comfy chair to put in our reading room so I can appreciate all of those things at the same time.