Capture The Colour is a travel blogging contest hosted by Travel Supermarket encouraging travel bloggers to showcase their beautiful photos in five colour categories; Blue, Yellow, Red, Green and White. I love this idea! Thank you to Bobbi at Heels and Wheels for nominating me for this competition. Enjoy the photos!

Blue.

If there is one thing that my eyes have been absolutely enthralled with since stepping foot on New Zealand soil, it is the sky! The way the clouds dance around the sun and each other, creating so many beautiful and colourful scenes is amazing! When those jaw-dropping skies are combined with sun rays sparkling down and glistening on the ocean water... absolutely inspiring! 
This moment brings back such blissful memories of being relaxed, rested and revelling in the beginning leg of our trip. Sitting by the ocean in the tiny laid-back surfer town of Raglan, feeling absolutely blessed to be able to witness such natural beauty and capture it on film...perfection.

Yellow.

Witnessing a sunrise is a beautiful experience at any time... but after hiking up to the summit of a mountain in the pitch black early morning and listening to the birds awake the world before the sun graces you with its presence...that feels like a miracle made only for you. This photo represents the struggle I faced to get my partner out of bed in the wee dark hours of the morning, throw on some runners, grab the camera and hike 45 minutes to the top of Mount Pukawhakataratara on the Coromandel Peninsula in the dark. As we reached the summit I could only think to myself "he's going to hate me" as there were so many clouds I didn't think it was possible that we would see anything rising, let alone the sun. As the world does, it surprised me! As the sun rose above the mountains and shone its golden glow on the valley below, we learned that a misty, cloud-filled valley is the perfect canvas for a morning worthy of gold. 

Red.

Love For Daniel. A year ago a wonderful young man with a zest for adventure and an ear for beautifully played music was brutally killed in Victoria, Canada. Daniel was a good friend of ours. He was 20 years old. Many individuals sport this bracelet that says "Love For Daniel" to show ongoing support for what an incredible young man Daniel was. Luke and I brought him along with us on our New Zealand trip. This photo was taken during a blissful hike in the Coromandel Peninsula. It had rained all morning and this was the first glimpse of sun we saw all day. We like to think it was Daniel showing his appreciation for the hike.  

Green.

Our number one concern in Taupo was finding a free place to sleep...what we didn't account for was this miraculous scenery being our backyard. Reids Farm Free Campsite is home to this technicolour of natural visions. With my jaw-dropped, I continuously asked myself, "how can one river look so refreshing, so clean, so peaceful and so multi-toned?". I chose this photo as it amazes me that so much natural green can be found in the usually so crystal clear blue water.  

White.

As a true west-coast Canadian, when the weather turns rainy, windy and stormy, the Canadians turn to their rain jackets, hot coffee in a thermos and the closest point to the massive, crashing waves. We ventured out to Moturiki Island in Mount Maunganui and hiked all the way out to the closest point to the waves. The raging white caps and white foam flowing all the way in to our toes was breath-taking and exhilarating. A beautiful moment during a so-called bad weather storm. :o)

I would like to thank Bobbi from Heels and Wheels for the nomination. I myself nominate the following travel bloggers:

xoxo
Sweet Dea

 
 
I read something recently that dove deep into my subconscious and has been resurfacing at interesting times. The concept is wonderful and I am very happy that my subconscious found it important enough to register. It is:
the power of daydreaming
There are so many distractions and entertainment devices at my fingertips at any given time that the concept of daydreaming, apart from when actually going to sleep, seems to have taken a back-seat role in my life. However, when looking back at my first post in "Ramblings" I clearly am a fan of the ideas that my imagination develops during this time: "It would appear, that late at night, my brain transforms into a genius. I swear to you the ideas I come up with at these random hours are not far from some of the most intricate, impressive, awesome ideas I have ever thought of myself." Hmmm, correlation? I think so. Perhaps this is what my subconscious was triggered by. 

Anywho, lately I have been feeling down. Work has been frustating me (its true.. I am not a complete toilet bowl cleaning lover), there isn't a lot of money kicking around, the weather has been very Spring-esq (aka rainy) and all in all, I've just been a bit off. So yesterday, after the morning rain period passed, I had finished all toilet bowl cleaning for the day and the sun was high in the sky, I went for a stroll around the base of the Mount with the intention of "daydreaming". The first thing I did when I began my walk, found a nice sandy sheltered piece of beach, lied down and simply rested for 40 minutes in the sun! Ahhhhhh. There was some great daydreaming happening here I'll tell ya! 

Then, when I felt rested and ready to continue on, I walked. I walked with the intention of stopping at any point that I felt the desire to. That's a fun way to walk! There was no pressue to walk fast or "get it over with". There are many benches along the trail, inviting me to test them out, and so I did. I was at first sad that I didn't have my camera with me as the scenes I saw were breath-taking. Beautiful sunshine glistening on the calm ocean. A few fluffy white clouds playing hide and seek with the sunshine. Waves gently rolling into large black rocks covered in shells. But then I realized that I appreciated having to work a little harder to remember the scene in my brain and to really, truly be present. That felt good! 

After strolling along, stopping frequently and saying hello to every passerby, I was feeling blissful, calm and present. It felt amazing! I couldn't help but think about the healing powers that I continuously experience when I immerse myself in nature. You don't need anything else other than to be present to experience the beauty that comes with it. It's a peaceful blessing. And, along with that, it often comes with physical activity, which is great for your body. So, the end result of my wonderful journey along the base of the Mount is an attempt to take myself back there, whenever I am in need of some inspiration, some alone time, some daydreaming. 

xoxo
Sweet Dea

Picture
The morning sunrise from my apartment balcony
Do you have any beautiful natural location near you 
that affects you this way?  

Do you take time out of your day to allow yourself to daydream?
 
 
Everyone believes that the life of a traveler is ideal right? A long, extended vacation, usually with no specific end in sight, all doors are open, all possibilities are to be considered and all beers to be consumed. While these may be true, its not all fun, games, excitement and thrills. Well, at least not for this traveler. 

When deciding to go on a big journey across the ocean to the little island of New Zealand, I clearly had put some money aside in order to make the trip possible. However, one thing you learn when backpacking is that money, if one is not careful, can slip between the fingertips faster than you can even imagine. When at home and in the daily grind of working to live, it may always feel that there is not enough money in your account, or that, as much as you work, you still don't ever feel any richer. But one beautiful thing you have in those moments is the reassurance than in one week, two weeks, or one months time (depending on where home is for you) you will receive more money. When you're travelling, that luxury is abolished. The funds in your account is all that is guaranteed... and with each beer you guzzle down and each thrilling activity you do, that account continues to dwindle right before your little backpacker eyes. 

So, what does any cash-seeking backpacker do... find a job!! This is where the complex arises. 

When a person is working on a daily basis, their mindset changes. Suddenly they have a bit more of a schedule and more responsibility. They are required to show up somewhere at a certain time, they have committed to staying there for a determined amount of time. This is the first change from the easy-breezy backpacker lifestyle. 

Then when the money begins to be deposited into the bank account, suddenly it's exciting.. by spending just those few hours last week doing whatever it was that was required, there is the reward of cold, hard cash! BINGO! And suddenly life becomes all about retrieving more of this money. More work now means more money now which means more free-spirited, easy-living travelling down the road. 
Picture
Our first New Zealand paycheques!!!
Now some travellers have mastered the art of faith and trust that they will be able to find little odds and ends of work here and there, supplying them with small amounts of money to tide them over until they run out again. I, personally, cannot even come CLOSE to wrapping my head around this concept. The prospect of running out of money and not knowing where the next inflow is coming from and when... BAH... terrifies me and stresses me out to an extreme! Therefore... I focus on a few months of good, hard, solid time put into working in order to come out with a hopefully hefty bank account. 

But then comes the hard part... where do you draw the line between saving all your money so you can travel to new and exciting places later on and fully embracing and enjoying the time you are spending in a foreign country now!? 

I don't know the answer, but I am doing what I can to find the right balance for me, and that's all that I can do! 

Sweet Dea
xoxo

 
 
Prior to departing on our one-year adventure to New Zealand, many people asked Luke and I why we chose this as our destination. At the time it was all very vague; "The scenery looks beautiful", "Similar culture to Canada", "The people are apparently really friendly". But what we didn't know at the time was how true our words were!

The scenery IS beautiful, and we haven't even been to the South Island yet, which, according to locals and those who have traveled both islands, the South is at least ten times more naturally beautiful than the North... yay for our future travels!

The culture here is VERY similar to Canada. Many times I have found myself zoning out while walking down the road and genuinely forgetting that I am in a different country. There are minor differences of course, such as the words and slang they use, the accents, and the clothing and such, but in general the average persons' attitude is similar to what you would find in Canada. 

The people, especially those who's family goes back generations and generations in the South Pacific, are incredibly friendly, kind and inviting! They are so very proud of their culture that they cannot possibly pass up an opportunity to share it with a few friendly travelers just here to experience New Zealand! They must really trust their instincts as to whether to trust a complete stranger or not and invite them into their home. 

In the past four days I have experienced two different locals who have gone above and beyond the call of the "friendly stranger" and have taken time to get to know Luke and I. In the end, they have invited us for a cultural feast with their families! This is one characteristic of New Zealanders that I will definitely miss one day when I am back in Canada!

Thursday night we found ourselves at the local Irish Pub enjoying a few drinks and playing pool. The hotel I work at had a mid-year work party where we all enjoyed massive amounts of food at the Chinese Buffet and then wandered down the road to the Pub in order to let the food digest and continue the get-together. Two women were playing pool beside us and went out of their way to include us in their game. They were clearly having a good time, laughing and joking and they ended up playing a few games against Luke and one of my co-workers. Laughter erupted with every single shot.. it was a lot of fun to watch! One of the women, a very out-going and friendly woman, hit it off so well with us that she invited us for Christmas to "put down a hangi"! She didn't like that our travels so far consisted of traveling about and seeing sights, but no real focus on "culture". She wanted us to come and experience a true Maori Hangi with her family for Christmas. A Hangi is a "traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using  heated rocks buried in a pit oven still used for special occasions." 
This morning while I was down in my usually deserted and quite peaceful workout room, I encountered another very friendly and kind local. While I was sweating away, obnoxious gym music blarring, a very buff looking man walked in and began to use the room as well. (this really never happens, I was taken by surprise!) The first clue that he was friendly, he didn't mind my obnoxious LMFAO and Katy Perry workout tunes! After some time we had a brief conversation. I forgot I had been wearing my "Flight of the Concords" T-shirt with a massive Canadian Flag drawn on the back and was very impressed when he guessed that I was from Canada. We talked for awhile and I found out that he was only here for the weekend with his wife and kids and lives up north, near Auckland. With no hesitation, and with a kind remark of "if it's not too forward" he invited both Luke and I to his home to experience a traditional Samoan feast with his family! He said his wife is a fantastic cook and that they truly love the opportunity to share their culture with others. 

It is small moments like these, and kind guestures of this nature that make this trip one of a kind. I will always boost that Canadians are a generally friendly folk, but I cannot say that the average Canadian would invite a complete stranger to their home for a delicious feast! 
Thank you New Zealanders for continuing to impress us little Canadians with your kindness and culture!