I have been absolutely awe-struck by the natural beauty in New Zealand. One of my favourite scenes is either the sunrise or the sunset. Both are just miraculous. Amazing that it happens every single day, and that each day it is breathtaking! The sunrise is the hardest to see as it requires being out of bed and out of the house before 6am. However, I was feeling very ambitious and somehow that rubbed off on Luke and yesterday we set our alarms for 5am! It's helpful that in our current home we are simply steps away from the beach, so we took advantage of that. With our beach blanket in hand and sleepy, groggy faces on, we flippy floppied over to the beach and settled in. Wow... was it ever worth it! I was simply flabbergasted! (that one's for you Dad, heehee). Enjoy the photos Luke took!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
I am walking away with a well-fed stomach and a well-fed soul. I didn't come here to experience a "personal retreat", but that is exactly what I got. There are stories that suggest the land that Mana Retreat Centre is on has healing powers. True or not, one real, concrete fact that I know is true is Mana has space! Space for your thoughts, your emotions, space to play and run and jump and laugh. Space to work and space sit
As a wwoofer at Mana you are treated as a family. The longer you stay, the stronger the family becomes. The work is not hard, and you feel good doing it, because you know that the guests who will benefit from your work, are the type of people who will appreciate it. They are coming here to better themselves, and you are aiding them in this process. There is a calmness that comes with finding a respectful environment, and that's exactly what Mana is. While traveling, sometimes it is hard to anticipate the environment you will soon be in. Mana is like a safe and comforting home to protect yourself in. Whatever your beliefs or your lifestyle, if you bring respect to Mana, it will be returned ten-fold. A wise friend named Cyril once said, "I came to Mana to feed my soul," and that is exactly what has happened to me in the two weeks I have been here. The natural scenery - from the ocean to the mountain, the never-ending hikes and trails, the jaw-dropping and inspiring views, the incredible people with amazing knowledge and compassion and the work-worth-doing are all reasons that I will be returning to Mana. It takes a very strong vision to create a space that welcomes such a large variety of people and lifestyles and does so with complete respect and compassion. I can truly say that my eyes have been opened to a fresher, more real way of living my life. I think the name Mana in Maori means "seeing the beauty within". That is exactly what you will find when you wwoof here.
Love From New Zealand
An insightful poem for you to ponder while listening to some beautiful music. Both of these two things helped me through a very challenging day today.
At the end of the poem lays a surprise for you!
You never know who these people may be–a roommate, a neighbor, a professor, a friend, a lover, or even a complete stranger–but when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment they will affect your life in some profound way.
Sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles, you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart.
Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of good luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved straight flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.
The people you meet who affect your life, and the success and downfalls you experience, help to create who you are and who you become. Even the bad experiences can be learned from. In fact, they are sometimes the most important ones.
If someone loves you, give love back to them in whatever way you can. Not only because they love you, but because in a way, they are teaching you to love and how to open your heart and eyes to things.
If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart to.
Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people that you have never talked to before, and actually listen to what they have to say.
Let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you.
You can make of your life anything you wish. Create your own life and then go out and live it with absolutely no regrets. Most importantly, if you love someone tell him or her, for you never know what tomorrow will have in store. You learn a lesson in life each day you live. Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday." — Unknown
So as Lyndsey and I packed up everything we owned, packed up the vehicles, packed up the memories, and we set off for our new home and our new lifestyle. We both had family living on the island, which was definitely a nice reassuring feeling when moving to a brand new city where you basically don't know a soul.
Lucky for me I had Kate. Kate and I had been friends since our fun days of being volunteer co-councillors at Camp Potlatch when we were 15. She was attending UVic at the time and as it turns out, we ended up living in the same neighbourhood, within walking distance from each other! Woohoo!!
A while ago when I was single and enjoying life on my own in Victoria, I contemplated what it was that I needed from a man to make me happy.. Of course every woman has her list; hunky, dreamy, active, loving, blah blah blah (okay maybe most lists don't include the terms "hunky" or "dreamy", but mine sure does!) But my number one, the one thing that if it wasn't there, it would never last, and I'd never be truly happy, regardless of all the other pieces... is laughter. If you can't make me laugh.. I'm not interested.
Lucky for me, there have been countless nights when I genuinely have been in an absolute fit of laughter with Luke.. over absolutely nothing.. just him.. being him.. and I love it! so much! it's perfect.