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Days 18-29: Lake Tekapo and Leaving Christchurch

Lately I have been moving through the world just how I like to: slowly, without plans or expectations, with gratitude and reverence in my heart. In my final days in Christchurch, I continued my routine of taking morning walks around the neighborhood to soak in the fresh morning light and crisp air, look at flowers blooming and listen to birds calling. I explored the botanic gardens and walked the city with new friends, enjoyed food and coffee at a variety of restaurants, and even sampled a bit of nightlife.

After several days soaking up city life, I took a little getaway trip to Lake Tekapo with a wonderful new friend named Leo. An easy-going person like myself, we had no itinerary but took our sweet time appreciating the landscape and the people-watching.

We wandered through town and across the footbridge to a little stone church, marveling at the vibrant lupines and poppies along the way. Their purples and oranges were a stark contrast to the turquoise lake and bright blue sky.

That evening, Leo guided me through a meditation that was quite profound. I’ve dabbled in meditation over the years and have been wanting to make it part of my daily routine for a long time but have been putting it off. As someone who meditates daily, he had talked about it at length with me and we practiced together a couple other times. This time, he guided me through a technique I had not done before, and I went really deep. The revelations that came were almost too much to comprehend and process, but mostly I felt immense gratitude. As I continue to practice meditation and understand the significance of that experience, I hope to write more about it. For now, I will simply say another thank you to him, and to the teachers and ancestors who have passed on this technique.

Now back to Tekapo…the next morning, we explored a few spots around the lake. First finding a secluded area on the shore to soak in the sun, play in the water, and find interesting rocks; then hiking nearby hillsides among sheep and lamb and discussing all kinds of things. After a snack, we hiked up to Mount John where observatories and equipment dot the grassy mountaintop. Lakes Tekapo and Alexandria spread out below, snowy mountains drag across the horizon, and the Tekapo River is a lustrous snake winding its way away from us. We spent some time enjoying the scenery and fighting the wind before hiking down and heading back to Christchurch. It was a sleepy drive through the countryside, but the vibrant greens and endless herds of sheep kept my eyes alert on the landscape.

In the days after, I started packing up my little room and getting things in order. My start date at work was approaching and I had a rough itinerary sketched out for the week before: I would take 6 days to travel from Christchurch to Franz Josef/Waiau, traveling far south before looping back north through the mountains and over to the west coast. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Christchurch and the opportunity to have a small space to call home for that time, and though I felt a slight pang of sorrow upon saying goodbye to it all, I was mostly thrilled to embark on the road trip and start my next chapter of life in New Zealand.

a map of a road trip around the South Island of New Zealand, from Christchurch to Franz Josef/Waiau via Dunedin, Curio Bay, Invercargill, Te Anau, Queenstown, Wanaka, and Haast
coming soon...

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