After the first night at the farmer's house, we traveled down to to Cape Palliser at the southern end of the North Island. It was one of the most amazing environments I have ever experienced. I was so moved that right after getting out of the car, I told my friends to go ahead because I needed some time to soak everything in.
Cape Palliser felt like the end of the world. Imagine sitting in tall wind swept grass overlooking a turbulent turquoise sea, sunny sky, jagged lava rock colliding with the ocean, some of the strongest winds you have ever felt, towering hills behind you, sparsely populated little fishing settlements, and a misty cloud layer in the distance that seemed to collide with ocean.
Few people were around and to add an even more striking element, there were seals all along the coast line swimming through the crashing waves and lying on rocks to soak up the sun. You could walk right up to them. One baby seal actually swam towards us, hopped up on the rocks, and sat about a one meter away from us. There were so many seals, that you had to be careful not suddenly hop over a rock and land on one. I almost stepped on a baby seal and was quick to move away when the mother started barking at me.
The next day we moved on to Wellington, the cultural center of New Zealand, and our last stop on the North Island. Lukas, the German traveler with us, knew a girl we could stay with in Wellington. Upon arriving in town, we found the four of us staying at college student apartments. As the many students had just finished their first year of college, they inspired us to join in the evening celebrations, quite the festivities I must say. Our day time was spent attempting to sober up for the next big night and explore the town in somewhat of a daze. I am often not prone to enjoy such elaborte celebrations and after a few days of so much partying was quite ready to move on - overall though it was quite fun as well as rather stimulating to be with such youthful spirits (not too mention a relief of realization I have matured enough to have no interest in living my life from one party to the next). Our dutch friend, Karin, departed north while my german friend, Lukas, and myself travelled to the south island. We have both missed Karin, she always had a smile on her face, was always ready to laugh at herself for some of her ridiculous actions, and had such a kind spirit towards the world. She will be missed.
The last several days have been spent sleeping in the car after long days of driving through the south island and hiking to the nearest panoramas. It is quite comfortable and cheap to sleep in the car, so it seems as though we might start a pattern of two nights in the car, one night in a hostel. We have seen some amazing landscapes all throughout the south island. Two days ago we saw two massive glaciers situated in the back of mountain valleys. Tomorrow I will be attempting the second largest bungee jump in the world 440 feet - rather exciting I must say. It has been a great joy to travel with my german friend, we get along on many levels and have similar travel interests. Last night we intended to stay in a hostel but it had closed. Having not showered or shaved for several days, we decided to sneak in to take a shower and shave and then made an exciting get away and slept in the car in the town of lake wanaka where we will be situated for about two days.
How does one attempt to approach consistent beauty? The south island has been full of so many diverse environments from galciers, to tropical beaches, snow caped mountain ranges, torquise rivers, peaceful grass valleys, and vast lakes bordered by rocky mountains. Part of me wants to sit in each beautiful location for several hours, just taking it all in, burning it into my memory, and savoring the moment. Another side of me has almost become used to consistently seeing so many gorgeous landscapes and is ready to pass on to the next beautiful location around the corner. How should one approach beauty? Is it to be appreciated only in the moment or constantly remembered? So much of me wants to take these visions with me but obviously the camera does little to capture the feeling of being enraptured by nature.
What role should memory play in our lives? Does memory only detrack from living in the moment? Does it work on automatic or must it be cultivated daily? How often should I immerse myself in the past or is it of little value because it can only become a distraction. Memory obviously forms who we are today but in what ways does it change according to refleciton?
I am consistently moved to embrace an outlook of spiritualistic pluralism as each new encounter seems to teach me about the inability for humans to create an objective perspective. This time of travel has helped me to live from moment to moment because that is all that is existing and real to me. I am moving further away from viewing things as one way or another, good and bad, wrong and right, beautiful and ugly - these binary oppositions seem to be attempts at proclaiming our "great understanding" of the nature while all the while we are so scared shitless of the unknown we hold on to the first "rational" thought that is proclaimed. Everything consists of everything depending on how you look at it and how you look at it is dependent upon what you have come to know. It may seem hopeless to some yet it is inspiring to me. I am trying to no longer worry about disagreeing with people, with attempting to be "right" or "rational", or trying to make "good" choices. I am reminded of the boat keeper in Hesse's novel Sidartha. He was so patient, quiet, ready to listen and learn, and embrace the lessons cultivated within that can be developed through time spent in the quite of nature and in the joy of human interaction.
...but perhaps I have it all wrong, no, actually, it may better be stated I do have it all wrong and that is what may make it all right for my perspective. By recognizing my perspective and value system are limited, I am able to embrace that which precedes my current beliefs in a greater form of truth. I hope to better learn how love is encorporated with learning and with experience, this will be perhaps my next contemplation.
I don't know if more than a few people are reading this but my heart is with those whom I have known over the years and I do appreciate all the lessons others have shared with me.