Pieces of: Wanaka

IMG_0952IMG_0968 copyIMG_0996IMG_1036IMG_1044IMG_1042IMG_1043OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where was my favourite stop on my South Island trip? This mellow little lakeside town, brimming with young souls, bordered by protective green giants. I love site seeing and all that proper travel stuff but what makes this lifestyle the one for me is the people you meet, doing all that average everyday stuff in a new place with new faces. Grabbing a coffee, getting drunk, dancing, chatting about the world and your hopes and dreams and finding an echo of it all in the words of someone else. Someone born miles away, with a different upbringing, a different culture, different religion, whatever it is. But you have this little snap of a nonsensical moment on the swaying deck of a boat in New Zealand. That is what I want my life to be, a mosaic of chance encounters and spontaneous moments.

I spent three days here but could have stayed longer. I even contemplated moving here when I came back out to New Zealand, after my trip home for Christmas, and sometimes I still feel like I might just up and move. The only reason I really did stay a little longer was to catch up with a friend, Meg. Meg was once on of those chance encounters on another journey on another land not too far away. I met her in Coffs Harbour, Australia, doing blueberry picking for our second year visa’s and had tried unsuccessfully to reunite throughout the months since when we were always near but not quite near enough.

Meg knew Wanaka well, she took me around to her favourite cafe’s (something we did all too well together back in Aus), she shared her friends with me, her plans with me and showed me all of the reasons why she adored Wanaka. Seeing a place through someone else’s eyes is an odd thing, it should be such a straight forward experience to see a town, a city, a country. But, as with all things, humans are peculiar, as are our perspectives and I think Megs perspective on this place made me see it as something more.

Oh, and I finally got to skydive here too. A final nudge from Meg and a lot of money later and I was throwing myself out of a plane over some pretty gnarly views. It cost a lot more than pretty much every other place I’d researched into but it was an unbeatable experience, I was buzzing off the madness of it for days after. My ultimate South Island highlight.

Light and Love, N x

SaveSave

SaveSave

Advertisements

Pieces of: Franz Josef…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From beaches and lakesides to mountains and hot pools. Franz Josef is grey and that very tangible colour doesn’t transition for the three days we mourn there. Trapped in a hostel with violent clouds that press down and seep into our moods. The whole bus is sullen, moving slower, talking lower, life is at a stand still as we wait and wait for the clouds to lift. Maybe you feel it’s a little melodramatic to be so fixated on the weather, a little eye roll worthy even. But in Franz Josef our two main activities were hiking on the infamous glacier or, in my case, skydiving over it. The skydive there is the highest in New Zealand at 19,000 feet and the view one of the rarest in the world. Not only that but it is voted the second best spot in the whole entire world to skydive. It didn’t happen though. The clouds made flying conditions unsafe and guaranteed that if we did make it up into the skies we probably wouldn’t catch a glimpse of very much. So it was a sullen slump but made for a quick recharge moment, I ate a lot and bonded with others on my bus lots. So there’s that. And I did managed the tiny hour or so trek to actually see the glacier. Not a complete loss but not a trip highlight either. I truly think that this could have been a trip highlight had the sun broken through for just half a day but you win some, you lose some and the disappointment here only made for an amplified experience at my next destination…

Light and Love, N x

Mount Moments 02

 

IMG_2172IMG_2173IMG_2174

14/01/2018

A uniform – a sentence, an expectation, a decharacterisation. A faltering smile and another “How are you today?” but you don’t care much for an answer, another coffee machine with altered basics. But the sun is very real and the sea is very real and the pint Claire hands you is very real, as are the laughs, for a little while. Oh, it’s always very real until it isn’t. The very real becomes distorted from your view out of the bell jar and it doesn’t matter how much effort you put into belonging it always fails eventually.

26/01/2018

Padding bare foot on warm pavements, onto warmer sands and into mild waters. Salty tumbles, tan lines, lingering grains in unwanted places. The sea has always been the greatest of presences in the grand scheme of things, a drifter needs a means of momentum to drift after all. It’s not getting easier to remedy the gnawing but some moments feel better. Better comes with getting used to accepting the disease as it rages in a new environment and sometimes that ‘getting used to’ has to be enough.

29/01/2018

A bank holiday.

Tay street cafe, my local, is bustling with shaggy haired sea God’s and bikini clad swimsuit models. I never feel envious or insecure anymore and I suppose that acceptance comes naturally when you realise you are, effectively, invisible. A wallflower indulging in her greatest potential. Out on the waves, surfers wait for their turn to ride. The swell is good, or so I gather from the lads next to me and the whole scene is reminiscent of Bondi or Byron Bay. As has become natural to me over the past three years, I seek out a spot nearest the most bustling stretch of tide. And I could be happy there for hours, watching the easy grace, fluid twists, the sure footing and the wipeouts. I get itchy feet just witnessing it all but as always my musings of getting out there and learning myself are snuffed out by the uneasy churn it illicits in my chest.

 

These are a couple little scraps from my journal, some of the less self indulgent (believe it or not). After Mount Moments 01, which was a random little idea I decided to make this series a little testament to anxiety and what it’s like to travel alone, suffering from it.

Light and Love, N x

Pieces of: Lake Mahinipua…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunset lighting makes me feel at home no matter where in the world I am. It rests somewhere deep inside with a spreading warmth, a belonging and a detachment. When you watch on surrounded by other bodies, you’ll notice the same awe struck look on each face. There’s a reason so many people indulge in sunsets, take photographs aplenty and try so ardently to capture the colours, the shadows, the magic. Nature is a constant reminder of how insignificant we are and I feel like when you’re confronted with the almost divine impossibilities of the world you can’t help but mellow out into everything surrounding you. This is that united energy, the higher conciousness of realising we’re all lost here really. We don’t know whats out there, why we were put here, what really made our universe and continues to keep it going. This was one of many moments in the South Island that I truly couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. I was forcing my mind to catalogue the shape of the water in the shadow of the sun, the mist in the air like visible energy dancing around us, the passing clouds so defined they looked photoshopped in the clear sky. I felt alone amongst that crowd of strangers but I also felt so contentedly at ease. The anxiety vanished and I could breathe slow and distinguished. It remains the best sunset I’ve ever seen and part of me likes the thought of one day maybe witnessing another, greater, one. The end of the day in all of its celebrated glory. I’ve seen many sunsets on various beaches, in so many lands but this was spectacular. None of these photo’s have been edited and my camera is definitely not the greatest, I don’t have a fancy lense or any knowledge of how to use it properly, really. And still, this little gallery makes me smile and catch my breath and I hope it illicit’s something in you too. However basic bitch, extra af, a sunset photoshoot may be, they’ll always remain some of my favourites to look at because despite the mysterious beauty, the liveliness of the dieing day, the visuals come to my mind in a rush of scattered words and vivid emotions and that is the magic I’m running toward with every plane, train and bus I take. I’m searching for the simple forms that define ‘living’ and this is it.

N x 

Pieces of: Kaiteriteri (Abel Tasman)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Christchurch > Nelson > Kaiteriteri…

If I regret anything from my South Island experience it’s not spending more time in Kaiteriteri. A place of abundant beauty, soft sunlight and warm sand. Another regret is not taking more photographs. The colours during the day, of toasty orange sands and glittering sapphire ocean, remarkable blue skies and lively green shrouded cliffs in contrast to the smooth violets and navies as the sun called it a night. The air was warm, breeze pleasant. It makes me smile to think of it.

The morning of the day we left, we got to kayak along the shoreline of the Abel Tasman national park. Though a couple of my bus chums snapped a few shots and took a couple videos I’ve yet to chase them up and I didn’t dare sacrifice my camera or phone to the waters in case we did, in fact, capsize. Despite the lack of evidence my memory still serves the trip true at the moment and the feeling I get remembering the place is enough.

There was no time to hike through the park but maybe I’ll go back there and live the wonder of it fully. The kayaking was a treat though and actually one of my most favourite memories of the whole trip. The weather was stunning, the water so blue, the instructors so fun and informative. They could tell us Maori tales and sprout facts (that could very well be bullshit) about the national park. They told us the legend of the split rock just off of its shores too, telling us to paddle over and touch it for luck. Me and my kayak partner, Erin, did just that. I vaguely remember it being about a feud, that some valuable possession once stood there and turned to rock over the years, split in two by a God to appease the squabbling pair. I’m sorry I can’t recite it fully, the story is at odds with various others I’ve heard about the split rock since and then those again are at odds with what I read on the internet. There is also a story with its origins in Greek Myth (which baffles me) that a couple other travellers told me back at the hostel, something to do with Zeus (isn’t it always?). As much as Greek Myth fascinated me, I prefer the Maori tale.

The traditions and beliefs of New Zealand’s people really do amplify the experience. I’m a firm believer in the magic of nature, of our earth and all of the stories and traditions that the Maori people are grounded in gave every part of my South Island tour such soul.

 N x

SaveSave

Pieces of: Nelson…

IMG_0827OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Christchurch > Nelson…

Vivid blue hues, lively greenery, pebbled bays, quaint town centre, bustling weekend market, mini road trips, local tour guide, reuniting with friends, beach photoshoots, actual english style chippy chips, busy harbour, dog walks with Rosie (just look at her!), bonding with bus buddies, lazy hikes to the centre of New Zealand, hunting down vegan treats at The Kitchen, talking with the locals, community vibes, old school buildings. 

In Nelson I met up with one of my flatmates from Wellington, Kea. She was studying back in the city but was home for the summer having grown up in Nelson and was the loveliest tour guide for the afternoon and morning I spent there. It’s the cutest little town with some quaint little spots and if you’re there at the weekend you have to check out the market. With thrifty stalls, fruit and veg and food trucks it’s a good way to spend a morning and meet the locals.

I talked with a lady at a trinket stall, selling handwoven bags and terrariums, she was from Christchurch originally but dwelling in Nelson, by the sea. I’m not one to just talk to anyone, I always want to chat to the locals and be a “real” traveller rather than a tourist but I’m always too shy. This was easy though, she was a very light being, full of spiritual wisdom and when I told her about my need to constantly be on the move, to never settle, she told me to keep following my gypsy soul because that was a rare freedom so many people were afraid of. Such a small pocket of time on my little adventure but one of the most memorable. So yeah, hate to be a cliche but talk to the locals y’all. I also bumped into one of my regular customers from my time working in a cafe in Wellington. She was visiting family and invited me to dinner the evening after but I was already booked onto a bus to leave in the morning. I felt truly connected to the locals in Nelson, odd considering I spent only one night there.

All of the blissed vibes, N xx

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

Dear 2017…

dear 2017

There was a little bit of triumph there in the beginning.  Dancing into your mysterious clutches with a bunch of new family, no more than strangers just three months before. There was sunshine and serenity for the majority of your first month and then loss. Deep aching loss for a place and a time I knew I could never return too. Not wholly the way it had been anyway and how much I crave that simplest yet hardest segment of my life, even now eleven months later waving you goodbye.

The homecoming was vacant, the love was there but my distance was tangible, a brutal thing. I was dressed up like Nikki but not at all acting like her, hallow and wanting, a brat of child in an adult woman’s body. I’d experienced the world in that year away and now there was a stagnancy that whittled away at me week by week. But I persisted in it, I worked and I planned and I dreamed and I conquered and soon, mid year, I was boarding a plane to my favoured side of the planet once more. There was a sense of loss on arrival, I was stuck between that “home” me and that home me, the heart place and the soul place. I was on the road again, a nomad again, unsettled, unburdened and it was a release I’ve never experienced before. The contrast to months of working back “home” was so startling I was at a loss as to how to accept the new path so unchartered in front of me. They say comfort tricks you into settling and it almost had me in that alien moment I touched ground in New Zealand. But I didn’t turn back.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 14.01.57
Instagram best nine (@nikkilrobson)

A new family came soon, they didn’t replace the dependable love of Newcastle or the nurturing dependency of Coffs Harbour, they were the wild things, the night owls. Ignited. That’s what it was, in Wellington I was myself with bells on. I just stopped caring. There was this imminent sense of self in those months and when I left the city and the safe support I’d earned there I kept that time with me in a way I failed too when I left Australia. In Wellington I had been completely alone, I’d listened to my intuition and I’d been selective about the company I kept. Only bright energy was allowed to surround me there and it supercharged me, prepared me for a departure from the first hand source. I couldn’t be more grateful for those people.

The South Island was a selfish time, I drank up the conversations with strangers that I partook in with purpose and certainty. The scenes were stolen from the pages of my precious adventure novels I swear. I was living in the fantasy worlds of my imaginations creation, only they were real and embracing me, a strange wild thing, an amalgamation of all the fierce women I’d read about and dreamed of being. For those three weeks my most craved reality was the life I was living. The euphoria of that is not something easily structured by words and I hold onto it now that I’m back in Newcastle again. But even this time at home is different, I’m strong in me. I don’t fear my reflection or the words that might spill from my mouth. I’m filled with conviction in my being. I believe in myself and because of this internal revolution seeing you go saddens me.

Globally you were a bit of a disaster, the plague of humanity managed to spread through the lives of it’s own “weakest” links and against compassion and integrity, two things we should value and let guide us above all else we looked to dictatorship and egotism to lead us. I hope in saying goodbye to you we can at least say goodbye to our tarnished unity, that we can build something admirable and peaceful in the coming months. The New Year is a cliched excuse for a new start but I just hope we can use an old tradition to bring new enlightenment. Maybe I’m a fool to believe in peace and unity but you’ve proven to me that I can work in my own space to make sure I’m surrounded by it wherever I go and if everyone makes that effort then there’s no chance that the world can resist it.

Thanks for your lessons,

your highs and your lows, 

Nikki xx