This is going to be the hardest entry I’ll ever make on this site (maybe not, if I’m lucky), because I don’t know how I can describe the sensory explosion I repeatedly experienced on the South Island with words. I’m just not a particular and fine-tuned enough of a writer. also, I am lazy. I might come back to this entry in the future during one of my insomniac episodes during which i develop a temporary, but strong, skilled command of words to wordsmith this post. Until I experience otherwise, I am convinced that South Island is the most beautiful place on earth.

I felt perpetually satisfied while on the South Island. We usually started our day very early, with a filling breakfast and hot coffee, and then took a short drive or a long drive, which always led to hiking. After the hike we would take in amazing views and on our walk down, we left feeling like we fully spent the energy we were capable of generating for the day.

It was a simple existence.

It was adventurous but still familiar.

It was adventurous because each road, vista, cliff top was new to us but the manner by which we made our discoveries were through actions that we took every day. To make our way through our hikes, we had to move one leg in front of the other, breathe in and out with just a bit more effort than usual and that’s it.

It was our environment that gave us the opportunity to do something exceptional, with means that were otherwise ordinary. Our context (the majestic views, sense of physical accomplishment) made me acutely aware of how powerful my “ordinary tools” can be. I walk to the T / subway / BART all the time, but I don’t consider those mechanical actions anything other than that. And they inherently aren’t out of the ordinary, but they do deserve some daily appreciation. at the least, we should acknowledge that we don’t actually need much else to be at peace. South Island showed me how small my existence is and why that is a good thing for me, because the bigger the world is outside of me, the more there is for me to explore and learn.  And learning really isn’t that hard.  I can do it using the tools I usually take for granted, one foot in front of the other.

If we pay attention, we can observe the extraordinary without going very far.

sunset at a random (meaning it’s not listed as a tourist must-see) lake we came across during one of our many, many long drives across the Island
view from atop a mountain, at the end of a 5 hour hike. we did this hike right after the sunrise that we caught in the picture below
no filter! NO FILTER!! none of these photos have any filters on them. this was sunrise by Lake Wanaka
one of the more boring drives – yep.
this is a 180 view from the same mountain as the first picture here
view of Queenstown from a hilly road
gray pebbles for miles

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