New Zealand in winter: when you already know it’s going to be beautiful and dealing with disappointment… (a confession).

Anecdote one:

Walking around a truly pretty lake, after another delicious camper van lunch, looking at the Southern Alps, and being disappointed. Disappointed because it was a wee bit cloudy and we couldn’t see the tip of Mt Cook, disappointed because the lake was ever so slightly rippled and not reflecting the mountains, and disappointed because, well, the walk was really just a stroll around a pretty lake. Wow. What spoilt brats we are.

We’ve always struggled with this in our travels – expectation vs reality. Whether you live in the country or not, you’re often inspired to go to a place often because of the images you’ve seen. So when you go to a place and you can’t get the same image, because almost no one can get those perfect conditions, and images are constructed and edited anyway, you often need to check yourself and check your attitude and check your gratitude and start again. 

Top tip: If it's not looking great, make it black and white.

Top tip: If it's not looking great, make it black and white.

Anecdote two:

Getting trapped in a place for a day or two because it’s snowed really hard and the road is closed. Sounds amazing. Well, it sounded amazing, before we were there. When were faced with it, it made us feel uneasy, and a little stressed, and also made us feel really really bloody cold. We avoided this, and actually didn’t get trapped, but were forced to leave early, and we missed out on some stuff. We actually missed out on Milford Sound, which was a little disappointing. But then you check yourself, and your attitude, and you balance it with all the unexpected things that blew your mind, and start again. You travelled in winter after all, and you’re glad you did because you turn the corner on the Queenstown to Glenorchy road, and see the brightest, whitest, pointiest, shimmeriest, most beautifulest mountains you’ve ever seen, and they keep going and going and going. And you have such a good day. And then the next day you get to keep going and seeing more beautiful places. And you are blessed.

Anecdote three:

The west coast is wet. 

Anecdote four:

The west coast is quiet. We past only three cars between the glaciers and Haast. 

Anecdote five:

The Lewis Pass is stunning. Mauve, red, black, brown, white and scratchy.

Anecdote six:

Why so excited by the sight of snow? I’ve seen snow before. Ben’s lived in the snow before. But for a reason I have not yet figured out, every time we saw a dusting of snow on a hilltop, or clumps of snow in shady spots beneath trees or hills or over the mountain passes, we truly lost our shit. It was thrilling, and like we were experiencing it for the first time. 

Truth:

Your experience is what you make it. You take yourself wherever you go. Let yourself ride your emotions – the highs and the lows – that’s when you grow.

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