In a few days, I will be heading back to New Zealand, (the south island to be precise), where I began my round-the-world journey in April! Seven months ago, I had an unforgettable introduction to New Zealand. It began in Queenstown at the Rees Hotel’s True South Dining Room, with a five-course degustation meal co-hosted by winemaker Kim Crawford and Executive Chef Ben Batterbury (click here for my earlier post), followed by an adventure photography workshop with one of the world’s best travel photographers, Trey Ratcliff (visit his super cool website at www.stuckincustoms.com). This workshop was an incredibly satisfying experience, which I will write about in a future post.
My senses were over-stimulated during my previous short visit of two weeks in the autumn (April); the vast landscapes were breathtaking, the wine was delicious, and the people I met along the way were friendly and gracious. There is so much more in the area that I wanted to explore; little did I know that I would be returning 7 months later!
As I am a wine lover, I was naturally attracted to the Marlborough region (which produces 77% of New Zealand’s wine). There I spent a good deal time with Kevin Judd and crew of Greywacke, (Kevin’s Marlborough label), and John Sowman, viticulturist of Babich Wines, learning about their wines and production. I was in my element! (I am reserving some detail for a future article).
(Kevin Judd and Kim Crawford successfully converted me to being a Pinot Noir lover, a wine I had avoided for many years. I now look forward to reuniting with this wine, especially after no wine in Bali for 4 weeks!)
Kevin Judd is not only an internationally reputable wine maker; he is also New Zealand’s most well-known wine photographer! (Visit his photography website here). What a match, photography and wine, two of my greatest passions (travel being the other one!) I had the opportunity to go shooting with Kevin a couple of times; this was a very satisfying experience, particularly to be able to share it with another photographer (and wine lover!)
For my return visit to New Zealand, I will be on the south island for much of the 6 weeks, including Christmas! I plan to focus my time in Marlborough and Central Otago (Queenstown), seeking out new adventures and special “gems,” which I will be sure to share with you in future posts (and for more frequent mini-posts, be sure to “like” my photography facebook page). I know one thing for sure; there are many more adventures to be had! (Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world, and the birthplace of BUNGEE jumping! Yikes!)
I will easily be able to get around and explore, because I will have my own transportation for the first time during this journey. Look out! This will be my first time driving in a foreign country, and on the opposite side of the road! (With the exception of a very short drive in April with the help of Greywacke’s Richard Ellis! See video below…)
SIDE TRIP…Nestled in the middle of my visit to New Zealand, I’ll be making a surprise side trip of sorts. I’m going to dabble in a bit of luxury for 10 days, while I experience a new part of the world, culture, food, and landscape. This will be a time for me to absorb everything that I have experienced thus far on this epic solo round-the-world journey and celebrate all those who have helped make this a reality. Where am I heading??? You’ll have to stay tuned for that one! Remember, You Only Live Once (“YOLO”)!
I look forward to reconnecting with all of my new friends (and meeting new ones!) during my upcoming 6 weeks in New Zealand! It’s the people that have crossed my path along the way that have made this an unforgettable round-the-world journey, the memories of which will last forever. I’ll close off with one of my favourite quotes…
“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake.” – Marie Beyon Ray
(PS- I drafted this post while at Bali Silent Retreat; visiting this magical place is the greatest gift you could give yourself! More to share about BSR in the future)