On the bus to Rotorua, light is fading and we’re rolling across Middle Earth. Well, northern Middle Earth. Sheep and horses and merinos dot roadside pastures. They’re around every curve out here, and an hour south of Auckland, there have been a lot of curves.
I normally begin a trip recounting the items, often essential, that I’ve forgotten. And while this excursion isn’t without a few minor wayward objects, the major gear is all with me. As the days tick by, however, I’m now progressively losing stuff. At this rate, it’ll be me and whatever I can stuff into my pockets.
Kia ora, everyone! It’s that time of year again. Time to polish those brass knuckles for yet another pre-holiday stampede-like trip to the mall. Time to take a page from Elvis’ playbook and shoot out those radio speakers after the bazillionth grocery store listening of Chimpmunks Christmas songs.
A light drizzle coats the back of the camera hanging around my neck. Released from the steel gray sky, the tiny drops aggregate on the plastic as I stand lingering, idling amidst the ebb and flow of travelers. A stiff, cold breeze abruptly enters the mix and the reaction is instantaneous amongst the crowd: scarves get wrapped tighter and jackets get zipped up higher and gloves are pulled more snug.
Casting off for an extended voyage is a paradigm shift in the experience of usual, brief sojourns. I cherish the basics: Having only beginning and end points to a trip. The freedom to think of time as a minor, abstract detail — able to move in any direction, to capitalize on any moment. Spontaneity. Serendipity. Experience. As for so many travelers, these themes have become my very definition of escape.