2022 travels: a yr of surprises and adventures

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I’m going to be completely trustworthy right here; I didn’t have excessive expectations for 2022. The earlier two years might solely be likened to a nuclear bomb going off on the earth we knew. I ended 2021 with a horrendous break-up, homeless, and crying on my buddy’s couch in Wanaka, the place I used to be crashing for the summer season. Once more, hopes weren’t excessive. 

In actual fact, once I look again on the start of 2022, I can’t even actually bear in mind all that a lot. I’ve emotional PTSD. I went by means of the motions of day-to-day life, propped up by a few of my oldest pals. However I couldn’t actually inform you specifics. It was too painful to commit issues to reminiscence, I believe. I used to be attempting to outlive.

We began 2022 with our worldwide borders nonetheless closed in New Zealand, and no concept when it will change. I used to be caught, and I hated it. On the time, I had no concept what to do with myself, my work, and the place to dwell. My world had imploded. On the time, I didn’t understand that I might primarily be homeless for half a yr, attempting to determine my new regular. The place would I land?

I shortly realized that I couldn’t be in Lyttelton for some time. House away from the place I had been residing and the entire painful recollections was what I wanted. Unsurprisingly, I landed 5 hours away again in Wanaka, my outdated residence and the place I knew I might heal, particularly with the assistance of my pals. 

2022 travels

2022 travels

However even perhaps after we are ghosts of our former selves, we are able to depend on muscle reminiscence to hold us on. Get up. Brush tooth. Drink espresso. Dress. And little by little, month by month, I started to search out myself once more.

After which issues started to vary, as they normally do. That outdated adage of how time heals blah blah blah is sadly true. With my last ebook draft due on the finish of summer season, I had the proper excuse to be away and threw myself into writing. And I went into the hills in search of nature, and nothing makes you are feeling fairly so good as time offline exterior having adventures. 

As I emerged alive once more, I smiled and laughed, and happiness began appearing in my life little by little. It appears like a lifetime has handed since I’ve performed a journey roundup. However as we shift into 2023, I really feel compelled to mirror on the previous yr, what I’ve performed, and my 2022 travels. If something, I notice this for myself, a reminder of the issues we are able to do when instances get laborious, to look again on the place I used to be and the place I’m now.

As somebody who tends to be actually laborious on herself, believing that she by no means does sufficient, this can be a good reminder that we’re sufficient. 2022 wasn’t so dangerous in spite of everything.

2022 travels

2022 travels

Strolling the Routeburn Observe

I discuss so much in regards to the energy of nature to heal in my new ebook, in addition to relating the expertise of strolling the Routeburn Track proper after my break up. With Auckland nonetheless in lockdown on the finish of 2021, I booked a last-minute spot on the Routeburn throughout a tremendous climate spell; it was magic and simply what the physician ordered for my battered coronary heart. 

In actual fact, it was so magic I walked it once more on New Years’ with an outdated buddy. 

I believe the Routeburn could be my favourite Nice Stroll. It’s shorter than most, clocking in at 33 kilometers, and may be walked in two to 3 days. It has all the things: historical beech forest, massive mountains, distinctive birds, traditional huts, and good swimming spots. It additionally traverses two nationwide parks: Fiordland and Mt. Aspiring (professional tip: use Easy Hike to relocate your automobile from the beginning of the observe to the top).

My subsequent purpose is to run it in someday. Let’s see if I can tick that off for 2023.

Exploring Fiordland in summer season 

The summer season of 2022 was one of many hottest I bear in mind on the South Island, and my 2022 travels started proper right here on the South Island. I spent most of January working down in Fiordland on media tasks.

Fiordland within the summertime is magical. Final January was uncommon for 2 causes: firstly, there have been no vacationers. Our borders have been nonetheless closed, and COVID was beginning in the neighborhood; all the things felt unsure. And it was tremendous bizarre to be down in Fiordland in peak vacationer season with no vacationers. It was additionally boiling – it didn’t rain for weeks and weeks, the lakes and rivers dropped, and the luxurious forests began to turn into dry and even brown. I had by no means seen something prefer it. 

However I made essentially the most of it, spending lengthy days within the hills tramping and exploring new locations. It was so distinctive and a major step in my journey of therapeutic.

2022 travels

Hanging out down south

After Fiordland, I made my manner south to Southland, a area I’ve been visiting on and off for a decade. Overlaying the underside of the South Island and Stewart Island, it’s residence to waterfalls.

Residing in Wanaka, locations just like the Catlins and Riverton are our go-to seaside spots after we wish to go away to the coast. It had been years since I had been again down this fashion, and it was actually particular to get pleasure from it by means of a brand new lens.  

2022 travels

Heading again to Stewart Island

Stewart Island is certainly one of my favourite locations on the earth. New Zealand’s quiet third island off the underside of the South Island is wild and distant. Much less showy than different locations, it’s important to actually love nature, wildlife, and being off the grid to completely admire this place. 

I spent practically per week right here final summer season throughout my 2022 travels, which gave me the house and time to heal and mirror. I even took the time to tramp all the way in which down to go to the bones of the stranding whales I came upon years in the past, an expertise that modified my life. 

2022 travels

Getting offline crusing round Dusky Sound

Maybe my favourite journey of 2022 was spending practically per week on the Breaksea Woman, a ship out within the distant Dusky Sound with Wild Fiordland. 

Milford and Uncertain Sounds are essentially the most well-known fiords in New Zealand as a result of they’re (considerably) simply accessed. Dusky Sound is tougher to achieve; most individuals fly in by helicopter. It’s been excessive on my bucket record for ages to go to, and I used to be so excited to spend per week on a ship right here final summer season. 

Created by locals to share this unimaginable slice of paradise in Fiordland with others, an journey right here is price it. For those who want an expertise to catalyze change in your life, this journey is for you. I nonetheless arrived unhappy and indignant about my breakup and felt 100 kilos lighter. You understand, mentally. The meals was insanely good, and we additionally caught crayfish and fish to cook dinner up on board.

2022 travels

Tramping, tramping, and extra tramping

Summertime means tramping time while you dwell within the mountains of the South Island. You’ve gotta take advantage of the lengthy days when the solar units at 10 pm, and the snow has melted from the peaks. Once I mirror again on my 2022 travels, tramping and being within the hills is an actual spotlight for me.

Final summer season, I spent many nights within the New Zealand backcountry climbing mountains and swimming within the lakes. One of many highlights was lastly ticking off the Gillespie Go route close to my residence in Wanaka. It kicked my ass, and I misplaced half of my toenails, but it surely was so price it. 

2022 travels

Writing and capturing my first ebook.

Along with being exterior and profiting from nature on my therapeutic journey, I additionally completed writing my first ebook – Houseplants and Design: A New Zealand Guide (worldwide store here). I spent day after day glued to my laptop computer at totally different cafes in Wanaka and writing it saved me busy and sane. 

Many individuals ask me how lengthy it took me to jot down my ebook. That’s truly a difficult query. It was a yr’s price of labor, however the writing took me six weeks on the most. The enhancing, fact-checking, and capturing of the pictures have been essentially the most difficult and took me the longest. 

On the finish of summer season, I spent nearly two weeks touring throughout New Zealand taking pictures for the ebook; from non-public homes to botanic gardens to retailers and cafes, I met many fabulous like-minded plant individuals. It was a lot enjoyable and a cool technique to expertise New Zealand in a manner I hadn’t earlier than.

2022 travels

Lastly getting again to the US to see my household

After two years of being caught in New Zealand behind closed borders, I lastly managed to get out to see my household, the spotlight of my 2022 travels. As soon as my last ebook drafts have been submitted to print in March, I booked flights to the US. I left earlier than the official announcement of the border opening with the whole understanding I could be caught within the US, however I didn’t care. At that time, I nonetheless didn’t have a house, and my massive jobs have been all wrapped up. 

It was bizarre flying out of Auckland with closed borders. The whole worldwide terminal was closed and empty apart from one bar. However how good was it to lastly arrive within the US? It was wonderful, and I ended up staying with my household for six weeks. 

I nonetheless haven’t come to phrases with the trauma that this pressured separation had on me. I’m simply glad it’s over (for now).

2022 travels

Visiting pals throughout the pond in Sydney

Pre-pandemic, I used to go to Sydney nearly month-to-month.

Lots of my partnerships and enterprise collaborators have their fundamental Pacific workplaces in Sydney, so I used to be all the time over there. The direct flights from Queenstown to Sydney are normally about three-ish hours, making it simple to hop throughout the pond.

It was wonderful to be again, and I spent my time catching up with pals, getting dressed up and going out, and having fun with the large metropolis life; it was a small however thrilling expertise on my 2022 travels. I really feel just like the theme of 2022 was catching up with family and friends you haven’t seen since earlier than 2020.

2022 travels

Formally shifting into my very own place in Wanaka

By winter, I had begun quietly in search of a spot to dwell in Wanaka. Man, issues have modified right here, and leases have been slim and costly pickings. 

Wanaka is the sort of small city the place everybody is aware of all people, and it’s normally simple to discover a place by phrase of mouth. I ended up taking a look at flats on Trademe and discovering a pleasant one in Hawea, a lakeside suburb of Wanaka. Lots of my pals have moved out right here just lately, so it’s an ideal place to be primarily based. 

I ultimately signed a lease for a  stunning model new small one-bedroom flat. A couple of of my pals dwell throughout me, and it’s so pretty to have a spot to settle in after 9 months of residing out of a storage unit and my automobile. Although I’ll say it took me months to furnish it, and I lived on an air mattress for 3 months. That’s not an expertise I’m eager to repeat any time quickly.

2022 travels

Having fun with Tekapo as a winter wonderland

Tekapo is certainly one of New Zealand’s hottest vacationer cities, and with good purpose: she’s a magnificence! Roughly midway between Wanaka and Christchurch, it’s a shocking excessive nation city overlooking a shiny blue glacial lake and the Southern Alps. 

My houseplant store, NODE, is in Lyttelton, so I usually cease in Tekapo on my commutes between Wanaka and Christchurch. Certainly one of my dearest pals additionally lives in Tekapo. I spent practically per week right here on a undertaking this winter, exploring the realm with recent eyes. I’m so glad I’ve made essentially the most of my 2022 travels and skilled my very own yard earlier than tourism en masse resumes.

When Tekapo is actually busy with vacationers, it was simple to skip on by, however to have all of it to your self in winter? Nicely, it was nothing wanting magical.

2022 travels

Self-care on the west coast

I’ve made no secret of the truth that certainly one of my favourite locations to get away to jot down is on the West Coast of the South Island. At the very least yearly, I attempt to make the time to recover from to the Punakaiki space.

Normally, I’m going there within the winter as a result of that’s when the climate is sweet and calm (shocking, I do know). My 2022 travels introduced me again to a spot I really like.

The West Coast is New Zealand’s least-populated area, so that you usually have seashores all to your self. There’s one thing so nostalgic and beautiful about listening to the sound of the surf or strolling by means of the rainforest, and it makes me so comfortable.

2022 travels

Returning to Uncertain Sound with new pals

Visiting Doubtful Sound is fairly memorable, and seeing it twice in a yr is extraordinary. 

For Psychological Well being Consciousness week, I spent a couple of days off the grid on the RealNZ boat in Uncertain Sound, absorbing the fantastic thing about Milford. We had each climate and many adventures, and it was an ideal reminder of how a lot I really like my job and admire the alternatives that include it.

2022 travels

Remembering my roots as a journey blogger in Esperance, Western Australia

Lastly, after practically three years, I took my first running a blog journey abroad on my 2022 travels; excited doesn’t even start to cowl it. This time I used to be headed to a spot I had been dreaming about for thus lengthy: Esperance

Fortunate for me, Air New Zealand has resumed their direct flights to Perth in order that I might hop on over for a two-week journey round one of the vital stunning elements of Australia. 

WA (Western Australia) is magnificent. Huge, shiny, and exquisite, it’s nearly like its personal nation. And Esperance has the perfect of all the things. Extremely colourful, it’s residence to the whitest seashores in Australia, the ocean is crystal clear, the roads are earthy pink, and there are salt lakes which are shiny pink. You must see it to consider it.

It felt so good to slide again into my outdated function as a journey blogger, and it was an exquisite reminder of what I can do. It’s laborious to remain unhappy in stunning locations like this.

2022 travels

Benefit from the launch of my ebook Houseplants and Design: A New Zealand Information

Within the weeks main as much as my ebook being launched on November 1, 2022, I used to be shitting my pants with concern and anxiousness. I knew there was no level in worrying, however I couldn’t assist myself. 

Whereas I’ve thought of myself a author for over a decade, a ebook was fully new territory for me. There’s something slightly terrifying about creating one thing over the course of a yr (and secretly, too) after which releasing it out into the wild far past my very own group. 

However as quickly because it got here out, my stress started to ebb away. I can’t consider I managed to create one thing so essential (to me, no less than) throughout one of the vital difficult years of my life. Wow.

2022 travels

Touring to Chile, a brand new nation for me

I’ve by no means been that sort of journey blogger who tried to tick as many international locations as attainable off a listing. In actual fact, I’m not even certain what number of international locations I’ve even been to. I get pleasure from returning to locations I really like and experiencing them in a brand new mild. 

In November, on the finish of my 2022 travels, I made my manner all the way down to Antarctica to information my first journey there because the pandemic. The journey routes haven’t picked again as much as their pre-pandemic ranges, and there have been only some expensive choices to get to Ushuaia, Argentina, the place the ships depart from. 

In actual fact, the one direct flights between New Zealand and South America are with LATAM Airways to Santiago, Chile. A brand new metropolis for me, and I ended for a couple of days on my manner over to expertise it. I had a good time. And I had incredible meals. Extra on that quickly as I mirror again on my 2022 travels.

*PS I’ve received my subsequent spherical of journeys to Antarctica up for 2023 and 2024 – you’ll be able to apply right here to get despatched all the small print!

2022 travels

Guiding my first journey all the way down to Antarctica

Lastly, lastly, FINALLY, I used to be going again on a polar journey. It had been years since I final stepped foot on an expedition ship, and I used to be dying to return to the ice. Antarctica is certainly one of my favourite locations on the earth, and when Chimu Adventures approached me to information my very own journeys there, I couldn’t say sure quick sufficient. 

Like New Zealand, it’s a spot I do know very well, and it’s a spot I can’t shut up about. I’m totally conscious that I enter that Hermione-know-it-all state once I discuss Antarctica, and I don’t care. The polar bug received me good since 2014.

During the last decade, I’ve performed seven polar expeditions worldwide, and this journey solidified my need to turn into an expedition information. As an introvert, I used to be nervous with 17 of you guys becoming a member of me on the ship (137 passengers on board). However we had essentially the most wonderful time. All of us received alongside so nicely, everybody was like-minded, and we stayed pals. It was a bunch journey for those that aren’t tremendous into group journeys. You could possibly do your personal factor; we might dangle collectively. There was freedom. It was wonderful, and I can’t wait to return once more (click on right here to be taught extra about becoming a member of me). 

2022 travels

Nation roads take me residence – seeing my household once more within the US

And to prime off the top of a greenback coaster of a yr, I flew residence for per week to see my household within the States on my manner again to New Zealand. I’m decided to see them as a lot as attainable, and despite the fact that it was a brief keep and I lastly caught COVID on my flight again to NZ, it was pretty. 

How was your 2022? Did it exceed expectations? Any enjoyable 2022 travels or adventures? Share!

2022 travels