Goodbye New Zealand!

March 17, 2017

Goodbye New Zealand.. You’re an amazing and unique country! What an incredible ride this has been. I wouldn’t change a single moment. Special thanks to all my friends I have made over the last two years, it wouldn’t have been the same with out you all! Love always. 

Hello Napier, again

Mach 11, 2017

Annnd here goes a day spent on busses.. Had a nice time revisiting Napier but now one last stop before I head up to Auckland and out of New Zealand.. This is the only region I have yet to visit in NZ! From East Coast to West.. New Plymouth/Mount Taranaki see you in a “few” hours. 

Hitch to Matamata

March 2, 2017

Hitch from Taupo to Matamata complete! Three rides from three incredibly cool people later. First ride was a #lad from my hostel who took me from Taupo to Rotorua (this isn’t shown right on this map). Then in Rotorua I walked to the edge of town and made a fancy little sign and waited.. and waited. About an hour later I was picked up by a nice guy who just dropped his daughters off at work.  He took me out of town as its much easier to get picked up once you filter out those people traveling short distances. So he went out of his way and took me 10kms out of town and dropped me on the side of HWY 5. Not gonna lie I realized that I had to get picked up then or.. well, there wasn’t really any other option. I started thinking of places nearby I could pitch a tent “just in case” as it was getting late (the earlier the better in terms of finding people driving “long distances”). Before I could even begin to worry, someone pulled over literally 5 minutes after I was standing there. Some #KiwiBro on his way to Auckland to see his friend (I mean, mate). None of them would accept money and again the friendliness of people in New Zealand shines through. Now tomorrow I am visiting Hobbiton AKA the Shire where they filmed the beginning of the first Lord of the Rings. Full on tourist mode commences and I couldn’t be happier about it! See you tomorrow, FroDo. 

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Tongariro Crossing Pics

March 2, 2017

Will ya join me on the Tongariro Crossing?!  I tried to make this album so it seemed like you were on the hike with me as well – the captions explain it all. Here are my photos from the 19km (12mi) hike between the two volcanoes with captions explaining the different points of interest (South Crater, Red Crater, Emerald Crater, Central Crater and Blue Lake.. Oh and of course Mount Ruapehu which is famous for being Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings!) The landscapes get progressively more beautiful as the hike continues. I used a camera phone so sorry about the quality! Oh – and sorry (not sorry) for all the selfies #selfieoritdidnthappen   Hope you all enjoy 

Tongariro Crossing!

March 2, 2017

Tongariro Crossing Complete! 19kms (12 miles) and 7.5 hours later.. I completed one of the Great Walks here in New Zealand. This is my fourth time in the area and the previous 3 times I made excuses not to do the walk but I always knew that it had to be done before I left. It came at a really good time for me as I have a lot to think about and reflect on in this transitional time in my life. I didthe walk by myself which was perfect. I got to go at my own pace and it gave me a lot of time to think about my time here in NZ and what’s in store for me in America. I am such a lucky man to have so many people care about me both here and back at home (and around the world for that matter). The wound is still fresh in terms of leaving everyone in Queenstown. I just am so glad that it happened and rest assured in the fact that memories last a life time. In turn, I am so thankful that I have a home that I am excited to return to. Not everyone has that luxury. My friends and family, both in Texas and Colorado, are so important to me and I can’t wait to return home to everyone.  Not to mention, these thoughts of humility and gratitude were coupled with some absolute insane views. Mother Nature put on a show for me today. I was stopped dead in my tracks multiple times, slapped in the face by beauty. With two active volcanoes on either side and emerald colo(u)red lakes and craters and lava remains scattered around, this was one of my favorite places in New Zealand. I have no words. For all of you Lord of the Rings fans, Mount Doom is one of the two volcanoes we hiked along today. My experience was indescribable.

I offered up today and this hike to a high school friend who I just found out recently passed away. I wish I could be at home for the service but wanted to let my Jesuit brothers back at home know I am thinking of them and sending him and his family love. This hike helped me remember again just how precious life is. Hug your loved ones and make sure you tell them everyday. Life is short, but sweet for certain. Dalton, this one is for you bud. Rest easy. 

See you all VERY soon America. March 23rd. See you all then!

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Still Hitchin’!

February 27, 2017

Successfully hitched from Wellington to Taupo. 230 miles. Two rides from strangers (now friends). $10 bucks (they wouldn’t accept money). Thank you Kiwi’s for being such incredible and friendly people. 

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