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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Bye Bye, Wellington

February 26, 2017

Bye Bye Wellington. Love/Hate relationship with you. Best city in NZ but every time I go (3rd time) it’s right after I leave my friends so it’s kind of tainted in my mind. Anyways, onwards I go – first a train out of town then to try out this whole “Hitchhiking through New Zealand” thing. Let the adventure continue’! 

FLIGHTS BOOKED!

February 25, 2017

FLIGHTS BOOKED! Holy. Shit. 

I will see you America on March 23rd! Thats three weeks left in NZ and then a week w my little bro in Sydney! I can’t wait to take this experience home with me and get to spend some quality time w my family and friends. These last two days have been really intense.. Way too many feels.. I think it’s time for a drink. 

SEE YOU SOON, AMERICA. 

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Goodbye Queenstown & South Island

February 24, 2017

Been delaying this post bc I was liking living in denial.. However, now it’s a reality as right now I am sitting on the ferry officially leaving the South Island. Last week, I said goodbye to my friends in Queenstown after an incredible last few weeks with everyone. I left Queenstown on such a high it was so damn hard to leave. I will always have the fondest memories of the Queenstown (England) bubble, even if at times I couldn’t wait to leave. Now that it’s actually happening, I can’t help but reflect and realize how unique of an experience I am finishing up.

First off, from all my NZSki friends.. you are some of the craziest, “living life to the fullest” people I have ever met. Working the lifts two seasons in a row is something I will never forget. Our jug nights to painfully hungover work days to the jokes day in and out are something I will always remember.

Secondly, all of my “Deco Fam” – I am not too sure what to say besides “thank you”.. You guys have been there constantly from the beginning and we have done some awesome things together. Its been a good run.. from all of the camping trips, the days snowboarding at the mountain, rooftop drinks at Surreal, pool games at Harrys, catching “sun” at the beach, house parties to chugging beers and going night skiing.. I’ll always remember these times. Thank you to all my friends who have helped me in my life one way or another. I can’t start naming names (even though I want to) bc I know I will leave someone out (and there are too many to name). Thank you all and thanks to everyone who came to my leaving drinks as well.

Finally, nothing would be as it was if it weren’t for my partner in crime Andy. (Funny how my eyes immediately water as I type this). You have been there with me literally since the day I landed. I am so lucky and grateful to have met someone like you to share my time with here. You were the person I woke up to and the last face I saw before I went to sleep, you were the person I could not wait to share my day with, the one who took care of me when I was sick, you stood by my side with forgiveness even when I acted foolish, you were the person I went to when I needed advice, you were the one I travelled around the world with and was always down for an adventure, you were my snowboarding partner on our days off, you picked me up when I was sad, and in turn you made me the happiest man in the world. I can walk away knowing I spent these past 2 years with the coolest, most genuine and kind hearted guy in NZ  Thank you so much for all of these memories, I would have not have wanted to have made them with anyone else. Whenever I think of you, I am guaranteed to smile.

So now I am off! Off to the North Island here in New Zealand. I am going to spend a few weeks here and then ideally a week in Sydney before heading back to Texas by April! I just finished fun packed few days camping around the South Island. We kayaked Able Tasman, saw sting rays in the wild and played with fluorescent plankton in the sea at night. Special thanks to my mate Joshfor taking me in his car on the road trip. You’ve been one of my best friends here and I’ll miss you bud.

However, whenever one door closes, a new one opens. This I am sure – and although it sucks now, I know exciting things are waiting for me around the bend. SO onwards I go and try to remember that Doctor Seuss quote on repeat, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

THANK YOU QUEENSTOWN! 

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