2022 travels: a 12 months of surprises and adventures

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I’m going to be completely sincere 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 good friend’s couch in Wanaka, the place I used to be crashing for the summer season. Once more, hopes weren’t excessive. 

In reality, once I look again on the start of 2022, I can’t even actually keep in mind all that a lot. I’ve emotional PTSD. I went via the motions of day-to-day life, propped up by a few of my oldest mates. However I couldn’t actually let you know specifics. It was too painful to commit issues to reminiscence, I feel. I used to be making an attempt to outlive.

We began 2022 with our worldwide borders nonetheless closed in New Zealand, and no thought when it might change. I used to be caught, and I hated it. On the time, I had no thought what to do with myself, my work, and the place to dwell. My world had imploded. On the time, I didn’t notice that I might basically be homeless for half a 12 months, making an attempt 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 dwelling and all the 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 Unsurprisingly, I landed 5 hours away again in Wanaka, my outdated residence and the place I knew I might heal, particularly with the assistance of my mates. 

2022 travels

2022 travels

However even perhaps once 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 seek out myself once more.

After which issues started to alter, as they often do. That outdated adage of how time heals blah blah blah is sadly true. With my remaining ebook draft due on the finish of summer season, I had the right excuse to be away and threw myself into writing. And I went into the hills searching for nature, and nothing makes you’re feeling fairly so good as time offline exterior having adventures. 

As I emerged alive once more, I smiled and laughed, and happiness started to appear in my life little by little. It looks like a lifetime has handed since I’ve achieved a journey roundup. However as we shift into 2023, I really feel compelled to mirror on the previous 12 months, what I’ve achieved, and my 2022 travels. If something, I word this for myself, a reminder of the issues we are able to do when instances get arduous, to look again on the place I used to be and the place I’m now.

As somebody who tends to be actually arduous on herself, believing that she by no means does sufficient, it is a good reminder that we’re sufficient. 2022 wasn’t so dangerous in any case.

2022 travels

2022 travels

Strolling the Routeburn Observe

I speak rather a lot concerning 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 high-quality climate spell; it was magic and simply what the physician ordered for my battered coronary heart. 

In reality, it was so magic I walked it once more on New Years’ with an outdated good friend. 

I feel the Routeburn may be my favourite Nice Stroll. It’s shorter than most, clocking in at 33 kilometers, and might be walked in two to a few days. It has every part: historical beech forest, huge mountains, distinctive birds, basic 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 aim is to run it in sooner or later. 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 keep 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 had been nonetheless closed, and COVID was beginning locally; every part 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 plush forests began to develop 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 means south to Southland, a area I’ve been visiting on and off for a decade. Protecting 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 once we wish to go away to the coast. It had been years since I had been again down this manner, and it was actually particular to get pleasure from it via a brand new lens.  

2022 travels

Heading again to Stewart Island

Stewart Island is one in every 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 a must to actually love nature, wildlife, and being off the grid to completely admire this place. 

I spent practically every week right here final summer season throughout my 2022 travels, which gave me the area 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 found 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 every week on the Breaksea Lady, 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 succeed in; most individuals fly in by helicopter. It’s been excessive on my bucket checklist for ages to go to, and I used to be so excited to spend every 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 prepare dinner up on board.

2022 travels

Tramping, tramping, and extra tramping

Summertime means tramping time whenever you dwell within the mountains of the South Island. You’ve gotta benefit from 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 Move route close to my residence in Wanaka. It kicked my ass, and I misplaced half of my toenails, nevertheless it was so price it. 

2022 travels

Writing and taking pictures my first ebook.

Along with being exterior and taking advantage of 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 stored me busy and sane. 

Many individuals ask me how lengthy it took me to write down my ebook. That’s truly a tough query. It was a 12 months’s price of labor, however the writing took me six weeks on the most. The modifying, fact-checking, and taking pictures of the images had been essentially the most difficult and took me the longest. 

On the finish of summer season, I spent virtually two weeks touring throughout New Zealand taking images for the ebook; from non-public homes to botanic gardens to retailers and cafes, I met many fabulous like-minded plant folks. It was a lot enjoyable and a cool method to expertise New Zealand in a means 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 remaining ebook drafts had 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 entire understanding I may be caught within the US, however I didn’t care. At that time, I nonetheless didn’t have a house, and my huge jobs had been all wrapped up. 

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

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

2022 travels

Visiting mates throughout the pond in Sydney

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

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

It was superb to be again, and I spent my time catching up with mates, 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 transferring into my very own place in Wanaka

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

Wanaka is the sort of small city the place everybody is aware of all people, and it’s often straightforward 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 mates have moved out right here lately, so it’s an excellent place to be primarily based. 

I ultimately signed a lease for a  lovely model new small one-bedroom flat. A number of of my mates dwell throughout me, and it’s so pretty to have a spot to settle in after 9 months of dwelling 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 one in every of New Zealand’s hottest vacationer cities, and with good motive: she’s a magnificence! Roughly midway between Wanaka and Christchurch, it’s a surprising excessive nation city overlooking a brilliant blue glacial lake and the Southern Alps. 

My houseplant store, NODE, is in Lyttelton, so I typically cease in Tekapo on my commutes between Wanaka and Christchurch. One among my dearest mates additionally lives in Tekapo. I spent practically every week right here on a undertaking this winter, exploring the world with contemporary 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 straightforward to skip on by, however to have all of it to your self in winter? Properly, it was nothing wanting magical.

2022 travels

Self-care on the west coast

I’ve made no secret of the truth that one in every of my favourite locations to get away to write down is on the West Coast of the South Island. A minimum of annually, I attempt to make the time to recover from to the Punakaiki space.

Often, 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 like.

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

2022 travels

Returning to Uncertain Sound with new mates

Visiting Doubtful Sound is fairly memorable, and seeing it twice in a 12 months is extraordinary. 

For Psychological Well being Consciousness week, I spent just a few days off the grid on the RealNZ boat in Uncertain Sound, absorbing the great thing about Milford. We had each climate and many adventures, and it was an ideal reminder of how a lot I 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 lovely components of Australia. 

WA (Western Australia) is magnificent. Huge, brilliant, and exquisite, it’s virtually like its personal nation. And Esperance has the very best of every part. 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 might be brilliant pink. You need to 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 arduous to remain unhappy in lovely 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 solely new territory for me. There’s something moderately terrifying about creating one thing over the course of a 12 months (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 necessary (to me, a minimum of) throughout one of the 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 doable off a listing. In reality, I’m not even positive what number of international locations I’ve even been to. I get pleasure from returning to locations I like and experiencing them in a brand new gentle. 

In November, on the finish of my 2022 travels, I made my means right 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 just a few pricey choices to get to Ushuaia, Argentina, the place the ships depart from. 

In reality, 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 finished for just a few days on my means 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 acquired my subsequent spherical of journeys to Antarctica up for 2023 and 2024 – you possibly can apply right here to get despatched all the main points!

2022 travels

Guiding my first journey right 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 one in every 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 acquired me good since 2014.

Over the past decade, I’ve achieved seven polar expeditions worldwide, and this journey solidified my want to develop 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 superb time. All of us acquired alongside so properly, everybody was like-minded, and we stayed mates. It was a gaggle journey for those that aren’t tremendous into group journeys. You possibly can do your personal factor; we might hold collectively. There was freedom. It was superb, 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 high off the top of a greenback coaster of a 12 months, I flew residence for every week to see my household within the States on my means again to New Zealand. I’m decided to see them as a lot as doable, and although 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