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Jeff's Awesome Adventures

How I Caught the Travel Bug

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 12 October 2013 | Views [587]

There is a beautiful beach in New Zealand that I used to go to during my holidays in the early 1990s. Although it was close to where I lived, it was not easy to get to. If you had money, it was two hours boat ride along the coast. If you didn’t have money, it was two days hike along a walking track. In those days I was a poor student with no money, so I walked.

I still go there once every few years whenever I can, because this is truly is a unique place close to my heart.

A forested golden sandbar crosses about eighty percent of the bay, cutting the open water off from the tidal estuary behind it. Like a healthy set of lungs, the estuary gently breathes the twice daily rising and falling tides. By day the channels feed the sandy estuary with alluring turquoise water almost touching the rainforest thickly blanketing the surrounding rugged hills. By night the inky black water is illuminated by the ghostly phosphorescence of tiny shrimp. The phosphorescence faintly reveals the otherwise invisible wisps of mist hovering over the becalmed surface.

Eerie staccato warbles of unusual flightless birds foraging the forest floor unseen blend in perfectly with the sounds of the small waves breaking on the beach and the waterfall at the back of the estuary. The air fills with the aroma of the salty sea enhanced with the subtle smell of fresh humus mixed in with the sweet scent of the honeydew that grows on the trees.

On either side of the estuary is an entrance into the forest. During low tide the estuary drains allowing access for travellers walking the track to a small clearing containing a hut where they spend the night. As travellers enter the hut, they are welcomed by the sounds of other travellers settling in, and are reinvigorated by the distinctly familiar smell of acrid smoke and cooked food so familiar to hikers.

It was in this hut that I met many travellers during my student days in the early 1990s. Most of these travellers had journeyed from far flung nations on the other side of the world. Ironically few locals venture here. Many of the people I meet here had travelled to many other places all over the world to experience the far flung and exotic New Zealand. I would enviously listen to their tales of adventure around the world as I sat at the crude wooden dining tables in the hut. Their stories were far too numerous for me to mention here.

These people were so amazing to talk to. They truly were living life to the full, and deep down, I wanted to have a part of that spark of life that illuminated their personalities.

Sadly though, in those days I was a poor student with no money. Travelling to exotic destinations was far out of reach. However those happy times of inspiration at my favourite beach planted the seed of a deep desire to discover the world. I couldn’t travel, so I did the next best thing by regularly going to this remote beach just to hear the stories of globetrotters.

Years later my turn finally came. I was now financial enough to spread my wings and explore the world. By then I had left my home country New Zealand, and settled in Australia, having established my career. I had already experienced a taste of travel through a trip to Hokkaido, Japan to attend my sister’s wedding. Exploring the remote island of Hokkaido and experiencing their exotic culture stirred me to make the commitment to find out more about this amazing world we live in.

Now it was time for me to stop listening to the stories of travellers and to start discovering the world for myself. I wanted to start somewhere that was fairly close to home, but somewhere very exotic. So I took the first step of the journey of a thousand miles by talking with my travel agent and booking my first trip out of Australasia.

At that point I was hooked. The rest is history...

Photos and more details at jeffsadventures.com.

Tags: beach, exotic, forest, hut, inspiration, travellers, trek

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