Lights Will Guide You Home (New Zealand Part III)

Parts 1 & 2
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t like the Coldplay reference? Tough. Ten years ago when I ventured to New Zealand for a 7 week “study” abroad program through AFS, I had my first iPod with me, loaded up with relatively few albums (compared to what I might be packing these days, though I pretty much exclusively stream… Anyway). I was listening to a lot of Keane, The Killers, the Garden State soundtrack, and Coldplay. 25 Coldplay tracks to be exact. A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y, which had just come out (and “Don’t Panic”, from the Garden State ST). I was young and had a romantic view on life, I was simply gushing with sentimentality, and treasured each little song from that album.  If I remember correctly, the album was not received too well by critics, and in hindsight, it’s a fairly bloated album (you can read about my history with Coldplay here), but it was the soundtrack to that trip. Despite it being sort of superficial, I took every song and every lyric completely to heart.

On August 19, 2005, I boarded a plane home from Auckland. I’d been reunited with all my friends from the Outdoor Pursuits Centre; we’d all just been doing homestays for 3 weeks and were incredibly excited to tell each other what we’d done. These weeks weren’t as action-packed, and were sort of lonely, but I stayed with a pretty well-off family, so my opportunities were plenty. I got to see a lot of New Zealand’s North Island, as well as do service hours at a primary school. I was an adult and a kid at the same time; the best kind of person to be! Let’s go. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirstly, the family I stayed with – The Oakleys – had a fairly huge plot of land with a really nice house. Heated floors, private outdoor pool, a hot tub, a trampoline (which I jumped on for a solid hour one afternoon, by myself, while listening to Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” on repeat), a tennis court and a cow. I don’t know what the cow was for. They lived in the city of Hamilton, which is a really pleasantly small big city. Like a micro version of Minneapolis. It had culture, a city centre, shopping, but also was sprawled out and offered plenty of green spaces. Every house in our neighborhood was situated on farm-like land.  Read more ›

#tbt New Zealand part ii


Part I is here
I’ve become lazy with blog post titles lately. Also, really lazy about these Throwback Thursday posts about New Zealand! I will do one today and then one at would be the end of the journey, in about 3 weeks. So, not every week, but that would be excessive anyway.

I was sitting in a restaurant last Friday night in New York, eating a really spicy, really expensive burger that I myself created, and this song came on. Which.. Even thinking about this song gives me goosebumps! At the Outdoor Pursuit Centre, we were this group of 18 teenagers, and on any given night (as long as we weren’t wiped out from the day’s activities) we’d have these dance parties in a little carpeted room, and Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger became our anthem. We played it our last night at OPC (July 22) and the next day we said goodbye to each other and it was one of the saddest days ever. Anyway. I’ve heard that song a few times here and there, but hearing it out of the blue, so very close to the actual 10 year anniversary I left OPC, I got chills. I texted a friend from those days, Leslie, who lives in New York, and I said we should get together. So we did! I saw him the next day, and he’s the first person I’ve seen from that group in 10 years, and neither of us could believe it! I guess what I’m trying to say, is that this is a trip that was utterly life changing, and is still affecting me in crazy ways today.

But, anyway. The photo up there I think was taken on a two-day backpacking trip we took from I dunno, somewhere (they drove us in a van) up to the tippy top of Mt. Ruapehu! Backpacking is hella hard, especially on volcanic ash for miles and miles. Plus at this point everybody had all but chosen the clique they were in. Teenagers. I recall we walked through a forest at one point, and it was completely this lush green color. Everything was colored in it. My camera was in my backpack and I couldn’t be bothered. I can’t imagine myself on a similar trip today. I’d need at least 3 lenses for this trip, and some sort of complicated rig that makes me look like a tool It was winter in New Zealand at the time, but it rarely snowed anywhere where I was. Once we got high enough I guess, that’s where it started. We had trekked to a little hut (they have these all over New Zealand, for hikers and stuff), had a fire, had food, played card games. Then a brave few of us decided we were really going to rough it that night. The coolest thing about that night, is that when we left the hut to go down to the tent, I looked up and was nearly knocked back because the sky was jam packed with stars. It was, and still is, the starriest night I’ve ever seen, and it was snowing! It was amazing. It was fucking cold ass camping though.  Read more ›

#tbt Black and White Honeymoon

z403312-008I broke a long streak of ignoring my once strong film habit by processing some film from our honeymoon in Hawai’i. Because nothing is more subversive than paradise in black & white.
I’d forgotten what was on this roll, and I’m not sure if I just suck at taking pictures on film or if it’s the processing, but some of these are super washed out. Bleh. But others are pretty fun!  Read more ›

#tbt The Time I Went to New Zealand


I’ve been waiting to make this post for a few months now. Today is THE DAY that TEN YEARS AGO I landed in New Zealand for a 7 week adventure that would change my life forever. NZjournal-1 NZjournal-2 NZjournal-3My mom had bought me a journal (I assume my mom bought it for me, like she bought everything for me when I was 17 and jobless) so that I could record everything that happened and share it with the kind friends and family and sponsored this trip. Because you can’t LiveJournal from remote camps in NZ. I’d love to share with everybody this whole trip, as best as I can remember it, because I didn’t have this blog back then. I did do a massive roundup, complete with apt Coldplay lyrics in my LJ in August of 2005, but to share it would be just too embarrassing, for now. I’m already showing you my journal in my terrible handwriting in my overexcited, utterly afraid of swearing even in a personal fucking journal tone of voice.  Read more ›

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