For the last five years, I’ve been travelling, living and working abroad, with my longtime partner in crime – the Bonnie to my Clyde, NeversayNOmad.
Together, we’ve toured and explored a modest amount of countries in the continents of Europe, Australasia, North America and Asia, with an endless list of amazing places still left untapped and plenty of ventures in the pipeline, were hoping to be marvelling for many moons to come.
In “Times of Travel”, I will write a series, detailing some of these adventures – great hikes, days that will never be forgotten, experiences which have changed me and expanded my horizons. Part diary, part travel guide, I will outline one event at a time. These will include travel recommendations, often in story form.
It all started in Back in 2016, with a trip around New Zealand. We bought, converted and lived in a van for the first time, whilst we traversed jaggedly up, down, back up, then down, around, left, right, up, and down, down, down (to the end of the Earth, almost literally) and back up again! With scenery straight out of The Lord of the Rings, or rather, the scenery of The Lord of the Rings straight out of New Zealand, you know you’re in for an experience worthy of the big screen.
This small nation boasts larger than life hosts, the Maori, Polynesian seafarers, who settled the island about 700 years ago. They named it Aotearoa, “the land of the long white cloud”. New Zealand is made up of two main islands – North and South, which are incredibly diverse in their ecology. These majestic landscapes are truly deserving of being called one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
News Zealand’s smaller island is its most populated, with over 75% of the nations near 5 million (London alone has a population just shy of 9 million – closing in on double of that of NZ) inhabitants living on the North Island – its bubbling with activity in more way than one. The North is home to most of NZ’s active volcanos – theres 12 active volcanos throughout New Zealand, 5 of the areas of activity being on the North island, with 1 offshore from the mainland, on the Kermadec islands. There are no active volcanos on the South Island.
The power and unpredictability of these geological forces, was brought to the forefront by the 2019 White Island eruption, where 22 people lost their lives.
The area of greatest volcanic activity is in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, central North island. Very much alive, it has been active for the last 2 million years. Lake Taupo, the zones namesake, is a flooded caldera and sits atop the the largest volcano in the zone – Taupo Volcano. South of Taupo, marking the southern boundary of the zone, is Mt Ruapehu, an active stratovolcano and home to the Whakapapa and Turoa ski resorts – a place I spent 4 months working, playing and learning. I will relive one paradigm shifting job role, as a de-icer (I will explain exactly what that means, I promise), at Mt Ruapehu’s, Whakapapa Ski field, which tested my resolve, whilst opening my eyes to the possibilities of a life lived – and worked – within the extremities of nature. It’s an experience I will be eternally grateful for, which reaffirmed my love, passion and commitment to the great outdoors – but, was not without its challenges.
But first, we will get moving In times of travel at a stones throw away from Mt Ruapehu – situated in the Tongariro National Park – it looks down on the Tongariro Alpine crossing, a 19.4km moderate difficulty hiking track, where I will start this series in the next blog.
Thanks for reading – keep an eye out for In times of travel, from nicecissist, for more Earth worship.
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