Cold and rainy, pretty much sums up the last few days. As I sat in my car trying to stay warm, the rain remained relentless, obstructing my views through the windshield. I managed to keep my eye on the prize, a small rocky outcropping just off the shore. I sat and watched, the wind remained strong and constant, creating three foot swells that kept violently crashing onto the wind swept, white sands. The beach was beautiful, snuggled in between a couple of giant, green cliffs. However, the sky remained bleak and gray, these were not ideal swimming conditions. I watched patiently, waiting for the sinking tide to fall to the rocks that I had kept in my sights for the last hour. The water level was falling, closer, closer now, it was about that time… Now!!!
I got out of my car and took off, target in my sights. I was joined by about thirty other people who had been waiting anxiously in the car park. All their eyes were on the same thing, the stretch of sand that sat in front of the rocks. Everybody was braving the cold weather in their swim suits with shovels in hand. The scene resembled a mixture of a department store on “black friday” with a low grade horror flick.
The sprint was soon followed by a symphony of shovels hitting the sand, throwing dirt in every direction possible. Holes and small dirt walls were sprouting up all over the place, only to be filled in and toppled over by the waves that kept crashing into them, negating all of our hard work. I could start to feel my toes go a little numb, it was freezing!
At last, I defeated mother nature temporarily, I took a seat in my little hole. Hot spring water seeped up through the sand, mixing with the seawater to create an intimate, natural, and relaxing hot tub. I instantly began to feel a sense of relaxation. The stress that had built up in my body from the spint and continuous digging melted away. I sat there and kicked my feet back, watching the waves come in, rain continue to fall and people laughing. What a unique place, the “hot water beach” in the North Island.
The last couple weeks have been wonderful. My journey has taken me from the large deep fjords of the south, the snow capped peaks of Mt. Cook, the art deco architecture and rolling vineyards of Napier, and the “burbs” and golden islands of Auckland. New Zealand is a unique place, it is as if mother nature took every possible landscape possible, threw them into a blender, took the mixture baked it and then cut it into two pieces. Voila!! Welcome to New Zealand.
Yes the landscape is incredible and the views impeccable. However, I really needed the experience at hot water beach. I was beginning to become a little bored until that cold, rainy day at the beach reminded me of something. The contributions of people to your life.
I am always fascinated by nearly everyone I meet. My travelers have a special place in my heart. Mark Twain said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” I have always been impressed with people I meet when I travel because they seem to embody this statement. Travelers that I meet always seem to be open to new ideas, people and places. They always are interested in not only exploring the world, but also exploring themselves. That is something that really resonates with me.
Something special happen when you travel, I personally believe that when you travel, it’s not about what you see, but who you become. As I start to come down the home stretch of my big adventure, I find myself appreciating this idea more and more. However, this principle is not exclusive to travelers. You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to appreciate it, all of us are having a big adventure called LIFE. And after all, isn’t life all about who we become?