I’m going to be completely trustworthy right here; I didn’t have excessive expectations for 2022. The earlier two years may solely be likened to a nuclear bomb going off on this planet we knew. I ended 2021 with a horrendous break-up, homeless, and crying on my buddy’s couch in Wanaka, the place I used to be crashing for the summer season. Once more, hopes weren’t excessive.
In actual fact, 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 could 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 understand that I’d basically be homeless for half a yr, making an attempt to determine my new regular. The place would I land?
I rapidly realized that I couldn’t be in Lyttelton for some time. House away from the place I had been dwelling and the entire painful recollections was what I wanted. Unsurprisingly, I landed 5 hours away again in Wanaka, my previous house and the place I knew I may heal, particularly with the assistance of my mates.
However even perhaps once we are ghosts of our former selves, we will depend on muscle reminiscence to hold us on. Get up. Brush enamel. Drink espresso. Dress. And little by little, month by month, I started to search out myself once more.
After which issues started to vary, as they often do. That previous adage of how time heals blah blah blah is sadly true. With my last e-book draft due on the finish of summer season, I had the proper excuse to be away and threw myself into writing. And I went into the hills looking for nature, and nothing makes you are feeling fairly so good as time offline outdoors having adventures.
As I emerged alive once more, I smiled and laughed, and happiness began appearing in my life little by little. It appears like a lifetime has handed since I’ve executed a journey roundup. However as we shift into 2023, I really feel compelled to replicate on the previous yr, what I’ve executed, and my 2022 travels. If something, I word this for myself, a reminder of the issues we will do when occasions get laborious, to look again on the place I used to be and the place I’m now.
As somebody who tends to be actually laborious on herself, believing that she by no means does sufficient, this can be a good reminder that we’re sufficient. 2022 wasn’t so unhealthy in any case.
Strolling the Routeburn Monitor
I discuss lots in regards to the energy of nature to heal in my new e-book, in addition to referring to the expertise of strolling the Routeburn Monitor 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 superb climate spell; it was magic and simply what the physician ordered for my battered coronary heart.
In actual fact, it was so magic I walked it once more on New Years’ with an previous buddy.
I feel the Routeburn could be my favourite Nice Stroll. It’s shorter than most, clocking in at 33 kilometers, and may be walked in two to a few days. It has every little thing: historical beech forest, huge mountains, distinctive birds, traditional huts, and good swimming spots. It additionally traverses two nationwide parks: Fiordland and Mt. Aspiring (professional tip: use Straightforward Hike to relocate your automobile from the beginning of the observe to the tip).
My subsequent aim is to run it in at some point. 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 have been nonetheless closed, and COVID was beginning in the neighborhood; every little thing 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 luxurious forests began to change into dry and even brown. I had by no means seen something prefer it.
However I made probably 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.
Hanging out down south
After Fiordland, I made my manner south to Southland, a area I’ve been visiting on and off for a decade. Masking the underside of the South Island and Stewart Island, it’s house to waterfalls.
Dwelling 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.
Heading again to Stewart Island
Stewart Island is considered one of my favourite locations on this planet. 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 important to actually love nature, wildlife, and being off the grid to totally admire this place.
I spent almost every week right here final summer season throughout my 2022 travels, which gave me the area and time to heal and replicate. I even took the time to tramp all the best way down to go to the bones of the stranding whales I came across years in the past, an expertise that modified my life.
Getting offline crusing round Dusky Sound
Maybe my favourite journey of 2022 was spending almost every week on the Breaksea Woman, a ship out within the distant Dusky Sound with Wild Fiordland.
Milford and Uncertain Sounds are probably the most well-known fiords in New Zealand as a result of they’re (considerably) simply accessed. Dusky Sound is tougher to achieve; most individuals fly in by helicopter. It’s been excessive on my bucket listing 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 unbelievable slice of paradise in Fiordland with others, an journey right here is price it. In the event you 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 realize, mentally. The meals was insanely good, and we additionally caught crayfish and fish to prepare dinner up on board.
Tramping, tramping, and extra tramping
Summertime means tramping time whenever you dwell within the mountains of the South Island. You’ve gotta profit from the lengthy days when the solar units at 10 pm, and the snow has melted from the peaks. Once I replicate 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 house in Wanaka. It kicked my ass, and I misplaced half of my toenails, but it surely was so price it.
Writing and capturing my first e-book.
Along with being outdoors and benefiting from nature on my therapeutic journey, I additionally completed writing my first e-book – Houseplants and Design: A New Zealand Information (worldwide store right here). I spent day after day glued to my laptop computer at totally different cafes in Wanaka and writing it saved me busy and sane.
Many individuals ask me how lengthy it took me to jot down my e-book. That’s really a difficult query. It was a yr’s price of labor, however the writing took me six weeks on the most. The enhancing, fact-checking, and capturing of the pictures have been probably the most difficult and took me the longest.
On the finish of summer season, I spent nearly two weeks touring throughout New Zealand taking pictures for the e-book; 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 technique to expertise New Zealand in a manner I hadn’t earlier than.
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 last e-book drafts have 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 could be caught within the US, however I didn’t care. At that time, I nonetheless didn’t have a house, and my huge jobs have been all wrapped up.
It was bizarre flying out of Auckland with closed borders. The whole 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 pressured separation had on me. I’m simply glad it’s over (for now).
Visiting mates throughout the pond in Sydney
Pre-pandemic, I used to go to Sydney nearly month-to-month.
A lot of my partnerships and enterprise collaborators have their predominant Pacific places of work 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 massive 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.
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 have been slim and costly pickings.
Wanaka is the sort of small city the place everybody is aware of everyone, 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. A lot of my mates have moved out right here just lately, so it’s an excellent place to be based mostly.
I finally signed a lease for a stunning model new small one-bedroom flat. A number of of my mates dwell throughout me, and it’s so beautiful 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.
Having fun with Tekapo as a winter wonderland
Tekapo is considered one of New Zealand’s hottest vacationer cities, and with good purpose: she’s a magnificence! Roughly midway between Wanaka and Christchurch, it’s a surprising excessive nation city overlooking a vivid 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 almost every week right here on a challenge this winter, exploring the world with recent eyes. I’m so glad I’ve made probably the most of my 2022 travels and skilled my very own yard earlier than tourism en masse resumes.
When Tekapo is basically busy with vacationers, it was straightforward to skip on by, however to have all of it to your self in winter? Nicely, it was nothing in need of magical.
Self-care on the west coast
I’ve made no secret of the truth that considered one of my favourite locations to get away to jot 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 really 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 beautiful about listening to the sound of the surf or strolling via the rainforest, and it makes me so completely satisfied.
Returning to Uncertain Sound with new mates
Visiting Uncertain Sound is fairly memorable, and seeing it twice in a yr is extraordinary.
For Psychological Well being Consciousness week, I spent a number of 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 really like my job and admire the alternatives that include it.
Remembering my roots as a journey blogger in Esperance, Western Australia
Lastly, after almost 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 may hop on over for a two-week journey round probably the most stunning elements of Australia.
WA (Western Australia) is magnificent. Huge, vivid, and delightful, it’s nearly like its personal nation. And Esperance has one of the best of every little thing. Extremely colourful, it’s house to the whitest seashores in Australia, the ocean is crystal clear, the roads are earthy crimson, and there are salt lakes which can be vivid pink. It’s a must to see it to consider it.
It felt so good to slide again into my previous function as a journey blogger, and it was an exquisite reminder of what I can do. It’s laborious to remain unhappy in stunning locations like this.
Benefit from the launch of my e-book Houseplants and Design: A New Zealand Information
Within the weeks main as much as my e-book being launched on November 1, 2022, I used to be shitting my pants with concern and nervousness. I knew there was no level in worrying, however I couldn’t assist myself.
Whereas I’ve thought-about myself a author for over a decade, a e-book was totally new territory for me. There’s something slightly terrifying about creating one thing over the course of a yr (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 not consider I managed to create one thing so necessary (to me, not less than) throughout probably the most difficult years of my life. Wow.
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 attainable off an inventory. In actual fact, I’m not even certain what number of international locations I’ve even been to. I get pleasure from returning to locations I really like and experiencing them in a brand new gentle.
In November, on the finish of my 2022 travels, I made my manner right down to Antarctica to information my first journey there for the reason that 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 actual fact, 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 a number of days on my manner over to expertise it. I had a good time. And I had incredible meals. Extra on that quickly as I replicate 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!
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 considered one of my favourite locations on this planet, 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 rather 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.
During the last decade, I’ve executed seven polar expeditions worldwide, and this journey solidified my want to change 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 probably the most superb time. All of us acquired alongside so nicely, everybody was like-minded, and we stayed mates. It was a bunch journey for those who aren’t tremendous into group journeys. You would do your personal factor; we may dangle 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).
Nation roads take me house – seeing my household once more within the US
And to prime off the tip of a greenback coaster of a yr, I flew house for every week to see my household within the States on my manner again to New Zealand. I’m decided to see them as a lot as attainable, and regardless that it was a brief keep and I lastly caught COVID on my flight again to NZ, it was beautiful.
How was your 2022? Did it exceed expectations? Any enjoyable 2022 travels or adventures? Share!