As I write this on a word document on my laptop because there are seldom times when we have access to the Internet and when we do it usually isn’t free, it is Sunday June 12, 2011 and it is 11 AM in the morning. What’s ironic is that when I began to type the date out, Microsoft Word wanted to correct it to Saturday June 11, 2011. I’m starting to realize how magically strange the world is. How is it that I’m living in the future? It is 6 PM at home in Houston. My mom is probably beginning to think about what she’s going to cook for dinner and my brother is probably playing video games upstairs in the game room (but let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what time it is, Gentry’s without a doubt usually playing video games), and my friends are probably just getting off work and trying to decide what they’re going to do tonight: movie, dinner date, staying in and hanging out, etc. But while all of that is going on at home a day behind me, I am sitting in a common room, just now finishing digesting my breakfast, staring out the window at the most beautiful mountains I have ever laid my eyes on. I sit here, 2 days and a skipped one later, still trying to take it all in. If I were to say all of the exhausting plane rides (3 of them to be exact plus a crying baby directly behind me all the way from LA to Auckland), the jet lag, the luggage carrying, and the packing stress was worth it, it would be an understatement. Words cannot even begin to explain the sights I have seen, the places I have been, and the experiences I am being able to be apart of.
I am not your typical outdoorsy girl. I must admit, if I had to choose between canoeing on a lake and shopping, well, you all know which one I would pick. But this trip has truly given me a new appreciation for nature. National Geographic’s mission is to inspire people to care more about the earth and being here has already provided me with that new admiration. As we venture to different activities in our little bus driven by our wonderful bus driver Carl, there is not one moment where you aren’t able to stare out your window and see something unbelievable. From towering mountains with the perfect amount of snow drizzled on top to the most beautifully sculpted waterfall, New Zealand has left me in awe. And what still dumbfounds me is that we aren’t even close to seeing everything that New Zealand has to offer. Today has been a relaxing day. Nothing but uploading and editing pictures onto our computers, sharing our best shots of yesterday’s trip to Milford Sound with each other, and critiquing each other on how we can improve. The sole purpose of this trip: photography. But as the morning comes to a close, we are all ready to venture around the town we are staying in at the moment, Te Anau. We have a pretty chill day lined up compared to yesterday, full of eating great food, hiking around Lake Te Anau, going to see a movie about the beauty Te Anau has to offer, laughter, and even more bonding. Till next time!