When I was first considering buying a backpack and heading off to discover the world at the age of 19 or 20, I remember being told if you don’t have much money and want to see the world then all you really need to do is go to New Zealand, it ‘has it all’.
Now New Zealand has become the land of movie sets and many have been enticed to come across the world’s oceans and seas to immerse themselves in their own movie experience, to live on location. But could New Zealand be calling us to something more?
I didn’t actually get the opportunity to spend time in New Zealand until I reached my 40’s. I was given a wonderful opportunity to work in various locations in both the South and North Islands over a 12-month period. Most of the people I met, including the people I worked with, were backpackers on working holiday visas, as that was the industry I was involved in.
For the traveller in New Zealand, you really do feel like you are on Adventure Island, like Robinson Crusoe; it really is quite an extraordinary experience. As I write now, I can feel there is a very deep-seated sensation within me that has come from being immersed in the absolute glory being on that land brings. Despite the commercialisation of adventure travel one can never not be struck by the enormity, beauty, and vastness of a landscape that even though very pleasant on the eye has touched me beyond what the eye can see. It is really quite mystical in its inner sense.
In the South Island of New Zealand I experienced a similar sentiment to when I was travelling in Scotland and Norway that echoes like a siren song through its deep fjords, like chambers of our heart calling us home from being lost at sea. It is a song that returns us to a vastness and safety that offers the space to reconnect and feel our ancientness beyond the hustle and bustle of our current existence in a very commercial world. It is a land that can reach beyond its own commercial tourism industry to touch the hearts of many men, women, and children, calling us to return to this land again and again and again. The land that is New Zealand is one I will forever treasure deeply in my heart, a treasure chest beyond paradise.
By Suzanne Cox