Have you ever washed your hair outside with an icy nip to the air, with invigoratingly cold water, the upside-down view behind you being of rocky mountain ranges topped with freshly-fallen snow next to a turquoise lake? I hadn’t before New Zealand. Remarkable.
From Queenstown I loved the spectacular drive to a campsite and lodge in the remote hamlet of Kinloch, miles past the remote town of Glenorchy.
I met a man who, in a quiet unassuming way, said he’d grown up on his parents’ farm, but went to London once: missed the lakes and mountains so much that he just spent time in cinemas waiting to come home. He went off to do some hunting on the Caples Track. A handful of friendly people were around the lodge that evening. Which was lucky for me, because I was about to get to know them quite well: as I pulled into the campsite my back tyre blew out on the gravel!
A young Kiwi guy got right under the car to free the spare tyre that had quite possibly never been used before, judging by the hassle it was to release it. He changed the tyre for me, along with a retired couple and their two friends from the north island, who followed me all the way to Glenorchy, gave me coffee and hot pudding and offered for me to come and stay when I’m near their home! A kind mechanic at the place I went to buy my new tyres gave me a spare ratchet, for free, so that the hassle would be less next time. Yep, Kiwis can be pretty awesome.
Strange how being in a situation like that made my brain suddenly go: What am I doing with my life anyway!?! Makes it more difficult to just ‘be here now’, which is what my objective has been for most of this trip. That was so easily done in Wilderland, but when something like this happens it’s so easy to wish that someone was here with me, wish that I had some plan of how to have a happy, ‘normal’ balanced life with supportive people around and a sense of home. But it’s also brought me into contact once again with lovely people: they help, and it all gets sorted, and you soon realise that you don’t need anyone in particular to help you fix a puncture any more than you do at any other time. There are lots of wonderful people in the world, even though all the wonderful people who I really know, love and miss are far away!
The next night I had a lovely calm evening, no distractions this time from the gorgeous peaceful scenery, watching the stars show themselves one by one above the lake, a pair of ducks in the dusk, sparrows, and a rabbit. It’s like paradise. Actually, that’s round the other side of the mountain. No, really!
I enjoyed the beautiful Alpine scenery round there for a few more days, though I must admit I gave in to a nagging sense of something telling me to be extremely sensible and not take even the slightest risk for a little while.