My best friend is a sailor by occupation. I never get tired of saying that. He argues that a sailboat utilizes his background in physics since it is a self-contained vessel complete with electronics, plumbing, motors, and basically is an engineers dream bundled up.
Being a sailor also means that you can travel the world. If you ever meet Marty, the one man party, ask him if he thought I would seriously join him in New Zealand. Our friend Evan was on the Te Aroara trail (New Zealand's Appalachian Trail) for 3 months, Marty for 2 months, and I joined for 1 month.
Inspiration to go hike the Te Araroa Trail
(Click on the photo's thumbnail to scroll through the gallery)
1. Kayaking in Milford Sound: we would take breaks in town after spending 4-5 days in the backcountry. The Sound, which is actually a fjord, has been attracting travelers for hundreds of years. We had the luxury of taking a motor boat out to the edge of the ocean and then kayak back into the harbor.
2. DOC Cabins: New Zealand's network of lodging cabins for backpackers dates back to the gold mining days. The Department of Conservation (DOC) maintains these huts that we would regularly sleep in. A seasonal pass was about $60 USD.
3. Trail Mates: sometimes a stranger would be with you for a few moments, a few hours, or a few days. This backpacker happen to join us on the legendary hitchhiking ride (see next picture)
4. Hitchhiking: the best way to reach the trailhead! Our hippy parents in America talk about hitchhiking and then media stories seems to have scared it away. We had moms, grandparents, and many locals pick us up. Note: use a sharpie and cardboard to write where you are going in large bold letters
5. Diabetic Supplies: before leaving on the flight I charged the meters that check my blood sugar. A rubber band replaces the bulky case that often holds this trio of devices. For those learning about diabetes, the black USB shaped meter tests my blood sugar, the piece with a grey cap and blue button has an ultra-fine needle to draw blood, and the white cylindrical plastic tube contains test strips to absorb the blood for measuring blood glucose levels.
6. An everyday scene on the Te Araroa trail.
7. Christchurch Postcard: this was one of the first scenes I saw when exploring New Zealand. One of my favorite hobbies when traveling is visiting botanical gardens. This picture is proof of why it is worth your time.
8. Crystal Clear: Tash, my kiwi dream girl, walking through a river that had water so pure that you could drink from it. And "kiwi" means someone from New Zealand named after their native bird - the kiwi.
9. Best friends: "There are only a few people that know you since childhood," Marty's dad told me while we were in the kitchen. This trip to New Zealand was Marty and my's first big adventure together. And it will not be the last.
In the future we will have an in-depth article on how to backpack with Type 1 Diabetes. For now, enjoy the photos.