Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: Instagram

Blogging While I Have Free Wi-Fi!

I've had free wi-fi at this place, so I've been able to blog more without worrying about time and usage. We'll see what happens next week when I'm hostel-hopping. Might not have free wi-fi everywhere!

Yesterday I took a day off, my first in awhile, and took a hike to a nearby reserve. It was a grey-ish day but it was cool and the sun came through the clouds sporadically. I calculated I did about 10 miles in all, round trip. My legs were protesting, but it felt great to be in the fresh country air, and I got some amazing views, which just didn't come out so well on my iPhone. I'm finding that although the iPhone 4 has a great camera in many respects, the conditions need to be really good (sunny, clear, with still objects) in order to get the best shot.

Hiking is a great time to just think about things. I decided to go music-less, just listening to the birds and sheep and cows around me, doing their thing.

  • I thought about what I want to do when I get back to the U.S.– my thoughts keep going to starting my own “thing” that involves food, youth, education, yoga, health, cooperation and collaboration,. And so I was thinking about people I want to talk to– people who might have good ideas, people who might be able to go into this venture with me, people whose brains I can pick.
  • I thought about what I'm getting out of this part of my travel– the WWOOFing bit. I'm learning how to recognize more flora and fauna– what's edible and when it's ready. Potato plants, carrots, strawberries, herbs, lots of flowers and trees.
  • I thought about my own personal life and where that's headed. I'd say I'm about halfway through my life (haha, is that a morbid thought?) and I know I'd like to have a family. I'm definitely enjoying my independence, especially related to being able to travel at a moment's notice and just worrying about myself and no one else. But it feels selfish and lonely at times.

My mind was definitely occupied on this hike. But I didn't miss out on the views. There were lots of sheep and lambs along the way. I got some nice shots of lambs, which are quite skittish. They always are within close reach of their mom, and each sheep has one or two little lambs. Such cuties! The adults aren't so cute.

The hike was all uphill one way and all downhill the other. If I have a choice, I'd prefer it that way rather than the opposite, but I do like to have up and down mixed up. My knees were in a bit of pain at the end of all the downhill.

I got some amazing views of Christchurch, Lyttleton Harbor, the snow-capped Southern Alps (which really didn't come out in any of these photos– they're on the horizon in the blue-ish glow in these photos…). And there was lots and lots of gorse. Gorse is thorny bush with amazing yellow flowers which smell faintly of coconut oil. So as I was walking through thickets of gorse, I felt like I was on a beach smelling suntanning oil! Farmers consider gorse a noxious weed because it's so prolific and hard to get rid of. It's very thorny.

See the mountains way in the distance?

Lyttleton Harbor, on the south side of Christchurch

I used instagram on many of these photos because the originals were just a bit washed out (because of the problem I spoke of earlier with the iPhone). But the colors really are quite lush and vibrant in real life, so I felt justified in using that editing app.

Throughout the hike, I was climbing up and over fences because although it's a scenic reserve, there are parts that are privately owned as well. And I took a photo of this gate lock. These are ubiquitous in New Zealand, especially on farmland. Everything is gated and fenced, and you have to learn how to open and close these gates.

The end of my trip brought me to a garden area where there were monuments and sculptures donated from Christchurch's sister cities, mostly Asian countries, interestingly.

View of the garden areas from high up.

So there were some things donated from a small town outside of Seoul, Korea! What a nice little treat for me to bring me back to my roots!

So now I'm off to start my day. Feeding the horses and chickens and to see how many eggs I'll collect today!

Final Day of the Road Trip

We decided to make this the final day of the road trip. One of the ideas had been to drive down from Santa Fe through Albuquerque down to White Sands National Monument, but that would have put an extra several hundred miles and an extra day into our travels. And I was really starting to feel the bone-weariness of being in a car, driving for hundreds of miles each day. So we decided to head to Globe, where my parents live. Just a day's drive.

Itinerary: Santa Fe, NM to Globe, AZ by way of Albuquerque, NM
Miles driven: ~400 miles, which at this point feels like a breeze. “What, just 400 miles? That's just 7-8 hours away by car!
Food eaten: some treats from the farmers' market, breakfast in Albuquerque, and finished with a meal of greens, rice, and kimchee at home. The best way to end a long trip.

Before heading out on our journey, my friend and her husband took us to the Santa Fe Farmers' Market which was beautiful! We ended up spending about an hour there with my mom buying things left and right to take home and cook. I love farmers' markets.

Roasting Hatch peppers-- a common sight in the Southwest

The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this farmers' market were breathtaking. I really wanted to buy up everything I saw, too. But I restrained myself. Fresh produce and me are good friends.

Beautiful purple flowers of the artichoke plant

Who knew there were different colored cauliflower?!

Love all the colors of the rainbow you can see in a farmers' market in peak season

So after tearing ourselves away from the farmer's market with considerably less money in my mom's wallet, we drove to Albuquerque, about an hour away, to meet up for breakfast with another old friend from Boston. It was great to see him and also good to hear that he might be moving back to Boston!

Other than those exciting moments, we took the rest of the drive back to Globe, meandering through the mountainous roads and ending up here:

Strangely, it was cool, almost cold, in New Mexico and in Globe, too. Rainy, cloudy, cold. Not like the Southwest I often hear about. And the summer is just finishing up. But no complaints here.

So final tallies:

  • Total miles driven: ~3000 miles plus some extra for driving around when I got lost
  • Total driving companions: two– my friend S from Boston and my mom
  • Total great meals: too many to count. Highlights would have to be Zingerman's Reuben in Ann Arbor, egg sandwich at M. Henry in Chicago, ribs at Pappy's Smokehouse in St. Louis, and that bag of Hot Fries that I consumed somewhere between Chicago and Centennial, CO.
  • Final reflections: I did it! No small feat. And thanks so much to all those along the way who helped make it so enjoyable with the mini-reunions and tips on delicious eats. Thanks, especially, to my amazing car that held up through it all. Honda Accord 2000. Do they still make them as good as they used to?

So now time to rest up, pack, buy the last things I need for my “REAL” trip and figure out really how this blogging thing works for real on my iPad.

Side note: Part of why I started blogging before my trip was because I wanted to get used to this medium of journalling. It's public and requires some consistency if I want to maintain readership. More on that issue for another post. But if you've been reading along, you may notice that my formatting has been kind of wonky. I finally read up on blogging with my iPad and found Blogsy, what a great app to help me blog more easily! Blogsy + Picasa + wireless connection + a wireless keyboard + photo-taking on my iPhone + Instagram (for photo editing) make the winning combination! So enjoy, hopefully with more consistent formatting as I get used to using my iPad and not my laptop for the rest of my journey!


#16: Morning Dewdrops

I doctored this photo a bit with Instagram.  I took the photo this morning on my walking route to the train station.  It was amazing how isolated each drop was.  And with Instagram, the colors are a bit more vibrant and stylized.

A rough and draining day.  It was a beautiful sunny day after a gloomy morning, but I didn’t really get to enjoy the outdoors at all.  Inside my office all day and then an evening meeting for a board that I volunteer with.  I’m through.  And sadness of sadness, a TV series I’ve been watching on DVD is over.  The final season.  I’m a little embarrassed to share what series, so I’ll leave it at that.  Happy ending, but it totally left me hanging and wanting more.  I was sad to say goodbye to the show, the characters, the town, the life.  And it made me think a little what it’s going to feel like saying goodbyes at the end of the summer.

So far so good with this photo-taking streak I started 16 days ago.  Only 22 days more to go.  It’s been nice having this “do something every day” streak thing.  It’s been making me keep an eye out for things I want to take a photo of.  And with Instagram, I may be able to do even more interesting things.  Although I feel like I’m cheating a bit using Instagram because I should be able to take the photo as is.  But with an iPhone (which is what I’ve been using to take all my pics), there’s only so much you can do.  I’m impressed with what I am able to do with the iPhone as it is.

So “streaking” like this hasn’t been too bad.  And I’m feeling inspired everyday by the little things.

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