The breezy air drifted in off the water at the Frankton Bus Shelter in Queenstown. I stood and watched a bus rumble away without me. Madison and I were set to visit the Dorothy Brown Cinema nestled just 25 kilometers away in the cozy town of Arrowtown, but with only a few shiny New Zealand bills and coins in our hands, we were left on the sidewalk trying to figure out where we could find more money. We quickly realized there was no bus to catch in time to make our interview.
It’s in these moments of traveling that I feel a little overwhelmed.
But, as we trekked back to our apartments to use the tiny landline to call and reschedule the interview, I looked up and out across the marina and I felt a completely different kind of overwhelmed as I took in the views of towering peaks of distant mountains blanketed in clouds.
New Zealand is truly wonderful.
Fast forward a few hours and the two of us were happily trotting around Arrowtown thanks to the generosity of the cinema manager. She rescued us and drove us the long way around the town to make sure we got to see all the quirky sites. Suddenly, it wasn’t the giant mountains that left me filled with awe and joy. It was the little moments, treasures we got to soak up along the way.
It was the vase of lilies, my favorite flower, that bathed the jewellery story with the familiar smell of spring days. It was the cookie perched on top of a cup of takeaway coffee as we waited on our bus back to the city. It was the toddler who babbled on in a language I couldn’t
recognize behind me on the bus, only stopping his chatter to squeal with excitement at the sheep along the road.
It’s these moments – the tiniest experiences that won’t necessarily make it onto the pages of the magazine – that will color my stories with a fondness for New Zealand.
They are the ones that will cause quiet, delighted smirks of remembering to spring up on my face when I think of our time here.
And, when I recall the collection of joys I’ve stored up so far, it makes even the smallest bit of stress completely worth it.