Just some thoughts...
So, everyday I wake up on the trail I feel like a new born calf. I'm just learning how to walk and every step is punishingly painful. After about a mile, I feel warmed up, ready to tackle whatever the trail throws my way. This could be a number of things- sometimes you're slipping in ankle deep mud, sometimes you come to the most beautiful clearing of woods in a forest that is nearly unexplored by humans, sometimes your getting smacked in the face by giant ferns and tripping on vines as you desperately try to keep footing. Sometimes the sun leaves your hands pocked with burns from UV rays, no matter how much sun screen you put on, and sometimes a dish of ramen noodles with a packet of tuna is the most delicious thing you've ever eaten. Today, I unbraided my hair for the first time in a week and pulled various plants, seeds and twigs that had been accumulating on my head. My feet? They look like they could belong to an 86 year old man. We have evidence of this as well.
All day long my thoughts waver, from happy wedding memories, to hating the trail, to loving the trail, to missing family and friends and to wishing these four months would never end. The people and land in New Zealand are perfectly untouched by hatred (for the most part). They love and appreciate their country and everyone on it, no matter where they've come from or what their purpose here seems to be. Opening one's home to complete strangers "just because" seems to be the norm and these are values that I will hold and continue to pay forward throughout my life. Everything hurts and everything feels just right. So far, this balance has been overwhelmingly satisfying and as our journey continues I hope to continue to grow from the brief encounters, experiences
and relationships we establish here.