On New Years Eve Zorro challenged me to pick 3 highlights and lowlights of 2015 so I thought I’d share them with you. It turns out the lowlights were much easier to think of as bad memories have a way of staying with you for longer. I packed a lot into 2015 from finishing my year in New Zealand and travelling South East Asia with my best friemd. Of course I have so many more amazing, special and crazy moments than these but I picked these as the top three.
Highlights of 2015
1. Buying my first car in New Zealand and going on a solo road trip.
The freedom that my own car gave me was just what I needed at that point. I ended up living and sleeping in my car for the next month where I drove from Nelson in the north, down the west coast to end up in Queenstown. I loved waking up in the morning, looking at the map and deciding where I would go that day. No planning, just going. Of course I had some sticky moments along the way, nearly running out of petrol in the middle of nowhere and getting a dead battery twice but the views, hikes and drives more than made up for it.
2. Hanging out with the beautiful elephants at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand
For sure one of the best days. I felt so lucky to spend time with these magnificent giants: feeding, playing and walking. No riding, shows or tricks. Just elephants being elephants and we were there to witness it. The past stories of what some of the elephants had gone through before they were rescued by the ENP made the day even more special. To know that some have gone through so much pain but have been won over again to trust humans through proper care, love and positive reinforcement. They had so much character and each had their own quirks or favourite food/tree. I’m not going to forget this experience in a while.
3. Being reunited with my best friends for Christmas.
Waiting for three of my best friends to appear at the airport was one of my favourite moments. To see their faces when we surprised them there was unforgettable. We spent the next 2 weeks together in Thailand sunning and partying it up. Christmas day was spent with proseco for breakfast, a roast for dinner and the crazy Full Moon party to finish and see in boxing day too. It can’t get much better than that.
Lowlights of 2015
1. Breaking my collar bone at Alpine Horse Safari’s
Whilst working at this trekking centre I was learning their way of training the young horses. After a few weeks they let me have a go by myself in their round yard. And as accidents happen when you’re with horses I got bucked off from a 17.2hh horse. The doctor I saw said it was just muscle and not broken so for the next week I continued to help around the house and farm, cleaning fridges, sweeping and hoovering. After a week I decided I couldn’t stay any longer as I went their to learn about training young horses and that wasn’t going to happen when I was injured. When I got to Christchurch to stay with family friends I went to the hospital where I was informed I had actually broken it. The whole experience at Alpine has a negative feel to it as unfortunate as it may of been.
2. Spraining my ankle on my first day in Wellington when I was running out of money, had no job and my car had broken down.
When you’re in a new city the last thing you want to be is on crutches. Yet this is how I found myself last April, jobless, staying in a hostel up a steep as hill due to start an internship any day. It was a hard couple weeks but despite the limp I bagged myself a job waitressing at a pub, a house to move into and started my internship. I hate being injured, it is the most infuriating thing when you have so much you need to do but have been told to rest. Never again shall I sprint after my friend after a bottle of wine.
3. Struggling to sell my car before leaving New Zealand
So what was one of the best things in NZ turned into the most stressful. With weeks before I was leaving I advertised my car for sale on trade me but no interest. I then posted on all the buy/sell Facebook groups. Still no interest. With less than two weeks to go I am desperate to sell so I print out posters and go around to all the hostels and stick them up. The first interest I got was from an Italian couple where the guy offered me less than half I was asking. No thanks! I came to regret that decision though until 5 days before I was to leave a young german backpacker couple bought my car for the price I was asking. I let them have a test drive which was terrifying as he hadn’t driven on the left before and I thought he was driving far too close to the parked cars. But we made it through in one piece and I was happy to sell them Sylvia at last. Wahoo I was free to leave!