I left Wanaka all of a sudden, because I was alone and that is one of the joys of travelling alone. I had booked a bungy jump for the next afternoon, and I decided to park up in Queenstown that night in preparation.
The sun was beating down; the sunlight in New Zealand is bright white and strong, although the temperature was still mild and pleasant. I drove through the Cardrona Valley and up through the golden peaks of the Crown Range with my windows down, singing along to my favourite songs at the top of my lungs. The joy and freedom I felt on that drive made me giddy. I thought about the fact that I was going to bungy jump the next day and laughed out loud. I felt so alive; I thought “I hope I never forget this.” I’d like to think that I wont.
I wonder if people noticed that I was filled with sunshine; it sure felt like my joy made me friends! I was greeted at the bungy place by Julius, and I think I made a friend for life. Somehow it was decided that I was going to get dunked in the Karawau River at the bottom of my jump, and I’m grateful I did; the freefall was over so quickly that if I wasn’t soaked through up to my middle, I would have struggled to believe that I’d really done it!
That evening I got a burger with Julius and watched the most amazing sunset looking out over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. This was the start of a weeks worth of adventures with Julius and his friends; I experienced the nightlife of Queenstown and kept holding off from leaving the town. His roommate Denise took me out for coffee; I found another priceless friend. I got away for a day, heading towards Milford Sound. But the day I went, the road was closed. I felt flat, bored, disinterested in the scenery. I could have waited for another day, I think it was reopened not long after, but I knew where I really wanted to be, where I felt happiest, and so I went back to Queenstown and my friends. I left eventually, when I had to, but not before I promised myself that I would come back as soon as I could, long term. I’m moving to Queenstown.