One minute, you’re in the center of the town of Franz Josef, a cafe on one side of you, a pizzeria on the other. Then, within minutes, you are transported to another world. Your helicopter pops up into the air, through jagged mountain crags, just before dropping you into the heart of a glacier, an otherworldly ice field of turquoise blues and glowing whites.
This was Franz Josef Glacier. Continue Reading »
This is a story about losing our surfing virginity on the beaches of Raglan, a town on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s also about taking a step back to appreciate that learning to surf is a lot like learning to live life itself.
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Perspective. There are times to sit and relax on a white sand beach and enjoy the proximity of the crashing waves. And then there are times to climb up to get up above it all.
Waewaetorea Island is one of those times to take the climb. From the top you get a 360-degree view of around 35 islands that make up the Bay of Islands in the North Island.
Open the panorama up to full screen. Would you take the climb? Continue Reading »
I am starting to wonder about you guys. every time you celebrate your ‘love’ (V-day, anniversary) you jump off something very high. Please explain.
— A good friend responds to our Valentine’s Day bungy jump, capturing a little problem we seem to have.
So there we were in New Zealand, Valentine’s Day approaching. We find ourselves in Queenstown, the so-called adventure capital of the world where just about any adrenaline-pumping, blood-draining exercise can be found. So we think: What sort of shared experience, that we haven’t done before, can we do together to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
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Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koutou me he maunga teitei.
Pursue that which is most precious. If you should bow down, let it only be to a lofty mountain
— Maori blessing
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves fortunate enough to be surrounded by so much beauty that we can feel a bit like we are drowning. In these moments, we need a dose of wisdom, an aid in context that allows us to grasp it all at once, to properly honor it, to put it into perspective.
Beauty aloft: The Emerald Lakes — Mount Tongariro, New Zealand
And so it has been with our experience in New Zealand. Breathtaking moments, sweeping landscapes, pure adventure — the word abundance doesn’t quite do it all justice.
Then we heard the words above. Continue Reading »
“If you look up, at just the right time, you’ll see a peacock on the ceiling,” our guide, Javad, explained as he walked us under the gilded and tiled dome of Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in Isfahan, Iran.
We craned our necks, searching for just the right angle. With the aid of sunlight passing through a nearby window, an image of a peacock — previously unseen, now tail shimmering — was revealed to us brush strokes. Intermittent cries of “Oh!” indicated when everyone in the room “got it.” Continue Reading »
In celebration of Robert Burns Day in Scotland, we share our favorite pints, places, and provisions from the fair city of Edinburgh. Now, what did we miss?
What’s the essence of Edinburgh? I probably need to return to answer that in earnest. But if you visit Edinburgh for a couple of days, here are a handful of things you could see, eat, drink and otherwise experience to help you answer that question for yourself.
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This is a story about faraway places and our relationship to the somewheres we dream of visiting. It’s also about the fact that we fly to New Zealand next Monday.
Some places on our planet seem to lend themselves to the imagination, that is to the image of the mind, to putting eyes closed and attempting to place yourself somewhere you’ve never been. Think about it: there are endless beautiful places on Earth that evince all manner of beauty, but among them, there are a few special places whose reputation so precedes them.
One of those places: New Zealand. Continue Reading »
This is a story about making peace with a squishy edible ball of sheep innards, and a song I rewrote to help me through the process.
I have a confession to make. I was afraid of haggis, almost deathly so. You could say I harbored an irrational fear of the stuff. Yes, haggis. Continue Reading »
If dreams really do come true, you could say that the Scottish Highland castle of Eilean Donan is proof.
Aye, the story — it goes something like this. Continue Reading »