Welcome one, welcome all!
This time around I’ll be talking about my recent adventures to Westport, the North Island of New Zealand, and the University of Canterbury’s Cass Field Station.
Just over three weeks ago I embarked on an adventure to Westport with my Field Geology classmates in order to study all sorts of interesting geologic features in the area. We took measurements, collected samples, created detailed maps, tested hypotheses, and recorded everything within our field notebooks. There were multiple localities that we visited, but the most memorable ones were Denniston Plateau, 14 Mile Beach, and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. We spent most of our time at Denniston Plateau working on our geologic maps, but my favorite was Punakaiki because there was a great view of the ocean, an ice cream shop nearby, and a great doggo named Sam right outside!
In all honesty, though, I must confess that it was not all sunshine and rainbows in Westport. That’s mostly because Westport is infamous for having a lot of rain, so it ACTUALLY wasn’t sunshine and rainbows most of the time, but I say that primarily because it was one of the most difficult weeks of my life. I went into the week never taking a Petrology course or a Structural Geology course, but all sorts of facts from both realms were required from the very beginning of the trip. I did everything within my power to pick up on the essential knowledge from each subject as quick as possible, but it’s insanely difficult to learn while out in the field. Out there, there’s no time to sit and fully comprehend the flurry of facts being thrown at you, no time to triple or even just double check your answers to ensure you’re understanding everything properly, no time to hesitate or second guess yourself. It’s seriously hard work! However, you must not assume my wealth of stress was linked to a lack of interest. Even though we had to make maps in the rain and slip on rocks in order to get the best measurements, I had fun each and every day we were there. Geology is my passion. Hell or high water, through the fire and flames, it will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart. No amount of uncertainty could ever change that, and that’s exactly what this trip taught me. The friends I made on the trip and my family back home motivated me to keep working through all the pain and I think I did a pretty good job considering my (initial) lack of experience!
Two days after I returned from Westport, I was off on another adventure. This time around, the rising of the Sunday sun marked the beginning of my adventures on the North Island of New Zealand. I visited waterfalls, the National Aquarium of New Zealand, and multiple cities along the way, but my visit to Hobbiton was by far the best adventure I had that week. The moment that I gazed upon the beauty of Middle Earth in the theatrical adaptation of Fellowship of the Ring, I fell in love with it instantly. Peter Jackson depicted the world so vividly that I couldn’t help but dive into Tolkien’s books soon after. The more I read, the more I learned and the more I wanted to know as much as I could about this fantastic new world. To traverse that beautiful landscape on my own two feet- that was my dream. And two weeks ago to the day I accomplished that dream. To say that I never, even in my wildest dreams, thought that I would enjoy the ultimate privilege of walking in the land of Hobbits would be a glorious understatement. And yet, here I am two weeks later recounting the tale of how I personally stood in front of Bag End in the Shire and gawked at the paper sign on Bilbo’s gate!
You may be asking yourself, what did Josh learn from this entirely unexpected journey? I learned that the world is larger than I had ever realized before. I have been thousands of miles from home every single second that I have been in New Zealand. To be honest, I never imagined that I would ever be farther than a car’s drive away! Now I need to sit on an airplane for more than half a day just to get back to America!!! However, the truth is that I haven’t been anxious every minute of the day while I’ve been here despite all of that. It shows me that the world is large, but my ability to accomplish the goals I set for myself is much larger. That my passion can propel me forward in life beyond the restrictions my own mind builds in fear, THAT is what I’ve learned. Wherever my passion takes me, no matter how far I have to travel, I know that I’ll succeed and return to the place I call home, in due time. Tolkien said it best: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” I never knew that the world would sweep me off my feet and take me to New Zealand, but I am thankful that it happened.
This past weekend I traveled to the Cass Field Station with other students and faculty involved with the Philosophy department here at the University of Canterbury. The mountains were spectacular, the discussions we had were inquisitive, and the friends I made were delightful. We played board games most of the time we were there, but I did set aside some of my personal time to work on an essay for a different course! That weekend where I was constantly between mountains taught me to appreciate the little things in life. Even though I forgot my hiking boots and was unable to traverse the steep trail nearby, I found friends to bond with, professors to have discussions with, and an essay that needed some serious editing! Now my fellow Philosophers and I have a FaceBook group chat where we contemplate the ethics of clones, laugh at various inside jokes, and plan group meetings (AKA board game sessions). All things considered, it was a weekend that I won’t soon forget and I will never regret.
Before I wrap this super sappy inspirational recount of my past, I’d like to give a short advertisement to anyone who wants to see the sights I saw over the past weekend. You can click here to see all the photos I’ve taken over the past three weeks and the entire time I’ve been in New Zealand. Alternatively, I shall include the link in its entirety for those of you that are unfamiliar with hyperlinking: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1748394885184849.1073741843.100000430644489&type=1&l=9cf4a4ebea
That’s all for now, but I hope you enjoyed and that you will tune in next time for more details on my adventures in New Zealand!
Until next time,