In November 2015, I was on my way down to Southern California for a wedding and made a pitstop in Joshua Tree for a few days. There was a friend of a friend there who I'd been wanting to meet for a while, Josh Deiss. From the stories I heard, the guy was worth randomly meeting up with for a bit. He didn't disappoint. A week later, Josh was moving to New Zealand on a 1-year work visa and had no idea what he was doing there. We talked around the fire, I shared stories from my trips there, he was stoked. I joked about coming out to visit him with our mutual friend, Adam Wells, whom I hadn't met either (we worked together with photo stuff through his old company). It was the usual "yeah that'd be rad, let's make it happen." You high five, drive away, nothing ever happens.
A few days later, I called up Adam Wells. "Heard you were talking about visiting Josh in April or May. What are your thoughts about going out in March?" March was when I've been there before and it's sort of in between seasons, so not as many crowds. "Seems reasonable enough" he said. "Let's go for it."
Somehow this felt like a good idea, so we actually went for it. And not the usual, let's make sure this a smart and reasonable trip. We chatted briefly on Thanksgiving morning and bought tickets. "3...2...1...click. Did it go through?" "Yeah..." "Are We going to New Zealand?" "I think so." I was at my old roommates house in LA, Adam was hiding in his room back at his parents house. We still hadn't met, but we were going to New Zealand.
A month traveling in any country usually seems like a long time, but not here. When we'd meet people along the trip, they'd always ask "how long are you here for?" Oh just a month, we'd answer. You? "Well I've been here for 3 months so far, probably stay a few more if I can afford it."
The following photos are a visual recap of our trip. We rented a van for 30 days, named him Marty, decked out the inside with storage to make our lives easier, and drove. A lot. Two kayaks, 4 guys, some canned wine, and a ton of gear. We slept most places for free, stayed in a hotel so we could do laundry, got one ticket for illegal camping, and saw lots of stars. I got more sandfly bites on my body than I could count, stood out in the rain in my underwear while shooting photos, and covered my face in mud. Some nights we slept in the van (thanks to heavy rain), others we slept in a tent. Twice we cowboy camped, twice we woke up with wet/frozen sleeping bags.
There will be times when you have the opportunity to take a trip or make a change or do something drastic that seems impossible or unreasonable. And sometimes you have to do it and figure things out along the way. Just wing it. One of the biggest take aways on this trip was from Adam. When he was younger, his mom told him about the 3-Really rule. You can't really want something. You can't even really really want it. You have to really really really want it. Because if you're that dedicated and your heart is set, you'll figure out a way to make it work.