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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Day 11 - National Park to Wellington

Well, my holiday has almost come to an end. When I wake up I lie in bed thinking about the past 10 days and how much fun it has been. So many firsts in just one trip, that thought itself is enough to make me feel alive and enthusiastic :) I guess the feeling comes from the novelty of it all, going to places you’ve never been to, doing things you’ve always wanted to do, each moment is new and a surprise, your senses are alert to all the new experiences. When we come back to our normal routine life, that sense of novelty is lost, things are routine, habit reigns and we feel ennui. Therefore, holidays are good for us, they recharge our batteries, clearing our minds of junk and injecting fresh thought.

A 320 kms drive lies ahead of me and I decide to take it slowly. I want to savour these last hours on the road, these last moments of my wonderful trip. After I leave the desert like landscape of the environs around Mt.Ruapehu, the scenery becomes green again, and as I turn around corners I suddenly glimpse the white-streaked slopes of Mt. Ruapehu rising in the distance. I decide to stop next to a meadow to take some pictures and when I get out of the car I realise it’s one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve seen so far. The whole scene is lit up with light. The sunlight lies sparkling on the grass, the rounded undulating mounds are speckled with yellow wild flowers nodding merrily in the breeze. Sheep graze placidly behind the fences and wild grass wave their bushy heads at the wind. In the far distance, a dark green swathe of pine trees grow tall and above it all Mt. Ruapehu rises, imposing and silent. After I’ve taken my fill of pictures, I just stand there and drink in the scene allowing the serenity to settle into my bones.


I stop wherever I can, at Waioru, at the Rations café, for a cup of tea and a slice of lemon cake. Waioru has an army outpost, hence maybe the café is called Rations Cafe. There is an army tank outside and little boys are having a great time climbing onto it and pretending to be soldiers. With their dads keeping a watchful eye. A nice father-son bonding moment. I watch the kiddos for a while, it’s very interesting watching kid dynamics at play. How the emerging personalities develop and how they interact. Then it’s time to take to the road again.

After the hills and valleys and winding roads, I’m now driving in flat country. The horizon disappears in a haze on all sides and the road lies straight and flat. Hence this area is called the Horizons Region. I am tempted to take a detour to Whanganui town, where the Wanganui river meets with the sea. Plying on the river is the popular paddle-boat steamer Waimarie which was established in 1900 and is the last remaining boat of a fleet that used to ply the river carrying stuff up and down back in the old days. This river cruise is one of the main attractions for this area. But I decide to give it a miss and carry on straight ahead.

Driving solo on these roads gives me plenty of opportunity to ponder and contemplate. There have been so many firsts on this incredible journey it amazes me to think that what started as a whim turned out into this fantastic experience. I realise it’s never too late to do stuff. Age is just a barrier in the mind, in fact all barriers are in the mind. The spirit is free and willing. Always. After my sky-dive, I learnt that the oldest person to sky-dive was 91 and the youngest was 5. What must have the 91-year old been thinking? That why not do it, he’s got one foot in the grave anyway? But don’t we all have a foot in the grave? Do we know our expiry date? What then prevents us from living life to the fullest?

I realise that all our actions are motivated by just two things. Either Love or Fear. We do things out of love or out of fear. Even a simple, mundane act as brushing our teeth even though done out of habit is being done because we love our body and don’t want out teeth to rot and fall off. Look closely at every one of your actions and you’ll find that either one of these is the main motivator. So why not do everything with love, after all that is the highest energy vibration in the universe. Why do anything out of fear, why not banish fear entirely from our lives, and live as if everything is possible. Because, everything IS possible.

I also think of all the people who helped me during this trip, most of them total strangers. I think if we approach people with innocence and trust, most of the time you get trust and kindness in return. But growing up in a tough city like Bombay, I was forced to learn to watch my back and to distrust people. Obviously, mistrust comes from fear and trust from love. It takes a whole heap of courage to keep trusting even after you’ve been let down.

I also learnt that having faith in the universe works. After all, if the Universe can hurtle the planets around and create the galaxies, it can be trusted to make a few dolphins appear near a boat or to bring up good weather for driving. You only have to ask and trust. And hey and presto, it happens.

I stop next at Levin, where there is a rest area. A playground sits in a largish area and sometimes a toy train runs through it. There is also a dining area with a microwave oven and hot water for tea/coffee. I heat the food I’m carrying, take it outside and eat while watching the kids playing. The weather has been pleasant, warm with a nice breeze blowing.

Wellington is not too far now and shortly I reach the Kapiti coast, just north of Wellington. Kapiti has a few beaches along the coast and is a popular weekend destination for Wellingtonians. There is a little stretch where the road is close to the sea and inclines downwards. So you get a good view of the beach from a height and then after a while, you’re driving alongside the coast, the breakers smashing against the rocks.

And after a short while I’m home after a memorable vacation. The odometer says the car travelled 2820 kms. Gosh! That sounds huge! Maybe I even stretched the car’s limits. :) In so many ways it was awesome, fulfilling and a journey of self-discovery. I feel as if I am cradled in the safe, loving hands of the Universe. In the last 11 days I’ve learnt so much, grown so much, enjoyed so much, for which all I feel an immense gratitude towards the Universe.