Concealing Imperfection + More Adventures: An Update From Kourtney's Road Trip Through New Zealand

Kourtney's Adventure Through New Zealand: MTL Adventure

Here is my Honest Health Update + Concealing imperfection:

As I pull out my neglected bag of medication I feel the pang of guilt sink in my stomach. Since my arrival in Auckland I’ve done my best to ignore my Lyme at all cost. Staying absorbed in each adventure and convincing myself this was a much needed ‘break’ from it all.

Finally assessing the state of my health, I feel the anger tighten my chest. Mentally picturing myself tossing each pill, powder, and potion out the window, while begging any god to take back this curse and set me free.

Snickering in amusement of my dramatic ideation, I turn to a more optimistic voice, “It’s just medication twice a day," "The food really isn’t that bad," "You’re in New Zealand for goodness-sakes, you are still enjoying so much of your life.”

Knowing there is truth in such positivity. Knowing that these days could be so much darker, I am still full of temptation to mask the imperfections.

New Zealand has already introduced me to so many beautiful people. A virtue of travel I savor. Yet, this trip has been different. Introductions quickly went from personable to an awkward attempt to hide anything and everything that connected to Lyme. Convincing myself that I could slip this handicap under the rug, despite the significantly large part of my life it owns. Half way through stories I realized the ending somehow involved illness and stumble to cut it short. My explanations for not eating certain food are a vague (and often failed) attempts to be low-maintenance. Nothing about Lyme is low-maintenance, but I don’t want you to know that.

This denial conveys an obvious, and sometimes contagious, inauthentic vibe. Inhibiting any chances of making new connections. Thus taking away one of traveling’s greatest pleasures; connection.

During the past few years I have found a majority of my inspiration came from others stories of struggle and greatness. Being genuine, honest, and open are admirable attributes. In a world so focused on conformity and perfection, the resistance is intriguing. I know all this, yet still fear that even my vague explanations are asking for pity, instead of sparking hope.

Taking Lyme and illness out of my story, means the last four years of my life are almost blank, but I am okay with that. Tailored to each of us, our journeys are deep, raw, and nothing like they are 'supposed' to be, but they are ours. The recipe that made us who we are.

So, as I continue to meet new faces and hear new stories, the hazy explanation behind my journey must go. Refraining from dwelling in misery, but owning the mountains climbed and valleys pushed through, that is reality and there we will find connection.

Grasping my thoughts and re-settling in reality, I understand the motivation behind my ignorance. Strategically laying out my anit-lyme army for a more mindless way of taking them. My achy body and discontent stomach will be grateful I've decided not to avoid them anymore. No stranger, no plane ride, no distance between the doctor and I, can take that reality away. I did not come here to run from my life, but to strengthen its meaning through adventure, connection, and new.

Continuing to let this adventure peel away all that is not true to me, I hope to develop a more complacent relationship with my reality. Navigating the murky waters between honesty and oversharing, is something I would much rather avoid, though a vital part to finding the freedom I am craving.

Onto the next Adventure

Native trees cover the hills of New Zealand in the most artistic way I’ve ever seen. As if the forests were strategically planted for the enjoyment of road trippers like us. After 1,500 kilometers of windshield time, the view never got old.

CATHEDRAL COVE + HOT WATER BEACH

Pulling in late to Hot Water Beach and a little wary of our camper van operating skills, we opted to stay at a holiday park. Attempting to catch low tied so that we could dig a hole at hot water beach and enjoy the hot spring water, we strolled onto the still moonlit beach at six in the morning. Using a large pot, we (as in just James) began to dig. Unsuccessful and cold, we left for the next adventure; Cathedral Cove.

After about a 30min walk into the trail we were stopped by bight orange tape. Determined to make it down, we followed the rebellious trail around the tape and continued down the path. The final stairs were washed out at the end, but weren't hard to climb down. The blue ocean and clear sky were perfectly framed by the large archway. Altogether peaceful.

WAITOMO GLOW WORM CAVES

A popular bucket list item, the Waitomo caves were a must on my list. After our morning at the cove, we zig-zagged down to catch a tour. Walking up to the booth the buy a ticket, a sold out sign covered the price of the 'glow worm cave boat ride.' Kicking ourselves for not planning ahead, we checked with the front desk anyway. To our surprise, they fit us in with the next group. (just wait, this becomes a trend).

Sadly, photography was not allowed (though I would recommend still bringing one, there were a few times that a sneaky opprotunity presented itself), but I don’t think I will ever forget the way the dark cave was lit by such tiny creatures. 

TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK

After the caves we made the long drive to the Great Lake Taupo. Traveling on the student budget we freedom camped on a muddy lot and got up before the sun to get a head start on our National Park hike.

Originally planning on doing the five-hour Alpine Crossing, we decided we wanted to get into Wellington at a decent hour and choose a shorter hike; Taranaki falls. 

After our hike we spent some time in the information center, which was actually more like a museum of all the volcanoes in the area. There are so many other hikes at Tongariro National Park that I’ve already added to my bucket list for next time.

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WELLINGTON + THE COOK STRAIGHT

Evans Bay Marina was right on the water and free, making for two happy campers. We headed downtown in search of something fun, but exhausted from the day of hiking and driving, we ended up at a movie.

Around midnight we decided it would be a good time to buy our ferry ticket for the next morning. After discovering that there were no ferry tickets available, we frantically searched for another way to get the camper across the cook straight to ensure on time arrival in Christchurch. Blinking back tears after coming across one ticket for over a grand, we decided we were far too irresponsible for this adventure. Finally we found a ticket for around $600, and bought it out of desperation.

The next morning, we pulled into the ferry terminal around 7am, to find out that the we had declared the length of the camper van 3 meters longer than actual size. Reducing our ticket to our original expectation, we regained confidence in ourselves. The nomadic habits haven’t caused any setbacks, only increased our adventures. We’ve been able to see much more with our vague plans than we would have if we stuck to our original one.

Exploring Mount Somers

More from New Zealand coming soon, but in the meantime...

Head to Kourtney's Instagram + Blog to follow along on her daily adventures!