All the way on the other side of the South Island lies a distinctly remote region. Here on the West Coast, you might see more rivers and rainforest than people, where towns are few and traffic is virtually nonexistent. Driving along just the two of us, we spotted a guy sticking out his thumb and offered him a ride. The small-framed Frenchman, otherwise known as Savigne, sat next to his huge load of camping gear and told us about his recent adventures. Backpacking for over two years, he wandered from Mexico to down under to NZ, and eventually decided that this area was indeed remarkable enough to explore for another year. The stories were rich, his English accent above fair, and our eyes grew wider with awe. After waving goodbye and deciding that here was truly an independent spirit, he abruptly turned around and yelled, “Just do it! Grab your backpack and get out there!” I quickly snapped a picture before he disappeared into the bush.
Feeling inspired, we jumped out of the car, did a happy dance and ran off towards the beach.
Two hours later, hunger overcame and distracted us back to the car. Although carrying a 90 lb. backpack for months on end doesn’t quite tickle my fancy, embracing the nomadic joie de vivre is definitely something we all can relate to.