We all have different reasons for travel. For some it is a necessity born of work obligations. For others exploring different cultures, historical sites, immersive food and drink experiences or athletic adventures are the draw. For many of us, it is simply a chance to relax and unwind away from our usual (Canadian) climate and workaday demands. Occasionally though, what I like to call “serendipity” intervenes. Something unexpected and magical occurs that touches our souls.
One such experience for me happened recently on an amazing day I spent in New Zealand, I was at Lake Taupo on the North Island and spent the morning soaking in a hot spring creek where it flowed into a river. Magical. After lunch I went skydiving. I had skydived before from 13,000 feet in Arizona but this time I chose 18,500 feet. I was in good health and might not get another chance. The freefall time from that height is 75 seconds and WOW what a view! Huge lakes, mountains, forest, and a relatively long time to enjoy it. I pulled the ripcord and enjoyed a quieter, slower pace as we descended back to Earth. Having skydived before I was well prepared and able to relax and enjoy the experience.
After an already full day, I enjoyed a delicious bone in lamb shank pot pie on the deck of a lovely restaurant recommended by my tour leader (I recommend taking the advice of local tour guides/leaders – they always have the ‘inside’ scoop). My father, who died in 2011, had always wanted to visit New Zealand but never had the opportunity. I got a bit emotional over my meal thinking of him and recalling my beautiful day and how he would have loved it. As I raised my glass in silent toast to his memory, the restaurant played our favourite song – ‘El Paso’ by Marty Robbins. “What are the chances?”, I thought, “How is that even possible?!?” I got a bit teary and thanked serendipity for an unforgettable moment. And that is why I travel.