Tag Archives: Love

Love at First Hike

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“Oh my gosh, guys! Look at this! No seriously, look at it! Are you looking?” We were still eight minutes away from getting dropped off at the foot of the trail that would lead us up Mount Cargill, and I already had my face pressed up against the car window. I may have been slightly enthusiastic about the views, because Megan finally pulled the car over and let me jump out to take a photo.

View of Blueskin Bay through the trees

View of Blueskin Bay through the tree

“No seriously guys, I think this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!” I declared for maybe the one-hundredth time in the last five minutes.

“Alyssa, we haven’t even started hiking yet!” Hira and Taylor reminded me with a laugh as we all piled back into the car. No matter, I was still supremely impressed and quite certain that the views could not possibly get any more beautiful than they already were.

A few short minutes into our hike, and I realized that I couldn’t have been more mistaken. Steep wooden steps led us through a mesh of ferns and crowds of leafy green shrubs. Trees arched towards each other overhead, bent in an embrace that filtered the sun into soft patches of light that speckled our path. Every few minutes, the covering of trees would thin and the vegetation would fall away just enough for us to catch glimpses of Blueskin Bay’s majestic mountains draped in silver fog.

As the trail finally subsided into a more gradual ascent towards the summit, I could feel my excitement mounting and my pace begin to quicken. Suddenly, the path forked in different directions, with the branch to the left leading towards the Organ Pipe Rocks, and the other heading towards the top of the mountain. Although it could take us four days to decide what kind of food we wanted to eat for dinner, it took us only a matter of seconds to decide that a detour to the Organ Pipes was a must. From our rocky vantage point, we were able to soak in uninterrupted views of what lay below us. Fueled by our desire to see more, we eventually pushed onwards towards the top of the mountain.

Hira and I at the Organ Pipe Rocks

Hira and I at the Organ Pipe Rocks

When Hira and Taylor stopped for some quick photos, I fervently scurried ahead. As the path bent towards the right, I spotted a small, faded sign subtly pointing in the opposite direction towards Butters Peak. Although the path was overgrown, the openness of the rocks at the top promised another clear view of all of our surroundings.

“Hira! Taylor! I’m going up the trail to the left!” I shouted, already bushwhacking my way through to the top. A few moments later, Hira and Taylor had made their way up behind me, and we found ourselves with a 360 degree view of our surroundings. The Blueskin Bay was once again revealed to us, and the Otago Peninsula finally came into sight.

Otago Peninsula from Butters Peak

Panorama of the Otago Peninsula from Butters Peak

Standing at the top of the Peak, the wind whipping around us as we took in Dunedin in all its glory, I was hit suddenly by the full force of an emotion that I had only been catching snippets of for the past few weeks. It was what I had felt for a brief moment when I first glimpsed the snowcapped mountains towering over the fields of sheep as we zoomed along on the train. It was what I had felt as I sat around the table with my flatmates, eating tacos and laughing so hard that I lost my breath. And it was what I had felt at every gap in the trees as we scaled the mountain. But here, on Butters Peak, I finally knew what it was. It was love.

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Panorama of Blueskin Bay from Butters Peak

It was the kind of love that made me feel completely content when I was home in Boston, and the kind of love that made me thrilled to return to Richmond each semester. It was the kind of love that makes someone happy despite the challenges. It was the kind of love that takes a place and makes it a home. I couldn’t claim that I would never again feel frustrated by a pad of Sticky notes that cost $8.99 rather than $2.49, or that I would never get sick of rolling out of bed when it is only 27 degrees inside, but I became certain of one thing: I will miss New Zealand when it is time for me to go. My hope is that, at the end of it all, I will look back and know that I cherished my moments here, and made the most of everything that came my way.

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Standing on Butters Peak

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Inspiration for Your Day

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“The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish or ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.

Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.

Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you have anyway.”

-Kent M. Keith

The unique ceiling in La Pedrera, one of Gaudí's buildings in Barcelona.

The unique ceiling in La Pedrera, one of Gaudí’s buildings in Barcelona.

The Knee Deep Life: A Makeover

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The miscreant pie responsible for keeping me away from you

The miscreant pie responsible for keeping me away from you

I know it’s been a slow start back into my blogging career, but there are some things that you just have to ease into, like yoga or a pair of jeans after your fifth slice of pie. While pie certainly has contributed to distracting me from my blogging goals, I’ve been M.I.A. mainly because I realized I have been falling out of love. Falling out of love with the idea of a Bucket List, that is.

Don’t get me wrong; there are many unforgettable reasons why I fell in love with the Bucket List to begin with. I love that it has pushed me to have new experiences and to try crazy things. I love that it has dared me to escape from my comfort zone and to fight my fears. I love how it made life feel exciting and rich with adventure. But there are are some things that I don’t love about it.

Despite the great strengths of a Bucket List, it has definite drawbacks, the first being that it tends to revolve around the idea of “checking things off”. Sometimes a Bucket List causes you to do something with the underlying temptation of being able to check it off the list–such as standing for eight hours in the world’s most uncomfortable shoes to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower despite your claustrophobia and fear of heights–instead of focusing on the good that comes out of the event itself. Worse yet, the opposite happens, and the Bucket List gives the impression that an activity was completed in order to receive the satisfaction of checking it off. I don’t want to do something nice for someone in order to check it off my list; I want to do something nice for the sake of doing something nice.

And what about the serendipitous things in life? What about the adventures that were unplanned and unexpected? Flying in a helicopter, climbing in a volcano, cutting my own hair, holding an alligator, going sledding on dining trays; these things and many, many more that I have blogged about were in fact completed long before I even wrote a Bucket List or even had the intention of writing one. So if many of the things I have blogged about weren’t even originally on the list, what about the things that are important that never even make it to the list? What about the everyday moments that fill us with the happiness, light, and laughter that we most value in life?

The truth is, at least in my eyes, the Bucket List falls short on all of those fronts. While there are things that I want to do in order to live a good life, none of them come down to a checkbox on a list. While a Bucket List can help motivate me to live big, ultimately it’s not the basis for my life, nor is it what I want as the basis of my blog. But can I be turning my back on a Bucket List lifestyle completely? The answer is no. There are too many things I value about the Bucket List for that to be the case. And while the Bucket List fails to capture the full picture of happiness, it’s still a part of that picture. So this year, I’m simply taking a wider stance.

What can you expect from The Knee Deep Life in 2014? Still some good old Bucket List achievements, but ultimately you can expect a fuller image of adventure, happiness, and life.

May your 2014 be all that you hope for, and may you be Knee Deep in the wonder of it all!

KDL’s year in review as told by pictures:

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Inspiration for Your Day

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“I’ll go out there and make my mistakes. I’ll fall down, get hurt, cry, laugh, love, and get back up. I’ll stand on the highest mountaintop and go into the deepest caverns. I’ll roam across the world, visit the moon and swim in outer space. I’ll let my imagination run wild and let my spirit soar. Why? Because when my life flashes before my eyes in those final moments, I want to have something worthwhile to watch, with plenty of love and laughter, good times and bad. I don’t want to regret a thing and I plan not to. Remember, it’s not usually the things you do that you regret, it’s the things you don’t do and leave unsaid. Laugh out loud. Cry in the rain. Love with all your heart and soul. Get hurt. Tell the truth. Go crazy. But never forget that you only get one shot. One shot at this day, one shot at this minute. One shot at this age. One shot at life. So make sure your life is one you will enjoy watching in your final moments.” –Anna Floyd

Na Pali Coast

Inspiration for Your Day

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“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.” -Shel Silverstein248128_10201206733034394_1926613991_n

Inspiration for Your Day

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“Compassion is the ultimate and most meaningful embodiment of emotional maturity. It is through compassion that a person achieves the highest peak and deepest reach in his or her search for self-fulfillment.” –Arthur Jersild

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