Is it possible to fall in love with a place you’ve never been?
Ask any traveller, and they’ll probably say yes.
I don’t know if its simply a quiet time of year, in a country where autumn never really happens, or if it’s a greater feeling of apathy and restlessness, but I find myself at a little bit of a crossroad. Not satisfied with where I’m living, but with no real plan to move, and if I would, to where?
Well, there’s only one place I could see myself. I miss nature, I miss the dramatic change of seasons, of running water and wild animals. I feel like I’m tried in the vacuum of a space station, yet I’m stuck on an island.
No wonder then, I keep turning back to my bucket list, my wanderlust destination. Milford Sound is a spectacular fjord on New Zealand’s South Island, with towering green cliffs, amazing waterfalls and plenty of rain. It’s stunning in every angle, every hour of day and every season.
I love this place for many reasons. The first, a very geeky one: it’s of course where The Lord of the Rings was filmed, and I instantly fell in love with the dramatic green landscape and rugged terrain, both in its fantastical setting, but also as a wonderful destination in its own right. New Zealand is beautifully diverse, isolated, green and damp, and for someone who loves mountains as much as I do, it simply has to have a place on my list.
Another reason is my love of New Zealand’s wildlife, or more specifically, its bird life. Home to the rare and fascinating barrel-shaped, nocturnal parrot the Kakapo, and the fiesty, super-smart Kea, among many others.
I’ve tried to paint it and sketch it several times, but I’ve never quite captured it the way I want to. I’m becoming obsessed with skies, perhaps because everything on the ground feels so static, stale, boring. Here, in Milford Sound, the sky can take centre stage, and I can indulge in those green moments that I miss so dearly.
Of course, my adventure to New Zealand is a long way off, and perhaps only a pipe dream, but the more I read, watch and paint this beautiful place, the more I desire to just pack my bags and leave.
When’s the next flight?