Picton, Aotearoa New Zealand
May 23, 2021


I've just pulled in to a small park in Picton, perched at the top of the North Island. Converted Horace the van from driving mode to writing mode. Filled up a glass of water.

I look out the windows, and all at once, it hits me: a year's worth of memories packed into a few months. Places and people and an improbably long list of things I didn't think I could do.

I pulled into this exact park around three months ago, just after the midnight sailing across the sliver of ocean that separates the North and South islands of New Zealand. I'm parked in the same spot. Trees and benches and grass look unchanged. Everything the same, everywhere I look - except me.

When I first arrived in the South island, I had no idea what the giant island that lay in front of me looked like. Now, I could draw you a map from memory. Place down spots that will take your breath away. Note sections you won't be sad to skip.

I had less hair when I arrived here, and more belly. More surety about how life was lived, what people who lived in vans and trailers were like. Less humility.

Tomorrow, I'll drive back onto the ferry, cross the strait, keep driving North. Back towards Auckland. Towards more questions than answers. Towards a winter, days drawing in, nights long.

But right here, sun cutting through the south-facing windows in the back of the van, drawing lines into wood and fabric and metal I now know by heart, I'm so grateful to have gone on this journey.

And I'm reminded of the keys to every journey. To start. To end. To become someone new.

Have a traveled week, -Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was this humbling and fascinating look by Dianna of Physics Girl at a mud puddle. That's, um, moving. On its own.

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