Thursday, 5 March 2015

Caving in Waitomo

One of the best parts of my trip to New Zealand was caving in Waitomo on the north island. I absolutely loved it and the activities we got to do were right up my street!

Oli and I chose to do the highest package - the abyss - because why not right? It isn't everyday that you get to go 43 metres underground!


We kicked off getting into our gear and being taught how to use the ropes/harness. In my excitement for doing it I completely forgot about all the safety measures you have to take on board.


We then had to abseil down into the cave, the one thing I remember was the sudden drop in temperature as I got lower and lower underground. It was a good job we did have headlights because it was pitch black. The group and I then got to walk amongst the cave and then do a zip line to take us further into the cave. This was also where we had to introduce ourselves, say our favourite colour and what animal would we be and why. I chose yellow and a unicorn because I am unique haha! This was where we got see the glow worms in their dozens. It was honestly prettier than the night sky just lying back and watching them glow away.


After this was the not so fun part of swimming in the FREEZING water. We then went black water rafting where we got to see more glow worms in their thousands. You literally had to pinch yourself as the scene was breathtaking. It really is amazing at what lurks beneath us and I love that I got to see such beauty under the ground than over it.


In total we were down there 5 hours and it went so quickly. At the end we had to squeeze through tunnels, rock climb through waterfalls and then look bleary eyed as we saw sun light for the first time.

If you go to New Zealand then do this. You will not be disappointed!

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Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Skydive

I have been home for 48 hours now...I am wide awake at 6am on a Sunday morning, which means only one thing - jet lag.

New Zealand was just incredible and there is NOWAY I will be able to cover it all in just one post. There is just too much to tell. At some point I will do a video encompassing it all but it isn't a priority right now. I just want to get some rest before starting back up at work on Tuesday.

Since I have been home nearly everyone I have seen so far has said 'What was the best bit?' And even though so many thoughts come racing to my mind. It would have to be the sky dive!

Before going to New Zealand Oli had reeled off potential activities to do. I remember sky diving coming up but it just didn't appeal. I am not much of a person who chases adrenaline so jumping out of a plane at 15,000ft just sounded unsafe rather than fun. 

A week into our trip we were headed to Lake Taupo on the north island. I had really sore feet from all the walking we had done and the idea of doing the Franz Josef trek became really unappealing. As much as walking on a glacier and doing the helicopter sounded AMAZING- I had lost the pizazz to do it. Our driver - Diesel (who had an unhealthy fetish with sheep) put on a video of a skydive in Lake Taupo. I remember so clearly I was listening to music and was just watching the images flicker on the screen. At the end of the video I turned to Oli and said:

'I want to do that!'

I had never been so sure of anything in that second. I wanted to fling myself out of plane overlooking a stunning lake! I could afford it now I decided to not do the glacier hike. So I signed myself up with less than 24 hours to go before the jump.

If anyone knows me well, they know I am a planner. Something like a skydive would have to be pencilled in with weeks of notice to mentally prepare and psych myself up. But for some reason I just wanted to go against my 'norm' and do this!

On the actual day I was a nervous wreck. All I could think about were the 'what ifs' and making up dramatic scenarios in my head. Some girls from the bus tour were doing it too so it was nice to share the experience and not be alone. We were collected in a limo, taken to the sky dive location, filled out waiver forms and got to choose the music for our videos.

Within an hour I was harnessed up, met Steve my tandem man and we were walking towards the plane.

God I felt sick as we flew up. I also found out I was jumping out first so I was right by the door and could see the land getting smaller, and smaller...I was really shaky and Steve told me to lie back and rest my head on this chest. I thought this was really strange but his heartbeat (which was totally normal compared my 120+ bpm) was so soothing. All of a sudden I felt like I could do this and I really trusted I was going to enjoy it.



And I really can't say it in any more of a simple sentence. Within a minute I was flipped out of the plane and doing a 60 second free fall. You really don't feel like you're falling. I didn't feel like I was hurtling towards to ground (even though we were). I was so busy screaming at how amazing it was and looking around that I just didn't notice the falling process. One thing I want to document are the clouds. It wasn't a perfect blue sky. There were a few clouds about and Steve said it would feel colder with the clouds around. But I just thought it was wonderful that I was going to feel actual clouds!!!! They just felt like mist touching you as you fell through them and my face was damp at the end of the jump because of them. But I flew amongst the clouds how awesome is that?



The 60 seconds was over quite quickly and the parachute came into action. This bit hurt a little as the harness really dug into my groin, you can even see it on the video that I go 'ouch.' This isn't normal and poor Steve was really apologetic at the end for tightening me up so much. The parachute part was lovely though! I got to see amazing views of the lake, steer the parachute, start to see the sunset beginning and just take it all in. It was utterly breathtaking and I would do it again in a heartbeat!



So below is the video of my skydive. It is about 8 minutes long and I have watched it about 4 times now. I still can't believe I did it. I had the words 'I'm dreaming' written on my hand and reflecting on the skydive...it felt exactly that.



Kia Ora!

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Friday, 20 February 2015

New Zealand so far...

I have been in New Zealand for just over a week now and I am loving every second of it. I think the Aussies will hate me for saying this but their cousin has totally bowled me over. When I leave next weekend I will definitely be leaving a piece of my heart here.

The scenery just takes your breath away and I am just captivated by the rolling hills, beautiful streams and rapids, the kind people and the twists in the road. I am just beyond enthralled at what this country has to offer...for a country it's size it sure has a lot of personality (and yes sheep!)

I just feel so relaxed and settled here and it will be hard to leave. One of the best things I have done is skydive. I did not plan on doing it at all but I was on the bus and saw a video for it. There and then I just has this urge to do it...so the following day I threw myself out of a plane...just to see what it was like.

It was incredible.

But that's another post entirely.

I just wanted to check in and post down some of my thoughts. Although I simply cannot put into words how much this country has captivated me.

Today I am just so thankful that I get to experience everything that I am doing, seeing and meeting.

Thank you New Zealand for just being so photogenic and for opening my eyes at the beauty this world had to offer. I am one lucky girl.

Kia Ora!

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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Am I going to New Zealand?

So yeah...I leave for the airport in 2 hours and the ironing board is still out, suitcase still open and hand luggage to sort out.



You wouldn't think I am off on a 36 hour trip to New Zealand this evening would you? BUT I AM! And I really cannot wait.

My friend Oli has been in Australia the last two years working and travelling around. However, he has now decided to return home eastwards...and his next stop is New Zealand! I have always wanted to go and I thought I would take the opportunity to join him for the start of his trip.

It will be awesome to spend some time together whilst taking on lots of fun activities. We have SO MUCH planned over the next 3 weeks that my mind is boggled.
  • Hand-gliding
  • Glacier Hiking
  • Helicopter ride
  • Black water rafting
  • Seeing Hobbiton (yeah I don't mind missing that but I know Oli will enjoy it)
  • Beaching it!
I will be taking lots of photos and videos so I hope you can join me along the way. I will be posting on my twitter account @RebeccaLouiseUK and Instagram - rebeccalouiseuk. This weekend I also turned 26 - thank you so so much for all the cards, birthday wishes and just the general birthday love. It meant the world!

I had better head back to sorting out my stuff.

See you in 3 weeks!


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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Non-Existent God?

On Sunday a video circulated of Stephen Fry calling God a 'monstrous person.' He was asked that if he were to get to God's pearly gates what would he say?



His response was splendid but I bet his response also caused a lot of Christians and other people to roll their eyes and think 'here we go another God hater.'

I did think his reply was a little over the top and some of the words he used were a little misleading. However, the one thing I really resonated with was when he said 'I would not want to go to heaven, I would not want to go on in on his terms and conditions.'

I think, just then, Stephen Fry actually voiced what I have felt for years but never really had the words to say it. In any religion I do feel there is a set of 'rules' that must be achieved in order to follow a certain God or reach a specific place. If you don't then you go to hell? I guess this opens the whole good vs evil debate. I have even seen people go as far to say that Stephen Fry is Lucifer and trying to create more oppression in the world. Yet, despite that, what he says is valid though.

If there is a God, to live in this kind of world they created is frightening. And even though, we as humans haven't created this world and cannot be perfect, it still exists and the attitudes we show. So why would I want to follow a God's way of life when I die. If I don't trust the world they created in the first place?

Another thing that I enjoyed about Stephen Fry's response was that he didn't actually say there isn't a God. He just questioned what type of God there is...I have many friends who have a relationship with their God from varying religions and I LOVE seeing how it has enriched them. But I won't lie and say the world is a better place for a God to be existing and I won't say it is worse off either.

'Why should I?' he asks 'respect a capricious, mean minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain?'

It's a fair point and no-one should should they? I don't respect such a thing and never will. I have read parts of the Bible when at school. I remember that Job went through a hell of a lot of suffering and in Genesis the topic of evil existing in our world is depicted is it not? And when Jesus was nailed to the cross - a moment of pure unimaginable suffering. The people who wrote the gospel, koran etc didn't believe in the same God Stephen Fry doesn't believe in either. They believed in a God of such humility that he paid the ultimate price on the cross, to end our suffering.

For me it is something religion can never answer.

Towards the end of his, how shall I put it? His extended answer. Fry says 'It isn't just about disbelieving God, it's about about questioning what kind of God is he?'

And that's a good question. I don't believe God is this utterly evil monster that Fry makes him out to be. I genuinely believe - if he ever existed - a God of love and a God who brings unspeakable amount of comfort to times of joy and pain. Yet, the other day I was in town and a group of Christian youth workers were preaching about how we don't deserve to be forgiven. We don't deserve to walk this Earth because of our sins. And this angers me! I do deserve to walk this Earth. I am allowed to make mistakes and I don't expect to be forgiven for them. I work hard to create a better life for myself in a world that is so full of despair. So when I come to the end of my time here in this universe, I don't want my life to be reflected in a God's terms and conditions to enter heaven or hell. To me that would just devalue everything I achieved when I was alive.

Stephen Fry is not a hero for saying this and neither am I bold for stating my opinion on here either. But I do thank his honesty in being able to confront a topic that I think is swept under the carpet, for the fear of offending anyone. I don't expect criticism for this post or even people to agree, I really do not. I'm just thankful I have the freedom of speech in which to do so.

Amen.

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