Once in a blue moon I escaped the eco village and was able to explore the artsy town of Motueka and surrounding areas. I went to a taiko drumming class, a weekend strawbale wall-raising workshop, and bummed free wi-fi shamelessly in the New World supermarket parking lot. I discovered that the Motueka farmers market has the most dreadlocks per square foot in all of New Zealand.
Eventually I made it past the outskirts of town and into the woods, or Abel Tasman National Park to be exact. I did the Inland Track to Castle Rocks hut (with an acquaintance who turned out to be a naturalist and therefore hiked naked the entire way–let’s just say I saw a few more views than I bargained for) and later on the entire Coastal Track, which is one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks.” It was indeed great and provided some of the best views I’ve seen yet. Rounding a corner and seeing yet another stunning beach really just doesn’t get old!
While in Motueka I met a couple my age who had gone to school near my hometown. Turns out we have a mutual friend and mutual travel interests so we ended up spending a lot of time together trading eco village stories, playing cards, and sampling the many fine craft beers of the Nelson region. It was pretty cool to be all the way across the world and of all people I could run into, meet someone who knows of my little Vermont town. What are the chances! It seems like things like this happen quite frequently while traveling. It gives me faith that I’m on the right path.