Scenes from a sabbatical
Over my post graduation summer, before most young men my age would (or are supposed to) settle down into a life-long career and a solid ten-year financial plan, I decided to pack up my bags and spend three months working and backpacking through New Zealand. One of the months 1 spent woof-ing for a nice elderly couple who own a little farm growing hazelnuts, just an hour’s drive from Christchurch. I spent most of my days working and travelling around the country with them, experiencing what it truly feels like to lie treated like family in a total stranger’s home.
They taught me a very important life lesson: that we are all born equal, and that it is every person’s equal right to be loved. To love a stranger unconditionally, not knowing or holding against them who they are or what they did, that is something that I will never forget. Ever.
Unfortunately, what I only realised on hindsight was that summer in the Northern Hemisphere meant winter in the South. But beyond the constantly chilly hands, a close encounter with frostbite, and the tragic loss of a camera lens over a cliff, winter meant great opportunities for glacier hiking, comfortably uncrowded tourist spots, and spectacular sunrises. If I had to do it all over again, I would – but perhaps in the summer this time round.