Spring recess is over and I just came back from spending two weeks traveling the south island of New Zealand in an SUV with a bunch of other students from my university. All in all the experience was amazing. Before I came to New Zealand I had only ever seen pictures of some of the places that we went to, and even back then I was in awe of how gorgeous these places looked. Now I can confidently say that they were even more amazing in real life. I honestly felt like I was in a movie majority of the time. Driving throughout the entire south island took us through scenic landscapes that looked like they were straight out of a postcard. At one point when we were driving towards Mt. Cook I actually made a comment about how someone needed to stop it with all the greenscreen effects because there was no way what I was seeing was actually real.
I would say that everyone who was on the trip bonded quite a bit in the two weeks together. I mean you kind of have to if you’re going to be crammed in a car driving for long periods of time. Lots of inside jokes were made, lots of deep conversations had, lots of roasting each other throughout long drives, lots of sleeping in close quarters in uncomfortable spaces.
One inside joke that we had was having “me moments”. A “me moment” was basically whenever someone was caught spacing out or zoning out in their own world. Sometimes we would just catch someone staring off into space while in the middle of performing some sort of activity, and once even in the middle of talking a friend just paused because she just zoned out for a sec. It was pretty hilarious to catch people having me moments, but I think it also brings up the importance of actually having time to yourself to think.
By the end of our trip, there were seven people crammed into an SUV with all of our luggage and food for the trip. Almost everyone had to hold one of their bags in front of them while driving because the back was just packed to the brim with luggage. We camped inside the car a few nights which got pretty cold even with tons of layers on. I think in total during the two weeks we spent over two days just in the car driving alone which I’m sure you can guess is not the most comfortable of experiences. Constantly being surrounded by people in such conditions for so long can be overwhelming for even the most extroverted people, and it was pretty easy to tell when someone was getting bogged down. Almost everyone had at least one day where they needed to take some time out of the day for themselves just to be alone. Some members of the group even journaled through the trip, which I believe is a great way to reflect and take some time for yourself. My me moments were taking the time to either wake up earlier than everyone else or go to a coffee shop to both chill and study for my genetics course a little (yes I actually studied a bit on my trip!). Sometimes I would just wander from the group a little bit to take some time to myself as well.
After a little “me moment” we tended to come back to the group with a little clearer mind and a little more energy which was spent enjoying all of the amazing adventures we went on. Even in everyday life I’ve found it so important for me to just take some time to reflect on how I’m feeling, my experiences, and my goals or aspirations for my time here. After taking some time for self-care and reflection I can usually come back to regular daily life with a little more pep in my step and juice to seize the day. After this two week long trip and a couple of personal days, its time to get back to the grind. Only 5 more weeks till final exams here we go!