Mt Cook & Kea Point: 10 Years Of Pilgrimage – Part Two


“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Our journey began here – yesterday and ten years ago. Having spent three years studying theology and philosophy, I naturally spent a further four years training as an accountant. Qualification under my belt, I elected to leave the big smoke far behind me. I travelled Asia for a month and a half, visiting family and enjoying epic adventures with my sister, who has no equal on land or sea. I then hopped over to America and drove the West Coast, top down and volume up, freedom flying through my hair again and scratching the itch under my skin. Then, finally, I made it back to the land that first sang to my soul. Just in time for the start of the rugby world cup 2011.

No amount of mediocre performance from England could dull the joy of being back here, nor the happiness at finding the country much as I’d left it all those years ago. I felt like it had been frozen in time, untouched, just waiting for me to return. I delighted in taking my travelling companions back to old haunts, including, of course, Aoraki Mt Cook. I went twice during that world cup, in between matches, taking the different friends I was with just to witness them soak it in while we tramped about together. I marvelled all over again, treading the track to Kea Point each trip and breathing the wonder of the snowy mountain scenery. September and October saw flakes in the air and a bite in the wind. Dramatic to say the least.

Also dramatic was witnessing the All Blacks take it home at Eden Park and win the world cup – just epic. I was pretty sure this was where I wanted to be. But I’d started this madcap mission after a secondment to work in Australia fell through – so to Australia I went. I loved Sydney. I unashamedly followed the beaten path and moved to the beach. The Northern Beaches deserve a series of posts unto themselves. Two things of moment happened there in the first 2 weeks – I nearly died from anaphylaxis and I met my partner in crime, who’s been a part of my adventures ever since (watch this space for a blog post titled Life of Cai).

Much as I loved Sydney and becoming Tom Cruise in Cocktail, shimmying Boston shakers on the beach, I still itched. It wasn’t just wanderlust-  somewhere else was calling me to call it home, and I knew where it was.

January of 2012, my mother chose to join my cousin on a trip to New Zealand for her sixtieth birthday and I flew from Sydney to join them. I jumped in a car as soon as I landed, driving through the night to reach Queenstown, where I now call home. We had less than a week, but I wanted to show Mum the best of New Zealand and try and communicate just why I was wandering – why I was out here. Our road trip took us to Marlborough… via Mt Cook. We walked to Kea Point. In the rain. Myself in flip flops (/jandals – and yes, after several trips there, I should have known better). Mum loved it despite the lack of view. The scenery was still as seductive as ever. 

I went back to Sydney and picked up my beach life. But it seemed a little pale compared to the mountains and lakes I’d been loving the week before. I agreed to meet a friend back in New Zealand for the snow season, and I decided I’d stay. But first, there was an Ozzie road trip and, of course, Bella… 

Have you ever felt a call to a particular place? Known where you belonged? Travelled far just for a particular feeling? Stand by for part three tomorrow – I seem to have a lot to say (here’s the ending) 🙂

6 thoughts on “Mt Cook & Kea Point: 10 Years Of Pilgrimage – Part Two

  1. Deborah Makarios

    “It wasn’t just wanderlust- somewhere else was calling me to call it home, and I knew where it was.”
    Lucky! For me ‘home’ isn’t a Where, it’s a Who. I’d like to have a Where – to be certain when I plant that I will be there to harvest – but spatial stability has not formed a large part of my life to date.
    It’s good (I imagine) to have a place that is home, even (perhaps particularly) when you’re not there – a fixed point of reference, if nothing else.
    Maybe someday…

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Home is a ‘who’ for me too 🙂 it’s a funny feeling, though, the love and longing for ‘where’ – especially since I don’t see my itchy feet calming down enough that I’m settled and rooted for certain or forever… Spatial stability has value – but I do so love the freedom of movement!

  2. Pingback: Mt Cook & Kea Point: 10 Years Of Pilgrimage – Part One | Sara Litchfield

  3. Tam Francis

    I think there are definitely places that have a vibe that speak to you. I don’t know if a place has called to me, but I have certainly met a few town that have tried to seduce me on some level. Loved this piece Sarah. It read like a blog, but almost like a short story as well. Cool 🙂

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Thanks Tam! Some places really are seductive… Maybe it’s a cliche but on the opposite side of the coin, I nearly couldn’t leave Vegas lol… Road tripping California was so unreal I really didn’t want to get on the plane – if that plane had been going anywhere but NZ I might well have stayed put!

  4. Pingback: Mt Cook & Kea Point: 10 Years Of Pilgrimage – Part Three | Sara Litchfield

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