It was three days since we climbed Roys Peak near Wanaka (1,578 m) and the muscles in our legs were still screaming. It was my idea to climb the mountain. Sally was more cautious following a serious accident a few years ago which rendered her knee very unstable, but agreed to give it a go and turn back if the knee wasn’t coping. After ten minutes of steep climbing I was hoping she might invoke the get-out clause, but she doggedly stuck to the task and THREE HOURS later, with no let up in the slope we reached the top. The views were magnificent.
This scenario is not untypical of our adventures – one of us inspires an event or has the heart to see something through and together we achieve far more than if we were travelling alone. It is with good cause that the writer of Ecclesiastes says: ‘two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour and if one falls the other can help them up‘ (read the whole passage from Eccl 4 verses 9-12).
There have been times when our collective heart has failed and we haven’t pushed ourselves to experience all that is on offer (although it has to be said that sometimes there had been wisdom in those decisions!) but on balance we have done more and achieved more because we have each other.
So how does this balancing work?
Sally and I have complimentary gifts (thankfully) and the power comes when we bring the right gift into play. Sally for instance is the one who reads the notices that tell us where we can camp, how long we can park in a certain area (my rather cavalier interpretation of a parking sign resulted in us getting a fine) and she also reads the myriad brochures we collect at tourist information sites about what is good to do in an area. I temper her more Germanic approach with a ‘this is New Zealand, I really don’t think it is going to be a problem’ type of response. (If we were traveling in Switzerland for instance then Sally’s approach would be the ONLY one to adopt!)
Sally is a fantastic map reader (and it has to be said that much as I love sat navs you only really get an understanding of the layout of a place by reading an old fashioned map) but take the map away from her and she gets totally confused as to which direction to go in, which is a problem especially when we are out cycling. Fortunately I have a higher success rate on that score – not 100% though, which is interesting at times.
I tend to be the quick decision maker, jumping to strong conclusions about the right thing to do or how something works. Sally has the ability to challenge my thinking and see the wider perspective (and I am getting better at listening to this second voice and indeed welcoming it).
Sally has a much better eye for a photograph than me. I think her shot of the beach near Cape Foulwind is my favourite of the adventure so far.
She also has a spectacular and possibly unique collection of animal and bird photographs taken from so far away it is difficult to distinguish animal from background.
Sally therefore keeps our photo journal on Instagram up to date – I for my part borrow her pictures and insert them into this blog, which is my domain (although I hope to persuade Sally to contribute a piece at some point of het own instead of just editing my posts).
The advantage of course in travelling with your best friend is that you have someone to share your experience with, to whom you can say ‘have you seen that?’ or ‘isn’t this amazing? Someone with whom a shared phrase conjours up a memory that doesn’t need to be explained but which brings a smile to the lips as the mind relives the experience (or as in the case of ‘the Manuka bee incident’, a less welcome experience).
I am travelling the most amazing country with my closest friend and I couldn’t be more blessed.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!