By Sarah Clark, University of Sheffield student and PR Intern at MK PR.
Every so often, an opportunity comes along that is high on the life-changing spectrum, providing an occasion far removed from day-to-day life by stretching the bounds of your comfort zone. Recently, one of these opportunities came along and taught me the importance of saying YES.
Saying yes saw me travel 11,698 miles from home, entering the Southern Hemisphere for the first time and embarking on what would turn out to be the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand, nonetheless!
Three weeks surrounded by spectacular glaciers, lakes bigger and bluer than I’ve ever seen and the beautiful Southern Alps with their snowy white peaks – a sight which gives the European Alps a definite run for their money. I can’t think of any other place where one minute you’re in a temperate rainforest, the next corner could be mistaken for a desert and just a few miles further and you’re in Glacier Country… at least not in the UK!
There’s no denying that standing astride the active boundary of two tectonic plates, walking to the terminus of glaciers I’ve only ever read about and getting to see the effects of the hole in the Ozone Layer first hand made my geography heart melt.
Week 1 was spent travelling down the west coast of the South Island stopping off at some stunning sites most notably, Lake Pukaki (an Instagrammers DREAM!), Frans Josef Glacier and Aoraki Mount Cook before drilling down into the nitty gritty of New Zealand’s climatology for a research project in Week 2.
And, if that wasn’t quite enough, Week 3 involved a short flight over to the North Island to round off the full New Zealand experience which, of course, wouldn’t be complete without a swift stop to see a Kiwi and a tour of Hobbiton, the movie set of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings!
Putting jet lag and the gruelling 37-hour journey home aside, this trip has confirmed to me the importance of taking opportunities when they come – no matter how big or small – because there’s nothing worse than thinking ‘what if…’
(P.S. a trip I’d recommend ticking off your bucket list for sure!)