Where do I even start, I feel like what ever I write I won't be able to paint the picture in the right colors, thank God I got photography. This is one of those times I wished I was writing in my native language, that would be much easier. Anyway, I spent February and the first week of March traveling through the wonderland called New Zealand. Since I took a massive amount of images I have divided my experiences into North island and South island.
Me and my friend Madde begun our road trip in a grey AUCKLAND. We only spent one day walking around, looking at museums and the next day we got on the Kiwi Experience bus, headed for HOT WATER BEACH. I must say I didn't know much about this bus, just that we had been warned that it was a bit of a party bus. Back then we thought we would mostly use it to get around since non of us are a fan of driving on the left side of the road. But that bus would turn out to me so much more.
We had planned our New Zealand trip almost to an exact, we knew kind of what we wanted to do along the road, where we wanted to stop and where we had to stop because of the bus route. Since I am signed to two galleries ( http://butik.fotografiska.eu/isabelle-n-wedin-ready-for-a-fall.html & http://piqmo.com/gallery/search?searchText=&photographer=296) my mission during this trip was to create artwork that they would be interested in. This might sound strange but I had tried to avoid looking at photos of the places we would go because I wanted to see everything with fresh eyes. I don't even like to see trailer for movies or watch a movie and then read the book. I am obsessed with being surprised.
I must say that was one of the best things about this Kiwi bus, I could just tag along and eat what ever I was served so to say. The downside is of course all the amazing places that passes by and your not able to stop and explore. A lot of people slept when we were on the road but I don't remember sleeping once, I was to afraid to miss out. I kept my eyes on the landscape that passed by and took tons of images.
Since my friend is now also totally into photography we had to take turns sitting by the window. I can't believe that it's just three years ago I showed her my camera on a train, somewhere in Italy. Now she shares my passion and it's a lot of fun traveling with someone who you connect with in that way, besides the hole window situation that is. I believe we all need to do something creative to feel good about ourselves. I have no explanations to why I create some of the things I do but I think it might be my way of saying that I am here, I am alive and I feel.
Anyway we made our way down to HOT WATER BEACH and then stopped two night in WAITOMO. There we did the classic cave rafting in a car tire. It was thrilling and I must say I felt much safer then when I did a cave hike in Thailand a few years ago, this time there where no giant spiders, snakes or bats. My favorite part of the caves was when we all turned off our headlamps, just went slowly with the stream and the only thing you could see were the glowworms covering the cave wall above our heads. Since we were not allowed to bring our cameras I have no pictures from this moment, besides the once I have in my head. I know it might sound cheesy but sometimes when I am seeing or experience something special and I don't have my equipment with me I like to put my hands up and shape it like I am holding a camera and take an imaginary picture so I remember it better, I call them soulphotos. I have many beautiful images from my travels but some of the best once are definitely soulphotos.
Next stop was ROTORUA that is known for geothermal activity and natural beauty. There we went to a beautiful thermal park, it was a true sci-fi experience, it felt like I was on a different planet. I wish I could have made some self portraits there but it was strict on where you were allowed to move around.
In Rotorua we also went to the Tamaki Maori Village. For three hours we got to experience traditional Maori crafts, hear the amazing history of the villagers ancestors, enjoy traditional songs and the famous Haka which gave me goose bumps. It all ended with a dinner that I think everyone wished would have lasted a bit longer than it did. If you ever find yourself in this area I can highly recommend The Tamaki!
Next we were of to TAUPO which we quickly passed through and made a two day stop in OHAKUNE. We wanted to get away a bit from the bus and do the Tongariro Crossing from there. It's called one of the most beautiful day hikes in the world and we were so excited for it but for the first time during our trip we had terrible weather and for two days we got "rained in". Nothing to do but watch movies and read books. Since I have been suffering from an injured foot there was a small part of me that was relieved but I was also very disappointed. This might sound a bit strange but there is a part of me that feels like I will do it one day, only time will tell I guess.
We had planned most of your days around a three day stay in RIVER VALLEY and that's where we stopped next. This place is totally cut of from everything else, you don't even have reception on your phone. I guess this is something you either love or hate. One of the bus drivers earlier had said that he hates wifi on the buss because people in general tend to be less social. I think that is absolutely true and it was during these days that I started wondering what is more real, is it when you travel like this, cut of from everything else than nature and the people you have around or is the reality at home more real. I like to refer to it as a bubble and I'm still trying to figure out which bubble is more authentic. I spend most of my days in Malmö alone, editing photos and I connect a lot with people online through emails and social media. I don't think that is the best way to live your life, I don't think we are meant to live like that and since I got back I have tried meeting a friend everyday, even just for a quick coffee. It was also during this trip I realize how much I love to interact with people, I'm a bit of a social druggie. And when I think about it I fell in love with portrait photography because I like the connections I make. For the same reason I would choose wedding photography over fashion photography every day of the week. It's a about finding something that is real and genuine.
Before my passion for photography horses was my great passion and still the scent of a horse makes me very happy. For several reason I don't have a horse anymore but I will never forget how to ride. In River valley I did this five hours horse trekking up in the mountains. I got the cutest pony called Wisper and she reminded me a lot of my last horse Con Air. The ride was breathtaking and it feels great knowing that riding a horse is something I will never forget how to do, or as we say in Swedish, it's in my backbone forever.
River valley was beautiful and one of my favorite stops on the way. Our last stop on the north island was WELLINGTON and it felt a bit strange being back in a city after spending so much time in the countryside. But Wellington is truly a wonderful city and has the most awesome museum. We were lucky to find a photography exhibition on early art photography. I got very inspired. In the evening we sat on a pier in the harbor and saw the full moon rise and when I din't think it could get any better two giant stingrays swam by just underneath us. A lot of the time I think we walk around in our own small world, we shield us with our headphones and smartphone, not seeing what is going on around us. I am guilty of being like that now and then but traveling forces me to be present in the most beautiful way.