Familiarity is such a relative concept. I love, love, LOVE that you can move across an ocean and encounter an entirely new, mind-blowingly beautiful country and still completely engage and connect with people who are familiar with the place. Ever since arriving in Kaikoura, my jaw has been getting a regular workout from dropping in awe daily. The beauty that surrounds me is incredible. The wonderful people I work with and live with have been here much longer than me, and it's wild to think that they are so used to all of this wildlife and scenery. Albatross on the reg? No big deal. Adorable fur seal pups snuggling up high on rocks and blinking their big baby eyes at you? The norm. Dusky dolphins doing backflips and cartwheels right next to the boat? Got a million photos already.
Isn't this the beauty of travel? You leave your normal, your familiar, to explore someone else's. To me, the most beautiful part of adventure always ends up being the interaction with the people who share their place with you. You learn their normal, and you explain your own, and the broadening of your world begins.
And then there are the travel bonuses. The rush of adrenaline when you jump into the water with a new marine creature. The amazement over a new vegetable or dish that you've never tasted before. The unreal landscapes that have a way of filling up your iPhone photo storage to max capacity, because it's simply too beautiful to just let exist in its purest form - reality.
My latest travel bonus was the Albatross Encounter I got to experience recently. This boat tour was an amazing way to spend time out at sea with the most massive seabirds out there, along with a plethora of other winged beings. We also were able to spend some time with the adorable New Zealand fur seals. I was as snap-happy as they come, but I've whittled down my favorites to those photos below. Take a peek! Want to come see for yourself? I'll be in Kaikoura until May :)