As I got into the van I just rented in Christchurch, I was both nervous and excited. I was about to pull out into a busy street where everyone drives on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. This van was going to be my home for the next three weeks as I planned to travel the back roads of New Zealand’s South Island…the place where “Lord of the Rings” was filmed, where sheep outnumber people 20 to 1 and where glaciers survive next to rain forests. I was traveling solo and my adventure was about to begin.
These were my thoughts, as I turned left into the lane nearest the building. Within an hour, I was driving on narrow winding roads through some of the most beautiful countryside I had ever seen. As the days unfolded, I drove through valleys and mountains witnessing landscapes unlike any I had ever experienced before. I saw penguins, glaciers and hardwood forests all different from the places I am so used to in my travels through California. I hiked, backpacked and kayaked in between visiting small towns spread throughout the island. I met some of the friendliest people I have ever encountered. One musician invited me to tag along on Saint Patrick’s Day in Christchurch as his band was playing throughout the day at all the Irish Pubs (there are quite a few I discovered). Another Queensland group invited me to a wedding…it was quite a party. By the end, I felt I had experienced a place as few ‘tourists’ can…up close and personal.
I am Larry Gruver and I have the pleasure of being a trainee with the 2016 group of aspiring KVMR broadcasters. I have briefly described my adventure in New Zealand as this trip and others have inspired me to suggest a segment on KVMR devoted to interactive discussions of travel and trails.