I have written before about some of the joys of traveling overland and avoiding planes. There are some downsides, for sure, but being able to feel the miles go by and see some of the things you see out the window of a bus, car or train (instead of the world literally flying by at 20,000 feet) is something that I really cherish about this particular trip.
Today I took a short one-hour bus ride from Nelson, New Zealand up the road to Motueka, which is closer to the Abel Tasman National Park, since I’m going to do a little boating and hiking there tomorrow. I don’t have any New Zealand guidebook, so I have no idea if this is mentioned anywhere, but as I was daydreaming and listening to my brother’s iPod and looking out the right side of the bus as we drove by the Moutere Inlet on the Coastal Highway, I saw a sight that put a big smile on my face.
There were a bunch of messages spelled out in the tidal flats in rocks collected from nearby (though I couldn’t see any big supply of rocks around). People’s names — “Angie,” “David and Susan,” “Thomas was here/UK” — messages “Live Proud,” “Backpack=Life” — and others. It went on for quite some distance; I estimated a couple miles.
I had seen people spell out things with rocks before. There is a series of similar things just off the path on the last day of the hike I took up Kilimanjaro. What I particularly thought was nice about these messages is that they would be completely submerged for half of the day, when the tide was up, only to emerge each day as the tide receded. Messages straight from the life-giving ocean.
It was a nice moment to remember why I’ve liked staying earthbound on this trip.