By CAITLIN HENNEKER.

OK, it wasn’t something I saw first hand, but there’s evidence that what happened to my friend is more than a mystery. The story itself is just so perfect. My two girlfriends and I decided to make the most of our time away and go paragliding for a bit of fun. We made our way 5,000 feet up this mountain in Queenstown, wished each other good luck and ran off the peak, one-by-one. 

Once we all landed, we saw that our friend was soaking wet. It looked like she had been dunked in a pool, but surprisingly none of us saw a spa on the way down. She resolves this puzzle: she was running off the mountain and at the last moment she face-planted in the snow. Instead of stopping, standing up and starting again, she dragged herself off the mountain, stomach first. We were crying with laughter and it has become our favourite memory to share — despite not experiencing it ourselves.

Initially my intention was to prove that we could travel as a domestic tourist cheaply, but then I realised that it’s basically impossible. If I had been stressing about how much I was spending, then this great experience would never have been turned into an unforgettable memory. And this is the message that I want to share with you all.

I’m a person who likes to budget and know exactly how much money I have at all times. However, the budget I had in mind for five days away down south is almost laughable when compared to how much I ended up spending.

I realised that money worries will ruin the experience, not enhance it. I managed to ride the shotover jet at 8.30am in a -10 degree chill. The ice from the river that I rubbed off my jacket afterwards was very real. I looked over a stunning New Zealand landscape while relaxing in a mineral hot pool, before seeing my friend fall flat on her back while running from the pool to the shower. We indulged in ice cream sandwiches, sat for hours eating sweets in a chocolate café in the pouring rain and became gelato connoisseurs.

Don’t limit yourself because of money. Money comes and goes but experiences are once in a lifetime. Now if that isn’t a great way to live your life then I don’t know what is.

 queenstown-caitlin-henneker-2-101015-twa  Photos by Caitlin Henneker

 

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