Anticipation: the eagerness associated with waiting for something to occur
I am visiting New Zealand in July 2018 for a maths education conference and will be extending my stay to do a whistlestop tour of both islands. My flights are paid for. It is the only opportunity I will ever get to go to New Zealand, so I have decided to do a planned tour rather than drive myself around. Flights are booked, the tour itinerary is set and paid for. Now all I have to do I think about what to pack and eagerly await the beginning of one of the biggest adventures I am ever likely to have.
New Zealand has a mysticism and majesty that draws people to it, helped of course by the scenery we’ve seen in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Friends and family have raved about how dramatic and diverse the landscapes are.
But what I actually know about New Zealand is minimal. I imagine mountains, sheep, lots of green, islands and oceans. What I ‘know‘ is not very specific.
So how do I anticipate something that I know so little about?
The places and activities on my itinerary are simply descriptive words at the moment. Rootling around in it and reading more about the places is my springboard to anticipation.
The anticipation … of knowing that this is the furthest East I have ever travelled
It’s my first ever visit to Australasia. It will also be the first time that I see (and hopefully touch) the Pacific Ocean.
The anticipation … of experiencing the “Home of Middle Earth”
NZ has been dubbed this since the Lord of the Rings movies were released in 2001. Will I see the majestic scenery with my own eyes? Visit the Hobbiton film set? I am looking forward to the photo opportunities there! I imagine that the shapes and colours will be fabulous.
The anticipation … of visiting the Southern Alps, in winter!
I’ve visited the Northern Alps and have seen mountains here in South Africa and Scotland. But I’ve heard there are peaks more than 3000m high, glacial valleys and fjords. I have always wanted to see a fjord, and have always thought that one day I would visit those in Norway. Now I will get to experience a fjord in a place I never expected to, on a boat trip around Milford Sound which Rudyard Kipling described as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’.
The anticipation … of a train journey on the TranzAlpine
When I was a child in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), we often took long train journeys from Bulawayo down to the South African coast or to Victoria Falls. Train journeys bring back happy memories of relaxing, family holidays.
I understand that in 4½ hours, the scenic TranzAlpine rail trip will take us on a 223.8-kilometre journey across the Southern Alps from the city of Christchurch to Greymouth on the West Coast. We will go through a number of tunnels and over four viaducts, one of which is the 73-metre high (yikes!) Staircase viaduct. Looking at photographs of the train crossing this viaduct makes me slightly anxious already! Do you see what I mean?
The anticipation … of viewing volcanic and geothermal wonders
I’ve lived in Southern Africa or the UK my whole life. Both are stable in terms of volcanic activity, so I’ve never experienced the power of Mother Earth from this point of view. It will be exhilarating to see active volcanoes and landscapes formed by volcanoes when we visit Lake Taupo and Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs. Will my nostrils be assaulted by the terrible smell of sulphur? Will I witness the clouds of steam that are part of the volcanic activity in this area?
The anticipation … of meeting real “Kiwis”
As descendants of the Mouri warriors, the Mouri members of the New Zealand “All Blacks” rugby team look frightening to me. I’m hoping to meet Mouri people who will dispel this personal myth. Like South Africans, I am assuming the New Zealanders (affectionately know as Kiwis) are a hardy bunch who love the outdoors. I’m looking forward to seeing if that’s the case.
The countdown begins
As each day passes and my departure gets closer, my anticipation builds. With 21 days to go, the countdown begins.