One very chilly morning, while studying abroad in Auckland, New Zealand, I woke up and decided it was time that I did some sight seeing. I was in the country for six months all-together, and by month 4, I had become very down and out. Not only was I buried under 15 -20 page thesis's in basically their most upper-level collegiate film classes nearly weekly, but when I flipped on the tv to escape the workload, news of the American economic melt down (this was 2008, mind you), was inescapable. This was to be my final year of college, and I was in one of the most beautiful places on earth, but felt more stressed out than I ever had before. What was waiting for me on the other side of this mound of books? Would I ever find a job after I went to all this trouble?
Now that I've stressed you out too, back to that walk. Well, on this crisp morning, I left my city apartment, approximately four blocks from the well known sky tower, and just started walking. I wasn't entirely sure where I was going, I just needed to go. The air seemed to be coming from the ocean, so that's where I went. I got to a familiar place, the Prince's Warf where I had eaten gelato and watched the boats race around before, but that didn't seem adventurous enough that day. So, I walked away from the bay bridge, and away from the busy city streets of my current home. I took off to the right, and I just kept walking.
On that day, I remember thinking I had walked a while, but never really thought too much about it. When I figure it now on a map, I walked about 7.5 km (almost 5 miles), and that was just one way. This must have been how badly I truly needed to get out. By the mid afternoon, I began seeing more and more boats and fishermen. I had thought since arriving in NZ that the air was cleaner, but this was even a level above that. I breathed deeper, and started to see white sand on the coast.
The reason that this was even worth noting is that most "beaches" in New Zealand are not what you see in America. We love our sand, and pay a lot of money to up-keep it to make it like that. But, New Zealand is a volcanic island. The beaches are typically rocky, and when the water has worn it down enough to have sand, a lot of the time, it's black(which is awful to get out of your clothes, I packed some home with me that is still in my suitcase). So, to come up on white sand, I was a little taken aback.
I plopped down, and took a couple pictures, and watched the boats. After about an hour of this, I noticed that my stress was gone. My troubles were literally and physically miles away. I had no cell phone, no one knew where I was, and no one was around, but I was completely at peace here. Somehow, when everything had gotten me down, I had found a beach that was all mine.
In New Zealand, a lot of people have a second, smaller, more modest home on a secluded beach somewhere else on the island. This is a little holiday home for them and their families to escape to. Back in the day, before zoning codes and all of that, it was typically just a place someone wandered to and liked, so they built something there to stay to kind of claim it. They call it a "bach". Well, I like to think I found my little bach on the sand somewhere between Okahu and Mission Bay that day. Even three years and thousands of miles later, my mind still visits when the world has done it's worst. That place can never be taken from me. I hope everyone can find their own bach one day.