Last week I embarked on a road trip across Te Wahipounamu,the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. This road trip was scheduled for months ago, long before Covid-19 and the damage it has left across our earth, so it was an exciting prospect to be able to realize now. As someone who works in tourism, I want the industry to work, and I am well aware that due to the isolated nature of our country, and our strict border security for the foreseeable future, that the industry is in danger. It was with this in mind that I set off across the country to Aoraki Mount Cook, the countries tallest mountain, held sacred amongst the indigenous Maori, considered an ancestor of the South Island’s largest tribe, Ngai Tahu, it is revered across the country, and within the collective consciousness. It is also the inspiration behind quite a few of my most recent projects, namely Aoraki (3724m of finger knitting), first presented in Japan, and an embroidery, yet to be named, which I completed sitting at the base of the mountain, on this trip.
My regular life finds me for extended periods of time in extreme isolation, removed for extended periods from wifi and cell phones, and completely alone and surrounded by nature. This element of my job has come to be an important element of my spiritual practice, regularly isolating myself in nature and practicing what most would consider animism, praying to the mountains that surround me, so it was a particularly special practice to do this in front of, and in the shadow of Aoraki (Mount Cook). For three days, I walked within Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, through river valleys, beneath the face of glaciers, and the whole time surrounded by the mammoth scale mountains that dominate the Southern Alps of Aotearoa New Zealand.
This trip was also special as it allowed me time to process some very bizarre circumstances in my personal life, which I will leave out of this post due to the nature of them not being only my experience, but through this short but satisfactory period of isolation in nature, I really worked through the emotions that beforehand were plaguing me.