How an Adventurer was Born
“This might’ve been a bad idea,” I thought to myself as my tiny
Daihatsu Sirion, a rental car hardly bigger than a couch, slide back
and forth on a rural gravel road several hours from Dunedin, in
south-east New Zealand. A hitch-hiker I had briefly shuttled earlier
that day had mentioned Cannibal Bay but couldn’t remember where it
was. He told me that if I saw a sign for it on my journey south, it
was worth the drive to the middle of nowhere.
Several hours later, as I drove on the Scenic Highway, I so happened
to see the sign for Cannibal Bay and while I was still very far from
my end destination for the day, I decided to drive the 9 kilometers on
a road not meant for cars like mine.
After almost sliding off the road 2 times I pulled up to a dirt lot,
there was one other vehicle there. Two women in a camping van that
were just leaving. It was a little cold so I bundled up, grabbed my
camera and drone, and headed down the short path to the beach. What I
saw will stay with me until the day I die. A massive bay with a
pristine beach, staggering rock formations, and outlooks on either
side, all surrounded by classic New Zealand sheep pastures.
The bay’s famous sea-lions were nowhere to be seen, but I didn’t
notice as the beauty of the place I was in left me speechless. I spent
hours taking pictures and videos with my camera and drone, just fully
enjoying feeling happy, after some hard days alone in New Zealand. My
parents, who had been with me for 2 weeks, had just left a few days
before, instilling a kind of uneasiness in me as I came to grips with
the fact that besides a couple people I knew in New Zealand, all my
family and friends were halfway across the world. And here I was,
alone for weeks, a solo adventure of the likes I’d never tried before.
It was this true and perfect beauty, that made me realize the
importance of travel. The importance of being out on your own and
doing what you love. This trip, and the many more before it, have set
before me a clear path to follow. One of exploring the outdoors until
the day I die. It’s not always easy, in fact, it’s often tough, but
the challenges and the rest, the highs and the lows, and the start and
the end, make travel the most important aspect of personal growth a
person can do.
- Ben Koshnick