Goodbye New Zealand, Wrapping up my Adventure Learning Grant

Well, I have left New Zealand. This has been the grandest of adventures and I am so thankful to Fairhaven College and the donors of the Adventure Learning Grant for making this years adventure through Patagonia and New Zealand possible.

I learned more about fish and the rivers than I ever thought I could have known. I focused my learnings on the impacts of invasive freshwater species on the environment and on colonization through the introduction of invasive species. I spoke with indigenous people. scientist, and government workers. I am proud of my work and eager to share my insight with you all back home.

I’d like to share one last anecdote with you all.

During my last day in Taupo I went fishing with a Maori man named Tom. After catching some amazing fish, I mustered up the courage to ask him a question that had been on my mind for a while— “Do you think the Maori people of Taupo wish the Europeans had never come?”

Tom took his time to answer my question. “That’s tough” he says, “I think I’ll say no.”

“Really?” I questioned him.

“I think we needed each other,” he explained.

This is just one man’s opinion, and I am sure there are others who disagree. Despite the hardships of colonization and all the brutal losses the Maori have suffered like loss of rights, land, and lives, Tom sees the good that has come from these two cultures mixing. I think there is a lot to learn from this. No matter what, we can always seek the silver lining in any situation. And I think I have had to do this through out my year of travel.

Traveling on my own has been oh so difficult, but it also has been incredibly rewarding. Things have not always gone in my favor, and I have wished my circumstances to be different at times. But a positive mindset goes a long way, finding the good in life and people helps, and I have learned all about that this year.

Thank you to all the people who have followed along back home. Thank you to all the lovely people I have met along the way. Thank you Fairhaven College and the Adventure Learning grant. And thank you to all the fish, who found my fly appetizing and put up a good fight.