Though we were on a secluded Island we were not alone. Just to the right of us, very close by, we had a lovely couple Sue and Terry. They are Kiwi’s who had lived not too far from D’Urville most of their life. Hard workers, they had an incredibly expansive garden, fished regularly for food, and helped look after/process the sheep that reside along their property. They are also very much involved in the lives of Rachel and Randy, and others on the Island. They are active members of the committee for D’Urville Island, and are very much invested in the well being of the Island and it’s inhabitants (animal and human). What amazed me about these two was their hospitality and their garden. From the first time we met them they treated us as if we were family. We got a tour of their garden and I was blown away by the work they had done over the years. The land they grow on had once been mostly rock. Year after year they dug up the rocks and amended the ground with rich, nutrient soil. They grow more than they need and give/trade the excess food. Sue and Terry are so knowledgeable of the plants they grow it reminded me of when I was in school and meeting the scholarly individuals in the Horticulture industry. I think one of the most endearing things about these two is how they call each other Sav/Savage. Their last name is Savage and they’ve come to just call each other by their last name. It’s unbelievably cute to listen to them talk and ask,
“Ain’t that right Sav?”
“Yeah, that’s right Savage.”
We feel truly grateful to have met them and we hope our paths will cross again one day.
The couple to the left of our house weren’t as close as the Savage’s. Pip and Jannette lived off the grid in a tiny cabin with their pigs and two dogs. Getting to them wasn’t easy. When the tide was out we were able to get to them easily via the coast. When the tide was high, we had to walk through a mountain trail that had many slips and washouts. But no matter the journey we were always rewarded. We spent much more time with Pip and Jannette than we did with Sue and Terry, mainly because they seemed less busy. Now I don’t want you picturing a shriveling old couple rocking the day away on wooden rocking chairs with old Coon dogs at their feet. These two kept busy in their own way, they just seemed to us, more accessible. The day we met them was at Dante’s birthday party. Pip is a lawn gnome of a person, smaller then I (I’m 5’7″) with a bright and cheery face. Jannette is a fiery individual, unafraid of questions and comments one wound normally shy away from when first meeting someone. Only a couple of minutes into our conversation she asked, “So are you two gay or brothers”? Now, for us this is uncommon, and for others (that are not queer) this may seem rude, but I lit up when she asked us this. It normalized gayness. She put being gay on the same level as something as natural as brothers. This was just the beginning of some incredible, thought provoking conversations we would have with both Pip and Jannette. These are two individuals so concerned with the state of the environment and so aware of their impact that they have never flown to another country. They believe the amount of jet fuel it takes to fly somewhere is too detrimental compared to the pleasure they would get from traveling. Anyone would be lucky to meet this caring, thoughtful couple.
It was heartbreaking to leave our friends and family behind. Neither of us had ever had to say goodbye not knowing when we would see our loved ones again. I remember thinking that once I started traveling it would be easier and I could just focus on my adventures. But I had no idea that I would spend the year in NZ having to say goodbye to people that I made deep connections with. With people that I feel as connected to as I do with my friends back home. I truly hope I see these individuals again. But even if our paths never cross again they will always live on in my heart and mind.