It’s been exactly a month since our trip ended. The most common question we’ve received since landing back in Los Angeles is, “So how does it feel to be back to reality,” which is funny since most of what we experienced while traveling was way more “real” than just about anything here. Nonetheless, our standard answer is that there are some things that are certainly nice about being in one place for a little while, and there are some things that we really miss from the way of life we had become accustomed to during those unforgettable six months.
There is one feeling that we kept experiencing over and over again: a feeling of being very, very small. Maybe this is a bit obvious for Bodhi who is now just shy of a year and a half old and less than three feet tall. But for me and Heather, time and again we felt reminded of just how minuscule our place on this planet and in this universe is.
There was the moonless night under a perfectly clear sky in Glenorchy, New Zealand, when the core of our Milky Way Galaxy was stunningly visible to the naked eye (and ridiculously, stunningly visible to a camera set to long exposure).
Later in our stay in New Zealand, I took a solo expedition to Aoroki / Mt. Cook National Park while Heather and Bodhi stayed with cousins in Christchurch. While the area is also renowned for its night skies–it is an International Dark Sky Reserve–the full moon during my visit made it a little hard to see into the far reaches of our galaxy. But standing in the shadow of the tallest mountain in New Zealand and witnessing the scenery here more than made up for that, and once again reminded me of the grandeur of this incredible planet.
And in South Africa, our very close encounters with some of the most awe-inspiring creatures on Earth certainly put us in our place, while also reminding us of the fragility of all life, large and small, as we learned so much about how close to the brink of extinction some of them sadly are.
These reminders have played a huge role in helping us keep everything in perspective along the way, on the road during our travels, here back in Los Angeles, and most definitely in everything that’s ahead for us. No matter what’s going on in our lives, we can always take comfort in the fact that we are all part of something bigger. Something much, much bigger.
This post’s featured image of star trails was constructed from roughly 200 photos shot over the course of 4 hours while on Great Barrier Island, an International Dark Sky Reserve located five hours by ferry from Auckland, New Zealand. November 2018.