Was it the friendly laidback people of NZ?
Was it the beautiful weather and clean air?
Was it the huge close up variety of mountains that had the easiest access?
Was it the lifestyle of the great outdoors?
Was it the daily routine of waking up - cooking - driving - shopping - eating - searching for van park before dusk - reading - being chased by cops - intimidated by young rascals - sleeping?
Was it the fantastic gear shops?
Was it the sandfly fights while paddling in crystal clear blue river waters of the south island?
Was it the experience working in a NZ based outdoor school?
Was it sharing the grief with friends at the OPC in the incident that claimed 7 lives at the Mangatepopo Gorge?
Was it the experience of saving a near-drowning sheep in the river?
Was it making new friends at every camp, school and lodge?
Or the anxiety of being deported because of an expired visa?
In the end, I came to a conclusion that it was none of the above. It was all about the person beside me. It was about adaptation, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty. It was a test to the relationship that we had, which eventually lead us to being married at Lake Hawea, with close friends and family.
As cheesy as it may sound, its actually a story about love.
Click here for more photos in the Albums page under the title "New Zealand backpacking trip 2007-2008"