Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Day 18: Full Day in FIJI
            We woke up and all headed down to the café to have a nice breakfast together. But it was raining and continued to rain the entire day. Some people went scuba diving. Around 2 we went into a town 10 minutes away and look at some cheap stores and a market. On the way there we stopped by a sugar mill. It was interesting to see. And then on the way back we stopped by a gravesite of a leader from a while ago, he had 900 stones around his grave. Each stone represented a person he had EATEN! He was a cannibal. When we got home we went to the café at the place we are staying again and enjoyed a nice dinner. Our LAST dinner in Fiji.  After dinner we experienced an old tradition, you drink some weird water. It looked like nice muddy water and tasted like ash! It was awful.  And then after a few minutes your tongue went numb. Then we went out and had our final POW WOW on the beach! Then when the adults went to bed, we went back to the beach with our tripods and took pictures of the stars, it was beautiful.  And we all enjoyed our last night in FIJI and hoped there would be sun tomorrow!

Getting There!

Day 17: Flight 2 FIJI
            We woke up and went straight to the airport! After going through all the hassles of an airport. We finally all received our boarding passes. But we were all spread throughout the plane.  Not that anyone cared, we just wanted to get to Fiji. But after we got to the gate, our plane got delayed! PERFECT! :( By the time we got to Fiji it was close to 8. And since all the places were closing and there wasn’t a place to stop on the drive home we had to settle for airport foods. It was gross, it say the least! And then we had to wait at the airport for the bus to arrive until 10. Once the bus finally arrived we had to endure a 3 hour bus ride This put us at our hotel around 1.
***Peter, one of our National Geographic leaders, had to leave us at the airport and head to LA because he had to lead another National Geographic trip taking place in Africa. 

Embracing the Culture! Rugby

Day 16: Rugby and Flower Garden
            This morning we woke up and all went out to breakfast at this cute little restaurant.  I had eggs and toast. It was funny because one of the girls’ rooms woke up late so they all had to rush out of the room to make it to breakfast. After we had all finished breakfast we went to the story and bought 2 rugby balls, and then stopped by the hotel and picked up our national geographic Frisbee. Then we headed over to the park and played a game of touch Rugby. To say the least the game was pretty intense and Michael and I spent most of our time talking near the sidelines. But we had fun. The funniest part of the game had to be the amount of times everyone fell. The grass was wet and muddy, so everyone walked away with grass stains and muddy all over their clothes.  Since Michael and I were not the most athletic players we decided to ditch the game and wander around the park. We saw a couple walking around in their wedding outfits. But we didn’t take pictures of them because their photographer was there, along with their wedding party and they were definitely pre-gaming it up before the reception. They all had a beer in their hands. But then Michael and I found a rose garden and took some amazing pictures the lighting was perfect and there was a really cool sundial. After the park we all headed to the netball courts to watch Dave’s niece play netball. But by the time we got there all the games were over. But on the plus side her team won by 2 points. So we walked around the courts to the rugby field and watch the ending of a rugby game.  There was a lot of excitement because a helicopter landed and someone was life flighted out of the area.  On our way back to the bus a few of the local kids offered to teach us how to play netball. This game I was actually good at! I was born to play netball. ;) Then that night we didn’t have dinner reservations because the restaurant we originally planned to eat at was in a red zone and no longer exists, so that was definitely an issue. And the teachers and leaders said they had a surprise for us. WE picked up a pizza and then hit up the…BOWLING ALLEY. And it turned out to be a lot of fun. We found out who should NOT be aloud to bowl. One of the girls ended one of the games with a score of 14! :) And at the end of the night the boys all showed us their bet model walk. To say the evening was interesting would be a total understatement. 

Positive Attitudes!

Day 15: Airport and Arctic
            First of all, I had the worst night sleep of my life. I woke up every 15 minutes starting at 1:30 till I woke up at 5:00. The room was freezing and I had no heat. They didn’t give covers, and so I thought I’ll just use my blanket because I wasn’t cold before we went to bed.  But VAN is scared of the dark so she left a bathroom light on, and it blinded me and kept waking me up the entire night. I wanted to die. And the heater was close to the ceiling and I was on the bottom bunk, so since heat rises I never got any of the warm air. So waking up at 5 and only getting a total of about 30 minutes of sleep didn’t put me in the greatest mood. So once we got to the airport and found out our flight had been cancelled, it didn’t really improve my mood. SO at the airport we ate breakfast, sat around, and more food, and sat around even more. Then after a while I got some nail polish and painted my nails hot pink in anticipation for FIJI! After a few hours of just sitting around the airport we went to the Arctic Center and walked around viewing all the different Penguin and Arctic Sites. We even experienced a simulated Arctic Storm. It was…FREEZING! Then after all the waiting we went to a nicer hotel and then went out for dinner. We went to a nice restaurant called the red Berry! WE were all kind of bummed about the FIJI flight and some people were starting to feel sick. But we all had to keep positive attitudes! :) 

Surreal Moments

            We got to Christchurch pretty early so we had time to walk around and check out the Earthquake damage. It was unreal and made everything you had heard about on the news or read about in the newspaper made everything real. Then later that day, our guide, Dave got us in to see a cultural experience. The experience was a show about a local tribe called the Maori. The whole audience had to participate. At one time the girls went up on stage and at another time the boys went up on stage it was really funny to watch. After the show we went to dinner. There were two options: Thai or Italian. I chose Thai. I had some cashew chicken and it was AMAZING. And Lauren got the lemon chicken, so we shared! The day was pretty moving and we were all excited to be going to FIJI the next day!
***Coincidently, early during dinner Michael was like, “Guys I have a feeling something bad is going to happen.” Who knew he would actually be right? 

i love HORSES!

Day 13: Horseback Riding and HOT SPRINGS!
            We woke up and headed straight for the farm. It was really cool to see all the countryside and the horses. Once we got there they asked us who had ridden before. Then we each got on our horse. Mine was named Tom, or Tomahawk. He was so cute; he was orange and white. After the ride we helped out around the stable. I mostly took pictures of horses. Then we left the stables and headed into own. We hit up a bakery and ate lunch. The food was awesome. Then we headed back to the holiday park to change into our swimsuits. After we were all changed we went to the HOT SPRINGS. This place was better than the last place because there were a million pools and they even had water slides. They were awesome. After we all hung out there for a while we had to leave. Since it was Ulla’s last night we went to dinner, and while we were at dinner waiting for our food she showed us a slideshow about some of the expeditions she has been on. And overall to just believe in what you are taking pictures of and your stories. Overall it was an awesome day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


*****CHASE: the golden kiwis are awesome and i have already had like 5. Miss you! :) 

Traveling to Hanmer!

Day 12: Arthur's Pass, CastleHill
We got up early and headed on our way again. THis time we had a 4 hour drive ahead of us to Hanmer. BUt this drive ended up taking al day because we stopped a million times. First we stopped in Arthur's Pass. It was a really cool valley and there were amazing birds. It was really cool to see all the mountains surrounding us. We talked to the manager of the visitor center, he told us all about the history. Then we left and stopped again at CastleHill. This was where they filmed the final fight scene in Chronicles of Narnia. It was awesome. And we all hiked around and we got to see a bunch of different people climbing all the different rocks around the area. And Ulla's fiancee climbed one of the boulders and let us take pictures of him. While we were there we ate lunch and talked to Ulla. Then after awhile we had to leave again and continue on our way to Hanmer. WE finally got to Hanmer around 5:30 and got our room assignments. LAUREN and I got to room together AGAIN! :) IT was quite an exciting day. Then we went and had thai food and it was awesome. ANd when we got back to our campsite we had POW WOW and all almost fell asleep during it because we were so tired. But Ulla gave another talk that night about all her different expeditions and how she prepares for each, it was really cool to see the pictures for a rainforest expedition she did for BBC and se how they lived.

***We're modelz, I swear! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Day 11: Pancake Rocks, GLOW Worms, and light Painting.
WE woke up and we went to the Pancake rocks. We head out and we get maybe 15 minutes away from the place and we run out of guess. (When National Geographic says expedition and adventure they really mean it). So we walked to the national pancakes rock park, while Carl, our bus driver hitched a ride to go get some gas. But once at the pancake rocks everything was so amazing...the view, the water, the blow holes, the paths, ect. Sometimes i just had to sit down, put my camera down and take it all in. After the hike through the pancake rocks we went to the Pancake Rock Cafe. I got Pancakes with hot cherries and cream. They were awesome. Once we left pancake rocks, we went to another trail to take some more nature pictures, but it also led down to the water, so we all got some cool pictures involving the water, sun, and sometimes people's silhouettes. Once we got back to the place we were staying at we worked on our pictures a bit and ordered in pizza. After dinner, Ulla showed us how to put our pictures together in order to make a story. Then we hit up the GLOW WORMs. It was only a two minute hike up the path and you had to turn off all your lights to see them but they looked like a lot of blue dots. And we also took pictures of the sky. When i took a picture of the sky and the city lights, everything looked like it was on fire.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gorge, getting to Hokitika, and meeting Ulla

Day 10: Hokitika
We left Franz Josef and headed to hokitika, we didn't stop to much. Once we reached Hokitika we met Ulla Lohmann. Then we went to lunch at a take away place and then headed to a super cool Gorge. At the gorge Ulla talked to us about making pictures cool and different. At then end of the Gorge trail we took cool pictures over then huge rocks. And along the path was his really cool swing bridge it reminded me of Indiana Jones a little bit. After we left the Gorge we came back to the new campsite and relaxed, and sorted our pictures. Right after we went to a really cool beach with black sand, Ulla told us to take pictures that represent what the beach means to us. We went to dinner at a grille in town then headed to the owner's house of the campsite. There Ulla gave a speech and showed pictures from her life and told us her life story. We went to the owner's house because they wanted to meet Ulla and their Hokitika photography group wanted to meet her too and listen to her talk. The whole day altogether was really cool and meeting Ulla was awesome and she is totally helpful. When I showed her my ending project for National Geographic she really liked it. My theme is Reflections, showing a different perspective of a picture.


Hey Rupert! i miss you and love you. Hope you had a great father's day! I am having so much fun here and i took a few really cool photos for you. The views here are amazing! <3 Can't wait to see you on the 28th.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Relax and Work on our Pictures!

Day 9: Relax and work with our pictures.
Today we relaxed and got to sleep in a little bit longer. It was really rainy so we all hung out in the common room and worked on our pictures and blogs. (Happy mom? <3 ) It was a pretty chill day and it was fun to just hang out with everyone in the group. We had sandwiches for lunch and them Ms. Carter, one of the teachers, made spaghetti for all of us for dinner. It was DELICIOUS! But i think one of the best parts of evening was when we all gave our funniest pictures of each other to Ms. Bottoms. Later that night we watched a slide show of all this pictures, it was HILARIOUS! And then after the slide show we got to just relax and watch the movie Anchorman. It was pretty funny. But that pretty much wrapped up our day, and tomorrow we will be traveling to our next destination. And its exciting because our national geographic photographer is going to meet us at our next hostel. Her name is Ulla Lohmann. :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Glacier Hike

Day 8: Glacier Hike in Franz Josef!

This morning we had to wake up extra early and get ready to go on the glacier hike. They had us borrow boots, over trousers, crampons, and rain jackets. It was this long process but then we all got on the bus to head to the glacier. Once we got to the glacier area we hiked to the rocky valley. There we spilt into 3 groups slow, medium, and fast. MaKenna (MaKyle XY) and I chose the slow group thinking it would be a leisurely pace. Not a SNAIL pace. After we walked over a mile to the end of the valley, an Indian family decided to turn back because the flat part of the hike was to hard for them. The next part was a harder uphill rocky path; it was a bit more difficult. The sad part was that we had to stop every 20 minutes and wait for this Indian man and his Asian wife. The path up there was a long and tiring one but once we got to the top it was really cool. LITERALLY! And at the top we at a crappy sandwich, and of course MaKenna took a video of me acting like a freak on the top of the glacier. The way down was a lot easier, but since we were so tired it seemed 100X longer! Once we got back to the hostel we wanted to die! But overall it was fun, especially because we hiked up together and were joking around. 

Representing the 80's!

Thanks mom! Love ya!

Traveling 2 FRanZ Josef

Day 7:  Traveling to Franz Josef
            We left Wanaka that morning and headed out on our 3-hour drive to our next destination, Franz Josef.  Along the way we stopped in this almost deserted town to get lunch. The place we ate at was called the grumpy cow café, it was different but fun. I got fish and chips for lunch they were good. After lunch, Lauren and I went to the playground across the street until everyone else was finished eating. Another cool place we stopped on the way to Franz Josef was the beach. This beach was totally different and awesome. The sand was black but before you reached the sand there were rock piles everywhere. You had to climb down the rock to get to the beach. The really amazing part of this beach was that you could find a white stone and then write a message or your name on it then leave it at the top along the rode. It was RIDICULOUS to see how many people had left their mark on this beach. The messages ranged from peoples names to bible verses. Just seeing and reading all the different things people had to say was really cool. After the beach we arrived at the hostel we are staying at. By the time we got there we were ready for dinner. So Lauren and I totally represented the 80’s look at dinner. We were CRAZYYYY!
****Thanks for saving all your clothes from the 80’s mom! :) 



jk...miss ya! And i will make sure to keep you updated! <3


Day 6: Wanaka!
            Lauren and I got up super early this morning because we were the only ones who didn’t get to shower this morning. The water was freezing in the beginning and when it turned hot we had little to no pressure. Once everyone got up we went out to the lake and watched the sunrise and took pictures.  The view was amazing and the way the light hit the mountains looked gorgeous. After about and hour we came back to the lodge place we are staying at and had breakfast. One of the boys made omelets for people. Then we went to a puzzle place, where they had crazy allusions, holograms, and a huge maze (the biggest one in the world). It was a lot of fun to hang out there. Then we took the bus to a mountain, along the way we ate apples and had others snack foods. Once we got to the mountain we hiked to the top, some of us were a lot slower than the others. But the view from the top was absolutely AMAZING! At the top we all closed our eyes and just let everything sink it, after 10 minutes we opened our eyes again and everything really set in. The hike back down the mountain was A LOT easier. We came back earlier today, and we had a late lunch. Then we all got the chance to do laundry. And tonight we are showing each other our best pictures tonight and giving each other critics.


Day 5: Exploring Queenstown
            We got up and packed our bags because we were only staying in Queenstown one night. Then we got to walk around town on our own and explore, this way we didn’t all have the same pictures. We got to walk around by ourselves for about an hour. While we were walking around Lauren and I bought matching opossum gloves and barrettes.  We looked really cool.  Then when the group got backed together we rode the gondola up the mountain so we could see the view from one of the highest points. It was absolutely BREATHTAKING! When we got back to the bottom of the mountain we went to one last store and then got on the bus to head to our next destination, Wanaka. Once we got to Wanaka, we walked across the street to the field where kids were practicing rugby. Later we went to dinner, we ate Indian food. Walking around Queenstown was so much fun and it was awesome to get to see all the different pictures everyone found on their own.

Monday, June 13, 2011

4th Dayy! SHEEP FARM

Day 4: Sheep Farm (6/13)
When we woke up, we ate breakfast and then scrambled to get all our stuff together so that we could head off to our next stop. We drove for about an hour and a half to the super awesome SHEEP FARM! Once at the Sheep farm we got to listen to one of the men talk about all the different things at the farm. Then we got to see the sheep herded by the two dogs on the farm. Finally we got to see TWO sheep get sheered. It was a totally weird and cool experience. After the 1st sheep was sheered, we each got to go up and hold the sheered sheep. It was AWESOME! Then one of the guys in our group had talked to the main guy from the beginning and said he really wanted to sheer a sheep so the guy let him sheer part of the second sheep by himself. After we left the sheep farm we drove another hour and a half to the hostel we are staying at for only one night. The hostel is located in Queenstown. For dinner we went to a cool restaurant called the Flame. It was a lot of fun, the funniest part of the night was when we saw a couple at the restaurant order wine. Then the man fell asleep at the table and the woman then got up and just left him there at the table by himself. It was absolutely ridiculous.  :) Then we came home and had another POW WOW where we talked about how we wanted to grow on this trip besides being a better photographer!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Day 1: The Trip to New Zealand! (6/8-6/10) But no 6/9
After a little over 30 hours of travel, we were ready to be in New Zealand. All the plane rides over here really helped us all get to know one another and become like a family. We all really bonded over the 13-hour plane ride where a baby cried the entire flight. But before we even boarded that plane we hung out in LAX and all almost fell asleep in our dinners. Ludacris Lauren and I were so tired we had laughing attacks almost every second. By the time all the traveling was over I was completely exhausted. We finished our traveling in the afternoon, and despite our best efforts we all had at least a little jetlag, which was super duper fun. Once we went to dinner, we all almost fell asleep in our dinners. That night I decided to have a cheeseburger, it ended up tasting like meatloaf! YUM 

Day 2: Milford Sound (6/11)
This was a BEAUTIFUL way to start out the trip. Everything that we saw was the most amazing thing, and the colors were just gorgeous. We first left when it was still dark but once we got there the sun had just come up making everything look even more amazing. We rode a boat around Milford sound; it was the perfect setting for pictures. I took around 1500 pictures on the first day. It was so exciting when we saw a seal just hanging out sitting on a rock; he was the cutest thing ever. Then while we were heading back to the dock about 10 dolphins came up to the ship and were swimming along side the boat. There were so many amazing pictures taken because the dolphins were so close. They were a lot bigger than you would think, they looked HUGE! Once we got back to our bus, Carl (our AWESOME Kiwi Bus Driver) drove us back to the place we were staying. But on the way back he stopped a bunch of times on the side of the rode so we could take more pictures and see more scenery. One of the places we stopped we got to take a trail where we all took some amazing pictures. By the time dinner rolled around we were all basically starved because we didn’t eat a big lunch…it was a very small snack. Then after dinner we came home and had our first POW WOW! We did an activity where we named our cameras; I named mine Andrew, or Andy.
****CHASE: I haven’t seen any Golden Kiwis yet, but ill keep my eyes open! 
****RUPERT: Ludacris Lauren named her camera “Rupert”…isn’t that funny!

Day 3: Hiking and Exploring around Te Anau (6/12)

We woke up and worked on our computers, working with our pictures and just seeing all the different pictures we had taken from the previous day. Then we went to lunch at a place called the olive tree. After that we walked to the visitor center in the middle of a park. At the visitor center we looked at some of the history of New Zealand. Before we left the visitor center we saw a really cool documentary about the park and all the different birds in the park. After all of this we left the visitor center and hiked a little bit and took some really nice pictures. I saw the cutest little boy riding his bike. But today I wasn’t as trigger-happy and only took 335 pictures. We went to the cinema and watched another 32-minute video about New Zealand, only this one had no talking, so you really had to pay attention. After that we went to Bailiez, a really nice restaurant. Then we had another POW WOW that night, and we had I nice discussion about being homesick, which I’m not…sorry family!   

Monday, June 6, 2011


Heyy! The land of the long white cloud refers to New Zealand! Only 2 more days till I leave on a National Geographic trip to New Zealand and Fiji. See ya in 3 weeks!