While from that headline, you could mistake this for probably any country or National Park town, I am specifically talking about a random DOC (Department of Conservation) campground me and Kyle stumbled upon by accident in New Zealand. This was somewhere on the west coast of the South Island in New Zealand. Cell service was sketchy, it was cheap ($12 I think?) and it sat on a freshwater lake you can swim and fish in, which we definitely skinny dipped in later that night. There were 2 sections to the grounds, we chose the further side. To our luck, there were still spots open and a group of people under a veranda type structure. Our first thoughts, park and check out the grounds.
We were immediately greeted by a rather large family sized group of Australians! They wanted to know where we were from and came with beers. What better greeting could you have than this? A sucker for anyone outgoing and full of energy, we got trapped in their jokes, stories and made it into the group photo. They were an absolute riot. We were totally staying in this camp tonight and left to get more beer and some food. Upon coming back, they had broken out the BBQ. We were eating kebobs and sausages, fighting off the pesky sand flies until dawn. After learning everyone’s background, this wasn’t just a family reunion we thought we had stumbled upon. There was a retired Canadian couple from New Brunswick, a set of German girls (spoke very little English), another German couple who had impeccable English and then 3 couples from Australia who knew each other as they were all truck drivers, exploring New Zealand with their wives. All showing up randomly throughout the day, this what we had accumulated too. We knew nothing about each other yet we all seemed to instantly click. We were sharing whatever we had, we cared for one another and despite language barriers, bonded over stories and alike. It was togetherness. We all were here for one reason, to have a good time. That we did.
This reminded me of my airplane post about the instant community feel you get with complete strangers. I could tell you one name, Kevin, and I honestly don’t even think that was his name? It’s times like this, when you don’t know anyone, you don’t even speak the same language yet there is this overwhelming feeling of knowing each other for a long time. You hope these people thrive and all their dreams come true.
Everyone you meet always asks if you have a career, are married, own a house or some other irrelevant thing as if life is a grocery list we never fully manage to complete. No one ever asks if you are happy.
So here we are, no one has service. We don’t all speak English yet we are drunk together riddled with bug bites singing John Denver. Sometimes, no matter the country road or jet plane, some things never change.
You adapt quickly.
You love easily.
We are happy.