A love story to New Zealand, the last pure country at the end of the world*

Mt Cook at sunset

A breath of fresh air.

The phrase is used to describe many things. A new idea, a new personality, uniqueness and clarity.

It can describe the moment your thoughts break free from clouds and confusion.

It can also be used to describe taking a breath and feeling it burn your lungs and pump through your veins and into your heart.

It should also be used to describe this country. It is such a beautiful and clear place.

The months, years, spent sucking in hesitant breaths of city air. Air that is filled with burning nicotine and cooking oil and gasoline and diesel. It disappears with the first chest-full of south island vapor.

Walking in the dark, furrowed fern valleys, and the dewy waterfalls, the big slate rocks that are worn smooth on the lake shore and sharp and jagged on the mountains.

The green mossy trees and the forest that embraces dead branches in the deep brown soil, the golden grass that waves in gusts blown from the blue glaciers, the silent looming lakes that you can see through to the crystal bottom and the miles and miles of river that stretch and pull the mountains into their angular shapes.

It is surely the most beautiful country on earth.

Not because it is vast, or imposing, or exciting.

Because it is still pure.

It does not reek of machinery or oil. It does not have a homely house on every corner.

It is you, and what has always been there. The water and the trees and the grass and the waves.

It is, what once was.

*Ok so a slight exaggeration — there are still some truly untouched places left on this planet.

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