The people I meet: Queenstown, New Zealand #nzmustdo

I’m a Sydney-based fitness, adventure & travel photographer (Instagram @thuc.creative). One of my favourite parts of the job is crossing paths with interesting people — and trust me, everyone has a story to tell. If I had to pick another genre of photography to be passionate about, it would probably be portraiture just for this reason. But for now, I’m going to write about the people whose lives only intertwined with mine for a brief moment but whose stories have touched me forever.

In Queenstown, New Zealand, I met:

A Brazilian cabbie who’d come here for a short visit and ended up never leaving. He picked my husband and I up from our Airbnb and drove us the 7-minute trip into town to Atlas Beer Cafe. Seven years ago, he’d come to Queenstown on what was supposed to be a two-week holiday. After only one week, he called his mum and said he wasn’t coming home. Four years ago, his mum visited him and understood why. He says what’s not to love here in Queenstown? It’s so beautiful, safe and clean. And people know how to really live.

A Russian ballet teacher who hitchhikes everywhere. We were driving back to our Airbnb from town and noticed a woman sticking out her thumb on the side of the road. We gave her a lift. Queenstown was just another pin on her world map until she met a boy there. He eventually left but she stayed. Four years later, she’s still there and has opened up her own dance studio.

I especially loved hearing these stories of people who fell in love with Queenstown and managed to make a life for themselves there. I’ve figured out the first part…still working on the second.