New Zealand – Rotorua
Rotorua is known for it’s laid back atmosphere and numerous thermal hot spots. They were quite easy to find, starting with the Sulphur Geysers along the lakeside trail between the The Government Gardens and South African War Memorial. Along my walk, I discovered and followed signs for a walking festival route, ending up at The Redwoods where I hiked around until finally arriving at Te Puia, a Maori culture park built around some even larger thermal geysers. I watched some shows and learned about traditional crafts, then waited for the sunset, but they closed an hour prior and kicked me out, so I rushed behind the park to hike up Trig Outlook and caught the tail end of things before it got extremely dark under the tall redwoods. I got a bit worried but remembered hearing that New Zealand has nothing dangerous that can kill you and that The Redwoods had a nighttime canopy tour, so they would be open. Unfortunately, there were no buses at that hour and I was advised to not walk on the dark roads. As I overheard some students joke about getting lost in the park earlier, I jumped in to share my being lost story and got a ride back to the city.
Even when in a distressing situation, it’s important to keep calm. Anchor on positive facts like how you can’t get lost if you have a map and know where you’re going. Set achievable goals like way points where you expect to see people. Know enough about your surroundings to feel safe.