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Monday, 29 August 2016

Preamble ~ Therianthrope Adventures at the Bodensee

"Have I forgotten something?"
"Can I really carry that much?"
"Will this even hold?"

Questions like that haunt my mind as I prepare my backpacks for my grand trip to New Zealand. Wait... "Backpacks"? Well, sure! I'm a fox after all. I'll find a way to make it hold. Yet when I finally don all of my luggage, I feel like a knight in heavy armor.

My destination this time is not quite as far away. I'm going to meet with a pack of wolves for a week. This is a great opportunity for me to test my luggage composition, and get used to all that weight, so I'm taking all the stuff I'm going to need in New Zealand with me on this comparably short trip, including sleeping bag, long shirts and pants, and last but not least, my trusty orange-gray coat which has served me well for over a decade. I've had it repaired multiple times, and even thought about getting a new one, but no matter ho hard I look, I cannot seem to find a replacement for this one. Truly, a finer coat I have not seen.

I arrive in Dornbirn after five hours of travel by train, crossing the border into Austria. At the station, I am picked up by Aturo and Guzard with perfect timing. Half an hour later, we arrive at our cozy cottage sheltered in the green mountains.

"It looks smaller than I imagined it," is my first thought, but as I explore it, I realize that there's actually plenty of space for the eight of us. While Aturo and Guz pick up WhiteWolv and go shopping, I am left behind to watch over the cottage, and explore the area a bit. The cottage is part of a three-house farm, where two of the buildings have been converted into holiday homes. The last one is home to an elderly couple who take care of a small herd of cows, a trio of chickens, as well as a fluffy Berner Sennenhund and a rather independent cat.

 Over the next week, the eight of us - that is Cres, Werepaw, Aturo, Guzard, WhiteWolv, Patt'Wór, UUolf and me - have all sorts of exciting adventures together.

Climbing the Golm

Riding the Bob Coaster
Hiking to the Lustenauer Hütte
Defending our Dinner from a hungry dog
Finding Geocaches
Exploring the Rappenlochschlucht
Shopping for Chocolate in Switzerland

Eventually, however, our time is up. The final morning arrives, and I find myself awake during the fox hour. Unable to find sleep again, I make my way out onto the balcony, and take a time lapse picture of the sunrise. Manually. Since I only have a simple digital camera, I end up sitting in the twilight for hours, taking a picture every 30 seconds. I take the pictures without any sort of tripod, hoping that the final result won't look too shaky. Eventually, the camera's battery runs dry, but that's okay. After two hours and 240 pictures, the sun has risen high into the sky, and while I was still shivering from the cold of the night in the beginning (I only had time to grab a shirt), now Solar's warming rays are already getting all too hot again.

Everyone has a hard time saying goodbye, but we know we have to leave eventually. Werepaw drives Guz, White and me to the Dornbirn station, where we spend a final hour together nibbling on baked goods and feeding the sparrows before their train arrives. I still have some more time, but in the end, I, too, board my train. As it passes by the Bodensee one last time, I take a final picture.

And then, I'm on my way home, knowing that my next trip will be over 50 times as long as this one. I feel an odd mix of excitement and uneasiness about it. So much has happened in this short week. I wonder how much will happen in a full year. But I'm sure it'll be great! =^,^=

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Trailer ~ 19 days and counting...

I've finally gotten around to setting up a blog to keep track of my travels. It's kinda hard to believe that in 19 days I'll already be on my way to New Zealand.

My decision to spend a year doing work & travel down under came - like most of these things - from a mix of various things. New Zealand has interested me ever since I was little, being the one place almost on the absolute opposite side of the globe. Back in the day, I never thought I'd actually travel there one day.

Another thing that spurred my decision were the positive experiences I took home from my semester in the USA. Granted, I had bad luck with the families back then, but I experienced a lot of personal growth as a result. I wonder how this trip is going to change me. For the better, I hope.

Also, my everlasting quest for a suitable mate probably played a part in that decision as well. Willing to travel to the far ends of the world to find a girlfriend? That's me! Well, it probably won't work out that way. It never does. That's for stories. But I'll try anyway. Because that's me. =^,^=

The final factor has been the work climate in my last company deteriorating to a point where I suffered a burnout, and was consequently fired. Things happened, fangs were bared, and in the end, I left with a nice big chunk, relatively unscathed. Since I now have some free time on my paws, I figured this might be the opportunity I've been waiting for - especialyl considering that I need to be younger than 30 to participate, so time has been ticking anyway.

One way or another, I'm going to be off. Kia Ora, New Zealand! =^,^=