This past week, I’ll admit it, I struggled to write.

Even though I was excited and motivated to be working on our new novel, I found it difficult to put any words on the page. Every single sentence was a struggle. I had been stuck on 1200 words for my first chapter for over a week. And every single day I opened the document to work on it, only to sit and stare at the screen for an hour before closing it. And I got frustrated.

But I knew I was going away for the weekend, and I hoped that new scenery and a break from my hectic life in Auckland would be the exact remedy I needed. And, I’m happy to say, it worked a treat.

With the NZ borders still shut due to Covid-19, I wanted to get out and explore our country without the masses of tourists travelling around—try and make the most out of what was left of 2020. I finally made the time for a mini getaway this weekend, and brought a few of my family members along with me.

I had always wanted to do the Tongariro Crossing—a famous New Zealand day walk (19.4 km) up and across an active volcano. But I was always deterred due to the anecdotal accounts of it being so busy with tourists you couldn’t truly appreciate the scenery. However, with only NZ citizens allowed into NZ at the moment, I thought this was the perfect time to give it a go.

And, wow, was it worth it. Yes, it was incredibly exhausting, but the views were totally worth the physical struggle. It was an amazing volcanic landscape, complete with emerald blue lakes, snow and geothermal vents. Not to mention an unobstructed view of Mt Doom (yes, I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Its real name is Mt Ngauruhoe).

Once I got back to our accommodation, in the sleepy and almost deserted National Park Village a few kilometres away, I was finally able to write again. I finished off the chapter and sent it off for Sarah to read (hopefully she likes it!).

Sometimes, all you need is a little break from your normal routine in life to help inspire creativity.