Some might say I’m a bit of a “Holiday Grouch”, “Bah-Humbug” if you will.  I supposed I’m just a little disenchanted due to the over-commercialization of the season, and that it tends to show the less-than-pleasnt side of people, in spite of the concept being that of unity, happiness, and goodwill towards one another.  Spending the past two years away from home during this time of year was a bit of a bigger deal for everyone who wasn’t me, as it meant I could pretend to ignore the holidays and just keep on with my days as usual.

I know this sounds grim, but bear with me:  this year, things were different.  In the true spirit of Chrismakkah, I got to play with fire at home with my immediate family, and then just this week, I had the distinct pleasure of spending Santa Eve and Day with some close friends of mine in an excellent celebration of food, drink, and general hilarity.  While we were all on the other side of the World from our biological families, here in the middle of the Southern Summer we had our own little international family.  With half of the United Nations represented around the table, we were quite the eclectic mix, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

My second year in a row here in Queenstown has already surpassed my initial expectations of how I thought it would go (I truly had no idea how it would shake out).  Being back feels like home-away-from-home, with a huge group of like-minded friends gathered in one place.  We are here in the name of our collective love for this beautiful and remote region in one of the most remote countries on the globe.  There is something particularly special about this old mining town nestled between imposing peaks and an enormous gorgeous lake, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be back for another summer in the sun!


(Dont forget, you can click on any photo, and view the full-size images as a click-through slideshow!)