It's coming up to the end of summer in New Zealand and almost the start of spring in the UK. Time goes quickly.
When I first left the UK to begin this journey, a couple of years ago, I didn't look back once. Everything was ahead of me. I'd been carefully not planning anything for a whole year. I just woke up one day and decided that it was time to pursue my dream of seeing giant springtails. That was the extent of it. New Zealand and Australia were just large, slightly annoying and potentially noisy land masses to travel across to get to my collembolan buddies' forest and mountain homes.
So I never looked at a map. I didn't sit down and watch all the Lord of Rings films again for ideas or immerse myself in Neighbours. I did watch Flight of the Conchords a few times, but that was accidental.
No-one really believed I would go through with it. But I tend to do things eventually.
But who would have thought that these places would also turn out to be incredibly beautiful? That was a bit of a bonus. And that I would meet people that would happily talk about springtails all day...?
It's become a life of sorts.
So I'm here at the moment, sat in the famous Art Deco town of Napier, New Zealand.
It's really beautiful. I'm glad to be here, catching up with friends from Stewart Island and finishing off my website. But soon I'll be back on the South Island, gearing up for autumn and winter in the rainforests that I love so much, before I return back to UK.
In the last two years, I've been out in torrential rain, too numb and wrinkle-fingered to hold the camera and been the happiest and most content in my life. I've been in a palm tree and white sand paradise and didn't like it, being too dry to find anything. See, look how dry it is. Horrible.
I've been frozen, boiled, bitten and stung. I've spent nearly every day out taking photographs, from being cold and stinking after lying in alpine bogs, to being wet and sweating in 100% humidity heat carrying 15kg of equipment and three litres of water, miles out into the tropical rainforest. But after all of it, even with the daily bites from leeches, black flies, midges and mosquitoes and the periodic checks for scorpions, spiders and snakes, I must say, it's really been something. Life-changing, I guess. Except I don't think I've changed one little bit.
These beautiful little invertebrates are unendingly intriguing and fascinating to me, even though most are small enough that they could fall through a pin hole without touching the sides. Even I forget how small they really are. In my head, they are all giants.