Photo Story #2: Lake Wakatipu and Couchsurfing

In my Photo Story series, I focus on a particular picture and tell you the story behind it rather than writing about a destination. In this particular case, this photo of Lake Wakatipu is one of my favorites from three weeks I spent in New Zealand:

photo story Lake Wakatipu and Couchsurfing new zealand queenstown

But beyond the gorgeous scenery, it always reminds me of a particular couchsurfing encounter.

First, let me go back ten days before this photo was taken - I just arrived to Christchurch from Australia with plans to rent a car and drive around the South Island for a couple of weeks. I posted a message in Christchurch group on Couchsurfing website to see if I could find anyone to join me and soon received a reply from Sarah. We exchanged a couple of messages before I scared her off she decided to leave a day early with a couple of French guys. So I ended up traveling mostly by myself, except for the times when I picked up some hitchhikers along the way.

Now let's get back to the photo - I was driving to Queenstown that day with Andi and Fishy, a Malaysian couple I picked up at my hostel in Te Anau. There were dozens of scenic overlooks along Lake Wakatipu and we did our best to resist stoping at each one of them. We did stop at one thou (ok, a few) and as I was taking this picture, I heard a voice behind me: "Hey! I know you!"

Perplexed, I turned around expecting to see someone I met along the road, perhaps at the hostels in Dunedin or Mt. Cook. Still, I didn't recognize the girl standing there, so, undoubtfully sensing my confusion, she excitedly added: "From Couchsurfing!"

Now my mind was really trying to figure it out - I haven't even logged onto Couchsurfing website since I left Christchurch. Surely she must be mistaken...

Well, as you probably have guessed it by now, it was Sarah!

Even though we never met, I guess my height was enough for her to pin me down.

At one out of, literally, thousands of overlooks around the South Island. What are the chances of that?!

Since then, I haven't seen her again. Yet.

To this day, this remains one of my favorite stories about the very small world of couchsurfing.