New Zealand for President

We left the country on the night of the election. As we watched the live updates on the polls as the votes came in, we were simultaneously listening for the boarding announcement at LAX for our plane to Fiji, where we'd connect to go on to New Zealand after a 12-hr layover. We sat, anxious, as we watched more states turn red, yet feeling as if it were a movie we were stuck in and in 90 minutes it would all be over.
We boarded the plane, shoved our backpacks into the overhead bins and got settled into where we would sit, sleep and eat for the next 10 hours. About an hour in, somewhere above 30,000 feet, we heard the news, and only gasps and sighs could be heard in the following moments, and then silence. We wrestled to sleep at a 45 degree angle as we soared further and further from the country.
We've had very little data / wifi connection here in NZ. Though our days have been filled with driving, sight-seeing, image-making, camping and eating the most delicious food, we've taken moments to check what's going on at home. And nearly every time, we have found ourselves thankful to be elsewhere; of all places, here: New Zealand.
It's been a breath of fresh air to be somewhere that respects their environment so much that nearly the entire country is one big nature reserve. The only billboards you see throughout the south island are about driving safely and staying alert. The people greet you with smiles and conversation and genuine interest. 
Here is a first glimpse through photographs of a place that has my heart, and its priorities set straight. 

Nicole Mason