I put off unpacking my suitcase as long as I could. It’s as though, in the dim, kindergarten parts of my brain, I felt like unpacking would be the step that prevented me from going overseas again. Not the necessity of going back to my day job, not the lack of funds, no sir: washing my grubby, hiked-in clothes would be the sword that sliced the thread back to New Zealand.
Dudes, New Zealand is an incredible place. M and I spent January there, and we saw a lot. The biggest highlight was Fiordland, the World Heritage area on the south-west of the South Island. It’s the most beautiful, dramatic, glorious place I’ve ever seen.
Look at it! Man, isn’t that incredible? Sweet Jesus, what a fantastic sight. I’m getting all wistful now.
Anyway, you’ve got to go. New Zealand is incredible. It was a wonderful trip: eye-opening, exciting, and demanding. We walked as much as we could, all over the cities and all over the short tracks in Fiordland — hours every day. I thought a lot about travel and why I love it, and I thought a lot about how much stuff I did without and didn’t miss at all while we were travelling — which lead to a whole lot of thinking about what’s necessary and needful in my life, about where my priorities are, and all that kind of stuff. Interesting, if only to me! The bring-home message is that I’d like to live on less: I kept wondering why there were so many things I did while at home that I saw no need to do when I was travelling. If I can do without them while travelling, why can’t I do without them at home? There’s so much excess and too many things to attend to in my stumpy little life sometimes, and I’m going to practice putting some of them aside in favour of quieter and richer things.
Getting home was a bump, as it always is: I was ready to come home by the end of the trip, but I brought a new perspective home with me and that has made me more critical of some parts of my life. (On the flipside, it’s made me less critical of others, so that I’m hopefully maintaining a steady average of criticalness.) Plus, it’s always tricky to readjust to the realisation that you simply cannot spend every day eating delicious toasted muesli in cafes, bushwalking through alpine national parks and enjoying New Zealand pinot noir. That’s a rude shock.
But anyway, I’m back. And it’s nice to be home, where my bed is, and touch base with my friends and family. But if the offer came up, I’d bolt again in a heartbeat. Dudes, you’ve got to go. NZ is heaven.