If I walk into the darkness I’ll be lost. If I try to stay the light will show my flaws. -Matt Corby
will preface by saying this post is more about personal thought and I am not going to apologize for them, so if it not your cup of tea I would suggest going back to trolling facebook memes.
So I’m nearly two weeks into my New Zealand trip and am already feeling a bit sad to think how quickly the time is whipping by. Normally my posts just run through a series of events and activities I’ve been doing, full of joyous occasions and anecdotes. It could be the disappointment of not getting access to the Tongariro Crossing, or the gloomy cloud cover hanging over Taupo, or simply the fact that I have an honest moment alone with myself. I would say that I’m generally a pretty happy person, even moreso when I travel, and I know that my emotional tendencies can be seen by some as melodramatic. This is fine, we are allowed our own opinions, and I do not expect to be everybody’s cup of tea. While there is a part of me that preaches the power of travel and following your desires (even off the beaten path), there is a certain part of me that has a serious worry for the future. People always tell me not to worry, and keep doing what I’m doing, that I “have time”, as if it is easy to shake off the ways you wear so well. People will make me feel guilty, or silly, for wanting to meet someone, to establish some sort of roots, even though this is something most of us all want at some point, something most of us have had and I have not. As someone who is constantly trying to beat to her own drum, all while hearing the voices of others, it can be so conflicting.
When I think of going home, a serious panic takes over. Though I miss my few good friends and family, the idea of returning home to my old existence is not a welcome one. Maybe I didn’t work hard enough to create an existence I wouldn’t want to leave, or maybe it just isn’t the place for me. On the other hand, when I consider what else I will do or where I will go after this year, I am left blank. Where would I move? Will I apply for jobs in Australia? Can I see myself committing to a four year visa? These are answers I don’t know. I told myself I would give myself this month to tune out the worries that kept me up at night a few weeks ago, to block them out and worry about it later. I still have a few months in Melbourne and said this would be the time to figure it out. When I think of staying somewhere long term, I tell people I would have to find people I can count on, a job I enjoy, and someone to share the experience with. Settling down somewhere dependent on someone is not ideal, as I’ve seen people get stuck or see themselves alone in a place they hadn’t really intended. Still, to want that should not be a crime. We have our own definitions of happiness, and we have to attempt to respect this personal definition in other people.
The past two weeks in new Zealand have reminded me how much I love to be on the road and experiencing things anew. I enjoy meeting new people and being in places where I am unknown. I like the freedom. I enjoy the slight discomfort and calm of doing things on my own.The unknown- this is the thing I both love and hate. I believe that growing up I’ve mostly been a Type A. I don’t mind the spontaneous, but I love researching, planning, making lists and having a general sense of where I’m headed. At 24, my first time overseas, the unknown was my oyster. Random trip? Let’s go! Sponsorship? Hit me! Farm work? Let’s try. Now, four years later, the unknown has a different texture. I feel like I’m walking in a dark cave and wouldn’t mind if someone passed me a head lamp. I discovered an expression last year called “preemptive nostalgia ” where a person is experiencing a moment while being keenly aware of how they will miss the moment after it is gone. This is considered ‘not being present’. I tend to disagree. In the past few weeks and months alone I have had both simple and exciting moments I have enjoyed and wished to hold in my heart as clear as the moment in which it happened. A special view. A forest walk. A beer at sunset on a friend’s deck. The sound of waves and a full moon at night. A stolen kiss. In truth, I have been doing this my whole life. I relish in the beauty of a moment, but I am well and truly sad when they are gone. In truth, there are a few tears now, but I don’t see myself as sad. I see it as acknowledgement of a soft heart for the beauty of those moments that come to mind.
As beautiful as it is meeting new people, I’m always a bit sad when you have to say goodbye. You meet a kind soul, and know that it couldn’t work out, but wonder what would have happened if it did. Every new place, I seem to wonder, could I live here? When I research a job, I think, could this be for me? I have a friend who recently gave a lot up to move from Australia to Costa Rica. At first I was upset at how I found out, and how could one of my few constants in Melbourne leave? Now I realize the bravery involved in going against the grain and making a tough decision for a shot at something that feels right. I’d like to have that sense right now.
I know that nothing is set in stone, and yes, “I have time”. Of course there will be people who say I’m whining about first world problems, but the thing one needs to realize is that we all have our own battles, be they big or small. It may be marital disputes, issues at work, finances, family relationships, anxiety, stress, etc. They can be external or internal. I think what I’d ask of people is not to be too hard on someone if they voice a dilemma that you find menial. You can’t tell someone not to make a mountain out of a mole hill if it feels like a mountain to them.
I am by no means crying into my overpriced lunch as I write this, and I intend to make the most of a grey afternoon (now that I’ve come to terms with it). I will carry on and have wonderful days with new acquaintances as I have the past two weeks. I just want to acknowledge that we all have our bad days, and our weaknesses, even as we are having the time of our lives. I am worrying about the future. I am wondering about where I’ll make roots. I am thinking about the ones we meet that cannot be. I am nervous about what’s around the corner….
….But I am curious. I am hopeful. I am excited. I have an open heart. And I am living.
Honest notes from New Zealand.