Today I am taking a slight departure from my usual travel blogging of places I have been to and talking about the touchy feely stuff 😊. I am sure some will love and others will not, but this is me and my blog so buckle up.
I can’t believe that this is my last day in New Zealand and that tomorrow I head off to begin my travels throughout SE Asia which begin in Vietnam. Of course I am excited to discover a new country, but I will miss so much about New Zealand and I know I will be back here someday, whether to visit or live is unknown at this point in time. I will most definitely miss the ease of a country which speaks the same language as I. I will miss not having to be constantly vigilant for my personal safety as well as my belongings. I will miss coming across the friendliest people I have ever met and knowing that it’s genuine and not in hopes of some financial gain. I will miss the ease of traveling from place to place here as I remember how challenging it was in Thailand to get from one place to another and in New Zealand it has been as easy as hopping on and off a bus. I will deeply miss the breathtaking scenery partnered with the amazing friendships I have made here. It really is remarkable how in such a short amount of time you develop these deep and rich friendships with people you know you will be lifelong friends with and you feel like you have known them for so much longer than you have.
I know all most of you see are the gorgeous pictures and think this travel thing I am doing is nothing but fun, fluffy bunnies, sunshine, and so on. Well, sorry to burst that bubble but it most definitely is not. Sure, there are elements of all of the positive descriptions above that are true. However, there are so many more facets to long term travel than this.
It’s spending eight plus hours on a train/bus/other modes of transportation just about every other day (if not a few days in a row) to get to the magical places you see the beautiful pictures from. It’s spending night after night in creaky ass bunk beds in hostels where one is lucky to get a stretch of four hours of sleep in a row. It’s trying to find healthy and nutritional meals for cheap prices and trying to not gag when you see the condition of some of the hostel kitchens when you already are not the biggest fan of communal living and cooking. It’s learning to take a quick shower so the next person can get in and biting your lip when the water changes from freezing cold to burning hot second to second. It’s learning to live out of a suitcase that you still have to sit on every morning to close and continuously trying to figure out what you can dump to lighten your bags, but also trying not to buy things you totally want to. It’s getting used to your legs being covered in bruises from said bags always bumping up against them. It’s being patient when your mode of transportation breaks down or falls hours behind or has a driver who makes you want to duck tape their mouth because they never shut up and all you want is a nap. It’s trying to be pleasant to all of the new people you meet all over and trying not to get mentally and emotionally drained from being an introvert, plus not everyone you meet you want to even engage with. It’s falling in and out of love with people and places that you hope to see and come across again and not knowing if that will ever be the case💗.
And this isn’t to mention what is going on back home while you are away. I was never naive enough to think that everything would be on a pause button back home while I was away, but I forgot what it was like for things to move at the same pace and be missing it all and also feeling so helpless from so far away when crap things happen. I was waiting on pins and needles when I learned my Grandparent’s home in Santa Rosa on Fountain Grove Parkway which was one of the hardest hit areas in the ravaging fires and I didn’t sleep for two nights worried about what this would do to their mental and physical states. Thankfully, their house was one of the only ones left standing, but they still will not be able to return for many months. It broke my heart and pissed me off when I learned on Facebook that my little sister is yet again having chest pain and complications with her pace maker and that she didn’t tell me first because she didn’t want to worry me (seriously Haybee 🔪😬💗). I was also jealous that she was able to meet my Mom’s new boyfriend before I was as we all know I am the chief interrogator for their new loves and my sister is not nearly as good as I am 😀. It’s seeing or hearing about engagements, marriages, divorces, pregnancies, and so much more mostly through social media and feeling so far removed and wishing you could be there to celebrate or support the people you love and care about. It’s having a steak on Thanksgiving surrounded by international friends who don’t really have a grasp on TDay and as much as you love being with them, how you would do just about anything to be seated around a table with your family and eating the turkey meal you can only dream about.
And I realize how lucky I am to be where I am at every moment, no matter the challenges I come across. I have to say though, anyone reading this could do what I am doing if it’s what you desire. I worked my ass off to make this a possibility. Try quitting the best job you have ever had with coworkers and clients that feel like close friends and/or family. Try dating and telling the person you really like you will be leaving soon to travel for a year (spoiler alert- it won’t work 😀). I met a few people that I knew I could be lifelong friends with and it was hard knowing I would be leaving so soon and having to tell them this. The goodbyes to my Roxie Roo (fur baby), my family, and close friends were exhausting and heartbreaking, which also confirmed I have a kickass circle around me. Selling/donating 80%+ of my belongings and the first new car I had ever bought was challenging and freeing at the same time, but it was anything but easy for a multitude of reasons. I am not saying any of this to deter you from doing what I am- I am just being completely transparent that this was not an easy journey at all and you have to really want it and work for it to make it all come together. This travel for a year thing may not even be what you most desire and want, but whatever it is I hope something I said shows you that yes, you can attain it if you are willing to make sacrifices and work hard to get it.
I have also been entertained by the things I would thought I would miss, but don’t and visa versa. Things I miss more than I thought I would- my bed. Good lord I never realized how much I love sleeping in anything but a twin sized bunk bed 😂. The gym- yes, I have said this in a previous post, but man, I really miss my workouts. And I have also said this before, but I do miss having a set routine. Which is funny as I had never really thought I would miss the set routine that I was in, but being in constant motion to new places almost everyday is draining in a different way than the “normal” work routine. I miss the ease of being able to go to Target and buy anything and everything I need/want. I totally miss how easy it was as a foodie to solve my food cravings living in such a foodie heaven of Portland. I am sure I could go on and on, but these are just the quick examples that jump to mind.
But I can tell you that this is already the best year of my life so far which was previously held by my year abroad in Tokyo. Despite any of the drawbacks I mentioned above, there is not a single place or thing I would rather be doing than what I am. I can already feel the leaps of personal growth I have made (that sounds really funny and strange, but I don’t know how else to describe it). I care so much less about all of the shallow things in life and so much more about the meaningful things. The landscapes, beaches, mountains, glaciers, forests, and every other natural area I have seen firsthand that have taken my breath away has already crossed the hundred mark and will only exponentially increase from here. As I said above, the friendships and people I have met and the number of them already is not something I would have ever thought possible because I tend to be slightly guarded and like my tight, but amazing group of friends back home. There are so many things that I challenged myself with before leaving on this adventure and this was one of them and I am happy to say I am kicking ass and taking names 😂💪🏼. I just wish I could bring them all home with me and we could all continue traveling together as well. It’s definitely a double edged sword as saying so many goodbyes sucks, but I still wouldn’t want it to be any different than it is.
And lastly I just want to thank both the universe (yes, I am hippy dippy like that 💁🏻) and all of you special people in my life for making this be such an incredible journey and adventure. I thank you all for all of your safe thoughts and prayers. I am so very grateful for all of you back home following along on my journey, commenting on my pics, sending me encouraging texts, and being my kickass circle that I so dearly love and cherish. I would never be here without y’all being my cheerleaders, supporters, and fans!
And for all my new friends- holy balls I am so freaking happy to have met all of you that I have so far throughout my travels and please know so many of you mean so much to me and I cherish the laughter, stories, fun, adventures, and so much more we have had together. I refuse to say goodbye forever as I really do hope that our paths will cross again.
With love💗, unicorns 🦄, glitter 🎊, and rainbows🌈,