I was an Apprentice. I worked with a Carpenter from the East Coast who told me of a trip he made in his 20’s from Gisborne through Rotorua, Auckland and back to Gisborne. He told me how it was both him and his girlfriend enjoying that New Zealand summer and at the time I remember being genuinely impressed, The thought of doing that myself was firmly in the “one day, I hope” category.
I have been to more countries than I can count on both hands yet almost every other traveller I met along the way had been to all the places I had been – and more. Normal people, no particular skill or advantage that they all possessed. Some came from wealthy families, some studied for years and have good paying jobs. Some are poor people who saved, prioritised travel above everything else, threw everything they had into one heap, strapped it to their backs and followed their thoughts around the world to places their minds could not of thought of at all. Travel is not something I have “got out of my system”. My passion for travel is more intense than it was when I had never left the North Island.
My Mum and my sister met me at Auckland International airport and drove me home as my 2 month-old nephew smiled and cried in my face. A child that simply was not around in anyway before I left is now very much here on my return.
Returning to Auckland for a person who grew up here is the opposite of experiencing the newness of a city and 16 months do nothing to a city like Auckland. I noticed the alcohol store near my mum’s house has 3 more fridges. My girlfriend Jess left Europe too. Jess summed up the feeling well when she said “It is weird because it isn’t weird at all”. You can slot right back into New Zealand, like you never left.
A lot changed for me in this time and that is why I expect more change from New Zealand. Remembering the 16 month periods of my life that could be considered uneventful is enough to bring my feet to earth, which is always worth doing. I know how much I have grown in this time and know that without this time I would not be looking forward in the same way I do now.
In July of 2012 my friend Josh and I were getting very ready to start a 3 month rail trip around Western Europe. I thought of this blog before that trip and began it afterwards. Now I am going to post a series of diary entries as if it were a year ago, to give you an idea of what the trip was like.
I have not left a full account of my experience and I know there are things that would be interesting to read and at least worth while as writing practice. I am learning how to write publicly and promising a weekly post is an effective way to do so.
I am basically keeping a post-travel depression at bay by following my overarching plan to build something on every continent in the world. I have four more to go and 3 years to do it.