The Return

Sooo whānau,  I have officially been back in the motherland for 1 whole year! But, for some reason, I don’t feel celebratory as such. This year has flown by in an instant compared to the lifetime a year on the road felt. Time is funny like that I guess. Anyway, I felt the need to open my diary tonight and as always the page that presented itself could not be more relevant right now so I thought I would share it.

Diary Entry – 22/08/2016

I am buzzing so much about being upgraded to business class with it’s never ending fancy features to focus on the fact that I’m returning home after over 2 years abroad! But now that we have officially left European soil it’s starting to sink in…

Just thinking about being home sends shivers down my spine!  I’m scared, I’m excited but most of all I am unsure. Will it be the same? Probably. But I have changed so incredibly much that’s the difference. I never felt like I fit in before so how will I feel now? Now that I have had a chance to see who and what lies beyond the safe shores of Aotearoa.

Maybe I’ll have a newfound appreciation for home. I have missed it greatly. But maybe that initial excitement and comfort will wear off? For some reason, it feels right to go back and ground myself, to reconnect with family and friends. I can’t run anymore. From what I don’t know. Maybe from conforming, from being trapped in a societal structure of “living” (if you can call it that) which doesn’t suit me. Why should I live for the weekend, to then live for a holiday to go on living for retirement?

I feel in a way that’s exactly what we travellers are afraid of, conforming. We’d rather sit on a bus for 12 hours than work some 9-5 office job that drains the life out of you. But, maybe that is why we feel lost sometimes too…Because we are running from what we don’t want, but not quite knowing what we are running towards either…

It feels like I have been floating for a long while in the hopes that something will pull me in. When you’re working full-time there is a purpose, something to strive towards. A pay rise, promotion and a better-looking bank account for instance. There isn’t as much time to ponder life and your place in it. A luxury/curse us drifters are often faced with. So many questions with so little answers. Until I find those answers (which probz won’t happen) – I shall seek refuge in the fact that most other people don’t know what the fu*k they are up to either.

GGS (Grass is Greener Syndrome)

WARNING – First World Problem Ahead

I had a mini internal freak out at my desk the other day. Yes I have a desk now, (never thought I’d say that) and it’s equipped with a $1 lolly bag, chips and a Te Reo book.

I felt frozen, numb, a strong desire to run.

Fear found me paralysed, doing what I preached so long against. Working in an office. That different day same shizz type of business.

Isn’t that what I so longed for while on the road? Routine and stability? Now it scares the bejesus out of me.

I feel the need to escape.

“The trappings of society feel like they are bearing down on me and I’m slowly beginning to transform into the robotic slave that I fought so hard not to become. Is it just fear? Is it the full moon? I don’t know the answer but I know that running feels like a good idea. Booking a one way ticket and experiencing what real living feels like again. Uncertainty, adventure, risk, reward, failure, connection, loneliness, expansion… The predictability of each day is making me feel anxious. Is it my fault? There’s so much I can do in this city to break the mould but it’s just too easy to fit into it.” – Written in the heat of the moment so excuse the intensity.

I have to laugh at it all, because really, it’s just another case of Grass is Greener Syndrome. You know the one. You always want what you can’t have, that’s kind of sick don’t you think?

I wish there was an easy remedy to this age old enemy (which is in fact myself). But like all great lessons they are hard earned. It will take time, discipline and letting go of the fantasy and accepting the reality as it is. Not as I want it to be.

We don’t fit in boxes

Journal Entry – 20 May 2015

“I sit here in a 12 year olds room in northern Israel/Palestine smelling my armpit and pondering life. More specifically, questioning where I fit in amongst these elaborate constructions created in an attempt to organise ourselves into categories of ‘being’ in this world. It’s taken my twenty something years to realise that I simply do not fit in. None of us do.

These ill fitted models of classification were never going to define the experiences we are capable of having. Not for anything. Race, religion, sexuality, gender, diet, politics, fashion, the list goes on and on.”

The incessant need to label oneself , “hi there, I’m a bisexual, vegan, atheist”, is getting a little out of hand if you ask me (or if you didn’t).  Do I call myself an asexual vegetarian and then devote my life trying to adhere to the rules of what those labels imply and what they don’t? Or do I just do whatever feels good,  whatever feels natural,  in whatever time and space I am in? The answer seems pretty simple, but for some reason we don’t cope so well with ambiguity or uncertainty. A trait we probably should work on… Just saying.

We are constantly changing and evolving throughout our lives. That’s why it seems ridiculous to be rigid about anything in the first place!  Mate, the amount of times I said NEVER and was proven wrong, I can’t even count. For example, I used to absolutely hate blue cheese and Auckland. Now I’m eating it for breakfast in my Ponsonby flat. Life has a funny way of challenging the boundaries we place on ourselves and making us feel stupid for being so close minded in the first place. Ashamed that we ever limited ourselves before even knowing what the alternatives were and what they were all about.

Fluidity is the future, it is our past and present too. But it seems that now more than ever people are waking up. Even Miley Cyrus and Harry Styles are onto it so it aint rocket science.

I just feel like when we throw a label out there a whole sack full of expectations, stereotypes,  and potential misconception can go with it. Of course certain labels are necessary, like when you want to know how to wash your new linen shirt or when your milks gunna go bad you gotta know. But sometimes, all they do is completely limit our ability to experience life in its magnificent entirety and mystery. They can cause us to seperate and discriminate, when what we need to be doing is accepting and connecting ya’ll.

Let’s free ourselves from the overcrowded boxes where we don’t belong and learn to love and accept everyone (especially ourselves) , as we are, were and are going to be.

It’s a work in progress, but every step forward is a victorious one.

Ps. I’m well aware I’m making some bold claims here. Some that I probably won’t even agree with later on but that’s just the beauty of it. I have a right to change my mind and so do you 🙂

 

 

Feeling Full

You know those moments of feeling so overwhelmed.. with feelings?

Oceans of emotion flooding your heart.

Feeling like your at your full capacity.

A deep and humble sense of appreciation for life.

A sense of stillness as you bask in the eternal now.

A moment to finally stop, breathe and soak it all in.

To check in. See how you’re doing.

Probably should have asked sooner…

Realising that you’ve been there this whole time.

Waiting in authenticity.

The REAL you.

Nobody to please or agree with.

Patiently spectating as you act out the leading role in your drama.

There is no judgement, only acceptance.

You find yourself feeling slightly ashamed that you ever tried to hide.

Attempted to pretend that what you were doing was somehow more important.

More satisfying than connecting back to that place of comfort.

To that home within your heart.

Don’t be Tricked by a Travel Pic!

Is it just me, or does it seem like errbody is travelling these days? With no reluctance whatsoever in sharing the most magical moments (or so they seem) of their journey. #GUILTYYY!!

I aint gunna lie, I have a pretty epic travel album on Facebook featuring beautiful vistas and a very tanned, toned version of myself. From bathing on various beaches in Portugal/Greece to floating in the Dead Sea and skiing in the Austrian Alps. It would definitely appear to the viewer as if I were “living the dream”.

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What I didn’t add to that album was a very pale, slightly depressed and 9kg heavier than usual me washing dishes in Austria for three months. Along with some other less glamorous, less picturesque and certainly less documented moments and destinations of my journey. But just because they weren’t depicted doesn’t mean they never existed…

They say pictures speak more than 1000 words but that doesn’t ensue they are all true.

Every snapshot has a story and it might not be the one you initially thought up. For instance, that  beautiful piece of Spanish coastline (pictured bottom middle) was actually a nude beach where I witnessed two men jerking off in broad daylight. Not what you’d expect on your average day at the beach!  Now take your gaze to the top left image of  Petra, Jordan. A magnificent place full of history, mystery and culture…Along with abused animals being worked to death for money from ignorant tourists. But how could you guess these details by looking at a strategically placed camel or aerial beach shot?

It just goes to show how easy it is to crop, filter, edit and choose what makes it on social media and what doesn’t. But sometimes it’s what we don’t share that is most important and worthy of sharing. It’s what I didn’t capture that truly changed me. It’s the ugly, uncomfortable and unexpected experiences  which had a greater internal impact than sunbathing by an infinity pool in Greece (surprise, surprise).

If photoshopping people creates an unrealistic standard of beauty then we are just as guilty in creating an unrealistic standard of travel.

There is nothing inherently “wrong” or “bad” with wanting to share the most beautiful and idealised versions of who and where we are. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer on their newsfeed lezbehonest! But these solely positive projections come with a lot of deception. For if we fail to grasp that “light cannot exist without dark” and things are not always as they seem. Our perception of Self and the world around us will ultimately be distorted and narrowed as a result. It’s so easy to throw a self-pity party when you are comparing your present with someone else’s social media presence.

What I’m trying to say is don’t be fooled by a fancy photo folks. Let my honesty shed light on a certain reality so that we can stop lying to ourselves based on a fantasy. It is a harmful mistake to doubt the quality of your life based on someone else’s Instagram account. There will ALWAYS be two sides to every coin, even if we fail to acknowledge one of them. NO-ONE is exempt from facing pain (or acne for that matter) regardless of where they are, what they look like or how much money/likes/followers they have. We are all equals on this earth and a few stamps in a passport doesn’t change that (it just allows you to realise it more).  Take pride in knowing that your life is just as meaningful and precious as that blonde bombshells’ making her way through Bali one bikini at a time.  No better, no worse,  just different.

Guidelines for a Heart that’s been Broken:

Journal Entry – 12 May 2016

I have given you something sacred.

Not to have but to hold.

Not to be tampered with but  treasured.

It is not a toy nor a trophy.

It is a token of trust.

Trust that you will care for it.

Not take it for granted.

You see, when something has been broken…

It is sometimes harder to open.

And what waits inside will be a surprise.

Not only for you but for me too.

And perhaps it is not what what we expected.

But should be equally respected.

You’ve given me yours too, to hold.

And it is not a burden but a blessing.

A gift I am grateful for.

Long Term Travel- A Truth Seldom Told

 

“I would rather see less and feel more, than see everything and feel little”

Journal Entry: 11/10/2015

Long-term travel is definitely not the endless pleasure party it’s made out to be. There’s nothing wrong or disheartening about that… Just realistic

YES, you meet loads more people, see loads more stuff and experience loads more in general. But there comes a point where you become OVERLOADED. I am compelled at times to question whether I am built to experience so much, so often. It’s as if I have moments where my mind/body/soul malfunction from too much information that I just freeze. I can’t help but ask myself “what the hell am I doing? what am I even achieving anymore? Is there some sort of race to see and do more than everyone else?

I’ve learnt that quantity is definitely not quality as the old cliche warned me many years ago. With the more people I meet, the more places I go and the more things I see… the less I seem to care. Many relationships (not all) are superficial and finish as soon as they begin. I find myself cherishing pre-existing friendships that I have invested so much time and care into previously.
Living such a transient lifestyle causes you to develop an attitude of non-attachment as some sort of survival technique to minimise the amount of emotional pain you experience. It’s GOOD to experience pain, life is about balance and when you try to avoid the “bad” stuff you find yourself losing appreciation for the good stuff in the process. Too much of a good thing can believe it or not be a bad thing. Like when you’ve only been eating junk food you feel sick and just crave a freaking salad!

I know change is inevitable but it’s definitely more amplified and unpredictable on the road. I miss structure, I miss the stability of a stable income and a social netball team! Why the hell didn’t I appreciate these things when I had them?

“Worn out” is an understatement at times but I cant say certain hard times were avoidable had I chosen a different path. Just as I realised that committing myself to the traveller lifestyle wouldn’t solve all my problems or ensure avoidance of upcoming ones. That Fantasy was quickly woken up to.

 

IMG_0364 Coming on this trip at 21 fresh out of University I  was disillusioned by the perception that “dropping everything to be free and travel” was the easy route ha!  Instead, my troubles came along  in my baggage and there was a whole bus load waiting still. You cannot run from the lessons you need to learn! They will always find you until you acknowledge and work through them. Appreciate stability and structure because believe it or not you may miss it one day when you have no clue where you’ll sleep, what you’ll eat or who you’ll meet (it’s not always as adventurous and daring as it sounds). I spent waaaay too much time daydreaming about how great life would be on the other side of the world that I sometimes forgot how incredible it was right where I was standing. Don’t get me wrong folks, to travel is a gift and an honor that I am lucky to have and will always be grateful for. It’s inspiring, challenging and ultimately life changing. But its F**ken hard and definitely not for those who enjoy their “comfort zone”. My intentions aren’t to scare, but perhaps prepare, and make aware, because I care #rhymeskills.

 

 

 

Who Said Diaries are Supposed to be Secret?

“The reason we struggle with insecurities is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel” – Steve Furtick

Like most young girls I kept a diary with a tiny padlock so nobody could find out all my “secrets”. Keeping in mind that the keys could open anyone else’s diary which defeated the whole privacy aspect but whatever.

Before my first kiss at 17 #latebloomer, most would deem my diary pretty damn boring by diary standards. Even if someone did manage to read it they probably would have put it down soon after.

But as I have grown and “diary” has become “journal”. My entries have become more meaningful (with the exception of a few embarrassing poo related anecdotes). I talk about my deepest fears, strongest passions, greatest lessons and new revelations all in some kind of attempt to comprehend this thing called LIFE.

Writing has always served the same therapeutical purpose for me.

It’s pretty common knowledge that reading someone’s diary is a sin with major repercussions. However, that didn’t stop me from reading my older sisters on several occasions #lifeonthedge.

Back then secrecy was of uttermost importance but nowadays my journal is a story I am more than willing to share with whoever is willing to listen. In a world full of filters and glamourised facades of perfect people and perfect lives, we could use a little more honesty.

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I truly believe that by opening up and sharing our most authentic selves without fear of judgment or shame stopping us, we allow a deeper connection with others. A sense of unity and belonging. A chance to be inspired or comforted in knowing you are never alone.

A risk worth taking wouldn’t you agree?

That’s why after much doubt, insecurity and procrastination I have plucked up the courage to just freaking do it! To share my behind the scenes instead of just the highlight reel.

Ps. The journal pictured above has been my travel companion for the last two years here in Europe where personal growth has been at an all-time high as many of you fellow travellers can relate to I’m sure.