Friday, 1 February 2019

What to do when you're 'stuck in a funk'

I've been using this phrase a lot recently. I've lost track of the amount of times I've said it. It wasn't until my friend Lizzy asked me what I meant by 'a funk' that I questioned whether it's an actual phrase at all. Is it a Kiwi thing? Did I make it up? Has everyone else been too polite/confused to question what the heck I'm going on about?! (totally appreciate the tough love though Lizzy)

Well to me it's a cross between 'stuck in a rut' (clearly what normal people say), and 'no idea what I'm doing'. It actually makes it sound a bit jollier than it really is. I'd like to be stuck in a different kind of funk. An Uptown Funk maybe. WOAH. I'm not even kidding, about two minutes after I typed that sentence, Uptown Funk came on the radio. Am I in the Truman Show or something?! Excuse me for two minutes while I demonstrate my incredible and underrated dance moves to Margot the dog. (Nick's Dad's dog...not mine)

Ok I'm back and Margot has left the room in embarrassment. At least she's not climbing on my lap and attempting to place her chewed up toy IN MY ACTUAL MOUTH as I try and type, which is our usual relationship dynamic.



I'm not going to bore you with my predicament at the moment, as it was summed up morosely in my last post. Things are crawling forward; it was never going to be a speedy ride. Nick is on a roll and is applying for jobs left, right and center. We still don't have an exact area in mind to live in and we're leaning towards the South West coast, but a couple of jobs in Scotland have appeared so who knows. I'm pretty relaxed about either location, although the south coast is quite a fair bit warmer, plus I love cider.

I am attempting to break into the world of freelance writing. Unfortunately for you, this probably means I will be sharing more blog posts like this, and links to articles I've written for other sites AND FORCE YOU TO READ THEM. ALL OF THEM. OK?

The upside of this is that if it works out, I can work pretty much anywhere so there's less pressure on both of us finding a job at the same time in the same place. Also we can get a dog. I feel like I mention wanting to get a dog in every blog post no matter what the initial subject is.

The downside is that it involves a lot of hustling, something as as serial 'sorry to bother you but if you get a sec could you take a look at this please ONLY if you have time of course sorry, sorry, sorry' type, I'm not amazing at yet.

It's a strange time at the moment. We're in a sort of limbo and it's easy for us to feel frustrated, misunderstood and worried (we are millennials after all!) or just feel stuck in a big ol' FUNK. However, noticing this is important as is making an active attempt to get out of it. With this in mind, here are the ways I'm trying to bring myself out of my funky funk:

1. Appreciating the small things

I honestly can't remember the last time Mum and I sat in the living room with a cup of tea just chatting and doing...nothing. For the past few years every time we'd see each other it would be for a celebration, or a quick visit where we'd have to cram in as much as possible. There is such a joy in just hanging out, talking or watching T.V. I know I've been pretty moody and difficult since getting home (does anybody else revert back to their teenage self when they're with their parents?!) but my rents have been so patient and kind to me, and I really appreciate them.

2. Going OUTSIDE

I am terrible for this. I absolutely love the outdoors, I feel rejuvenated and alive the moment I step out the front door and gulp in some fresh air. I get excited just seeing a squirrel. HOWEVER. I am also one of the laziest people I know and could quite possibly spend five days in a row without leaving the house if I was left on my own. This almost happened last week. If it wasn't for Nick I may have become a hermit by now, but I must keep reminding myself how important it is to leave the house every day. It's an instant psychological boost.


3. Getting crafty

When I moved to New Zealand I got into creating my own cross-stitches and embroidery. The act of creating does wonders for my mood and motivation. It makes me feel productive and like I've achieved something, which I think is important especially when I'm not working. As Nick Offerman so wisely puts: "Making anything with one's hands is a very healthy pursuit." Well said Nick. I completely agree.

4. Making time for my buds

This one has been tricky. I'm not earning at the moment so have to be incredibly careful with what I spend my money on. Our family and friends were the sole reason we came home, yet seeing them right now requires a lot of travel and spending. Seeing my buddies gives me such a boost though, so I think any money spent on getting to them is completely worth it. They inspire me, make me laugh and remind me why I'm here.


5. Keep writing

When I spoke to Kate (bestie) about my idea of freelance writing for a living, she encouraged me to just write something every day, to get the juices flowing. Even if its just for me to read. I took her advice and have been writing (mostly nonsense) each day about how I'm feeling, or something that's inspired me that day. It's been amazing and she was totally right of course - it really has helped me find my 'writing voice' and each day I find I have a new idea of a piece I want to write about. Now I just need to find a way to get paid to do it! ANYONE?! 

*tumbleweed*



Sunday, 6 January 2019

I don't have a plan. I don't even have a 'pl'

I've finally settled on a name for this blog. 'All over the place' refers not only to my location over the past few years but also the general state of my thoughts, life plans, emotions AND hair (chuckle). It's also a phrase I've used a LOT over the past couple of weeks since returning to England when asked how I'm feeling about being home.

The truth is I'm not feeling too positive right now. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of Christmas celebrations, reunions with friends and family, lots of prosecco and lots of attempting over and over again to answer the dreaded question: SO...what's the plan now?

I naively wasn't expecting to be faced with this question as much as we have. I get it - our loved ones care about us and want to know what's next for our lives. It's a natural question to ask and I'm grateful to have people in my life that are genuinely interested in us. I just didn't expect the focus to be immediately on what's next when the past three months have been some of the greatest of my life.

I'm not totally self-absorbed and I know that travel tales are only really interesting for the people who were there. I don't want to be the person who bangs on about their "totally life affirming experiences in South East Asia yah," while everyone glazes over and looks for the nearest exit. I guess I was hoping we could ride the wave of answering questions about our travels for a few days before discussing what to do next because...spoiler alert folks: we have no idea!!

Coming back has also triggered what one of my friends called 'reverse culture shock'. I'm back in my home country but feel like an outsider. I notice EVERYTHING around me both the good and the bad. I am mesmerised and horrified by how many shops there are; I want to buy everything I see at the same time as wanting to run away from all the 'things' everywhere. I want to find a home for us that we can finally make our own but also feel dread at the thought of being 'tied down' to anything, anywhere. I am craving the company of the friends I haven't seen for months but am scared of the anxiety that discussing my future will bring.

I feel like I have one foot still in New Zealand and just a toe dipped into England; I realise it's not a helpful position to be in and should throw myself into life back here but I just can't make the leap.

When we first arrived in New Zealand three years ago I felt completely out of my comfort zone. I remember sitting in a house we were looking after a couple of weeks after we arrived and just crying and crying. I didn't understand how I was going to fit into this strange new country that seemed to offer nothing for the person I was back then.

I felt like I was in Nick's shadow with nothing to say for myself as the conversations with locals usually turned to what outdoorsy hobbies we were into, wildlife that I knew nothing about and past travel experiences of which I had NONE. Nick was in his element and it was clear this was a country made for an interesting, well travelled, outdoorsy marine enthusiast, but not so much for a city girl who worked in the media industry and thrived on organisation, planning events, and seeing friends.

I already missed my friends, felt like they made up a significant part of my personality and just felt completely lost. Nick was amazingly supportive I should add, and skillfully helped me out of my funk and out of my shell again.

I feel like a completely different person now. NZ softened me, changed my heart and set alight passions within me that I didn't know I had. Being away from everybody and everything I knew and starting again gave me the space to figure out what I really thought and cared about instead of being influenced by everyone around me, something I've always struggled with. It's impossible to live there without falling in love with the ocean and it's incredible inhabitants. The mountains took my breath away every day and made me feel connected to something bigger than myself. I began to understand the devastating effect that our modern lifestyle is having on the planet. The marine life on my doorstep gave me something to focus on during those days where eco-friendly living seemed like a chore.

There was no 'planning' anything other than where to spend our next weekend. Both of us felt connected to the country in a way that I never had to anywhere before. For us, it wasn't just a three year working holiday and now we're back to reality. It could have been our reality forever if we had decided to put all of our efforts into trying to stay. The truth is I miss it so much. I feel homesick for Kaikoura and the life we had there. It wasn't perfect of course, but it was a life that suited us.

Once again I feel like a square peg in a round hole (is that the saying?!) I've known for ages this was going to be the most difficult part and I've had friends move back home after living abroad who struggled to fit back in. I know my situation isn't unique and it's absolutely not the world's biggest problem. I recognise how privileged I am and feel completely wretched moaning away when many of you reading this have been and are still going through a lot of real scary life stuff at the moment.

But if you can't pour your confused emotions into your own blog where can you aye?


Saturday, 17 November 2018

Plastic in Paradise


I want to start off by saying that I've found it incredibly difficult to avoid single use plastic while we've been travelling, especially in Asia.

It was easy back in Kaikoura where I could nip ten minutes down the road to stock up on shampoo bars, and fill up my reusable bottle with clean tap water. I hung out with friends who were also passionate about living an eco friendly life and lived in a happy little bubble surrounded by like minded people.

Still, I naively thought I'd find traveling a breeze with my water bottle, bags and beauty bars. I imagined myself writing an #inspirationalblog post about going plastic free 'on the road' and would arrive home all pleased with myself and ready to lecture everyone who didn't ask about my 'journey'. Just kidding - but you get the picture. 

Well it's time to eat a big ol' slice of humble cheesecake because so far its been one challenging ride.

Here are some examples from my first two weeks the Philippines: 

-  I ask for a bamboo straw (that I can see behind the bar) instead of a plastic one for my iced coffee . The bartender says no and plonks a plastic one in before I can say no straw. I'm still confused by this. 

- I ask for no straw in another cafe. The girl nods and smiles then brings my smoothie over with the biggest plastic straw I've ever seen poking out the top.

- At one point I can't find anywhere that will fill up my water bottle (tap water isn't drinkable here and our hotel water fountain said 'no bottle refills') so have to buy a big plastic bottle of water.

- We order coffees to drink at a cafĂ© and they arrive in plastic takeaway cups. When I get a second coffee it takes a good minute or so to explain I want it in a glass. The bartender is extremely confused and still tries to give me a straw. 

- A hostel we stayed at in Coron has a laundry service so I give them our laundry in a big material bag. They return it in my  bag covered in a plastic bag. 

It's enough to drive you crazy! It's certainly made me feel guilty over the past few weeks and I know there were times when I definitely didn't try hard enough to make myself understood. The few times our drinks did arrive in a glass with no straw/a bamboo straw were cause for a LOT of excitement let me tell ya.

Mojito with a bamboo straw is the best kind of Mojito

Last week Nick and I went on a 3 day, 2 night island hopping boat cruise from Coron to El Nido. These tours stop off at various beaches and snorkeling spots and each night you stay at a different Basecamp - usually sleeping in huts along the beach. It sounds absolutely dreamy right?! We thought so too.

Well although we had one amazing day exploring a beautiful reef and picture perfect beaches and an evening gazing at shooting stars and fireflies, overall it wasn't that dreamy, for a few reasons.

Ok some of it was dreamy

I won't bore you with parts of the trip that annoyed us because it's BORING but our frustrations essentially came down to the other passengers, the crew and the general lack of organisation.

I will tell you that during the second night, I was awoken by something biting my stomach *vom* and turned my torch on to discover our mosquito net had rudely let in two big cockroaches that were chilling about 30cm from my face.

I have been woken up in the night by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake and I can confirm that for me THIS was a worse way to wake up. I'd honestly take the earthquake again. Nick obviously wasn't fazed at all. I spent the rest of the night wrapped tightly in my sheet, sweating, waking up every time something crawled over my arm (which happened a lot) and planning the quickest route back to England.

Sorry about that tangent but I need someone to sympathise with me. I'm sure there are lots of people who wouldn't care, it's all part of the package etc. I am not one of those people.

Cockroach Cottage

Ok so back to plastic. I was sad but not at all surprised to discover that a lot of these unbelievably beautiful beaches were covered in plastic waste. We were properly in the middle of nowhere, yet we lost count of the amount of bits of plastic we found. Balloons, toothbrushes, packaging and mainly BOTTLES. Soooo many bottles.

This was from the first beach. We ended up picking up about 5 times this amount. 

The Philippines is one of many countries that doesn't have safe drinkable tap water which is another issue altogether, so for a lot of people who live here, buying countless bottles of water is unfortunately the norm.

However. *Preachy part warning* All of us that live in Western countries like the UK, NZ and Europe have absolutely no excuse when it comes to water. None of us should be buying water when it comes free and clean from the tap. There are too many people who don't have this privilege and our oceans and our planet are suffering as a result.

We need to stop being part of a problem that's already out of control. Did you know most fish that we buy and eat contain micro plastics now? That means we are actually ingesting plastic into our bodies. A study on this was done recently and every fish eating participant was found to have micro plastics in their poop. Yum.

Ok time to get real. I know that it is near on impossible to avoid plastic completely. It's pretty much everywhere. I know when I get home I won't be able to live a totally plastic free life. It's just unrealistic. But I can drastically reduce the amount of plastic I consume, re-use what I can and recycle the rest. In that order! Recycling isn't the answer unfortunately. Every piece of plastic manufactured will still be on the planet for thousands of years even if it's recycled. Reduce. Then re-use. Then recycle.

There's so much else we can do. Organise or get involved in a beach clean if you live near the sea. If you're on holiday, don't ignore the waste on the beaches you visit, make a pledge to pick up five pieces of plastic every time you head back to your hotel. Buy a reusable bottle. Buy a water filter jug if you don't like the taste of tap water. My parents have one and the water tastes delicious after it's been through it! I think we're all pretty good at using reusable bags now but if you forget one at the supermarket, I can guarantee that the shop will have a box you can use.

Nick and I picked up all the plastic we found on the beaches during our cruise and along with the boat crew managed to take it back on board to recycle back on the mainland. Whilst a couple of the other passengers helped us, most just ignored us/stared/took selifes *EYE ROLL*

I just want to give ten thousand awesome points to Nick too - on one beach we visited we gathered a load of rubbish to take back only to find the kayak had already gone back to the boat. We left the pile at the shore and swam back. The skipper wanted to leave but Nick convinced him to wait while he kayaked back to the beach on his own and brought the rubbish back to the boat. A lot of people on board just stared at him and said nothing but me and the boat chef cheered him back on and the chef looked out to the beach in thought and said "He is saving the world." It made me laugh but he was right! Everything we do makes a difference.

Sadly just the next day, our boat stopped at a little beach where sea turtles are often found. Sure enough the crew spotted one and everyone immediately surrounded it, chasing the poor thing with Go Pros until it eventually swam off. We swam in the other direction and when everyone got back they were all gushing about how much they loooved the turtle. Not even five minutes later, two balloons that one of the girls brought onto the boat for her friend's birthday flew off the back of the boat. They all found this absolutely hilarious. I don't need to bother explaining why this made us seethe.

I think a huge problem is that so many people don't think what they do 'counts', that it's other people causing the issues. These girls had been disgusted at the waste on the beaches yet found it funny when their balloons floated back to the bay that their sea turtle friend lived in.

No one likes to be preachy but the more we talk about this, the more we can influence others to live mindfully. I realise I'm preaching to the choir as most of my friends are already doing these things. I just really want it to become a big part of our conversations.

I'm on Malapascua Island at the moment. Nick lived here 8 years ago and it's been great meeting his friends and seeing where he spent his time. I spent the last few days learning to dive which has been on my bucket list for ages, and I've discovered a whole new underwater wonderland that I'm excited to explore more.

My amazing dive guide Mariella not only kept an eye on me to make sure I wasn't doing anything mental, she also picked up every bit of plastic she saw down there. Her project Go Green Malapascua is responsible for getting rid of all plastic straws on this island over the past 2 years too. What a Queen! It's so awesome meeting people like her who are so passionate about their planet, and are taking action too! It really keeps me inspired and on the right track.


I also know that it's all way easier said than done. My life is FAR from waste free - it will take a long time for me to get to that point. I mess up all the time, get lazy and get overwhelmed by it all. But with every small change I make I feel like a tiny difference has been made. And let's face it - that feels pretty awesome!


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Niue




BEHOLD THE COCONUT! 

...is apparently what the name 'Niue' translates to and was the reason I arrived at the tiny South Pacific Island absolutely certain that I would be handed coconuts everywhere I went. I assumed I would eat so many coconuts that I would be sick at the sight of them by the time I left 10 days later and about 30kgs heavier due to said coconut consumption.

Whilst there was an abundance of coconut trees covering the island, it was surprisingly difficult to actually be handed any by random passers by and I think I ended up eating about 3 in total. They were absolutely DELICIOUS though and you'll be happy to know I'm not sick of them yet.

Anyway enough coconut chat.

FUN FACTS ABOUT NIUE:

  • Niue (pronounced New-ay) is a small island country in the South Pacific about 2,400 kilometres north east of New Zealand according to Wikipedia.
  • It is one of the world's largest coral islands
  • You can only get there via Auckland and there are only two flights a week!
  • Although its only a 3 hour flight from Auckland, you jump to the other side of the date line so arrive a day before you leave. Woah.
  • Niueans are absolutely lovely, super friendly and EVERYBODY waves at each other.
  • There is no traffic, hardly any tourists and more chickens than you can shake an egg at. (that well known phrase)
So Niue! Oh Niue. Where do I even begin? The crystal clear water? The beautiful and colourful coral reefs bursting with tropical fish? The kind and friendly locals? The dolphins? THE WHALES? I need a a minute to calm down and think this through.

Ok lets start with the people. We were blessed with a seat neighbour on the plane journey named Ernest who would show us true Niuean hospitality and kindness. After driving past us a couple of times in his truck (probably looking like absolute pathetic pale sweaty messes), he insisted we take his car for a couple of days to explore the island then called his buddy who owned a car hire company to get us a good deal for the rest of our time there. He also gave us bikes from his guesthouse (that we weren't even staying at) so we could have more travel options! 

There's a custom on the island to wave at everybody who drives past. When I say 'wave' a slight lift of the pointer finger will do, but acknowledging the other cars is a must. It's a small gesture but is incredibly endearing and was hard to stop after we left the country which may have confused some Australian drivers.



Niue is famous for it's crystal clear waters which makes it incredible for snorkelling. We spent our first 6 days there swimming every day which left me feeling about 95 years old by the end, but was worth it for the island's absolutely breathtaking underwater wonderland. There are SO many snorkel spots to visit on the island, some sheltered and others where you have to check the tide times and direction before you jump in. Side note: being swept out to sea is one of my biggest fears and there were a couple of times that I panic swam back to shore after being convinced I'd been caught by the current...I may have been slightly over dramatic. During one of these moments after I had decided to get out early, Nick stayed in a bit longer and ended up finding a grey reef shark that he followed around for a while, which I had been really hoping to see too. TYPICAL EY. Overall the snorkelling was out of this world - Nick was amazing at pointing out different fish to me and telling me their real names when I yelled OH IT'S LIKE THAT ONE OUT OF FINDING NEMO in his face many times. (obviously I've already forgotten all of these names) 

Snorkelling in a sheltered pool i.e. MY COMFORT ZONE


There were also some incredible caves to explore, some with beautiful pools inside like the one pictured above, and all with the most amazing stalagmites and stalactites that looked completely unreal and other worldly. 

Nick partaking in one of his favourite past times - rockpooling

We were fortunate enough to catch the end of 'whale season' whilst we were in Niue and saw at least one humpback from land or boat almost every day. From July-October humpbacks come to hang out in the tropics to calve and nurse their young before migrating back down to Antarctica. We were there at the very end of the season so were super lucky to see a few mothers with their calves plus some males hanging about. We were EVEN luckier in that we were able to go on a whale watch/swim tour and actually get in the water with a couple of them. It was only for a minute or so but it was one of the most surreal, huge and mind-blowing moments of my life. I cried into my mask and almost blinded myself in the process but I just was not prepared for how huge they were and how small they would make me feel. I know that our encounter was far from the best the tour operators had seen, but for me it was such a special moment and one I'll never forget.

I don't have any photos of this, so instead please enjoy my favourite photo from the trip which still makes me LOL every time I look at it:

It looks like I'm a Dementor sucking out Nick's soul

Another out of this world moment that again I don't have a photo for, was our encounter with Spinner Dolphins. We were on the whale watch boat again and caught sight of a pod of Spinners nearby. The dolphins love riding the bow of the boat and were soon surrounding our little vessel. We were allowed to jump in the water two at a time and hold onto a rope while the boat pulled us along and the dolphins surrounded us - so magical! The visibility was SO incredible and it felt like we were part of the pod swimming along with the boat. I should mention that in my panic and excitement I held onto the rope in an awkward way and almost broke my little finger. It was absolute AGONY and I genuinely still can't feel it properly. I think I may have done some lasting damage to it but y'know...DOLPHINS. Who needs little fingers anyway?! We even got to see them performing their rare but beautiful spinning out of the water.


Another great spot for snorkelling. Can you spot Nick?

The sunsets were also out of this world. We spent many an evening down on the beach just in front of our guest house with a couple of coronas, usually with one of the island dogs that we named 'Pat' who ended up following us about for most of our trip.

I genuinely well up when I look at these pictures. He was the best boy.

Pat deserves his own blog.

Pat making Pat angels in the sand

The below photo was taken on our second to last evening on the island, and looking back now I just can't believe this place exists. It's like nowhere I've ever seen in real life or in photos and I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten the chance to visit.


Evening Corona on the beach

Overall our trip to Niue was a totally dreamy 10 days. I absolutely haven't done it justice on this blog post, I've mainly just used it to talk about Pat the dog and showcase my Dementor photo to the world. But if you ever get the chance to visit this place you should jump at it. There are more famous Pacific islands with sandier beaches but I do think this is a truly special place that is like no other. Because there are only 2 flights a week it doesn't feel touristy at all, and the other tourists you do bump into you end up recognising throughout the trip as there are so few of you.

I really hope it stays this way and I get the feeling the locals agree. There are fewer and fewer places like this in the world so coming across one does feel very special.

Ok I'm done now, I think I'll curl up with my photo album of Pat the Dog pictures and cry myself to sleep.

I MISS YOU PAT


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

On the road again

The last few days have been a huge blur of many emotions. Mainly in my case: denial. We've left Kaikoura - our home for the last 2 years, and have suddenly found ourselves once again living in a small van. Although we booked this and had a leaving date set a long time ago, I was definitely not prepared both emotionally AND practically. For example: I knew we were moving out of a house with electricity and into a vehicle without electricity yet I didn't charge any of my devices. This lead to a very long 3 and a half hour ferry trip across the Cook Strait without a book to read (paper books 1 kindle 0. Real books don't need charging. Sigh)

I thought I'd write a post about what we're up to as I've had a few confused messages from friends wondering what's going on with us. My whirlwind trip to the U.K didn't help this confusion either so I'm setting the record straight here.

We've exhausted our visa options in NZ without getting a job that would sponsor us to stay in the country, then eventually apply for residency. If we'd seriously considered this we could have found a way to go down this route, but friends and family are calling us home for the time being. This means we have to leave NZ at the end of September.

Not wanting to come home quite yet we decided to prolong our journey and make the most of being on this side of the planet so we're doing a bit of traveling en route back home. Our first stop is Niue- a Pacific island a 3 hour flight north of Auckland, and interestingly just on the other side of the International date line. So we actually travel back in TIME to get there. Niue also means 'behold the coconut' in Niuean so I hope you're all ready for a lot of photos of me eating all the coconuts. There are only two flights a week that go to Niue and the only airport you can fly from to get there is Auckland. So we've picked up a campervan that needs relocating from Christchurch to Auckland and are making our way up there over the next few days.

Our campervan is rubbish by the way. It looks like our beloved Luke from the outside but the layout is terrible and it's really cramped. The bed is way smaller than Luke's was yet it somehow manages to take up the entire van so there's no room to stand or put bags or do anything other than sit hunched on the bed. Good job it's free to relocate campers! I'd upload a photo  but for some reason I can't add pics to blog posts from my phone. Cheers blogspot.

So back to Niue. We're hoping we've got there while the humpbacks are still hanging around with their babies before migrating back down South again. We've booked a whale swim tour for the second day we're there to give us the best chance of seeing them. The water there is famously clear as the island has no beaches or rivers so the visibility is incredible. There's other cool wildlife there too like Spinner Dolphins, sea snakes and coconut crabs. It's going to hopefully be an amazing 10 days filled with heaps of  snorkelling, yummy food and a bit of relaxation after a crazy few weeks.

After Niue the plans are still a bit vague but we've booked flights to Sydney and are trying to get another camper relocation deal so we can drive south and hop over to Tasmania. After Aus then the plan is to visit a couple of South East Asian countries (not booked yet but will happen very soon) before heading home for Christmas.

Then we can begin panicking that we are homeless and jobless with no idea where we want to live - YAY!!

I'm not super excited to go home at the moment and each day hope that some inspiration will hit me and I'll suddenly know what I want to do with my life. It'll happen any day now. RIGHT??!! I'm trying not to think about it too much so I can just enjoy the now and this exciting part of the adventure but 2019 keeps looming at me out of the darkness no matter how hard I try and push it back.

I know we'll be absolutely fine but anxiety isn't one for thinking logically and there's a little voice in the back of my head whispering that I should be married with a mortgage and a dog  and stable job by now because I'm THIRTY and that's what THIRTY YEAR OLDS do even though I really am very ok without those things at the moment.

Apart from the dog.

Anyway watch this space for updates on our travels and hopefully a few pics. Kaikoura friends: I miss you already. U.K friends: I can't wait to see you. But for now adventure is calling again!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Leaving home again

I'm writing this from my living room at the house we've lived in for the best part of the last two years. I can hear the waves gently breaking at the end of the road and can just about see the snow capped mountains out of the window. I've just got back from the Dolphin Encounter office where it took me half an hour to drop off a box because there were so many people to chat to, and earlier today I hopped on a helicopter ride to see a couple of sperm whales. If it sounds like I'm bragging about my day, I'm really not - this is just what life is like in Kaikoura. It's an unbelievable place and days can turn extraordinary at the drop of the hat, or with one phone call saying there's a spare seat on a whale watch helicopter flight.

We're leaving this unique and wonderful town in September and it's only just really hit me. This is my home now and at the moment I can't imagine living anywhere else. We have a real life here and a community - friends that we love and will miss more than I can describe.


The other day I found this quote and I immediately welled up. It sums up exactly how I'm feeling at the moment - torn between two places, two countries and two lives. I miss my family and friends back home desperately and it's a given that I'm so excited to see them again. But oh man - after living in NZ for three years I hope no one will be offended when I say it's going to be hard to adjust to life back home again. 

It feels like we've lived here just long enough to settle in and get comfortable with the way of life here. We have great friends that live within walking distance and a beautiful teeny house that looks out at the Pacific Ocean. Whatever life we make for ourselves back home I do feel like we'll be aiming to get back to what we have here already. I hope that we'll get it (minus the dolphins and free helicopter rides probably) but it's going to take a lot of work to get there. 

We have NO idea what we'll do back home, where we'll live, how we'll even begin to know what sort of jobs to look for. That makes it even harder to leave this place where we don't have to think about anything grown up or serious. Luckily (and we are SO lucky) we have amazingly supportive family and friends in the U.K. and France who I know have our back. I know we'll be absolutely fine and there are bigger problems in life, it just all seems a bit daunting right now. 

There's so much I'll miss about New Zealand. The people I've met here I'll miss most of all. The mountains that take my breath away every day. The birds - Fantails especially. The colour of the pacific ocean. The road trips where around every bend is a view more stunning than the last. The marine life that I take for granted but will pine for when it's not on my doorstep. The beautiful beaches of Abel Tasman - my favourite place in the entire world. The forest walks that lead to pretty waterfalls that soothe my soul. The emptiness - you can visit a breathtakingly beautiful spot and feel like you're the only person in the world. The coffee - OH how I'll miss the coffee. I'm trying not to think about that to be honest. 

I'm so sad to leave. This is my happy place and I know we could live here comfortably forever...IF it wasn't so far away from our other home. I am blaming all you people back home reading this by the way. Why are you all so wonderful that I want to see you and be near you? Why do you keep having beautiful babies that I want to hang out with and get to know properly? Why do you keep getting married and giving me massive wedding FOMO? It's quite selfish to be honest. 

I am very excited to see you all. When we went home last summer for 4 months I was really sad to leave you all in the U.K. and I knew then that I'd never be able to live this far away for good. I think I knew it all along. Many Brits I've met here told me I'd get used to being so far away, friends would fade, family would understand and I'd make new friends. Well, we've made new friends who are absolutely wonderful and I hope we'll keep forever, but I knew that I'd never get used to being so far away, and my far away friends would never fade. 

But it's still a hard step to take. This place, this country, these people have all shaped who I am now and I do feel like a completely different person to the one who got on the plane at Heathrow in 2015. It'll take a while to adjust and work out how to fit into life back home again. 

I think we just need to get a puppy. Then everything will be ok.


Monday, 30 July 2018

Back to bloggin'



Hi friends

I've moved house! Well blog house...blouse?

It's been a wee old while since I wrote anything mainly because I styled the last blog about mine and Nick's travels around New Zealand in a campervan. After settling in Kaikoura for the last couple of years we sort of...stopped traveling around in a campervan. Apparently not traveling is frowned upon in the travel blog world. Weird ey?

I also realized I was itching to write about other subjects that interest me that didn't necessarily fit in with the first blog's theme. I wanted a fresh platform to natter away on about passions of mine including travel of course, but also subjects like wildlife, environmental issues, feminism, the war on plastic, The Spice Girls possibly reuniting, all the hard hitting issues y'know?

If all that sounds remotely interesting and you want to stick around then yay! thank you! I hope I can be ever so slightly entertaining and I welcome any feedback. As long as it's positive...I can't take criticism ok?! ...just kidding.

Nick and I are almost at the end of our New Zealand adventure and are about to dive into the exciting world of being jobless again (or as I like to call it...fun-employed!) Whilst it completely breaks my heart in half to have to leave this ridiculously incredible country, I'm excited for the next adventure and I'm sure there will be plenty of travel chat and pics as we slowly make our way back to the U.K. when September has rolled around. After that I'm fairly sure the majority of posts will be along the lines of 'I'M 30 AND UNEMPLOYED WHAT AM I DOING HALP' so...stay tuned.

Until then thank you for reading even if it's probably just mum and dad left at this point...thanks Nige & Glendles! 

Farewell for now!