Thursday, May 31, 2012

Home is Whenever I'm with You...

Little things, like feeling comfortable in what should be the most uncomfortable circumstances.

Caro "the Goat Lady" from Auckland truly believes I have not been killed yet because I have a knack at befriending people.  No, I just talk.  Probably too much.  Asking questions about all kinds of stuff.  I only know a little bit about alot of things.  Questions are no problem.
She thinks I might be a good hostage negotiator.  How sweet!

Home is an interesting concept.  For some people it's a certain bed & curtains, the company of certain people.  It could just be somewhere to go.  Somewhere you're bound to.

I've got friends who've given up their home ages ago, & many more who are drawn back.
I am told that giving up your home is an extremely liberating experience, or really depressing.

Considering this in bed over tea with my Latvian friend Danuta in Dunedin.  Working as an au pair means even though she is treated as part of the family, it is not her home.  Home is where she has freedom in her own space.  I defined my home as somewhere I can be myself.

Problem is I am always myself.  Everyone has different triggers of different personalities, but essentially, the base is there.  Here I am baby!  I'm not going anywhere!

It's easy to adopt wherever I am as home.  Point at my bag & call it 'home'; imagining all the times I woke up in the bush comforted at the thought I'm in my 'home' which at the time is a thin tent of protection.  Familiarity among strange surroundings.  Sometimes that's all it takes!

Going up the west coast of the South Island, whenever I shrugged my backpack on to leave there was a voice to say "The door's always open."  A warm smile to back it up, & hot water for a cuppa tea.  Whether it's with a lilt from Poland, New Zilland, England, the US or anywhere.

Realization:  I've stayed in places around the world, including Mexico & Colombia, that are comfortable leaving their doors wide open.  It's a challenge of the spirit, & a happy feeling.
The world is not such a scary place!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Great Walk: Routeburn

Finally I stepped out the front door.

Wanting so badly to do one of NZ's famous Great Walks, constantly stuttering to start, picked up our bags & laid them down, heading to the bar instead (made of ice).  Provisioned instead.  Okay, let's do this!...tomorrow.

Our host Mike asks if we have a GPS beacon, & everyone else says "You're not doing Routeburn, are you?"  The lady at the DOC office (Department of Conservation) told us it was waist deep snow weeks ago.  That's pretty much exactly the fears surrounding my hesitation.  The world is against us.

BUT my New Years Resolution is to Stop Hesitating (same as last year) & we push forward saying "How bad can it be?" & "realistically we are not doing this whole trek, but let's go & see how when we get there."  So I left half my food at home.  I mean, at Mike's in Queenstown.

We'd had plenty of luck hitching on the same road a week ago, but this time they weren't biting.  We struggled but managed to get to the trailhead just at the cutoff time for turning back.  Perfect timing.

The hike was amazing, & the trail conditions were better than we could have imagined.  Unreal.  Spectacular.  We couldn't have asked for better weather (other than the wet firewood).  So we pushed on, until we got to the top, until we got to the bottom.  Looking back at the ridge we did is insanity.  Are you freaking kidding me?!

Walked across to Milford Sound, which is practically the 8th wonder of the world.

Rubbing the new blisters on my feet from my 15$ tramping boots, looking at the next one.  That Milford Track is awful tempting...  And so many more!  Heaps even!

Momentum.  Not a moment to waste!

This is our map....

Do you recognize it?  (Harris saddle to the left)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Timely Homebody

Queenstown, NZ

Sitting by the hearth.  I do alot of back-dating my posts, but today is today.
Night stalker.  Evening is time with the fam.  The night is mine.

Mike invited me to his house.  It's a new feature on Couchsurfing, one I've explored only once before that landed me a travelling mate for a couple days.  This one has yielded the same.

The invitation was shady on the surface.  He invited me to share his bed (no hanky panky - promise!) & btw he's a nudist.  (*I must clarify here for my parents that I did not share the bed with him; I had a bunk to myself in a separate room thank you very much*) Most telling is that his massive German Shephard was beaten up by a possum.  Pets take after their owners, & I see no problem.

On day 2, Mike & his son Jack left for Dunedin, leaving the dog & the house in our care.  For the weekend.  In Queenstown, party central.  With a fridge full of beer.  Oh dear.

Tonight is my 6th night staying here.  I'm really feeling like a homebody.  Constantly keeping the kitchen clean.  We stay in & watch movies or tv at night.  Have dinner together, fight with Jack to go to bed on time.  Yesterday we made pumpkin & kumara pie for the family!

Making decisions about the future, or what I want my present to be.  The opportunities are only limited by my creativity.  Of all the places to be, this is a great time to be in Queenstown.  The autumn is so beautiful & the mountains are truly Remarkable.  And I really feel like things are falling into place.

Life is a crash course on timing.

Met an Estonian named Annika when our paths miraculously crossed as we were both about to get lost in the woods.  Happenstance makes her a CSer, & I have a torch.  The next day she's hitchhiking for the first time with myself & Ariella, my co-pilot.  Just down the road to see what it's like.  Our thumbs & smiles grab us a jetboat ride with our ride!  Blastoff!!!
[and cheers in Estonian is terviseks :-)]

Hitchhiking makes you believe in fate.  Timing is everything & everything is connected.
In fact, if I hadn't have missed my layover in Florida in 2010, I wouldn't have gotten a free roundtrip through that budget US airline, wouldn't have gone to Panama City from Colombia to use it, wouldn't have caught the boat to NZ.  Because I slept in a half hour.  Simple as that.

I've slept one hour during the night only to wake to a missed call from overseas.  How do they do it?  Some people have a knack for this!

I've been trying to sail to Australia for well over a month.  Friends of mine have been pushing it back since March & about every 3 weeks it coincides with perfect timing for me.  The 3 weeks in between were at the end of April when I had to make a move.  I couldn't wait around when it's going to possibly be months while the weather is turning cold & the South Island lays unexplored.  The day after I book my ticket South, guess who calls saying they're leaving next week.  So long compadres.

Hiking the mountains provides clarity.  It's been 2 weeks between here & Dunedin in the South; meeting good friends, penguin hunting & exploration.  What do I want my present to be.  Drop everything else.    Focus.  Ski season sounds nice, but let's head to Australia.  Wrap this up & let's go!  No more dicking around!

Then my phone is buzzing once again.  My friends from the boat.  Not gone yet, in fact, more repairs.  Leaving in a few weeks.
Great timing!!!

Things are finally (seemingly) working out!

...and Jesus, it's already 2:30am & I'm supposed to be up & out tramping early.
Bad timing.  sigh.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How's your sense of humour?

I just almost missed my flight.  I was sitting for about 3 hours outside gate E9, until boarding's getting close & there's still no action.

I am sitting in seat E9.