I think about New Zealand every single day.
Sometimes a picture of a mountain pops up into my mind. Sometimes it’s Lake Te Anau, some other times it’s a familiar face. When I think of some specific situations and occasions, it draws a smile on my face. I often close my eyes and breathe deeply for I need to regain some states of mind, plenitude, calm, and confidence.
Then, comes up a song. Hundreds of songs, actually.
I don’t talk much about it. Some people are curious and ask me loads of questions about New Zealand, Japan, Bali or Singapore. I’m very much happy to answer, proud of what I’ve learned there, what I’ve seen. Some people don’t ask me anything. Whether they’ve read my blog or not. It seems like they’re just happy to see me here, back home – at least I hope so.
It’s hard to bring it up. I fear to bother my audience, because once I start to talk about it, I don’t really know how to stop myself. But, perhaps it’s also because my journey is a little bit like my secret garden. Yes, of course, I almost shared all of my stories here on my blog. But this adventure is so entirely mine, it’s belonging only to me, that I’m afraid to let it escape, to scatter it. This journey is my treasure box. It might even be the most precious thing I’ve ever had.
I may had regained all of my stuff, the minute I stepped into my storage room, I wanted it all gone – except for my books, obviously. All of these clothes, some furniture, kitchen junk, even some stationery… What the hell am I going to do with that stuff? I’m not living in this world anymore.
Back in France, I have to adjust. Questions and doubts are coming in droves. All of a sudden, what was crystal clear while wandering in this country so far from home, became blurry, wobbly, and even scary. Some say that I’m ‘back to reality’. No, I’m not. I mean, what I lived was real, I walked those tracks, I bathed my feet in almost every water I stumbled upon, I touched those giant trees, I felt… I felt so much. To be honest, this year abroad seems more real to me than anything I’ve ever lived before. It was more intense, more vivid. I’m not back to reality, I’m back to insanity.
Old doubts and fears are parasitizing my thoughts again. My old-me is still here. This worried, scared, coward and unconfident little girl. How could it be different when my own country is having a revolution, in a state of emergency, on terrorist alert? How could I override the retirement pensions, career plans, money and mortgages conversations? How could I not get dizzy when the world’s getting insane?
In New Zealand, there are myriad of travellers. Hikers, road trippers, campers, hitchhikers, fruit pickers, backpackers, helpers, woofers, are common. They’re everywhere. In my own country, I’m not fitting in. They ask me what I’m doing for a living. I don’t even know what to answer. I often burst into laughter, and I start to explain. In the end, I keep holding on to the only job I’ve ever fully loved. Yes, I used to be a bookseller. And I also used to be a travel agent, in the meanwhile. And a wanderer-hitchhiker-hiker, a housekeeper, a kitchen hand, a banana girl. I’ve been gardening, seeding, weeding, cutting and pin-boning salmon, working in a former prison. What do I do for a living? Well. I explore. I try. Sure, it doesn’t pay very well, I don’t save for retirement, and I quit the comfort of a nice double bed. My resume is unusual, the lady from the temporary jobs agency said.
When I’m blue, I remember. When I doubt, because maybe that’s how life should be, right, to invest in a tiny little flat, furnish it with taste thanks to Ikea, manage to find a lover who would like to stay with me and support me in my duty to become a mom before I turn 35 for afterwards my eggs would be rotten, find a career job in which I could evolve and have a comfortable retirement, for getting old happens faster than we think, travel for holidays by the sea once or twice a year to have a break because work is tiring. Maybe that’s how life is supposed to be. Maybe I’m just having a ‘kidult’ crisis and I’m understanding all wrong. When I think about it, when I doubt, when I wonder, I hold on to the caress of the wind in my hair besides the sea, my grins on the saddles, my solo dances in the middle of the night. I open my treasure box, and I pull out one, two, three bright memories. I remember this is what I want, what I actually really (really) want. Experiences, adventures, unexpected encounters are what really makes my heart sing.
There was this young Canadian guy who said I was “wild and free”. Was it because I made him rolling around in the dead leaves after our nocturnal Geocaching adventure in a park in Christchurch? Wild and free. I’ve never thought about associating those two words with myself, and now it has become my goal, my motto.
I opened the Pandora box of the traveller. A new era has begun.
New Zealand is over, but isn’t it the beginning of a bigger adventure?