From the Coromandel and Wilderland I headed South through Tauranga and Taupo to Wellington, crossed the Cook Strait on the ferry and arrived in Nelson to stay with a lovely couple I’d met in Ecuador. I still had an open wound on my knee so I spent a week just catching up with people online and getting some chores done like setting up a bank account. I looked for a vehicle to buy to take me round the South Island because I don’t want to have to book ahead and plan or feel stuck.
But also I spent some time after that doing some ‘normal’ things again like playing netball once my knee had finally healed over, going to some outdoor theatre and going out for a drink with a like-minded girl I’d met through Olly & Megan. I learned to cook some new things: cooking is so important in life, we all have to eat that’s one certain thing, and not doing it justice means you’re not doing the best by yourself. So I’m really going to be trying to not just survive on things like pot noodles and baked beans from a tin!
I went on a camping trip, which felt so good to finally be out walking again! It had been a long time – hadn’t really done it since arriving here in November. This also gave me a chance to think about being prepared for setting off on my own to see New Zealand’s great outdoors. The main thing being insects: sandflies (ubiquitous vicious little bugs that feel like a sharp pinprick on your feet, ankles, hands, nose, eyes…) and bumble bees! Got stung twice and learned that they really like toothpaste… I saw my first wekas and saw my first backcountry hut, which are dotted all over NZ and maintained by the DOC for a fee.
I also had time to reflect on all this. I’d been camping before but never really been comfortable with it, mostly because of not knowing what I’m doing but also being away from home comforts. Now in the wake of my travels in South America it doesn’t seem anywhere near as challenging! However, I did also realise that when i’m with other people and out of my comfort zone, I often automatically go into passive mode and do things that they think are right, instead of thinking for myself and doing what needs doing. It’s partly from feeling like i need to fit in or criticizing myself for decisions I might make. It’s also from a hesitation to do stuff, too much of that negative chemical in my brain holding me back and possibly thinking something will go wrong if i do something so i’m better off doing nothing and procrastinating instead of just taking some sort of action – get up, pack your stuff up in your tent, be ready, instead of taking time to think and let your mind wander. There are times to indulge and let your mind wander and there are times to focus on practical stuff!