Before I left New York, I had a goal of saving $18,000 for my six-month to one-year trip. But I only made it to $14,000. I should have saved more, since I was working at least 80 hours a week, but I struggled. Because of the anxiety that came with an office job that made me want to jump out a window and working two additional jobs, I spent the little shreds of my free time meeting up with friends for drinks or dinner (or drunk brunch, of course). On days that I wasn’t with friends, I would go back to my apartment with a $10 bottle of wine and $15 worth of sushi. I spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on comfort eating and drinking before I left.
So, I knew when I came to New Zealand, that I was going to have to work.
For the past two months that’s what I’ve been doing. I am now living and working in a small, but beautiful, town on the South Island at a holiday park (a campground/motel/hotel/hostel combination common in New Zealand.) It’s a glamorous life scrubbing toilets, pulling hair out of shower drains, and practicing my hospital corners when I make beds. And I always get a little hit of satisfaction when I rap on a door and say, “Housekeeping!” You have to learn to enjoy the little things.
It is not the job I dreamed about when I sat in my university fiction writing classes, but it is a good life here.
I am located in Te Anau, near both the Milford and Doubtful sounds. I spend my off time running on the peaceful native bush of the Kepler Track. Best of all, I have a library card! This has made me happier than anything else. I am finally in a place long enough to have a library card! I am devouring books with the same desperate frenzy that I did as a kid.
The absence of travel for the past two months has left me restless, though. I am longing for Southeast Asia where life was cheaper and everyday felt like a (sometimes undesired) adventure. I find myself repeating the same cliche on the phone with my family. You can’t run away from yourself. I can’t run away from the anxiety-riddled person that I’ve always been.
I’ve often compared myself to a shark–if I stop moving, I drown.
Just as I did in North Carolina and in New York, I feel the anxiety building in me again. I feel the constant need to pace up and down the hall. I have to always be doing something, treading water. I can’t just let myself relax. I’m trying to work on this, but it is difficult for me to retrain my brain. Especially since I have been this way my entire life.
That is my goal for the next couple of months that I will be in Te Anau. That and to save enough money for the next leg of my adventure!
My 2016 plans are finally coming into place. I will spend January thru May WWOOFing around the North Island. Then I will be headed to Israel, Jordan, and on a mini-European jaunt!