Three months. Three whole long months. That is how long I survived this city – how long I survived one place. The last time I stayed anywhere this long was Victoria after my last trip to Peru; I lasted a whole seven months there. That seven months led to a deeper depression than I had ever before experienced. It also included some of the best friendships of my life, and realising that University wasn’t for me. It was a pretty crazy seven months.
I was talking to a woman I know about this recently. I told her I’d been in Auckland for three months, and I said in such a way that emphasized that this was ages. She looked at me baffled, and said that three months wasn’t long at all. It’s funny how time is experienced in such different ways based on your perspective.
Auckland was a good idea. It had a great theory behind it: I don’t want to be in a first world country. The last year of my life, which has been spent in Australia and New Zealand, has not been travel in my books. It has been mere relocation. But, as I landed in Oz with $6500 in debt, I couldn’t really do much but relocate if I wanted a change of scenery. I had to pay it off. I hopped from place to place barely touching the debt. I grew restless so fast at each step. The decision to come to Auckland came after a weird stage – it was the stage in which I seriously considered going home. In fact, I had a flight booked, and I told precisely no one that I was going home. It was the night before my flight was set to depart that I had the biggest panic attack of my life (a big feat considering the number of panic attacks I had during my extreme depression). I called the flight company and found out I could cancel my flight for quite minimal a price. So I did. Ever since then there has been no doubt in my mind that I cannot return to Canada. It is, unfortunately, not home. And I say unfortunately with the utmost sincerity. How I long for the feeling that most possess without a thought; I wish to feel as though I belong somewhere. But I do not. Sure, I miss people, and I certainly feel that there are those who I do truly belong with. But they are so scattered throughout the world. In Victoria, in Vancouver, in France, in Norway, in Peru… they are everywhere. So how could I ever go to one location to find them?
My plan was to stay in Auckland until my debt was wiped, and then to take it a step further and save up for the next adventure. And I did damn well; my credit card debt is now entirely wipedmy credit card debt is now entirely wiped, and I owe my mom about $500. That’s it. So I more or less consider myself out of debt (of course my mom will receive the rest the moment I earn it, but $500 is peanuts compared to $6500).
When I came to Auckland, I wanted some stability for a little while. I wanted a stable home. I wanted friends that I was able to get to know. I wanted a job I could stay at. In the short/long span of three months, I have lived in eleven different places. I have worked five different jobs, with plenty of time unemployed in between. As for friends, the city has proved itself once again to be a superficial place. There have been a few that I thought would become good friends. I found them fascinating, and natural to speak to – something uncommon to me these days. But upon attempting to stay in touch, I received little to nothing in return; their lives were busy, and already filled with friends. They are well established and settled in their lives. It seems they have no time for outsiders. I do not believe any of them meant this in a cruel way, but the fact remains that they simply do not have time for my insanity.
So I’m going up north. I’ve been calling around attempting to find work. It’s one of those it-can’t-be-done scenarios that I often encounter; tourist season is over, and small towns have only hospitality jobs which rely on tourists for their livelihoods. When I arrived in Auckland I would sooner have died than work in hospitality. But this city has made me cold and lonely. I now crave the human contact that hospitality provides… at least for a bit. More than that, though, I just crave a beautiful place to rest my head. The city is less than inspiring – I love wandering about, exploring this and that… but when I can either pay extraordinary amounts to take public transportation to pretty places, or I can walk amongst nothing but houses, I feel most inspired to sit on my ass doing nothing all day. Yeah, not exactly the life I want to be living.
I’ve realised that my time in Auckland has been sort of ironic; I have been sacrificing my dreams for the sake of my dreams. I thought if I stayed here long enough working I could get to the next place. But this is absurd! I’m always the first to tell people that money is never the obstacle; your dreams are in your reach no matter your financial situation. So why am I trying to save large amounts to pursue my dreams? My debt is gone! There’s nothing more looming over me! Perhaps all that lingers is fear. For I have travelled, and in my soul I am a traveller, but have I truly experienced the life of travel yet? To those back home, the answer is probably yes. But for me? Nah, I don’t believe myself to have really travelled. My family has been there to send me money when I’ve gotten really desperate. I’ve never slept on a city street for lack of anywhere else to sleep. I’ve only dumpster dived twice, and it wasn’t out of necessity so much as for the experience and knowledge I knew I would need in the future.
For me, true travel is having no money at all. It is being reliant only on yourself – on the resources within you. I honestly believe that travelling with ten thousand dollars would be far less exciting and fulfilling than travelling with one hundred dollars. But that’s me. I crave the true nomadic lifestyle.
I have a friend who has been travelling for two and a half years. He’s a Canadian I met in New Zealand, who actually hitchhiked from Panama to New Zealand. He’s always on the road. He is living proof that if your dream is to be continually moving, it can be a reality. So I hold him in my heart for constant inspiration.
So here we go. I am embarking on what I believe to be my last stage of New Zealand – my last stage of first world life: the north of the north island. God help me for what comes after this.
And since I’ve been so neglectful with the handy things – like where to go in New Zealand and such – here’s an awesome New Zealand packing list to help you on your way!