One whole year ago… One year ago I was stepping off a plane and into a world I never thought I would see. One year ago I packed my winter clothes in my closet, my summer close in a backpack, and headed to the other side of the world. One year ago, and it feels like just yesterday. I literally remember specifics about my first day in New Zealand, and can recall the sequence of initial events; the alien vegetation on the way from the airport, meeting Ben in the hostel, and finding great espresso in a foreign city.
This week my one year, once-in-a-lifetime visa to live and work freely in New Zealand expired. It would be untruthful to say that I was not upset by that fact. Dishonest to think I didn’t romance the ideas of what could have been had I stayed the winter there. Where would i be now?
To a certain degree I regret coming home. I miss the wandering lifestyle, my crappy car, my surfboards, the sand in my bed, the cold hard ground of my tent, driving around with two people and so much stuff you couldn’t see out the back door. I miss kiteboarding with Sean and asking Phil for a wetsuit. I miss the views from Solscape, and the people I met there. I miss the Coromandel, the ocean and the smell of saltwater. I miss the sunrises and the sunsets, the rainstorms and the hot days of February, the look of the sea in the morning, the power of the water and the serenity of the environment. Most of all i miss the STARS.
Transformation is an interesting thing, and I think that by going somewhere new, I was able to, eventually, transform myself into someone else. I survived and I learned about what I valued in life. Perhaps most importantly I became happy, if at least for a time. I finally admitted my inner truths to myself. I let myself be mad about the things that made me mad and happy about the things that made me happy.
Experiencing that has changed my perspective on not just traveling, but living. I ended with, not a new sense of self, but a truer sense of self.
Now I am back in the US, with a new job and new ambitions, but ones that center around what excites me and makes me happy. Until last week I had never faced a day excited to go to work. Now I wake up knowing someone is going to pay me to follow my passion.
I’ll end this reflection with something I wrote the other day. I was researching some graduate school programs and I decided to come up with a list of objectives, a credo, so to speak, of how I see and aim to live my life. This isn’t necessarily a 180 from where I was a year, or a year and a half ago, but maybe it is a testament to my transition and to my fundamental shift in attitude.
Goals in life:
Do not ever be tied to a lifestyle, nothing physical is needed. Wants and desire are temporary fulfillment. True work is lasting fulfillment. Carry only the tools you need to accomplish this fulfillment, everything else is an anchor, a weight that limits your range in life.
Feel alive, keep asking “Why?”
December 30, 2009 – Oakland, CA: Fixed some formatting