Saturday, July 23, 2016


"Traveling- it gives you homes in thousand strange places, then leaves you a stranger in your own land." -Ibn Battuta

Taken from the top of Mount Arthur, to the left is Golden Bay, to the right is Tasman Bay

Post 1 of 2. Today's musings will be in reference to the first half of the above quote, which has been iterated to me on several occasions by people whom I respect and love. Home in a thousand places. So far I have not been to a thousand places, but I can say of the lands I've visited, I often felt the familiarity of home.

I want to explore an idea I have come to relate closely with. Home is not a house, or a location, or an infrastructure. Home is with a familiar soul. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to say it. Home is where the heart is. I am so sorry to assault your mind with the cliche of the century, but it simply must be done.

Home is not a building in which you find yourself falling asleep on a Sunday afternoon watching a golf match (game? set?). Home can actually be made, though I'd argue, not entirely intentionally.

Before reaching the top

I left work at Founders early one day because we were slow and keeping two of us on couldn't be justified. I walked to my car, started the engine and realised that going "home" meant going to an empty house- where I would try to force avoidance of the readily available cake slices provided by my generous house-mate. I got out of my car and went back to the cafe where I sat and read around the people who had familiar souls. The cafe means the world to me, the brewery is incredibly special, but at the end of a shift I don't have a beer with the kegs, the sanitiser, or the coffee machine. I have moments with my people.

Not far from Founders is a home I frequent. Tasman Bay Backpackers did not begin as a home, but became full of comfort when I recognised the souls of the people around me. The managers, the Wwoofers, the friend who sits with me in the lobby and makes up songs about guests who check-in. These are home.

Just down the road from Tasman Bay is a home I never expected. A friend who began by paying me to clean her house became a home of immense importance.

I could go on for days and describe the soccer team, the friend who invited me to crash once and I stayed for 3 months, the church group who welcomed me with love, challenging topics, and snacks. All of these homes, and I haven't made it past Nelson yet. The Air BnB hosts who went above and beyond, the family members who conveniently moved to Wellington, the friends who gave me my first experience of home in New Zealand, and so many more. I may not have a home in a thousand places yet, but I have homes in many more strange places than before I left my own land.

Looking out at Tasman Bay and Beyond, also Bob the
way too kind woman who let a stray backpacker live in her home

Thursday, July 14, 2016


"I asked my angels for a Peugeot, do you believe in angels?"
"I asked them for a Peugeot this morning, what year is yours?"
"You should ask your angels for things when you need them." 
A much loved, much utilised car has been sold today. I worried no one would want it because it's European and difficult to find parts for, turns out the lion on the back was the exact reason she stopped to read my advertisement in the window.
"I loved your advertisement"
"Thanks! I love this car, I think it deserves another owner who will love it"

We talked about life, and people who live to do good work in the world, we talked about her travels, and she encouraged me that whatever I do I will spread love through my actions and sometimes also my words. I advertised much more than I was expecting to be paid for the car. Though I believe it's worth the money for how reliable and in what good condition its in, I never expected anyone would pay me the advertised price.

"The extra is just for fun"
"Wow, you don't have to do that, thank you so much"
"Thank you for being the person you are"

Be a blessing to someone today. Thank you all for being the people you are.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Across the Mountains

As aforementioned in my previous post, I have not been required for participation in the joys of consistent employment. Do not let your hearts be heavy with the thought of my idle hands, for as I also previously alluded I have taken this opportunity to proceed in exploring my surroundings.*
Encouraged by the promise of exceptional weather, I proceeded to ascend the mountain road which leads to a place I deem the very essence of what middle earth was meant to portray. Golden Bay, admittedly made more charming by the season**, is where my desire to explore led me. 

Too many times I have been told to visit the shores of Whawhariki (Fa-fa-riki) Beach and pay a visit to Farewell Spit. for too long I have been the solemn observer of the sun sinking behind the forms to the west; shapes oddly similar to the destruction I bring to Gift wrap when attempting to cut a straight line. 
When the weather promised to oblige, and finally I admitted I could not spend another consecutive day at the library, I packed up the car and made my way to the other side of the mountains. 

I made my way to the beach of much promised beauty. It did not disappoint. 
The next day I spent hours walking through a farm on the top of a cliff and feeling as though I was walking through a novelist's imagination. 
I discovered my distaste for wind and sand, and preference for beholding the far-reaching, untouched coast from the wild hills above. 
In the mornings I ventured to nearby beaches to watch the sun greet my time-zone and enjoy breakfast with nothing but the waves and birds for company. 
If I have not already made my feelings plain, I had a wonderful time. All was not bliss, though, it did rain one evening as I returned from my venturing, but before it lulled me to sleep by tapping incessantly on the roof of the car, it provided me with a promise for more beauty to come. 
That night I parked in a little freedom camping area where I met a lovely 70 year old woman from Southland. She drives her shiny blue bus to the top of the south for three months every winter to, as she put it, "Be lazy." She provided me with the compliment of saying I have a "Soft voice." ("...for an american" was her implied meaning) She also gave me some sort of fish fritter cake on buttered bread, it was weird and delicious. 

So, there's that. 

*I'm reading Jane Eyre at the moment, do forgive my excessively old-school word choice. 
** Far less tourists and backpackers (which I realise I am one of) 

Friday, July 1, 2016

The King

I spend a lot of time at Burger King these days. Almost daily I walk in to the fast-food establishment and find a table out of the way; I put in my headphones and proceed to FaceTime, do research, respond to emails, or write blog posts..

When I first started this trend I felt bad for blatantly abusing Burger King's internet, so I would buy a lukewarm coffee out of a machine with three buttons. Sometimes I would even drink the coffee. Then, one day, I didn't have any cash, and using an eftpos (debit) card to spend $1.50 felt silly. So I sat, and no one said anything. The next day I just sat again, and no one seemed to care. So now I sit, and soak up the free internet as a way to pass the time.

You see, I love my job, I really do. It seems, however, my job feels we have a more casual relationship than I was envisioning for us. I am to understand that it's not me, it's the season, the winter months decrease local demand for beer. This makes no sense to me, but alas I must accept work's decision. SO I sit. And sit.

I sit at Burger King, I sit in the Library, I sit outside of a local gym, or i sit outside the hostel in which I formerly resided. All for the sake of browsing the web and talking to people thousands of miles away. I am not a person who enjoys extended sitting. Don't get me wrong. I love a good sit. After I work hard I will sit hard. But starting my day sitting, and continuing my day sitting, and then ending my day sitting is getting a little old.

I remind myself that I can work the rest of my life, it's okay. But I also remind myself that being still doesn't take me anywhere. So I am hereby resolving to stop sitting (more accurately, reduce the sitting), and take more advantage of my surroundings. Anticipate more tales of standing, walking, running, general forward motion etc.

I live in Narnia
I live in Middle earth

These are some pictures from a day-hike I did a couple weeks ago in the ranges around Nelson.