Having the Memory

Six months I’ve been back in the country and thats not to say I haven’t enjoyed the time. I’ve got myself a new shiny road bike, caught up with old friends but the truth is it’s just the same as when I left these shores for the ones of New Zealand. Nothing has really changed. I returned to my parents and I’ve tried to settle back in and get a job, boy have I tried to get a job… Its not that there isn’t any out there, its just whats the point of getting bar or supermarket work, when thats not what I want to do?

Anyway once again I wander of the path. The one subject that has been on my lips since the plane touched back on British soil, was how great New Zealand was and how it was right for me. In truth I think I have turned down or selected certain decisions on the fact that I want to return back to Wellington… Why move out of the parents and sign up for house when another visa could be in the post. At least at the folks house I can pack up and go straight away.

Yes everything has been about getting back. Well before Christmas that opportunity came in the the form of a Bunac IEP visa. Did I grab it with both hands? No, I said I would think about it. Why? Why indeed. I think in my hearts of hearts I know maybe its not to be, I always said I wanted to live and move over full time and if I had got sponsorship first time round that would be true, however I didn’t and now many of my friends have moved on, whether back to their own countries or else where in NZ.

So maybe my love and thoughts of returning is trying to hold on to a dream, a bygone era, if I go back its going to be different and maybe not the way I remember it, am I prolonging the prospect of growing up in the UK, settling down with pension, house, car, the white picket fence life? Is New Zealand somehow me running away from my responsibilities and life in the UK. Sure I was happy over there, maybe the happiest I have been, but are my memories clouded. There were times I felt low, I had no job for three months, no money to my name for one of those but yet the memories are always off Burger Fuel, nights out at the Embassy, craft beer, the beach, the friends, the pals, the fellow travellers, the one who have now moved on. Was it the city, the country I remember or the people I shared it with… Why do I feel so strong about the place.

The place is really quite different. Sure I have NZ mates, who were born and bred in the city, but most of my network were fellow travellers who’s relationships were built in the hostel we all sheltered in before we made our lives in the capital city. Sure I could go else where and be a traveller make new friends a new life in a new town, but whats the point if in a year I have to pack it all up again, knowing that I will only ever return for holidays if and when my wallet will allow.

So now I have the opportunity I find myself again, worrying and becoming scared if taking the visa is the right idea, but unlike last time, I won’t be stepping into the unknown, and some how that terrifies me more than not knowing what is to be expected.

Packing and unpacking the trouble with OCD

So today is the day, and so far it has shaped up pretty well. I have finished packing, then I unpacked only to repack in the same order to suddenly realise that I had decided to unpack to make sure that I had packed everything on the list, even tho said list had ticks next to said items that were being packed and unpacked more times than united have won the league.

Travelling for someone with OCD may not be a good idea. When I work away from home, I would often phone ahead or check google maps to see the where abouts of the hotel my business had selected for me to spend the night. Once I arrived, I would check shower facilities as if it was low pressure I’d have to wake early, but a high pressure shower means I can have a lie in as the shower would wake me up with its jet wash pressure. From here I would then walk the route to the breakfast bar, and back to my room, and then I would walk to the theatre to time how Long the journey took, thus making sure I knew what time I had to wake.

Chatting to my best mate in the pub, I confessed that I had not planned anything. Did not know where I wanted to go, or where I wanted to get to this time next week. That is not who I am as his girlfriend was very shocked that I had not even flicked through a travel book or made a list of places to visit. He suggested maybe it’s because I am trying to be free, and really explore the country. But this does not wash with me, it sits uneasy. I like to plan.

And so after I cleaned the kitchen I began to empty my bag only to re pack before I cleaned the bathroom where I had a new wave of ideas on how I could pack my bag, and so with bleach covered hands so began the task of unpacking only to pack it the same way before realising the only reason why I unpacked was to pack it in a different way.

Did I tell you that I have to pull down on the handle and push the door to make sure it’s locked! The number of pulls and pushes depends on the day and if I’m the only one in the house, or if no one is returning to he house within a couple of days. I have been known to get of the bus or turn the car round to make sure the door is locked, and a simple push is not good enough, as I have to follow this with unlocking it to lock it. I’m the same with light switches, I need to press them off, but then will turn them on to make sure I have turned them off. Same with taps. If I leave the house to go away, and my flat mate is also away it can take me an hour to check all taps, switches and windows. Only to leave the apartment, after five pulls and two pushes of the door, to unlock and renter and check again. To lock up walk away and get back in the lift to check the front door.

So I went out to pick up last-minute supplies, and odds and sods only to return and repack and unpack. Then I emptied my rubbish, threw away the last remains of Manchester life and then I repacked.

After shutting down and locking the building once, I got home to think did I lock up and promptly returned. I once stopped working and asked colleagues to cover for me as I couldn’t remember switching the stove off, even thou that’s more of a religious ceremony than leaving the house.

So I reached for my iPad and wrote this blog. Looking at my bag, thinking should I check. I know I will before I leave but the thoughts of my up coming travels. It’s taken me a day to pack, all be it I’ve done 30 times, maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t plan, but it does worry me I have no idea what I’m going to do. Don’t know where I will start. All I know is end of August I have to be back in Auckland to drop of the van. Maybe while in Auckland for four days I will be able to plan a rough route. Know that I have to reach Christchurch by the 3rd week etc. Or I may just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Either way I know I’ll be spending most of my time packing only to unpack.

Two More

Well it has been a big countdown and now it is just the final three days or two more sleeps. Three years ago, I decided that I will jack in my life in theatre and do something different, one of them was go off to New Zealand. For some reason I kept chickening out and putting it off until a friend instructed me to ‘Just buy the plane tickets as then you will have to go, but even if you don’t do the travelling you could just go for the holiday’ However it is going to be more than just a holiday.

The past 100 days has seen me try to fit in a lot of stuff, climbing the Welsh 3000’s and completing them (except I haven’t) walking Striding Edge and climbing Jacks Rake in the Lakes, camping with my best buddy. Getting my Marathon time down to a sub 4 and my 10K time to a sub 40 which I failed, but did mange to get a new PB in my home city and the race that started my obsession.

So now comes the real countdown. Now that I have packed up and sold out, squeezed the next 12 months into a backpack, printed the plane tickets, checked my Visa, transferred money into New Zealand dollars, said the final goodbyes to those you want them, the wait is finally over. Come Tuesday at 9pm I will be on a Boeing 777 waiting to take off from Ringway  where my adventure will begin.

Sure I’m going to miss my family, and my best mate. I will be miss the city of Manchester, the T.V shows and Radio comedies I have grown to love. I’ll miss my comforts and my flat. Driving around in my car, walking in Snowdonia and the South Lakes, running in Wales and around Manchester, working with mates and on some fantastic projects. But for all those things I will be missing, just think of what I will be replacing them with. Stunning jaw dropping views, a slower pace of life, an experience that will be locked in the memory for a lifetime, new friends, new loves, new walks, an education in a different way of living and time to stop and reflect and take a look at my life and where I want it to go. After all this has always been the premise of the trip. A way to explore how and where I want to live my life and what I want to do.

So with just two more sleeps… and a somewhat positive relaxed outlook as I don’t think the prospect of what I’m doing has actually settled in… I know that time will come as I board the plane and start to panic over what I am doing. But deep down I know its right.

So three days, 2 more sleeps, until I say goodbye to the UK and hello New Zealand.

Not sure what to pack

Having never been travelling before, and lets give you the truth… The first time I went camping was only a couple of years ago and that was carrying a load of extras in the boot of the car. The one time I did hike with a pack, the trip was only two days so the load was not a great deal.

I never did the gap year thing, I have never really thought off staying in a hostel and roughing it around a foreign country was my thing and until July I won’t really know. But come July I will be in New Zealand and will be driving around in my camper exploring the place and forgetting my troubles and doing some long hard thinking of where I’m at.

Running was supposed to kick the break down of having a mid-life crisis into touch but it seems that after three years running alone will not help and travelling to another country away from friends and family will help me put my life and future into perspective.

But here’s the million dollar question! what do I pack? Well I know clothes will be on the list, but how much and what type. Should I take my computer as after all I have a working holiday visa and will settle in a town for a number of months and the jobs I would hope to do over their kind of rely on me having the use the programs on my hard drive. Manly CAD packages for theatre lighting design.

Do I take my Garmin, my trainers, walking boots, books. Do I just buy an Ipad. How many coats, shoes, mugs, sleeping bags, towels. The list is endless. So please any travellers or backpackers let us know your thoughts. The trip I will be embarking on is a working holiday for a year. two months in a camper van. Then I will be going back to the areas I like and then I would settle down in a city for the remainder of my stay working in the local theatres or what ever work I can get.

So what do I need to pack?

Any Ideas?

Just the Packing

Big news, I am one step closer.

I have my bag. All £150.00 of empty bag ready to be filled with clothes, shoes, books and what ever else a traveller may need.

That is all I have left to do. That and sell my stuff.

It is now 89 days until I fly and really can not wait. I am still shitting it but really can not wait. All that is left is to pack then I am on my way. I am questioning whether I should organise my leaving party or leave it to chance that my good friends will have this under control at the danger of not having a send off.

Oh well off to look at pictures and find more NZ subjects to follow on Twitter.