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.

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Getting Back

Well, being back in England is jolly nice, no job or home and a strong desire to get back to New Zealand. Even all those friends that ignored me for a year and then suddenly emailed to say we should meet up as they’d love to hear about my adventures have once again disappeared off the radar. 

Now I don’t want to sound like a moaning miserable bitter old man but there are just somethings that a trip abroad will not change. So what is this all about? Well, in truth I don’t really know. Its… I suppose a little metaphor of my life at the moment. Being in New Zealand allowed me to think and examine my life and where I want to go. We all know, if you’ve been following the blog that I want out of theatre that much is clear, what is a little hazy is what I want to replace it with. 

Today I applied for an outdoor shop job, and a trainee Air Traffic control, both fit in to what I wish to do. One work outdoors and be an activity leader and the other have a well paid job with future prospects. 

The other side of me is trying to work back up to running a marathon, except my legs and hips seem to have differing thoughts on this as every run is growing harder along with what seems like a little injury in my hips. Maybe a tight hip flexor or something else. But what ever it is, running more than 5 miles is proving to be a pain. 

Either way I am not really committing to anything, running, job hunting or re-contacting my old connections in theatre. I’m also not really making a concerted effort to contact old friends I did without them for a year so a little longer isn’t going to hurt. I would like to point out here that I am contacting some, ones who remained connected and didn’t have a spell of radio silence while I was away. Yes I know how to hold a grudge. But if one more says they’d love to hear my adventures I might just say ‘You could have skyped or IM’d or Facebooked and got it in real time’ Like its not like I was in the Borneo rainforest with no modern methods of communication. But I can count the amount of people on my right hand who emailed, or FB a couple of times. 

So yes, back to civilian street, no more walking down to the beach with a mountain as a backdrop and clear blue skys watching ships and relaxing in the coolest littlest capital in the world. Oh no,  its getting back to my old life which for reasons known to me I’m trying to avoid. After all why go away for a life changing experience only to return and resume with your old life. 

So getting back to it, is something I think I will carry on avoiding. 

Home Sick

Well my dream of staying is slowly fading and in a surprising way I’m kind of glad. It was after all a dream to stay and work but now if I’m honest I’m a little homesick. Sure I miss my family and my best mate and there are a few others who I wouldn’t mind having a pint with not that we’ve really kept in touch.

But the true home sickness and this will be a surprise to many and a few may gasp and exclaim and argue that I’m daft especially with the landscape and scenery but my heart belongs in the hills and mountains of Britain.

Yes I’m homesick for walking Snowdon and Tryfan or taking a cold winter hike across the moors or a drive to a remote part of the peak district and rambling down country lanes and through English woods. Off course the views and landscape in the land of the hobbits is amazing and I know as I look down from Snowdon or view the Cheshire plain from Kinder Scout my brain will flash back to those pictures and images of the southern alps and the quite one horse towns and question which one is better. People said NZ is Wales on a larger scale and they weren’t wrong.

I still have some months left and with my time I’m going to see this country again to make sure I have a full memory of sights, sounds and stories stored in the old memory bank. Sometimes you have to be without something to realise how much it actually means and while I could happily make the move I need to go back to see if my true loves once more and put the world to rights with a good old fashioned drinking session with my bestie.

A friend once posted a song to my wall which I think I have shared with you all before called ‘The Manchester Rambler’ which sums up my affair and passion for the outdoors. While I have now found a way to come back and work over here in the future  I find myself missing the peaks and Snowdonia ever more.

I’ve made some good friends and have had partook in many an adventure and while there have been high and lows how will always treasure my time in NZ and hold it close but the time has come to return to the UK and who knows I may realise that NZ was for me after all. But at the moment Im longing to walk down Market Street and go into Greg’s for a steak bake or chin wag and complain over a warm flat beer with Matt, or redeem my nector points and watch the BBC and take a walk in the British rain and wrap up warm not put on sun screen in Janaury. But at the same time I’m loving my time away and the experiences I’m living.

See you soon UK.

The Silent Majority

This has come about due to a comment left on my wall and may sound a little bitter towards the end that but rest assured thats not the case. Now as many of you know I am away seeing the wonderful delights of New Zealand and being the avid facebook and twitter user I have been posting away.

At first my updates were getting a lot of attention, I think the update ‘that’s my plane see you in a year UK’ had almost my entire friends list clicking the like button with many also choosing to add a comment, the ‘Likes’ may have just been a way to show they were celebrating me leaving the country and getting out of there lives but I’d like to think many of them are saddened by my lost and a tiny bit of their lives are that little bit more empty because due to my absence.

But as my time has gone on the comments or likes have dwindled. Maybe people are getting sick of looking at mountains dominating the the clear blue sky, or they don’t like pictures of seals or dolphins in crystal clear waters. Maybe they don’t enjoy forests that fade into the horizon or charming little settlements built on hill sides. At first I thought it was time difference. I’d tweet or update and post pictures during the day which meant that many in the UK were fast asleep and by the time they had woken my updates informing the world Im having a swell time would be buried under more recent statuses about the Burnage train being late or sign this petition to stop the Olympics in Russia ( the fact no one tried to stop the world championships, it’s always the Olympics, people did it with China and Tibet as that story had been dragging on for years and then along come the Beijing Olympics and everyone’s like Chinas policy stinks but this is another post. I’d like to add that I don’t approve of Russia stance but there was another big world event taking place that everyone seemed happy to take place).

I would off course receive one or two likes or maybe a comment, but nothing like the start of the trip where comments and tweets were in there abundance. It’s true that only a small handful of friends have kept in regular contact either through messenger, Skype, or tweet conversations and I often wonder whom Im tweeting for. Is it myself, after all who is reading or checking twitter at 3 a.m UK time. Who bothers to scroll back through there twitter feed to see12 tweets from me, and who actually takes an interest that I think NZ is a top place has after all I already tweeted that back in July.

To tell the truth I was thinking of chucking it in. Those who want to know will ask, or get in contact like the ones who already do, and maybe I’m just boring people now with constant updates of trains and wooden bridges or comments about supermarkets or images of sunsets, and white beaches or earthquake updates.

But it was down to one comment on Facebook that shows there’s a silent majority who do follow with interest (I hope). A friend left a comment “I know I don’t comment a lot but rest assured I’m following your every step. We’re very jealous mate., enjoy every second and enjoy the hill…” So maybe not everyone needs to comment, and it’s a stark reminder that people follow your updates and the silent majority will always win out, but a like or two every so often shows that your not wasting your Internet time uploading photos where you could in fact be watching cat videos.

http://youtu.be/tLt5rBfNucc

My Party!

Did I mention I was off to New Zealand later in the year. I didn’t? Are you sure? Something like that I would think it unlikely I’d keep that news to myself. Well in case you hadn’t seen the tweets counting down the days, or the Facebook status’ that express my desire to get on the plane before the end of June then I’m off to New Zealand.

Now to celebrate this fact I need to see people before I go, and due to the nature of the job being friends with people for a considerable amount of time, I have friends dotted all over the country. So with no work till I leave I am using this time to see them all as I know they all won’t and can’t come to what ever I do for my leaving party. The trouble with this is that it seems everyone is free the same weekend and all want a piece of me.

Leaving that matter to one side, this post is about my top leaving party ideas and is in no way a suggestion or hint to friends and family to take up the slack and organise it on my behalf.

Now I don’t want to do a drinking session. It will be fun, but then where’s the difference between a birthday, christmas or a normal night out. I want something I will remember and enjoy and not wake up the next day trying to work out what has happened.

So at Number One it’s a weekend away. Now I know this excludes a lot of people and only the best of the best will be able to come, unless we hire out all the cottages or caravan park. This weekend away fits into several ideas. We could do a canal holiday, something I have always wanted to do and never got round to it, or a camping holiday, a holiday cottage, both in Wales and both involving Snowdon.

The other idea which will be more likely and is more of a possibility is that of a pub crawl, but one that see’s me going to all the bars I have drunk in while in Manchester. This may seem like a lot, but it’s not. It would mean starting in Northenden, then going to West and East Didsbury, before hitting Withington and Fallowfiled and then to Oxford Road, Denasgate, Northern Quarter and the general city. I imagine many have changed hands or even names and I would only include those I spent any real-time in. This would have to be a full on day or weekend affair as the amount of travelling will surly interrupt the very purpose of what we were try to achieve.

Apart that, I have very little ambition to get any of this organised and no doubt Ill be slipping away under the cover of darkness without really saying goodbye to anyone. The leaving doo that will probably take place will include a lot of drinks and hopefully those few people who mean most to me.

Being Rooted

A while ago I did a play where the over all theme was how young people deal with a death of a friend. One of the characters had moved on after a year where the others were still coming to terms with the loss. The director gave the note that the character was grounded. He was rooted like an oak tree. He knew who he was and the direction of his life.

Turn the focus to me and a number of text messages between my best mate and myself with the subject New Zealand and I slowly reveal why New Zealand is on the cards. You all know I have a strong dislike for my job which is getting stronger by the week. But after so many years I still feel lost. My life is not what I want it to be. I have not found myself. Sure I know I like running, hills and Wales. I know what I would like to do… But as all my friends are settling down and buying houses or getting married I still find myself alone and spinning in circles.

New Zealand is an extension to the running. Running has helped me to keep far enough away from the black dog biting and taking hold, it has helped me become happier and more confident but yet my life is still missing pieces to make it whole.

So New Zealand is in some ways a way to escape, and rediscover who I am and what I want to be. Spending time away to think about me. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but NZ is hopefully going to be a life changing event. Maybe if I come back I will know who I am and may even begin to settle down. Maybe move to Wales and walk the hills. Maybe I will be just like the character out of the play. Some one who is strong and knows who they are.

Several people have commented and made similar statements to the one below that was made by a work colleague and friend.

“No offence… But you’re not happy in here, NZ will do you good. It’s good to get away from people and places that don’t make you happy”

Leaving Party

I have already touched on this briefly, but as I look at pictures on Pinterest I find myself thinking that I need to go to Wales again.

We all know I love the place. But how cool would a weekend away in a cottage with just the couple of best mates that I have. Drinking, walking and talking. Exploring all the North West Castles for one last time.

At the moment it is a dream and will stay as such as they will all have excuses as to why they couldn’t possibly attend. Some with good reason others because they can’t take time out.

While I’m missing people now (not seen some for months)… I think it is good practice for when I do leave. After all I won’t be seeing these people for a year and who knows I might not even chat or talk to them again. For me this trip is a big deal… bigger than getting married, having a child. I want my friends to be there for me. This is only going to happen the once and while I am doing this for myself, I still need the comfort of my mates.

But it would be nice to have one last good bye…just in case I didn’t see them again. But maybe that’s just me… Maybe I know I won’t be seeing these people again. They may well be under the impression that in a years time we will be drinking again in the local (not that we have local). However anything can happen in a year.

It would be good to do a proper leaving party… and maybe my friends have it under control but I do fear that I may end up exiting quietly only to log on to Facebook in NZ to find messages of ‘Have you gone? We didn’t get to say goodbye’

The real question is should I bother to organise my own party. I suggested this to a friend, who said ‘You can’t do that!’ a couple of weeks later he sent a text asking what I wanted to do? To me that was as good as organising it…

If I am honest, then I don’t want a fuss. I want those who are close to me, and spend as much time as possible with them… Doing the things we have done together like drinking, walking, camping, cycling all just for one last time. If we really get to it, then there is only a handful of people I would like to attend, and I can count them off on one hand.

Off course I wouldn’t object to a big piss up as well, in a bar with everyone who I know.