The Beginning of The End of The Beginning
But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.
Just over five years ago I started this blog with the intention of documenting my journey out of New Zealand, and what a journey it was.
However, there comes a time in your life when you have to stop and “smell the roses” and make some decisions based on what you want, not what anyone else wants; and that is exactly what I did.
London and I never really gelled. I don’t really know why; I think I expected something different or wanted more from it, but either way we never really got on. Don’t get me wrong I have loved all the travel I have done, the people I have met, the things I have seen and I wouldn’t trade that for all the money in the world. But London and I? We had a love/hate relationship and it got to a point where the longer I stayed here, the more depressed I became.
About 2.5 years ago it really hit home just how depressed London made me and it got to a point (on a number of occasions) where I almost packed my bags and went home. However, I knew I still had things to do, places to go and things to see and so I stuck it out. Instead I booked a couple of trips and tried to forget about how much I dreaded going back to London.
Things started to change when I picked up a Lonely Planet magazine with an article on Tallinn, Estonia while on a train to York with my cousin. Looking at the photos in the article I completely fell in love with what I saw and wanted to go as soon as I could. However, I was in York and Lincoln over a long weekend and couldn’t do any research on it until I was back in London. (Just for the record, I loved both York and Lincoln – both beautiful towns and nowhere near London!!). When I got back I discovered that Busabout had a Tour that went to Tallinn (Scandi-Baltic tour). I was so excited and eventually I ended up booking the Tour. This tour took us through Vilnius (Lithuania), Riga (Latvia), Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland) and finally into Tallinn (Estonia). With the exception of Stockholm (which I didn’t enjoy as much) and Helsinki, everywhere else we went were small Cities and less traveled. I absolutely loved it (my post on this tour can be found here). Small towns were my thing now. To be fair, by the time I had done this tour I had done most of the big cities that I wanted to do (with the exception of Norway and Russia – I haven’t been there yet). So I continued to look at the Busabout website and work out where else I wanted to go. Eventually I booked the Classic Rhapsody, the Ottoman and the Balkan tours. The classic rhapsody I didn’t enjoy as much, we went to bigger cities and although I had a great time, it wasn’t the same as the Scandi-Baltic. The Ottoman on the other hand, was a whole different story. We went to Bosnia and Serbia as part of this tour and I loved it (blog post to follow soon). I can now say that I have been to these cities before they became “Westernised”. Smaller towns definitely suit me more than bigger towns/cities.
About a year ago I started looking at the possibilities of coming home. I started talking to friends about it and its funny the reaction of some people. However, come Christmas 2012 I knew the time was right. I needed to make that move and head home. I’d achieved an awful lot in my time here and I felt that the time was right and I was ready to go home, I could go home thinking I had done what I came here to do. So just after New Years 2013 I booked my ticket home. I was so excited I wanted to tell everyone. But I couldn’t. Work wasn’t aware of the fact I wanted to go home or that I had booked my flight. So I kept it to myself and eventually told a few close friends. Claire was honest (as she always is) and told me she didn’t want me to go, but was happy for me – I appreciated her honesty and I knew I could trust her to keep it under wraps until I was ready to tell work. But it turned out some of these friends weren’t the type of friends I thought they were. There was one person who felt the need to hint at the fact I was leaving every time my boss or work colleagues were around – this pissed me off to no end and I knew I couldn’t really trust him, so I was careful with what I shared. One person, who I thought was a really good friend was always so negative or would just change the subject. So I really had to be careful with what I said. I kept this quiet for almost 6 months before telling work. It was probably the hardest six months of my life; I became increasing frustrated by it all. Frustration is an emotion my body doesn’t know how to handle or deal with – hence my blog post a while back.
During these six months I had to deal with shipping all my stuff home. My god this was awful!!! I packed and unpacked and threw things out and then decided I wanted them and repacked and then unpacked and threw the same things out and eventually I got it sorted, but I tell you what, I would be insane to do that again. This didn’t help my ever-increasing frustration.
Finally at the end of May I had shipped my boxes, moved out of my flat, moved into the box room of my cousins and handed my notice in at work. One would think that it would all eventually sink in that I was finally going home – you know what, it didn’t. I’m not even sure it has sunk in yet and I leave in a month and a half.
I thought that once I had handed my notice in at work things would have been easier talking about it to my friends, it turned out this was not the case. A close friend (the same one who kept changing the subject every time I bought it up) stopped talking to me, not completely, but I used to hear from him every day, some times we would do lunch and now … nothing. Actually even the other guy has become the same. Funny how you think you can rely on people, but when push comes to shove they just don’t care. But at the end of the day, they are the ones with the problem and I’m not going to sit around and wait for them to grow up. I’ve no time for people like that.
I’ve had people tell me that I wont cope in New Zealand, especially Christchurch. Most people tell me that I wont cope with the earthquakes, or I wont cope with being in such a small city, but you know what, I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. I will do things my way, when I want to and how I want to. I’m bored with people telling me what to do, think, say, wear; calling me a hipster because I like things that they don’t – at the end of the day you’re the one with the problem, if you don’t like it, you can bugger off. These are the types of people I will not miss and probably wont keep in contact with.
So, I finish work on the 27th of August, I fly out on the 3rd of September and arrive on the 5th of September – two summers in a row!!!! It’s definitely not been an easy ride (the last 6 months) but I’m getting there slowly, I’m stressing about my suitcase and keeping it under 20kg, but other than that I cannot wait to get home. I should probably be worried about not having a job to go back to, but at this point I’m not too worried.
But there you have it. I’m going home. Its been an interesting 5 years, there have been ups and downs. There has been a lot of travel and some great people. I will miss most of the people I have met.
But with my passport up to date, going home doesn’t mean I have to stay there. Remember, the grass is always greenest where you water it.