Returning to New Zealand
When I think of moving back to New Zealand it creates a well of emotion. It’s been a long time since I lived there and in many ways, I was a different person then. I left New Zealand unsure of myself and without any understanding of where things may lead. Five years later I return with a lot more tools to deal with situations and a world of new experiences. I’m not entirely sure what New Zealand holds for me, but in many ways, I feel like I no longer belong there. I know that sounds ridiculous as that’s where I was born and my beloved family is there, but aside from that, it feels foreign move back there to live. But then, what is home anyway, right?
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney
I remember when I first moved to the UK it held very little interest. I was only going there to get out of Sydney, and I wished to see more of the world while it was possible (visas, etc). I intended to move to Canada and was more or less just moving to the UK purely so I didn’t miss out on its youth visa. I had no interest in the UK or Europe, I craved the mountain-scapes and wilderness of Canada. It didn’t take long, maybe a week until there was an overwhelming feeling I don’t think I had experienced before, it felt like home. This was peculiar to me as even before I was 20 years old I’d moved house well over 17 times. I think I wasn’t used to feeling settled in one place, to the extent that I even made an effort to decorate my bedroom. I’m sure that seems foreign to many, but when you move as much as we did, living in everything from caravans to barns, not to mention all the places I lived as a student, it just doesn’t really make sense to make an effort with my living space.
“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” – James Baldwin
There are so many things I love about the UK, the diversity of cultures and languages, the ancient trees, the wild parks, and the beautiful old homes, the public transport system (that actually works), and the fact that so many are willing to make an effort to make new friends. Then there is the freedom that comes with living in the UK. The feeling like whatever you desire is possible, even when your current situation feels so far from your goals. I met so many amazing people from so many backgrounds and was able to discuss ideas openly and honestly and in a lot of ways it completely changed my worldview. There was an opportunity to surround myself with so many amazing individuals and create an diverse bunch of friends so many belief systems, ideas and thoughts to discuss. I understand a lot of these examples are my own experiences and subjective but I found the UK such an amazing place to grow and learn.
“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
In a lot of ways, for me, New Zealand feels quite the opposite, withdrawn, recluse, and a place where life has a different intention. I know I sound whiny, but I accept that to not acknowledge these feelings would be to ignore a side of myself just to please an external force and that isn’t the point of these posts, but with that, I’m sure there are a lot of positives to returning too. I cannot wait for the fresh air and crystal clear waters, the hiking, and biking, friends and family, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t apprehensive about returning to a country where making an effort to improve yourself, your life, and achieve your goals is seen as a character flaw by many, where you have to sit in traffic for hours because there isn’t adequate public transport, and where, I fear, a lot of the freedom I have experienced will be lost.
I guess, like everything, this is where “the real work” begins, right? The integration of tools, ideas, and growth put forward into a challenging environment that is less open to such concepts and ideas, and maybe this return is the most important part. I always thought I’d find a way to stay this side of the world longer, and maybe I will, maybe this is part of some bigger plan greater than myself. For a long while its felt like my sister and I would benefit from reconnecting, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. Maybe its this very return and integration that is what my soul so needs to move forward.
I’d always planned to return to NZ in the long run. I think it’s one of the greatest countries in the world, but I’d always wanted to do so after I had found “success”, what that means to me I am still growing to understand, and I guess that’s entirely subjective as I have had, any “successes” in these past few years. Interestingly, since around the start of the year, I’ve had a feeling like I would be returning to NZ sooner that I would have liked, a feeling I spent the majority of this year suppressing. In writing this post I see by the way that I speak about New Zealand that there are many things I need to work on to let go of these unhealthy emotions and ideas.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
For now, I all I can do is be grateful, grateful for the friends I made, the conversations I had, and the experiences I was able to enjoy, from a garden party in Stockholm, Sweden, to a stranger buying me a bottle of water in Brooklyn, NYC, grateful for all these connections and memories that would never have been possible had I not stepped both feet into the unknown and booked that one-way flight seemingly at random while living in a tent in Byron Bay, Australia. I’m so truly grateful for all of it, the joy and the challenges, the love, the loss, none of it could have been experienced without first leaping in faith. So I guess that’s what I’ll do now, I’ll make that same leap of faith.
“To live, to TRULY live, we must be willing to RISK. To be nothing in order to find everything. To leap before we look.” – Mandy Hale
I will do my best to put aside my own preconceived ideas and biases, It’s been 5 years since I lived in New Zealand, nine since I lived in Auckland, and I’m sure a lot has changed. I will do my best to move with the gratitude that I am from this beautiful little corner of the world where thousands if not millions could only dream of calling home and would be grateful to live with such freedom. Its time to practice that trust that things will all work out once more.
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead, you relax, and float” – Alan Watts