An incredible adventure #2 Jet lag, peace and flying fish…

What could possibly feel greater than smiling? What could possibly feel more liberating than a sweet smile?? Well I can you tell you exactly what… grinning! Grinning is single-handedly one of the most liberating and euphoric expressions of the body and I awoke on my first full day in New Zealand grinning. However; this bubble was burst when I stretched out and immediately made aware that I wasn’t going to get away with travelling across the globe scot-free! My bones felt like a ridged steel structure, my muscles like ratchet straps holding it all together and my head felt like the suspended sphere of a bulldozer – hello jet lag I’ve been expecting you.

Breaching the sliding doors into the rays of the morning sun softened the steel and loosened the straps. The sea calmly moved, birds hovered nonchalantly on the wind and the sound of voices drifted lazily from the balcony above my head. I was extremely pleased to be offered tea within an instance of my appearance, everybody was so smiley and awake whilst I squinted from the incredible amount of light. I fumbled my way inside to retrieve my sunglasses.

Me and my friend took our tea, crossed the quiet road to the vegetated, sandy embankment that stooped down towards the beach and took up residence on a bench. I let it all sink in, I was back in the bubble. As we sat there in silence for a few moments I felt like I’d found home, this small place was already taking up a spot in my heart just like I was taking up a spot on that bench. It felt right to speak then and we chewed the fat just as we’d done so many times before in the garage of her mother’s house back in Devon.

Breakfast was interesting with the traditional English items alongside a pan-fried flying fish caught out on the boat the day before. We cleared up and packed up then it was time to get back on the road to travel my friend’s home in Mount Maunganui. I wished as we pulled away to have been able to stay longer but if this was just a taster of what I’d experience then I was happy to go and pursue the rest of my adventure.

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An incredible adventure #1 Landing

Flag Of  New Zealand

After 40 hours of travel and waiting around in airports I finally arrived in Aotearoa or as it is better known, New Zealand. Auckland International Airport was bright, vibrant and reviving and like sea sick legs finally back on solid ground my senses started to come back to me. Tiredness still lurked in my core but my long anticipated arrival had provided me with a second wind to push through the maze of bumbling fellow passengers who quite clearly had neither been blessed with motivation or speed upon their own arrival.

Admittedly customs was a worry. It’s that deep pitted fear and although I had no reason to be denied entry I couldn’t quite help feel that something may just crop up at the last hurdle. I handed over my completed visitors entry form and passport to the gentleman behind the desk with which he smiled, made small talk about England and then finally said those four words I had longed to hear “Welcome to New Zealand”. I beamed and bounced on my toes, he smiled sincerely and wished me an enjoyable stay and in that delirious moment I felt like he knew the depth of that sentiment although he probably repeated it to the person next in line.

Stepping out in arrivals I wasn’t sure if my friend and her partner would be there and I couldn’t see her immediately among the many people looking like meerkats on sentry duty. From the cluster of meerkats an arm and a familiar face appeared accompanied by an excited call of my surname, most stopped searching for their own to stare for a second as this arm, face and voice made its way through them. All traces of any doubts to whether this trip would be worth the hours, the money and the dubious travel were completely abolished and replaced with heartfelt warmth in that moment of embrace – friends reunited at last.

The thing about friends, the most treasured of friends at least, is that the love and appreciation of one another runs incredibly strong through the soul and perhaps in some instances could rival the bond held for a partner or even some family members. We’ve weathered and rolled the highs and lows and laughed and held onto each other through it all – we are the best of friends.

My friends partner, whom she had met not long after her own arrival in 2012, was tall, very tall, blonde and welcoming like an old friend. They had intended to pick me up from the airport and then travel home but had changed the plans and we now were heading up to the Coromandel Peninsula to stay the night at the batch (a second home used as a holiday home) sited on Ring’s Beach which my friends partners parents owned, they would be there too.

The greeting I received from his parents was so warm and welcoming I felt at home immediately. His mother radiated ‘motherly’, she was sweet, wholesome, kind and one hell of a cook. I really appreciated the comforting Pumpkin Soup and Chocolate Brownies that she made for supper – the food on the plane was edible and filled a hole but it was far from tasty and satisfying. His father was softly spoken and a farming man, it was nice to be able to engage in a conversation that involved such similarities between two countries at opposite ends of the earth. I liked him, I could work for him easily I thought to myself and it was nice to hear that he would have been able to put me to use on the farm if I weren’t going to be busy gallivanting around the rest of the North Island. Going to bed that evening was wonderful, It took me a little while longer to get to sleep than usual but the last thing I remember is thinking ‘I did it, I made it’.

~ Part 2 to follow! As ever thank you for the read…

An Ode to Autumn

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Today is particularly wet. Sporadic bright, warming sunshine teases the coat off of your back just in time for the rain to fall heavy again.

The roads are slick with leaves, dirt and debris – no place for a car needing to be kept  clean. Water cascades in some places, collects in others and interferes with the direction of your tyres if you dare press down on the accelerator.

Farms are still accessible but mudded boots are no longer a novelty and they cake your car in as much mud as you could find on the outside. The upside is that the illusive farmer from summer months is now a little easier to find in spots , however the weather batters down and chit chat is a lucky win with an invitation out of Autumn.

There are plenty of grumbles to be had but really Autumn is a pleasure – colour highlights, silhouettes and evokes whilst smells and sounds conjour bonfires, hot drinks, chunky knits and hats and gloves.

O beautiful Autumn, you are welcomed.