I’m sitting in the sunny garden of the Auckland hostel where I am staying. It is a beautiful day – hot, yet peaceful. A few other travellers chat softly in the garden, which backs onto Western Park with its lovely expanse of trees and greenery. I’m contemplating my next moves: decisions which have caused me more stress than I’d like to admit. The clarity I had in leaving England for New Zealand seems to have vanished since I arrived, replaced by a veritable storm of emotions churning inside of me. Why am I here? Why did I think I could do this alone?
Feeling a bit at a loss, I decide to sit under the shade of an umbrella and listen to an inspiring podcast with Melissa Ambrosini and Teresa Palmer (initially feeling guilty about spending so much time just listening to a podcast before remembering I am blessed to have the time to do it, so I should damn well make the most of it!).
A couple of big butterflies flit by overhead. As I watch them dance about, I start thinking about fairies. If I was a fairy I wouldn’t be taking all this contemplation half as seriously, I think. I’d be having fun, and I’d be totally OK with my whole life being driven by fun and laughter and happiness.
This was me two days ago.
In late 2015 I wrote a post called Be Your Own Sunshine and Make Your Own Rules: The Beginning of the Journey. That’s when I really started to consciously live my life on my terms. It is a gradual process, and so almost 16 months later I wanted to take a look back at that post and see where I am now. I have committed to being courageous enough to live authentically and, though this is still an ongoing process of dealing with fears and taking down the walls, I am getting there (and I’m damned proud of myself for it too!) I left my job that was no longer serving me, and I bought a one-way ticket to the other side of the world because I wanted to. So far, so good.
But this has just been the beginning of me unravelling my life, and my thoughts about life, to find the clear thread of what is actually me amidst all the socially conditioned beliefs (now I’m faced with What would/should a backpacker do/choose/be? as though “a backpacker” is the latest role I should conform to). Now that I am in New Zealand, I have to admit that I feel more than a little confused about my direction from here! The freedom is both wonderful and terrifying. This solitude from being a solo traveller can feel very lonely, but it is doing a grand job of cracking me open to show me how I really think and feel about things. This brings me back to a paragraph I wrote in one of my posts just before I left for New Zealand:
“I want to explore New Zealand and, whilst I am there, I want to explore the figurative mountains and forests – the wild places – of my mind.
When I say wild places, I mean that I want to rediscover the parts of me that I have forgotten, or discover new depths of me. I want to take my authenticity to a whole new level and get to know me in my entirety. I want to examine behaviour and thought patterns that no longer serve, and I want to unlearn the aspects of social conditioning that do not benefit me or my happiness.
I’ll be my own prince wandering the wild places, searching for my princess (read: higher, more empowered self) within, where she waits for me to learn and discover all I need to in order to reunite with her. But, rather than being a prince encased in armour, I will be shedding that armour, ready to lead a heart-centred life.”
“Wild places” indeed. A rather scary internal terrain. Clearly I knew what was coming, but I also clearly had no idea what exactly was coming! Suddenly, not seeing the path I am on is like walking through an unknown forest on the darkest of nights. Tumultuous emotions have led to anxiety, indecision and self-doubt on a scale I never anticipated. Doubt, compassion, chastisement, gentleness, and even anger have gone round my head like a roulette wheel, sometimes leading to the verge of panic. I can only think that there is some serious soul work going on here; but I didn’t expect the doors to be blown open this wide this quickly, and it has left me floundering somewhat.
So, casting aside all pragmatic questions of whether I should get a job here, how long my money will last, and whether I should stay in New Zealand for x-amount of months or move on somewhere else; and all philosophical questions like what is best for me, or what will I regret, I have decided to make like a fairy and do what feels fun. I still don’t know exactly where that will lead me, but when all else is in doubt it seems as good a compass as any to follow!
New Zealand is an incredible, beautiful, magical place. And even through the confusion in my mind, I am awed by it. And I recognise how truly blessed I am to be here, and I am certainly enjoying the sunshine it offers – both literal and metaphorical. I think this is going to be a somewhat unconventional path that I am walking and probably nothing like I expected it to be, but I said that 2017 was going to be a year of adventure and of seeking wonder, and for that there have to be no rules except the ones I make. Right now, that’s to be happy – deeply, incandescently, steadily happy. I think the Universe is blowing my mind wide open to show me how to get there.
Hopefully it will make for an interesting story!
The next instalment will be all about the wonderful goddess Brigid, which may seem confusing in New Zealand, but it’ll make sense! I’ll also do more typically travel-oriented posts but, in the name of authenticity, I am going to share with you my inner journey too.
Keep tuned! Much love.