Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dreaming of Journeys

I'm lucky enough to know that New Zealand is the country in which I want to live. This place is home, and for now this wonderful city has my heart. When I was 17 I went to Holland on exchange and met an American girl, Liz, who for many years wanted nothing more than to be able to go back. Me? I loved Holland, but I didn't want to live there.

In New Zealand the tradition is for young people to go on their OE once they finish university. Typically this has meant going to London for a couple of years, living with other Kiwis, and getting drunk in Kiwi pubs. Over time things have gotten a little more sofisticated, but London is still home away from home.

Flash back 10 years or so. I was working for a local bookstore, having graduated with a BA. I didn't know what I really wanted to do with my life, but I had a vague idea that I might travel. I didn't know how one went on an OE. I didn't know the slightest thing about how one found somewhere to live, or found a job. When I look back now my cluelessness astounds me. However there I was, making some kind of effort to save, with some unformed plan to head back to Europe at some unknown point in the future.

Fate had a different plan for me, and I found myself engaged to Hamish and heading back to university to complete an MA. Before I started back Hamish and I took a month out to travel around the planet to Holland, where Hamish met my host-family and we spent a week in France. And, other than a honeymoon in Sydney, that was it. Since then I haven't left New Zealand once.

The lack of travel hasn't really bothered me that much. We've been busy with our careers, getting married, buying an apartment, moving to Wellington, buying a house, trying to get settled again. The world outside New Zealand hasn't necessarily seemed like that attractive a place, and we've been very grateful for the peacefulness of this country.

However there ARE places that I want to travel to, things that I want to see. I have, for example, always wanted to go on pilgramage to India. When I was diagnosed with Addisons one of the first things I read was that people with this condition should not travel to countries where there was a risk of stomach bugs. That seemed to put India firmly off the agenda. Thankfully my no-nonsence Endocrinologist quickly dismissed that particular travel advisory. India is a possibility, provided I'm careful.

Hamish and I went through a phase of watching lots of Lonely Planet on television, particularly if it was Ian Wright doing the travelling. I remember one episode in particular on Micronesia taking my fancy. I've also always wanted to travel to Tibet, and the Trans Siberian appealed until I saw Marcus Lush's Intrepid Journey there. If a guy who is train obsessed can be disappointed I figure it would probably be a letdown. Since learning to swim I've been thinking about going somewhere like Fiji (especially at the moment, because it's so cheap) so that I can snorkel.

There are other places I'd love to go - Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos. I want to go anywhere with a good underground dance scene. I want to go back to Holland to visit my host family, and I want to go to Hungary to visit my host brother and his wife and their two children. I want to go to Greece because it just looks amazing (and for dancing on the beach), and I want to go to Mexico for too many different reasons.

I want to go to America because Liz is there, and because San Francisco looks amazing. I want to go to New York for the sake of going to New York. I want to go to Canada, well, just because. I want to go to Africa, because Africa just is.

I want to go everywhere, really. The only barriers are those that I have put in my way. Like Nic and Leonie I could sell up and just go. Except that Hamish would have to want to do so as well, and how could we leave the cats? No, when it comes down to it I can see myself travelling for maybe a couple of months at a time, max. And to do that I'd have to take some money out of the mortgage or stop spending it all on exercise and put it in the bank instead. However for the first time in years the cogs are turning and the intent is forming. So it might just happen yet. Pip may still end up leaving on a jetplane, and not just in her dreams.


Catherine said...

it's taken me till the age of 56 to go anywhere much, and our trip to the UK in September may well be my one and only big adventure, since our income has taken a sudden plummet! Yes, it's expensive to travel if you're not working when you get there. My daughter spent two years in Korea but her airfares were paid, and a good salary plus accommodation while she was there.
Don't let the house and mortgage tie you down too much! There's still room for dreams, if you know what you truly desire.

Tori said...

Great Sunday Scribbling!
For me, your post was a way to travel!
Thanks for bringing me to places I dream of going to, like New Zealand.

megnificent! said...

I know there are others like me, out there! I dream of walking across many different countries, too.
At times, I have felt like something is wrong with me, like it's a condition I suffer from, but then I read someone's writings like yours, and I am reminded, space is really in our head. We can travel and find friends, anywhere we make our minds up to, even if only in our dreams (or writings).
If you ever make it to North Carolina, USA look us up!:)

Kimberley McGill said...

How wonderful to live in a place you truly love! That's something that is just a dream for us at the moment. The travel you've done and the travel you dream give me that certain itch to hit the road. May your dreams come true!

gautami tripathy said...

I loved this post. You took me on a journey of a very beautiful place. My travel post lives much to be desired.

Journey within the mind