Well, it’s finally over. Twelve months ago to the day I set out on this adventure, and now it has reached its end. I always suspected this year would fly by, but now that I’m just hours away from boarding the plane that will take me home, I can’t quite believe it’s already time to go. When I was planning this trip back in England, I learnt that all the clichés are true. Well, we all know what they say about time when you’re having fun. This year has been a dream.
It turns out New Zealand is the perfect place to push your boundaries, and try out all those things you always wanted to do, or never wanted to do, but should do them anyway. During my time there, I started making a list of all the things I had done for the first time. I managed to fill up 4 pages, and I purposely wrote with small handwriting… To name but a few, I have now done a bungee jump, a skydive, I’ve milked cows, I conquered mountains, learnt how to surf, went white water rafting, I hunted and killed a goat for my dinner, I worked with real sheep dogs, I lived for 3 months without spending a penny, I hiked over a glacier, saw a real volcano, I wrote a poem for a girl, drove a tractor, ate a turnip straight from the ground, hitch hiked, I worked behind a bar, I visited almost every single Lord of the Rings film location and I have almost finished writing my very first novel. And all of that only covers one of the four pages.
Travelling and working and living in another country has opened my eyes to a way of life that I never realised was within my grasp. I feel utterly privileged to be alive in such a time when I can do this. Now, as my year long adventure comes to a close, I find myself looking to the future with a revitalised confidence and excitement for what might come next. I have no idea what I will do when I get home, and that excites me. I used to be scared of the unknown, but I believe I have come to embrace it…at least a little. I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self that “I don’t know” is a perfectly good answer to any question, no matter how big or small – the thrill comes in trying to find out.
‘Life is short, and the world is big.’ Aron Ralston wrote that in his autobiographical 127 Hours, after going through an almost unimaginable trauma and living to tell about it. When I first saw the movie, I felt so inspired and yearned to feel the appreciation for life that such an experience brought to him. I wasn’t envious of the way he gained that new perspective, but I was envious of the result. I didn’t lose my arm, or anything of the sort, but being away from home and living a completely different lifestyle has made me see the world very differently, and all for the better. It’s not something I can easily explain with words, the same way simply watching Aron’s story cannot imprint the wisdom on the viewer. It has to be experienced for yourself.
This blog has been a big part of my journey over the last 12 months, and I want to show my appreciation for my dedicated collection of readers who have followed me from their own little corner of the world. Your comments and messages have meant more to me than you can imagine – my friends, my family, my tumblr followers – thank you, each and every one of you.
And so, I’m coming home. This will be the last post for a while. I have a ski trip planned at the end of March and will be sure to post some more photos of mountains since I can’t get enough of the things, but other than that the blog will be quiet for a while. This travelling business has certainly scratched an itch, but I fear it will need to be scratched again before long…
The question is where should I go next? Excitingly, I don’t know.