Homeward frown

And just like that, my journey home was before me. The only peculiar thing was I wasn’t going home. For those who knew me, this was actually nothing unusual. I was just as good at extending trips as I was at going on them in the first place. The art of life procrastination and travel maximisation.

Ironically, the days before I was originally flying home I no longer felt the pull to travel. 8 weeks on the road had left me tired. My senses were over stimulated. I was over making new friends each day. Over moving. Why was my backpack so full? And my toiletry bag, don’t get me started on that. I was going to throw it all out I kept telling myself, yet my shopping seemed to have the opposite effect.

I’d spent 4 days on the spectacularly beautiful Amalfi Coast. Sleeping in. Lazing about. Lying on the couch at the hostel. Lying on the beach. Willing myself to be more motivated to explore, yet mostly just motivated to try my next pasta dish.

I’d been away for two months, yet no epic travel romance has taken place. I now rolled my eyes at couples passionately making out on the beach. Didn’t they know I was trying to enjoy my lone wandering time and they were cramping my view? Did he actually just take off her bikini top?!!!

And since when was everyone in hostels like so young? And irksome? Had I gotten old without realising it? And did this mean I should perhaps throw in the travel towel? I’d had a good run. 50 countries. Perhaps it was time for the next phase. How did one go about getting a Swedish husband?

Moving to Sweden, now there was an original idea! Or Berlin. Or just go h o m e… For some reason going home never quite excited me as much as I wish it did.

I’d have to decide what exactly it was I was doing with my life. Whether to keep pursuing the film industry. Or something more creative? Writing? A business? And where to base myself for the near future? Auckland? Australia? Or further abroad?

And faced with the prospect of so many big questions was precisely when the next leg of my trip got exciting. I needed more time.

I began to research fervently and with extra care. Looking for hostels not just reviewed by the 18-24 age bracket. Two 25-31 year old Swedish men had stayed there in the last week? Very interesting.

My new itinerary was relatively slow and comparatively unambitious. Three counties, one month. 3-4 days most stops. 3-4 hours travel between places only. Plenty of time to take in the new sights and the sounds. Laze in cafes, meander about and contemplate life.

My budget was €1000 for one month. Easy for those parts I was told. Shopping was officially banned. Deluxe ensuite small dorms a thing of the past. Private rooms out of the question. The much loved Balkans were back in the game.

My last trip before I snapped out of Peter Pan syndrome and grew up! (Although that’s what I told myself before every travel adventure) but yolo’n my way through my 20s had served me well thus far.



Day 2 waking up back in New Zealand. My plan to sleep in destroyed by an insatiable hunger and a little bit of jet lag. It’s 7am.

I lie in bed willing myself to go back to sleep, yet I feel more awake then I have in a very long time. 2 early nights have apparently done me well.

I wonder what time it is in Los Angeles, in Central America. I think about all the things that are happening over there. I think about myself, and what I’m going to do today. Nothing rushes to mind, so I linger in bed warmed by a heater not the sun — a first in a very long time.

I gaze at the roof of my bedroom, willing it to burst open and transport me back to a hot balmy climate. A place where I have nothing to do each day but peruse at my leisure, eat what I feel and chat to whomever I wish.

I don’t feel sad or bored, just a lingering happiness as I nostalgically ponder all that has been. After being saturated with people it’s nice to sit isolated in my own company and reflect.

9 weeks went so fast, and yet it feels like a lifetime I was away. All the memories, and places and the people still exist but now just in a facet of my imagination. It feels as if it was all one beautiful dream. I’d love to fall back into its blissful sleep but I have awoken. I feel fresh, alive, tranquillo and happy — happier than I remember feeling in a very long time.

While I could ponder these abstract whimsical ideas infinitely, once again I’m driven by my desire to eat. I grab my fleece dressing gown, brace the brisk winter and head into the kitchen to cook my first meal in a very long time.

salento bogota group san blas kesh girls