January 2017...Returning To Normal Life!

Don't cry because it is over, SMILE because it happened. - Dr Seuss

Well this has to have been my motto for this month (January 2017). Thanks Dr. Seuss, I do not think any of us can read one of his books without smiling. How crazy, so very silly and a tad weird. In a strange, crazy Dr Seuss world, they become very beautiful words.

Anyway you all will be wondering how my return into my old world, my reintegration to my house, to my friends and to all the others, some not even realising that I had been gone and what I was attempting. Some days I have felt like the aliens have dropped me through a portal and landed me back to what we are meant to embrace as normal! Well you guessed, it the nomadic gypsy has had her moments.

For everyone who has asked me along the way, “what are you going to do when you finish?" Well that is most certainly a work in progress. All I can say is I am staying busy, focused and living day by day. Just like my mantra for the past 14 months.

We had made a plan to very quickly head south out of Auckland after my landing. I have to say I had a feeling of relief to be leaving the city behind, and as I got past the base of the Bombay Hills, I was headed to a holiday favourite of mine, Hahei. For as many years as I can remember we have gone to this wonderful NZ iconic treasure for a few weeks each year and the need to continue this tradition made me smile. Only one night of our booking was left of the summer vacation but that was okay. New Years Eve and everyone was partying around us; that was a total mind overload, but thankfully I was so tired that sleeping became my priority, so by 10pm I was happily in my sleeping bag, lights out in Cuzzie, with the neighbouring tent singing loudly. But to be honest that was no real problem as within minutes I was asleep and was not disturbed.

The first laugh of 2017 was my 3.30am alarm! Oops! I had forgotten to deactivate that! But also I woke with a huge start, the calmness and no sound of waves or wind, this meant I must have needed to paddle today! I seriously had to say out loud "Red take a chill pill, you have finished, seriously go back to sleep". Even Bianca and Jase where quietly muttering from their sleepy state.

The next 5 days I spent tiki-touring around the Coromandel, most days swimming and paddling then on the move to the next location. Whangamata, Waihi, Kuaotunu, Kennedy Bay. Eventually I had to have a serious silent chat to myself and finally convinced myself that I had to face the fact. I had to be brave and go home, I think the team were silently happy that it was not them who had to do the kidnapping and get me back to a sort of normal routine. So with a tad heavy heart I set about the next stage of me re-entering the old Auckland city world. As we got closer to Auckland, waves of over whelming sadness swept across me and I found myself sitting in the passenger’s seat with tears flowing down my face. I was at last starting to be honest and accept that the nomadic NZ Journey was at an end.

The next few days once home, as like any trip, was about the unpacking, cleaning and gear washing. Poor Cuzzie the camper-van; she was in a very dusty, dirty state and with swimming gear on we scrubbed and water blasted her back to her pre-trip glory. Thanks Cuzzie you were and are totally amazing.

Bianca sadly headed back to Germany on Monday the 9th of January to snow and a chilly –20 degrees. A Hot Air Balloon festival in Austria, I was envious of the event but one thing I was not envious of, the cold, I could not even comprehend that degree of coldness!

Slowly but surely I have re-entered a world and a lifestyle I came from, but I have had to make some subtle changes to each day, just so it feels different, so I can look at unfamiliar new sights in my old city, but changing them and going to new venues and locations keeps me far happier. I have been back on the ocean paddling just a little since returning home, I've re-introduced myself to Eskimo rolling and am happy to find that it was not a forgotten skill, nope they were not 10 out of 10 scores on the rolls but they were successful.

Sleeping in a bed, yes very weird, sleeping with no familiar sea and wave noises, now that was totally wrong! Having a cat jump on the bed in the middle of the night! That was a brief startling moment. The washing machine got a workout for the first few days and the household is now dreading the upcoming monthly water bill now I am home!

Looking around my home, all I continually do is wonder why do I own so many objects and things! And for what purpose do they have to me in my daily life? Actually the answer mostly is nothing and I am just daily walking past these things, and then I began placing these many items in a pile to give away. I am on a de-clutter mission which seems to be gathering momentum, the joke in the house is that “no one should sit still” or otherwise I will have them also in the un-wanted pile to give away!

Heading back out to my old haunts, the many Waitakere tracks, revisiting KareKare the Zion Track, now that is truly a tough uphill run. Yes it hurt, it was great to be in the bush and to see the West Coast ocean! Then stand in the waterfalls to cool off the aching legs.

I have visited the Vero White-Water Centre, twice now, to watch and ponder if I am even up to braving this new white-water experience. I was convinced that this experience would be a wet, upside down affair, and it did not disappoint. I was a tad miffed for a few minutes. Then that darn determined "must do" attitude arrived. So after a trip down the fast flowing waters, losing my tiny kayak halfway down (ah yes it was expected!) I knew, but thanks to Mike I was not put off for long. I spent the rest of the session in the many eddies and whirlpools at the base of the course! And wished that my kayaking world had begun in the world of white-water and rapids. I actually reckon everything else would feel easier. Anyway it was a tad hilarious for the spectators! And for me, yes you guessed it, another challenge.

I made a trip to Manukau Heads to locate James and Fiona as they continued up the West Coast on their kayaking adventure. What an amazing pair, respect to you both. I was happy to have located them both, and I smiled this morning when I read their post of their most recent days paddle: 22.5 hours paddling, a 135km day! WOW! That is truly EPIC! Congrats to them. I know what it feels like getting to Ahipara.

The rest of my weeks so far this year have been filled with me, my 2017 planning and the “what to do?", the “how to keep still?", the constant urge to hear the sound of the ocean, and any reason to leave my laptop and mobile behind to head anywhere, probably south. Each day I still remind myself, what this journey was about and what it became. Yes it was a life changing extraordinary adventure.

As I close my eyes each night I recite my smiles for each day and I am happy to say I continue to have the smile from the inside out.

My Smiles (there have been many, but the most memorable smiles this month):
Friends and the many catch-ups.
Having a surprise visit from the amazing fishermen friends, while they were in port recently. (Thanks guys, miss you!) From Predator and Tiger Zeye.
Support Crew gathering and BBQ. So many laughs.
My new fire-pit, there never seems enough wood to burn.
Re-discovering my old haunts and the fact there are many new.
Looking for another adventure.

My Tears:
I have a sad heart over the whale stranding at Farewell Spit. Bless these beautiful creatures, I look to the ocean and ask why?

Ma Te Wa. 


One Tree Hill. Where I go to look out towards the oceans.

One Tree Hill. Where I go to look out towards the oceans.

NZ Summer.

NZ Summer.

The best time of the day for paddling.

The best time of the day for paddling.