This post is more along the lines of my personal journey than where on the planet I have been and a way for me to put a few things out there and to share things from my side and what I have been up to since the trip.
Last I wrote I had just gotten back from Antarctica and bought myself a van so that I could explore around a bit while I figured out what to do. This project became a welcome distraction from some of the personal things I was dealing with and also took a lot longer than first planned as a few issues with the van kept me at bay. Since finishing the trip and achieving what I set out to do, it has been a strange time for me. I am so stoked to have had the chance to do what I have done, and to share it with others, and to be here in NZ, and yet I felt lost and directionless and so unsure of my next steps that inside I was really struggling. The wind went out of my sails and I drifted aimlessly, as I went from having this goal that I’d been working and striving too for so long, a mission that has driven me since childhood, to suddenly having to look past that and think about where to next.
I also felt a change in what it was I wanted in life, for so long it has been about exploration and getting away and suddenly I felt a huge desire to stay still and to be based somewhere and settle (to be honest I've had this feeling for a while, but couldn’t let myself or Kuhela down) It has been a long time since I have been based somewhere for an extended period of time, and though I know that some form of travel will always be part of me, I really want a base and a community and possibly even a family around me. To be able to sit and be still in my own space, and most importantly to be content with that. I also decided that its maybe time to go do something different work wise, the diving is great but I feel I need a new challenge, and well there’s not much work around at the moment anyways. Something that will allow me to be creative and to make things that are useful and beautiful. So here I was with many more questions than answers and I found myself really down, unable to decide if I was coming or going and feeling lost and depressed. I also felt pretty guilty for feeling like this, as in reality life was (is) amazing, I had food on the table, my own boat, I was in a beautiful place and there was so much good going on. Still though, my brain was driving me mad with all the questions and uncertainty and with no clear mission to work towards I felt alone and pretty hopeless.
The work on the van became a way to get away from that and I got stuck right into that. I was busy from sunrise to sunset and set about bringing the van that I could see in my head into life. I got a bit carried away and went from bare van to a fully fitted out custom mobile home that I could explore in and be comfy and expressed my style. It was fun and I'm pretty happy with the result. A quick delivery job to Vanuatu popped up and I was able to jump on that and make some coin and have an amazing trip back up to the islands. It was an interesting insight too, being just one of the crew again and free of the overall responsibility of running the boat and seeing the stress and pressure of everything mounting on the skipper, and watching him become more tired everyday, it really brought home the responsibility of it all, and also gave a great insight into what it must have been like for the crew that were with me.
I finally got the van sorted and on the road and hoped that some time away would help me to sort my head out a bit and come up with a plan as to what I wanted to do and begin to find my way again. For the last little while I have been on the road here in the most beautiful country I have ever visited. I have surfed beaches with only a handful of people around, sat in my van under an umbrella of millions of stars, climbed a waterfall in the middle of a storm, swam in a stream so clear (and cold) that you the water was simply transparent, walked among giant redwood tress and watched boiling water and steam rise from deep within the earth. Mana, or spirit, or whatever word you wish to use to describe it is something so tangible here that is simply a part of everyday life. With this around me, and meeting some good people along the way I have begun to find my way again, its like my compass has slowed its aimless spinning and is beginning to point me in the right direction once again.
I have decided to move the boat south, I was able to get a spot in the marina in Tauranga and will be sailing down that way next week, and exploring a few of the outer islands along the way. I am also really stoked that my brother will be joining me for this trip. For his 21st , a few years ago, I gave him a printed out ticket to join me aboard Kuhela, and he is finally able to cash it in. To share this with him is something I am very much looking forward to. I have also been doing some very serious thinking about Kuhela as well. She is my dream, she has given me so much and I have learned so very much from her, but she also demands a lot and to keep her in the condition in want to is maybe more than I am willing to give right now. I feel that I have accomplished what I set out to do, I have bought my boat and sailed 10,000 miles and lived out my dream, now I think it is time to move on to something new. I feel like she deserves 100% and I can’t provide that and also move on to what is next for me. I will be putting her on the market and ensuring that whoever she goes adventuring with next will give her as much, or more, than I did. There is so much mixed emotion and feeling in there, but on a deep level it does feel right to me.
So here we are, tomorrow I will pick up my brother and we will make our way north to begin what may possibly be the last trip aboard my dream. I still have some work that I need to d before I can put her on the market and will be hauling out when I get to Tauranga to get this done before basing myself down there, looking for some work and seeing what life brings. Even writing these words is a bit strange, in some ways it feels sad, in others it feels like I am only now accomplishing what I set out to as it all sinks in and I look forward to my next mission. Who knows what life has in store for me now? In between all the uncertainty and doubt that sometimes sneaks in there is a hand of fate that I see at work sometimes and little things that have been popping up to guide me along the way. The wind seems to be filling in again and my sails are starting to tug at me to move me on towards my next destination. So once again I do what I can, prepare myself and my boat, throw off my lines and begin to move forward to what lies over the horizon for me.
I also want to say a very public thanks to my family and friends that have helped me through this time. To be able to call on them and get advice and inspiration has been something very special and means more than they may ever know. Thank you all so very much.