Is it normal to feel weird when you first start travelling?
The word ‘awesome’ is often misused. Usually what people actually mean is ‘really good’, or maybe ‘excellent’.
Since arriving in New Zealand, I’ve probably seen more awesome vistas than I’ve ever seen in one place.
I think the word ‘Spectacular’ was invented for this place. It’s like some of the most beautiful bits of the UK times a thousand, with the colour saturation cranked up. Everything’s just so massive, vast and blinkin’ beautiful at the same time. A catchphrase has developed between us over the last couple of weeks, “LOOK at the colour of that WATER!!” because all the water in the lakes and rivers seems to be an almost unreal shade of brilliant turquoise. It’s all I can do not to cannonball right into it.
My sister and uncle flew from England and met us for the first two weeks of our trip here. We had a great time with them. After leaving them at the airport in Christchurch, we trundled back to the same campsite in Mt. Somers where we’d stayed with them the previous night. The evening before was as busy as Ladies Day at Ascot where they’re offering free Jimmy Choos and a Tiffany ring with every glass of Pimms.
Tonight, it was desolate. It’s a beautiful place, small, quaint, tranquil with lush green grass and lots of trees, overlooked by a beautiful, hazy mountain in the distance. I felt like I was in an episode of Heidi. We sat down together and looked wistfully into the peaceful emptiness expecting to feel relaxed, free and excited for what was to come. But something wasn’t right… we both felt really weird.
It took us a while to put our finger on it, but finally we realised that now, quite simply, we were on our own. This is it.
What also started to sink in was the reality of being unemployed with no fixed abode, having left a very nice little security blanket in Korea, being gainfully employed with a free roof over our heads.
We wondered if everyone feels weird when they first start travelling and I concluded that, I guess you just have to get used to being unsettled, a pretty strange paradox. We decided it would probably take a few days to get used to.
The following day we stopped at Lake Pukaki and sat beside the glittering turquoise water to eat lunch, overlooked by the resplendent Mount Cook, one of the most incredible sights of my life. I had a philosophical moment, feeling tiny and totally in awe of my surroundings. We said, “This is it. This is what we worked for two years in Korea for,” and I’m so damn glad we did it.