So it’s been brought to my attention that I need to give more frequent “updates”—as if this were a travelogue.
But I’ve always refused to admit that what I’m doing is “traveling.” I’ve met a ton of folks so far (Americans, Europeans, Germans) who are in this mode, and I must say that I’m in a totally separate frame of mind. That’s why the past few weeks have been difficult for me.
(OK, here’s the update…)
I got into Auckland on August 28th. That’s one month ago. I spent about two weeks there, figuring out essentials—cell phone, car, etc.—then took off to Taupo for a friend’s 30th birthday party. That weekend was great fun, but immediately afterwards I was one my own.
I didn’t know where I was sleeping that night. My car had been fuming smoke and smelling a bit like burnt oil for a few days. I had no food and even less a way to prepare it.
So I did the only sensible thing: I went hiking.
That’s where these incredible photos come from.
From then until last Wednesday I was driving around to various destinations throughout NZ, sleeping in my car and doing as many free touristy things as I could locate. (There aren’t that many.)
Which brings me back to not being in “traveling mode.”
It’s weird to say, but I wasn’t the least excited to be doing this. Those of you who spoke to me on Gchat experienced how miserable I was. I guess I haven’t thought of this time as “traveling” or “time off” because that seems irresponsible or adolescent. I’ve wanted to conceive of my “great NZ adventure” as a practical and purposeful apprenticeship period.
A period of learning.
I had completed my theoretical education, wherein I learned the importance of agriculture; now I wanted a practical education, where I could live out that importance.
(Is it obvious by now that I’m invariably self-righteous?)
So here I was, moaning over being totally unencumbered in one of the most scenic countries in the world. I don’t know if it was justified or not. But anyway, I eventually got a hold of a WWOOF host who would let me come stay with her for a week or longer. She lived on a ranch on the Coromandel Peninsula. (“Bees. Alternative energy. Spinning wool from a variety of colored sheep.”)
It’s been rather adventurous. I’ve weeded, pruned, shifted cattle, fed pigs, chooks (NZ for “chickens”), pheasants, deer, and alpacas, built a raised garden, transported tons of horse manure (all by myself!), and cut open a dead cow.
More on that last one soon.