57 days on the road. No set plans, no agenda to stick to or goals cross off. It was just me, a lot of unfamiliar New Zealand countryside and Susie (my Subaru). I love road trips to begin with. I don’t mind hours on end behind the wheel. Place me on a New Zealand road and I am living and breathing euphoria.
In the past I haven’t been one that’s completely comfortable with “winging it”. I didn’t even like not having plans for the weekend, let alone the next year of my life. As Americans, I think there is something ingrained in us that we have to follow this schedule and we have to constantly be doing something. Go to school, graduate college, find a job, volunteer, enjoy a hobby, work 5+ days a week, get married, have kids. Not to say that this doesn’t absolutely works for people. It just didn’t pan out like that for me. And it definitely took me a long time to understand and be okay with the fact that that was okay.
Even in my first few weeks in New Zealand, I had in my mind that I wanted to be in either Queenstown or Wanaka so I soared through the North Island in the blink of an eye. So much so that when talking about what we had done and where we intended to go, Leena the German girl I befriended months back, asked me “what’s your rush?” I thought about it and realized that I really didn’t have one. I was just pushing all my energy toward getting comfortable, finding a job, settling down. Whether I was babysitting, bartending, or selling solar panels, I have had a steady, paying job since I’ve been about 13 years old.
My reply to Leena was, simply because that was all I knew. But she was right, I could take my time. I had saved up good money and didn’t need to rush anything. It was okay to just exist in the moment and appreciate all the new. Manifest my energy into this amazing space, appreciate every minute of sunlight and every ounce of moonshine.
So, I went 57+ days without a job. With the help of others I pushed the break pedal and eased up on my pace. I traveled the countryside of New Zealand and booked hostels the night prior or day of (some of which pictured below). I met amazing people and pushed boundaries within myself that I didn’t know existed. It has been life changing, getting to know myself on such a personal level. Which may sound silly, it’s yourself how can it not be personal?
It’s hard to describe in words. It’s knowing all of my fears and insecurities but being in situations where I don’t get to choose to be scared and insecure. It’s being an introvert at heart but having that tiny allotment of extrovert to take the wheel. It’s still having my computer days, headphones plugged in and the world tuned out, but also accepting the invitation to go grab dinner with the strangers I just met 4 minutes ago. More importantly it’s asking the group of strangers if I could join them as they head out for dinner. Ugh, the anxiety! (in the beginning).
It’s going 57 days without a plan, having tears fall down my face while watching a movie on day 54 and realizing that was the first time I’d cried in 54 days. It’s that extra bit of magic that’s been sprinkled into my life. It’s the ever evolving “moi”.