I’m writing this on the top of Mount Eden, looking out across Auckland, I can see the ocean, the mountains, with the city in the middle and a gloriously blue sky playing as backdrop to the scene.
I feel overwhelmed. I’m on the other side of the world. In all my wanting to travel, I don’t think I ever believed I’d get this far. Just a few minutes ago I was welling up. I wasn’t crying because I felt too far away from home, but it was more joyful- celebrating that I had made it so far. It seems my brain wasn’t sure how to cope with this and out came the tears.
I imagine it went something like, “Feelings . . . shit . . . CRY.”
* * *
However the high of the mountain was swiftly followed by the low of reality sinking in: what on earth was I going to do now?
When I was sorting out my trip back in the UK the plan was to settle in Auckland but it didn’t take too long for me to change to my mind. During my travels in Australia I heard time and time again I that Auckland was not the place I should settle. It was too big, hard to get around and had no character.
I gave myself four days to get a feel for the place – my funds were low and I needed to get job hunting asap – and it didn’t take long for me to agreeing with what all of those people had told me. I walked through the CBD and felt like I could be any city in the world.
I had no longing to stay here, no urge to make this city mine. Not even traipsing through the vintage shops on K Road and scoring a denim jacket for $20 or walking along the harbour. I couldn’t shake the wanting to leave and thankfully I had a place in mind.
I was surprisingly calm considering I had Auckland lined up for months and the next place had only been on my radar for a matter of weeks.
You see, in the back of my head was the advise of a Kiwi girl I had met in a hostel in Airlie Beach. I’d told her about my plan to settle in Auckland and she had the same reaction as everyone else. She started asking me whether I liked living between mountains, living next to the ocean, having lots of quirky shops, artwork, and cafes. I said yes to all of that (how could you say no?) and she gave me a knowing look.
“I think you’ll like Wellington.”
Four days after entering Auckland, I left on the night bus to Wellington. My Lonely Planet had a bookmark in the Wellington pages I had eagerly read. All I was going off was the girl’s advise, that small chapter and a brief Google. I had no real plan, which was completely different for me. I was following a gut feeling and telling the planner in me to wait and see. I was really, really hoping it would all work out.
Writing this now, in my flat in Wellington on a lunch break from my job on the waterfront, I can tell you now that it worked out pretty well, but more on that later.