Hitting the Road

When people here ask me where I’m from, I’ve been saying “California and New York.” This is usually pretty confusing for the pour soul who’s just trying to make casual conversation with me on a bus, but in my mind it’s a lot easier than trying to explain my slightly bizarre bi-coastal tendencies. I’ve constantly got the New York and the California sides staring one another down and judging the other’s decisions; I sometimes feel a bit like the world’s most high-strung hippie.

This is a particularly inconvenient dichotomy when you’re trying to adjust to the whole “go with the flow” life plan for a while – say, on the other side of the planet for a year. I know I should be traveling around as much as possible while it’s still summer here, seeing what places I like, trying to find casual work when I feel like it and not when I don’t. But my New York half seems to demand a little reason, here: “OK, go work on some vegan retreat doing zen meditations every morning and using compostable plumbing systems, for all I care. But at least figure out where you’re going before you get there!” My New York half only wants to go with the flow if it can direct it, regulate the pressure, and designate an end point.

So, in my best effort to appease both sides, I’ve decided to stat taking advantage of my Stray bus pass and maybe, if I feel like it, looking for some WWOOFing gigs along the way in areas I visit and take a liking to.

This is theoretically what I was trying to do up in the Bay of Islands last weekend: hang out on the beach for a couple of days, then work at one of some vegan spiritual (read: misplaced Northern Californian) retreat for a week or two before moving on to a new location. Unfortunately the retreats I pursued up near Bay of Islands didn’t work out so well (one wanted me to pay them in addition to working; the second was too late giving me the green light to come because, I kid you not, they had been “really busy doing a juice fast all weekend.” I dodged a giant liquid bullet on that one). Luckily Paihia, in the Bay of Islands, ended up being a really cool place – a try-the-local-beers, dance-to-bad-Queen-remixes, float-on-your-back-in-the-South-Pacific-looking-for-the-Southern-Cross, listen-to-guitar-on-the-beach-at-3am kind of place. Despite the fact that I didn’t manage to spin anything a little more, shall we say, productive, out of the trip, it definitely helped put things into perspective. Two days back in an Auckland backpackers’ hostel with a thick film of grease on all its kitchen surfaces and even my inner New Yorker was hankering for a little uncertainty.

So I decided to head here*:

All in all, not a bad life decision, right? This is Cathedral Cove off the Coromandel Peninsula. Coming here allowed me, for a few hours, to forget about trying to figure out my life and instead worry about figuring out how to steer this thing:

And so, after a few more days on the road, I’m slowly adjusting to the idea that maybe a bit of time being itinerant and, what the hell, maybe even adventurous, before figuring out my work/life situation, just might not kill me.

*I know, these pictures are huge. And I bet they’re taking forever to load. But I guarantee my internet’s shoddier than yours right now and I’m not reloading them. Now I know for next time. Sorry!

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