Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happiness is... Fruit Trees and Furry Friends

I am sitting here in a campervan that, for the next two weeks, I get to call my own. There is a friendly, excitable dog outside, a cuddly kitten hanging out near the kitchen, a saltwater swimming pool on the beach a few hundred yards away, some travelers hanging out by the fire, wine in a glass beside me, a cool breeze blowing outside, and a cozy bed (that is not a bunk) waiting for me to crawl into it. At this point in my travels, this is happiness.

I spent the past couple weeks in what I can only describe as a “funk.” My family departed in Auckland and I flew back to Nelson to figure out what was next. The problem was that I spent too much time thinking about what I was going to do with my family that I hadn’t properly planned what would happen after they left. I hadn't even arranged a ride from the airport or a place to stay that night. I spent a week “job searching” though I think I was looking in all the wrong places. I also did some exploring with people I met in the various hostels I stayed at, but continued to return to the notion that I needed to be figuring out what was next rather than simply enjoying the day in front of me.

At some point in this process of “figuring things out,” Louise popped back into my life. We were both in a rough spot and it seemed that if she joined me in Nelson things might be more manageable since we could work through them together. We spent a day catching each other up on our lives and discussing potential plans and possibilities. We then decided that we needed to get out and promptly fell into a detailed process of planning an adventure to Nelson Lakes National Park.

Upon our return, Louise’s plans changed quickly so she could join another traveling buddy to climb Mt. Egmont when she went up to tour the North Island. We tried to figure out our plans to travel together when she returns to the South Island next month, and tried to find a job or something to occupy my time while she was gone. We were also a bit distracted by my birthday and doing something special to celebrate, so no plans for me fell into place.

The day after my birthday, I found a posting online and decided on a whim to give them a call. Every WWOOFing or job opportunity I had tried was already filled and none of the hostels were looking for people to work for accommodation at the moment. The number I called was for a family looking for a short term nanny for the week of January 31st. It turns out that they have tenants that stay in “sleep-outs” (huts) in their yard and share a kitchen and bathroom area attached to the house. The lady I talked to said I could move into their campervan whenever I wanted before she needed me to help with the kids. Conveniently, she works at the Nelson Saturday market, so I was able to get a ride with her back to Motueka today.

I have yet to meet the kids (they are staying elsewhere on a family camping trip) but so far I am quite content. I walked to the beach this evening to watch the sunset and enjoyed chatting with the other tenants while I fixed and ate some dinner. I am so happy to have my own space for a time and not have to pack my bags to move every day! The yard is beautiful with gardens everywhere. There is some fencing around my campervan to give me my very own mini yard/sitting area but an open gate provides Maggie (the dog) the opportunity to come visit when she pleases!  There is a pear tree and a plumb tree nearby and heaps of fresh bread from the organic bakery that my host works for!

On top of everything else, I have plans to head up to Takaka for some outdoor climbing at Paynes Ford tomorrow! I also have a week ahead of me of relaxing, exploring, and blogging where I don’t have to pay for a hostel and be surrounded by different travelers every night! I don’t want it to sound like I don’t enjoy hostels – I have stayed in 7 of them in Nelson alone – but sometimes you just need a break.

I will certainly go into more details about hostels, birthdays, adventures with Louise, and family vacations later on, but for now it’s time to get some sleep! Cheers!


  1. What popped into my head on reading your post is a old Kiwi saying I read somewhere recently, "She'll be right". Glad things have worked out, at least near-term!

    Being a nanny without kids around sounds like a pretty good gig. :)

  2. Haha, yes, nannying without kids would be a pretty good gig... but I met them tonight and they're sweet as anything! I know "she'll be right" but sometimes it's hard to believe that when nothing is working out. Fortunately I am back to loving my travels and believing that she will, eventually, be right! :)

  3. Belated Happy Birthday Kirstin! I don't know where the phrase came from, but "Keep on, keepin' on" comes to mind as I read your musings. I am sending you big hugs and wishes for continued personal growth...your spirit shines!

  4. Happy belated birthday! Your camper is so cozy, and you must be excited to have a doggie around!

    So adventurous! Thanks for sharing your travel stories.

    -Emily O.

  5. @ Diane, Thanks for the birthday wishes! Sometimes you have to take in everything and sort through the bad before you are left with the good... but that's life! Thanks so much for your support, friendly encouragement can mean so much when you're traveling alone!

    @ Emily O (I think I know which O...), Thank you, also, the birthday wishes! My camper is quite cozy (though I am moving on soon) and there is something about spending time with a dog that just makes everything wonderful!


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