We made it. To Auckland. No, not Oakland.
After driving more than 3000 kilometers, Jonathan and I are still amazed by the natural beauty of this country. Case in point: there are a couple of scenic highways but even when we weren’t on a scenic highway we were like WTF, this is a scenic highway– why hasn’t it been marked as such? I also liked some of the signs on the highway, like that one for the National Army, which said something to the extent of “Are your kids driving you up the wall? There’s always the National Army…”
Oh, and one more thing: if you’re a Lord of the Rings illiterate, which I am, you’re missing out. When we hiked to some Falls yesterday, a Kiwi told me “That’s the rock where they filmed the scene.” WTH? What scene? Clearly, half of New Zealand is lost on us because we didn’t bother to read Tolkien or watch the damn movie.
We loved this trip but could have done without our bus which was noisy and big and a bitch to drive. Yesterday morning we had to empty our piss box again at a dump station and the dump station was fucking gross, which is why’ll never take indoor plumbing for granted again. It may well be the best 20th-century comfort invention. Both Jon and I went back to the Gallipoli exhibit in our minds where the men used latrines but were sometimes so fatigued that they’d fall into the latrines and had to be fished out of the shit pits as they were too tired to get up. We merely emptied our latrine– first-world problems, but it made us realize what entitled 21st-century wimps we have become…
Yesterday we also met with Dutch-American friends in Hamilton Gardens– what fun to hear their stories of taking the plunge to live here, make a new life and make the world a better place while doing so. A complete and total inspiration.
As a college essay coach, I tell kids that “getting out of your comfort zone” is one of the vital growth spurts you want to accomplish in college (and admissions counselors want to see your willingness to go there), but it shouldn’t just happen in your twenties– in every decade of your life you should have an experience like it, whether that is moving to another country, making a drastic career change or make a dramatic life change. It makes life more interesting and it makes you grow as a person. It also makes life/time slow down, so you’re living more intensely. Routine, getting in a rut is the fast track to mortality, but we’re all slaves to it because we bet on safety and security but it’s not the path of happiness and fulfillment. As we get older, we get to be more risk-adverse but it does make life utterly boring and, truly, when you do have the urge to go abroad, cruises ain’t the answer. Nor do they build character.
We dropped off the camper last night and woke up in the sky in Auckland in a very nice Airbnb.
I’ve come down with a nasty cold and had to do a bunch of work so I’m writing this in bed, feeling both miserable and decadent, all at the same time. Off to pop more aspirin and cold or no cold, the city is begging to be explored.