Thursday, October 27, 2011

Post "trip of a lifetime" melancholy

So, where to now??????

It has been a few days since I have posted on here as I have been dealing with rejoining the "real world" and I have to be honest that I am struggling a little bit.

Back to real life .. And work ....

Of course it has been lovely catching up with my family and friends, however, looking around my city, going in to my office and lots of little things have made me feel somewhat confused and a little down about what happens next.

Obviously, with a trip comes cost and as much as I would like to pretend I could retire now, the reality is I can't. What I have found even more interesting is the fact that I seem to be seeing so many things with different eyes as when I left. Things that seemed so vitally important to me before, just seem unimportant now.

Firstly, coming from such a large city back to Auckland everywhere and everything is just so quiet. There is just not the hustle bustle. This is both good and bad.

Secondly, I have noticed how rough round the edges kiwi blokes are. There is not the same openess and kindness and I so worry about Yammie feeling safe here. We have already been yelled at once and we were simply walking down the street. The immaturity of the rugby hooligans who celebrated the rugby world cup and were screaming down the streets just put me right off, and I know made Yammie feel a bit scared.

I really really miss the people in Thailand.

This morning someone complained about the fact that I had a couple of things sitting in my basement carpark and that it looked messy. This simply enraged me as all i could think of is all those people's lives in Thailand whose livelihoods have been ruined with the flooding, and people working their butts off simply to be able to eat, and I thought to myself, how fucking pathetic. (excuse my language)

I went in to my office yesterday and the thought of going back to work just leaves me feeling sluggish. The other thing that I have been struck with is a sense of guilt - I started pulling things out of my storage and I thought to myself ... There are people in the world with nothing and here I am with all this "stuff" ... I don't need 10 towels and everything else that I have collected over the years.

Alongside this I have Yammie with me which is the one thing that I am happy about. In saying that I am constantly worried that he is okay and that I am keeping him busy, and the fact that life is just so different here. Technology is great though and he is able to talk with his family and communicate with his friends which make me feel better. My family have also embraced him as have my close friends and I am so very grateful to them all for this. I have also introduced him to a couple of people and I am hopeful that they can build friendships so he can create an extra support network. Of course we both have some feelings of separation anxiety I reckon as we have basically spent 24 hours 7 days a week together for the last four months and as I get busier there will be times when we he cannot come with me, so a job and friends are so very important.

....written a little later .... I did some googling and apparently these feelings I am having are quite normal and there are a few things I can do about it ... So here's my list of ways to combat the melancholy ..

1. A few people have suggested that I could write a book about my travels ... I kind of like this idea so I'm going to spend a bit of time pulling all these experiences together into a semi coherent way ... Check back in a couple of years. :)
2. We have yammies work visa to sort out, so we need to begin this process.
3. I will plan a few "mini trips" for Yammie and me over the next three months.
4. I need something big to look forward to (and to work toward) so I will sit down and look at where we want to be in One to two years and work towards it, then it gives me a reason to put my head down and bum up to make some serious money so we can do it.
5. I will make an active effort to reconnect with old friends and have people over more - we are already doing this and I am really enjoying hosting at home rather than out at restaurants all the time.

Hopefully, these should all help kick start the next part of my life journey.

So, onwards and upwards... :)

Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bangkok, Hong Kong, Macau and Home ....

Sorry about the delay in getting this post out. Between bad internet coverage, zooming around with limited time and long flights home, this post is overdue.....

Written last Friday

As I write this it is Friday morning and we will soon check out of the hotel and head to the airport. It has been a very nice stay here for the last two nights at Lebua at State Tower.

We met with our landlord yesterday so got the sign off of the apartment. We also dropped the car off. Thursday night was a farewell party for Yammie from his friends. We went to a huge place called "holland beer" where they had a stage about three times the size of the Auckland town hall with live music and great entertainment. A couple of the girls got fairly emotional as you can imagine as they have very little knowledge and understanding of my country except that it it a he'll of a long way away. Being very close, they are of course pulled between feeling excited for Yammie about this amazing opportunity and being sad about him leaving.

I have gotten to know them well and have grown to love his close knit circle of girlfriends as they are incredibly loyal with each other and as is the case with gen y? They Share all their highs and lows together. They have embraced me during my time here and I will miss them too.

"the girls"

Tonight, running down Soi Silom was a huge festival to do with the local temple which has caused chaos with the already bad traffic and has really encompassed everything I love about Thailand ... Throngs of people, crazy roads, a heap of cheap good food and great atmosphere.

Written on Sunday - hong kong and Macau

We left Bangkok on friday and had a short flight to Hong Kong where we had an easy run through imigration. We caught a taxi to the hotel where we were immediatly disappointed with the accom, but only three nights so we could cope. After a leisurly stroll to stretch our legs and grab abite to eat we crashed in to bed for the night where i proceeded to feel quite ill probably from a combination of bad food and a lack of sleep.

On Saturday we decided to head to Macau for the day but decided once we were there to stay for the night at the venetian casino and hotel where they have 3000 over the top hotel rooms aspart of a ridiculously large complex. It was totally worth it and shortly before we were due to leave I managed to win a bit of money which meant a bit of shopping and it had covered our weekend their. excellent! I bought a really nice wallet, Yammie a bag, and my mum a little gift. We caught the ferry back to spend our last night in Hong Kong before the long trip home tomorrow.

It is with a surprisingly heavy heart that I think about packing tomorrow and heading home. I feel excitement about catching up with my friends and family and of course having Yammie come to NZ with me and showing home round and seeing where life takes us, but I am filled with this huge sense of sadness that this trip of a lifetime is nearly at an end. It has changed me in so many ways and there is no doubt that I am worried about rejoining the workforce. I have definitely left a part of me in Thailand too. Coming to Hong Kong there are just so mNy stark differences. I do so hope Yammie doesn't get a shock when he finds that not everyone is open and kind and respectful of others.

Written in New Zealand

We had a very long trip home before getting the Spanish inquisition at the airport and been lead to a different area at the airport where we were questioned further, then after an extra hour or so at immigration we were allowed to go. Yay! We were in New Zealand.

Yay! In new zealand ... Cold, but we're home!

....more to come in a few days :)

Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's packing up time ....

This morning we nervously made the trip to NZ immigration to pick up yammies passport which has now got his visa stamped in it. I must say it was a huge relief to finally see it and confirm that we had finally got the green light. We could now start the organization for jumping on the plane on Friday.

The first job was to re confirm our flights - first to hong kong then on to NZ three days later. The next was to organize to meet our landlord for a final inspection - this we do tomorrow. Next on the list was a tidy up of my beard and what little hair I have at a local barber who did an outstanding job if I do say so myself. Then on to buy a new big bag as I have collected a few extra clothes and a few nic nacs. Then on to the post office to send a box of stuff home by sea.

I have also booked us in to a really nice hotel here for our last two nights. Although 5 star, we got a super hot special for one night and for the second we are using our gift voucher we got from them during our last visit their which is one free night. Hopefully it will work out well because they can then ferry us out to the airport on Friday.

I've also got to do a few practical things for at home like get the power turned back on and phone. I also want to organize a bit of a party :)

We were very lucky to return to bangkok on Friday as the flooding up north has worsened with many of the main roads cut off and flooded. Millions of people have been affected with loss of farmland and homes and businesses flooded. It is a shocker that's for sure.

I am filled with a huge amount of excitement about taking Yammie back to New Zealand and obviously seeing my friends and family after a few months. I am also filled with a great deal of sadness as I have grown to really love Thailand and the people. I could actually happily live here if I found an appropriate job but that is maybe for the future. The focus now is enjoying my last few days "on the road"', helping Yammie get accustomed to a new country and culture and somehow get re accustomed with the idea of work!!

I am truly a different person to the one that left nearly six months ago and I wouldn't change a single experience, but I will wait to do a greater amount of reflection until I am back in New Zealand.

Things that used to stress me out seem somewhat irrelevant now that I have experienced new cultures and got first hand experience of hardships that people face, and one of the most awesome things I have recaptured, is the joy to laugh at life and myself. This is something that is quite magical in Thailand, and i think one thing that is misunderstood. We in the western world are obsessed with "things" but here, if you have friends and very little else, you can share a meal, have a hell of a good time and laugh about life. I really love that.

The generosity that I have been shown by those that I have met in my travels has been something I will forever treasure. I have been fortunate - yes, I've done and been to some "tourist spots" but I have had so many more enriching experiences wandering down the back roads here in Bangkok, or meeting communities through Yammie - experiences that to me beat any coach trip, or tourist day trip hands down.

Last night we went and had some dinner down the road at a road side stall - I nicknamed them "our friends" because I have loved their food - prawns, squid and Tom yum - authentic, not "falangafied" - and all for just a few dollars. I am really really going to miss the food and the propensity for Thai people to eat, and eat, and eat. I will miss the copious food stalls with questionable hygiene where I have never once got sick, I will miss the way people smile with genuine happiness when you try speaking Thai. I will miss people's genuine kindness with me and Yammie and their joy of celebrating a happy, loving relationship.

I have had the exact life experiences that I wanted, and after all, I didn't come to Thailand to eat steak and mashed potatos - I can do that at home. I came to experience new cultures, to understand how people live and to really experience the countries I have been through. I do believe I have achieved this..... Plus, I have managed to drink and eat my way through my travels, sometimes to excess, and still managed to lose 12 kg's.! ... Yay!

My life in a number of ways has and is not the most conventional you will come across - and that's how I like it.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.

I'm back!

 Somehow I managed to log back in after a mere 8 years away from the site! I have so much to say, and so much to add, however, just logging ...