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#amazingvacationideas #cheaptravel #exoticplaces #inspirational #peace #quittingyourjob #solofemaletravel #wwoof Travel and Inspirational Blogs

My First Week in New Zealand and my Very First WWOOF

My View From the Farm
My View From the Farm

So far I’ve spent four days in Fiji, and three days in Auckland (with one of the three days spent in Matamata at The Shire). I have to admit that Auckland was not the most impressive of places. This is a generally accepted fact by people that as far as cities go, you do not visit Auckland for the grandiose architeticure. It is a mixture of British influence meshed with Kiwi practically, which creates a convoluted architectural mix that is not so pleasing to the eye. The most beautiful aspects of Auckland are the bays and the natural landscapes. Auckland is heterogeneous, generally friendly and easy to navigate, but not a place that you’d want to spend massive amounts of time in.

Nightsky
Nightsky

After leaving Auckland, I’ve headed North up the coast to Kerikeri where the first place that I am going to be WWOOFing is located (to get more info on what WWOOFing is please see my other post ). About an hour out of Auckland, the scenery became so beautiful it was unreal. I felt as if I was a character out of Avatar and I had descended on a new planet. So many different types of plants and fauna rendered me agape with wonder. Three hours later, the bus arrived in Kerikeri, a small town located in the Bay of Islands region. Sitting at the bus stop I waited for my WWOOF Host, Julia, to pick me up. A few minutes later, and armed with a friendly smile, Julia picked me up. Upon my arrival she immediately took me to the grocery store and gave me $25NZD to buy myself breakfast and lunch materials. The agreement with her as my host was that I was given accommodation with a small kitchen, (no stove but a microwave) and I was responsible for preparing for myself breakfast and lunch and Julia would take care of dinner every night.

System Engineer now horse tamer
System Engineer now horse tamer

Julia’s ranch is located about 20 minutes outside of Kerikeri and pulling up to her place was like something out of a movie. Surrounded by lush green hills dotted with cattle, massive paddocks with horses grazing, and on top of the hill sat a truly stunning house. The accommodations here are fantastic from what I’ve been told by other WWOOF’ers. There are four sets of WWOOF’ers currently here, an Aussie/English couple, two sets of Germans, and myself and my brother. We each have our own “mini-apartment” with own bath, shower and small kitchen. The views from my patio are to die for. The “work,” which I have a hard time calling work considering every moment spent outside is pure joy, consists of tending the horses, ducks and general farm/stall upkeep. Each couple takes turns helping Julia cook dinner every night and we all eat together. Dinner is very enjoyable, not only is Julia a certified chef, it is wonderful to be breaking bread every night with such a wonderful collection of people from around the world – people whose stories under other circumstances I would have never have gotten to hear.

Fellow WWOOF'ers
Fellow WWOOF’ers
A laugh and some work
A laugh and some work

In my childhood I grew up on a ranch in California. We had goats, horses, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats and an occasional peacock. I left home at 16 and thus ended my farming career. However, returning to this environment I have been shocked with what ease I’ve remembered on how to do everything. At 16 I dreamed about wandering the world and having a career, who knew at 29 I’d leave the career I gave everything up for to wander the world and return back to farming? From a bossy professional women to horse tender, I’ve never been happier with change. I experience no anxiety and my conversations with the horses fill me with contentment. With no Wi-Fi at our location I have to head to the library to be connected and it’s been quite the detox. I used to have my phone connected to me 24/7 and at first with no connection to the outside world I experienced a bit of anxiety but now I am so at peace, rather in love, with the isolation. No television at night, and after our group dinner I return to my room to read and fall into a peaceful, prescription drug/alcohol free sleep. This is what I came on my journey for; to find myself, to experience quiet, nature and get back to basics. Fiji and Auckland were great, but here up North, well at least for the next three weeks, is home.

WWOOF_5

-Till my next adventure- Jo.

Categories
#peace #quittingyourjob

Three Weeks Since I’ve Quit my job

As excited as I was to leap off the cliff into the unknown, the realities of leaving my ten-year career, moving cross-country, and leaving for a three-month trip to New Zealand, Fiji and Australia has been a rollercoaster of a ride. I knew going into this journey that it constituted a serious life change, when I do something I am an “all in” kind of girl- for better or worse. With all major life changes there is the good and the bad; not “bad” so much, I am trying to get away from using such black and white terms, but let’s say different than my expectations.

I am into the 3rd week of not working and I have more time on my hands than I can ever remember. Since my teens I have been a go go go type of person. Always restless, always filling my schedule with work and social commitments to the brim. Pretty much running away from any unpleasant part of life or any time for self-introspection. I have purposely given myself six weeks before my three-month trip to NZ to acclimate and slow down. I want to face and fight my depression head on and allow my spirit and body to rest. Going from 200mph to 0 is quite the experience, one I knew would be difficult but completely necessary if I was ever going to truly find myself, find my purpose and ultimately find peace.

Alas, with plenty of uncommitted time in your day and wonderful distraction-free self-introspection then comes the bubbling up of long held emotions. Sometimes just the amount of time to feel can be a little intimidating and overwhelming. Dealing with issues I thought long and buried can be uncomfortable, but finally being able to release some of those ghosts, one by one, makes me feel light and day by day there is a little more peace than anxiety.

The hours of the day mean nothing, nor the days of the week. I am floating in a different dimension, one where I make my priorities- not my company or extremely over packed social obligations. I feel like I am slowly waking up in my own skin and I love it. I am finding the balance between feeling more and thinking less, allowing myself to enjoy all the unique moments of every day. To find peace in every step is an interesting dichotomy between extremely easy and extremely difficult, but I am so glad that I took the risk to find it- and am- daily.

Breathing in, I calm my body.

Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment, 

I know this a wonderful moment!” ~  Thich Nhat Hanh

Relaxing never felt so good