One month anniversary back in New Zealand

Yes, one month ago today I landed early morning on a rainy day in Auckland where my sister met me (and my cold) with open arms.

One month has flown by. I spent the first week and a half seeing family and getting to know my nephews again. I also spent it dealing with my horrible cold that had kicked in full force the afternoon before my long-haul flight from San Francisco to New Zealand. It was a full-on start back, but a good one.

Auckland City

Auckland City, New Zealand (excuse the quality – smartphone photo)

Despite New Zealand going into winter (my first in about a year) we still get lovely blue sky days sometimes. I’m now in Auckland house sitting in an area near the water, so I can enjoy lovely walks and the sea breeze. My flatmate is now a cat named Merlot. We’ve progressed from eating in separate rooms (to avoid him running away) to having nice cuddles on the couch now. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a pet and it’s nice to have something to talk to and stroke once in a while (the cat does a lot of talking too, kinda get the feeling I’m not allowed to stop petting it until it stops talking).

I’ve been very lucky to catch up with so many family and friends, some of which have travelled 3 hours just to see me. Everyone has the same questions on the top of their tongue the moment they see me, which should be expected, so for those of you I can’t see because you’re in another country or something – hopefully this helps answer the burning questions:

How does it feel to be back?
It feels good. Heart-warming. Lovely to see so many people I haven’t seen in close to 3 years. Familiar, yet so different. Exhausting and overwhelming at times. If feels like a weight (say 20-30kg literally) has been lifted from my shoulders. Most of all I feel happy and content. This is a complete fresh start for me, mind and body. I’m getting my health sorted out (no more parasites or sea urchin spike), meditating each day and working on being a more peaceful, happy person inside and out.

Orakei Beach, Auckland - good spots for walks

Orakei Beach, Auckland – good spots for walks

How was your 7.5 months of travel?
Exhausting. I think by the last few months if I’m honest, I just wanted it to end. I wanted to get my health sorted. I wanted normality.

But, you saw so many amazing places, it must have been incredible?
Yes it sure was. As I start to look over the odd blog post and photo it brings back some great memories and experiences. Until I really make time to remember those times, I won’t realise how fantastic it was. I had a lot of hard times and those wore on me. I wouldn’t change it for a second though. I achieved so much and learnt so much more about myself. I’m proud of my travels, but I have no immediate plans for anything outside of NZ or Australia for the next wee while. I’m so relieved to be back.

Me standing in front of Perito Moreno Glacier

Me standing in front of Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

Do you miss London?
I miss the people. I have so many fantastic friends. From bloggers, Brits to Kiwis, to awesome WordPress geeks, to incredible co-working space friends and colleagues. I miss being able to see my European friends so easily too. Yet, part of me believes I’ll see many of them again, or maybe that is just my coping mechanism coming out.

I don’t miss the weather in London, or much else at this point. However, those curry lunches at Exmouth Market were darn good!

A few of my friends from my leaving do in London

A few of my friends from my leaving do in London

What are my plans?
Haha, this is the best question of all, it didn’t matter how soon I arrived in NZ, I gather from this question that I should have a plan.

I’m taking each month as it comes. I’ve spend most of June revising PHP and WordPress code and I’m starting to put the feelers out for potential freelance website design and development work. I’ve always wanted to have a go at freelancing and while I’m finding my feet, this seems a great way to get back into the industry. Full-time permanent roles are still on the horizon and if freelancing doesn’t kick off then they will become priority. I’m currently housesitting and depending on how freelancing and my various appointments go I may or may not continue that.

However, I’m not concerned. AT ALL. I’m at peace with my work life and that it what matters to me. I’ve had a long break and I’m confident in my skills and capabilities. If anything, giving myself a few weeks for decent revision has made me understand aspects of coding better than before! Having had this break has given me a fresh perspective and enjoyment to start working as a website designer/developer again. If my work plans don’t work one way they will work the other.

View of Auckland, New Zealand

View of Auckland, New Zealand

What’s next?

Well I’ve just about eaten all the cocktail sausages (Kiwi style little red ones) that I can and started to eat too much chocolate and biscuits, so I guess the next month I’ll start cutting down on all the foods I’ve missed for so long. They are just down at the shop now whenever I need them, so there is no need to eat as much as possible while I have the chance.

Auckland harbour - blue sky days in winter

Auckland harbour – blue sky days in winter

Note: I’ve been lazy and only carried my smartphone on recent walks, so all these images aren’t the best quality as they are taken by a phone and someone (me) not used to taking photos with a phone.