One year ago, I made the move that would forever change my life. And not to discredit any past romantic relationships, but that marks today as the single best and most meaningful anniversary of my entire life.
You see, if all had gone to plan, I'd currently be on my way back to Wisconsin. I'd have gotten "travel out of my system", be ready to settle down, and creating my path toward the 'American dream'. I'd be buying puppies, and houses, and be back to paying bills (NOoooOOOOooo.. no no no).
But of course, that's clearly not what happened.
What happened was a reawakening that I didn't even know I needed. What happened was me falling in love with life, the world, and all of the beautiful new people in it. What happened was a longtime dream made reality.
If I had headed home, I'd be figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life, only to realize that it's all right here.
Because what I want is this. What I've always wanted is this. I just didn't know to what degree until I left. And because I believe whole-heartedly in fully committing to yourself and your own happiness, I am instead creating a future that I actually want, instead of the future that I "should" want.
And that is a future of meaningful and indefinite travel.
And today, I'm celebrating 365 days of making new friends, creating new lives and new homes, and being happier than I have ever been. I'm celebrating 365 days of travel, taking care of babies :)))), and making some of the best memories of my entire life. But even more than that, I'm celebrating 365 days of slowly letting go of a life not meant for me.
Since I arrived in New Zealand just two weeks ago, a lot has happened. And I mean A LOT. I arrived on a Monday night, physically and emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed, and ready to settle in. I spent the week starting work, setting up accounts, getting a new phone number, unpacking, and then REPACKING for our first family holiday (vacation).
The next week was spent in New Zealand's south island, which is dramatically different from where I live in the north. In Auckland, I'm surrounded by warmer weather, beaches, and a big city. The south is colder, mountainous, and during this time of year (winter), it is also quite snowy :).
So, we spent the week eating good food, drinking good drinks, and (happily) getting caught in blizzards at the top of a mountain. In other words, in just 5 days, I went from living in a country where winter means 70 degrees and stunning beaches, to moving here and seeing snow for the first time in 18 months. It was a bit of a change to say the least, but my Wisconsin heart is just radiating happiness here.
And during this trip, I quickly realized that rushing my time in New Zealand would be a HUGE mistake. That leaving early, in favor of traveling somewhere else, would mean I'd be missing out on heaps of wonderful opportunities here.
And so, my life until June will be spent here working and exploring. I intend to see New Zealand in it's entirety and make enough money to spend a few weeks exploring Fiji and Hawaii, before living a completely work free life at home for the summer.
YES, you read that right. HOME.
After nearly 2 years abroad, I will be spending summer 2015 in Wisconsin FINALLY reuniting with all of my loved ones. That means an entire 3 months of unemployment in favor of fireworks, concerts, beer, cheese curds, weddings, lakes, bbq's, and traveling the good 'ol USA. And although, I have my eye on some amazing opportunities after that, I'm also making sure to squeeze in a few football games as well. Excited is an understatement.
A special thanks to a few readers of this blog for reaching out to me as friends in this new city. Fast and easy friendships are just what I need as a newbie :). And as always, thank you to my loved ones from back home for all of the love and encouragement along the way. This journey would not have been possible without you.