Farewell New Zealand
In 2010 I saved up my money and my annual leave and made a plan to come to New Zealand for a month. I had wanted to visit this amazing country ever since I first watched The Fellowship of the Ring. Unfortunately cancer decided to have another crack at me and my trip had to take a backseat.
My darkest days with PTSD would have me believe that I’d missed my chance. That I would not only never come to New Zealand but that I would never be well enough to do anything again. How wrong I was!
I not only came to New Zealand but I also had a pretty good look at some more of this wonderful world we live in on the way.
Along with helping myself and others, New Zealand has always been my goal on this trip. I’ve always said that I can take getting ill again but not before I’ve seen New Zealand. This country was my inspiration for doing this trip.
Achieving my dreams was always something I would do in the future. In 2010 my future looked non existent and fears of ‘I didn’t exploit my health whilst I had it’ were an everyday occurrence.
Well, I got here and I think it’s fair to say that I saw this wonderful country with my eyes and my heart wide open.
I have absolutely loved my time here. I wanted nature at its most epic and I got it! I jumped out of a plane, I swam with Dolphins, I smiled uncontrollably in Hobbiton, I walked in Paradise, I learnt the Haka, I rafted in caves and best of all and what once again seems to eclipse all the things on my list; I met good people.
I would recommend this country to absolutely everyone. It has everything; Volcanoes, glaciers, tropical beaches, rainforests, geysers, lakes, mountains, vineyards, caves, cafes and the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet. Although New Zealand is a very long way away the thing that stands it apart from other countries is that all of these amazing things are located right next to each other. Once you are here you can see them all by travelling 100s of miles instead of 1000s making it super accessible.
For those who are unwell, the health care is first class and again easily accessible. For my fellow Brits, New Zealand has a reciprocal health care agreement with the UK which makes medical attention affordable and easy. My bout of food poisoning and also a little health scare which I’ll tell you about another time have helped prove that.
I have loved my time here and instead of the one month trip I first planned to take a few years ago I got to spend three whole months here in Middle Earth. My wonderful Kiwi friend Lisa gave me a travel guide when I was ill and put handwritten notes on every page telling me what I could do when I came to visit. I think I managed most of them Lise!:) Spending so much time here was made possible because of my friend Ruthie. Ruthie gave me her spare room, drove me to places I probably wouldn’t have even heard about, introduced me to the amazing people at Weta studio and she even raised money for me by having a charity Halloween party. I really don’t believe I deserve such support but I am so grateful to her for believing in what I am doing. Thank you so much for everything Ruthie.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who I have met in the past three months. My story was in the press in 2013 and I was overwhelmed with emails from the people of New Zealand. You may have given me a bed to sleep in, bought me a hot chocolate or were just nice to me. Either way your warmth and kindness has helped make this one of my most favourite experiences. I am so sorry to those of you who I didn’t get a chance to meet this time round. I promise you I will be back very soon.
I thought I would be sad to leave New Zealand but I am not. I got to come to New Zealand and when I think of all the places I visited and the things I did whilst here I feel nothing but grateful and content. This was a huge part of my entire trip and I did it. New Zealand was my inspiration to take on this trip in the first place and quite fittingly it is also my inspiration for going home. I’ll talk about that more in another post. So much to say about that.
A few weeks ago I booked my flight home and on May 20th I will land in London where the next chapter of 101 Things To Do When You Survive will begin. I have a few more stops in Asia and then I head home to start a whole range of all things ‘101’. I’ve helped myself and I now believe I can help a lot more people. I think I’ve just about figured out which path I will go down in terms of helping others and I hope you will not just watch me do this but also play a big part in making it happen.
101 Things To Do When You Survive started off being mine but when I return to the UK I want it to be ours and I plan on working hard to make that happen.
This photo was taken on my final day in New Zealand. I usually end my time in a country with a photo of a sunset but this is actually the sunrise from Takapuna beach in Auckland. There was a time where I thought the end of this trip would be the end of 101 but I now I believe that this is just the start of it.
Thank you all for sharing my New Zealand adventure with me. I hope it gave you inspiration for your lists as well as helping you believe that anything is possible. I wish many more sunrises for you all.
To the people of New Zealand….your country is ‘sweet as bro’ smile emoticon