Travel Blog 8; Mentally Checking Out

As I write this post I’m sitting in the communal area of a hostel that I wasn’t originally supposed to be in, in a town that I was, today, supposed to be leaving on a bus that was supposed to turn up at a certain time but neglected to do so. The town in question is called Taupo and the town I planned to be in any minute now (as of writing this) is Rotorua. Its p*ssing down outside, I had a full sized travel pack strapped to my back, a piece of hand luggage strapped to my front and a cooling bag draped over my left arm during my stroll to the bus station only to find once I got there that the bus in question had left minutes prior and all the alternatives for the day were fully booked; wicked!

Not to be deterred I decided to walk a little further up and onto the main road between the two towns, throw my thumb up to the heavens and see if any good Samaritans were doing the rounds today. In a country that’s usually pretty good for that sort of thing I was surprised to find that after over an hour of standing in the downpour with a thumb in the air, more luggage on my back than a camel in the dessert and a look on my face that said “I’m smiling but make no mistake I’d be gleaming if you would just pull over!” no cars pulled over. Not one. After getting on the blower to the bus company I managed to talk them into booking me a ticket for the next day with no cost attached, which was actually kind of cool because I used to be a ‘lose my s*it’ kind of guy but I was pretty calm.

The walk back to the hostel that I was previously staying at almost felt a little like a walk of shame as after saying all of my goodbyes (something that I personally hate especially when its with people I genuinely like, which it was) I was heading back with my tail set firmly between my legs and the material on my embarrassingly crappy backpacker clothes ready to wilt and evaporate leaving me with nothing but my trainers on my feet and a pair of boxers around my nether-regions that look like they previously belonged to Tarzan to show for my experience.

Needless to say; today has not been the favourite of my approximately 306 days away from home as I sit wrapped in another one of my s*itty hoodies with a bottle of council pop at my side, laptop on my lap and a vending machine across the room stocked to the brim with horribly tempting microwave noodles. In fact its probably not in the top 50 and hasn’t been helped by the fact that I’ve been recently struck down with a surprisingly vicious bout of hostel flu, my favourite shoes recently fell apart in front of my eyes in a more spectacular fashion than my music career and I haven’t had anything even approaching a decent nights sleep in 2 weeks due to a roommate who’s snoring habits are so unethically bad that I initially mistook him for the 7.0 tremor that hit the area a few weeks back. These things happen though and its far from the end of the world, especially as I’ve just recently managed to, somehow, hustle the hostel in Rotorua into allowing me to push my booking back with no additional charges despite the terms stating that the booking was non-refundable but this and a few other things recently have bought something to light. Now this thing is nothing for me to panic about but it is something that I feel I must address; I have started to mentally check-out of New Zealand.

This has only been my general feeling for a short time (like as short as the last couple of weeks) but its becoming steadily more prominent. By check-out I don’t mean dislike but more become somewhat less-interested than I had been months before. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my minor quibbles with NZ since day one but after a few months, particularly in Wellington, Queenstown, New Plymouth and until recently Taupo the country started to majorly grow on me and I was pretty much in love with it warts an all; just like real relationships I guess. However after getting fired from a work-for-accommodation gig for reasons I didn’t entirely agree with and recently stepping down from my 3000th job where I was spoken to like s*it, paid late, messed around with hours and made to do the work of at least 2 people for a minimum wage that’s just a little too ‘minimal’ for a country as expensive as this is I’ve felt my passion fade a little. *Edit* an informative and (hopefully) entertaining post aimed specifically at this subject will be coming soon.

Since this my days have comprised of struggling to get out of bed before 10am for free hostel breakfasts, chilling in the local hot pools (how’s that for a contradiction), promising myself I’m going to exercise, not exercising, eating the large amounts of Indian food that I amassed from my job at an Indian Restaurant with a particularly sound and generous group of chefs, watching British Hood Movies (Attack the Block, Bullet Boy, Adulthood, SKET etc) which constantly remind me of how much safer that a lot of NZ is compared to a lot of back home and occasionally getting totally smashed. At first this was all good but the lifestyle has caused me to become alarmingly complacent and, dare I say, lazy and indifferent. I also seem to be going through a more anti-social and introverted phase with less desire to meet people. Finding motivation has become like finding coins in the couch; always worth checking for but never any guarantees of success and everything from how impossible an even mildly healthy diet is on my budget to the way that people round here seem to have this thing about walking around in public places with no shoes on despite the fact that they are clearly people who possess pairs of shoes seems to stress and perplex me. Along with the new awkwardness, complexity and overall unintuitive un-user friendly nature of WordPress’ editing and posting system; come on lads, you used to make this so easy for me!

Don’t get me wrong there are still places in this country that I want to visit before I leave and people that I most certainly want to see again and I’m hoping that the Vipassana Course mentioned in my previous post will help start me on a bit of a clearer path. However, I just feel like after almost 10 months of being here I’m starting to get itchy feet to move onto something new and for the first time really since I left home almost a year ago I’ve recently found myself missing it a bit. Truthfully I  feel like this is more to be attributed to my current lifestyle previously described than an actual desire to return to Blighty any time too soon. I Would love to teleport some of its residents here mind you.

I’m not 100% sure but I get the feeling that such feelings are natural and common when travelling for extended periods of time. To be honest, I can’t imagine myself living anywhere for longer than a year at a time at the moment and I don’t think my recent ill-health, lack of sleep and relative boredom have helped. Its just that I feel like I’ve seen most of what where I am can offer and as a result have found myself counting down the days to when I see somewhere new and when you start feeling this way whilst travelling I guess its probably time to head for other pastures, which I soon will be. After a few weeks of living the ‘Wasteman’ lifestyle I am now preparing for new experiences and could not be more excited and a little nervous for it but for now; I must make sure that I get to the bus stop tomorrow in plenty of time as I am not doing this again!

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.

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