“My heart swings back and forth between the need for routine and the urge to run.”
– Samuel Greenberg
Oh god, this describes me so perfectly it’s slightly unnerving. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all introspective on you. Tis merely a segue! See, having been running non-stop for well over two months, I decided I needed a break, and time to establish routine. I thought this would be especially useful in the run-up to Christmas, to ensure I don’t feel totally rootless while everyone back home is posting endless pictures of family and friend festivities on Facebook.
So here I am in the sleepy (in New Zealand, this is a superfluous adjective) town of Nelson, in a small hostel with a family atmosphere, and the feeling of having a home again, for a month at least. Nelson is the second oldest settled city in New Zealand and the oldest on the South Island. It’s famous in New Zealand for its craft beer, its art (particularly wearable art) and its weather. ‘Sunny Nelson’ is always voted near the top of places Kiwis want to live. Nestled near the top of the South Island, it’s surrounded by areas of great beauty, including three national parks. The most famous of these, Abel Tasman National Park, will warrant a blog post to itself at some point.
I’m the afternoon manager at Almond House Backpackers three times a week, and in return, I get free accommodation, wi-fi and laundry. It’s a fun job and I’ve learned a lot, so that’ll also be a blog post coming up. I find it interesting that I quite enjoy having some responsibility again, after essentially going cold turkey since August. There are four of us working for accommodation in the hostel and we spend our evenings playing cards, doing jigsaws, putting up the Christmas tree and arguing over each others’ eating habits.
I’m enjoying the stability of getting to know people who don’t then vanish two days later, and I’m afraid I have to admit a certain amount of relief at spending some time around slightly ‘older’ travellers (29, 27 and 24) who aren’t German (American, Swedish and Italian). (By the way, if you’re one of the ‘younger’ German backpackers I’ve met, then obviously this bit doesn’t apply to you. You guys are great!)
More on that in later posts, but for now, here are some photos of Nelson, the first home I’ve had in New Zealand…
Snapshots of NZ