Finally back to the first world, which we appreciate for three main reasons: medicine (I go to a real doctor and get my foot seen, cleaned, bandaged) internet (high speed and bulletproof, god bless it!), and creature comforts (American sports on TV, every kind of cuisine within a one-block radius, and English-speaking people!). So, as soon as we land I load minutes on my New Zealand sim card and get a text from Erica. She’s having a party tonight with all her coast-to-coasters. Can we come? Of course!
We check into our new “home” at the Spencer on Byron Hotel in Takapuna, a north shore beach community of Auckland. I’ve always fantasized about living in a fancy hotel in New York City, and I think this is as close as I’ll ever get. They put us on the 19th floor with gorgeous views of Rangitoto Island, and we finally have a door between the bedroom and living room, which gives us a bit of a break from each other. We also have a little kitchen and washer/dryer—basically everything we need. The hotel is beautiful and has a great pool, hot tub, gym and tennis court, which Mark is using every day (I will as soon as my foot gets better). Plus, we are just a couple blocks from the beach and Erica’s.
Takapuna is a really cute place. It is sort of a mix between Del Mar (walkable, great restaurants), Pacific Beach (mellow vibe with lots of athletic people wandering around), and La Jolla (cute shops, cafes, etc.). The beach is lovely and every Tuesday night during the summer (which we are in now, btw) is the Beach Series, this wonderful event that encourages everyone to jump in. At 6pm the horn blows and the race begins. About a thousand people participate in either a 5K run, a stand up paddle, a kayak, or a swim. It’s so exciting and everyone finishes through the same finish line about 30 minutes later—really neat!
So, we are relieved to unpack, buy groceries, work comfortably, and just “live our lives.” We booked a month for now and then, we’ll see…both of us are trying to make an effort NOT to plan ahead and just focus on the “now,” which we haven’t been doing for the last few weeks.
This trip has really made me ponder those frustrating questions like, “Where do I belong?” and “What is the meaning and purpose of my life?” I have a sneaking suspicion that there will never be just “one” purpose to my life, and that my meaning and focus will shift over the years, as it has already done. It used to be track, then dogs and chimps, then traveling. Now what? It would be nice to just check a box and say, “This is what I’m all about.”
And I am beginning to have an obsessive relationship with the expression “the grass is always greener.” No matter where I am, it seems like I always want to be somewhere else. If I’m home, I wish I was on the road. If I am on the road, I wish I was home. And now who knows where home really is? This is the ultimate question on my mind, and I’m working on figuring it out.
I have always thought that travel was the road to enlightenment. The best way to broaden my mind and grow as a human being. But in so many ways travel has mixed me up. With so many places and perspectives and lifestyles, it’s problematic to have to choose one. There’s no easy way to sift through these things, but I suppose time, contemplation, and reflection are a good start, right? Or if someone out there has already figured this out for me, please let me know!