Right now, I’m sitting on our balcony in Nelson, at the northern tip of the South Island, watching the sun climb up into the sky. When I look out I can see the Cook Strait that divides the North Island from the South Island of New Zealand.
I literally can’t remember the last time I took you on a backstage tour of my life. As I look through my articles, the closest thing that I found was this one: My last month in Australia: A visual carousel. It came out in late October last year, just before we left to move to New Zealand for 12 months, despite some challenges along the way. Those of you who have been dancing alongside me for a while, will remember that I pulled back and took some time out from the online world, in order to deal with my personal and emotional life. It was a dark and sad time for me.
Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of life, love and adventure.
Julien bought a station wagon when we arrived in Auckland, and decked it out with a bed, with which we spent a month working our way south. The chubby little Indonesian we bought it from was the kindest teddy-bear of a man you could ever met, and actually lowered the price when we were bargaining with him. It was the funniest thing. He had it on sale for $1,500 and after doing a thorough inspection, Julien was just about to offer him $1,300, when he was like “I’ll give it to you for $1,100.” We were like “What!?”. Some things are simply led by fate and fortune. It’s been the perfect car.
We spent 3 weeks in the tiny town of Raetihi, managing a small lodge called Snowy Waters, while we decided where to settle. And when I say manage, what I mean is that Julien did all the running around and taking care of the place, while I answered phones, took care of bookings and ran my business alongside. It was an interesting juggling act!
While we were there we went on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing where we climbed Mount Ngauruhoe, an active stratovolcano also known as Mount Doom from Lord of The Rings. You can watch Julien’s video on how that went here. Don’t be fooled by the enthusiastic skipping in the video. The truth is, I came off that mountain cursing and feeling like an old lady whose hips were about to give out. Crawling up volcanic ash on hands and feet for 4 hours is no picnic! It was barely worth the photos from the top, but it is worth the story of a life-time that I will remember forever. The best memories are made through love and hardship.
I went mountain biking for the first time of my life, which was waaaaaay more fun (and scary) than I had imagined. We went to the famous Bridge to Nowhere, that you can see in the photo above. I really loved this place, it has a magical ethereal feeling.
Wellington was next on the map, which is New Zealand’s trendiest city, by far, and also windiest. After 3 weeks in near isolation in a tiny town of literally 4 shops, a church and a pub, it was so nice to walk around the streets, eat enormous steaming bowls of Asian soup, and explore the art gallery and museum. I bought the cutest vintage sunglasses in Wellington, and every time I wear them, I feel transported back to this vibrant city.
We spent a day walking around Owhiro Bay, 30-40 minutes outside of Wellington, holding hands, hanging out with seals in the sun and eating strawberries on the pebble beach. Every moment that day felt serene.
By then, we had decided to choose Nelson as a place to settle. Everyone we asked told us that Nelson was one of the most beautiful, and sunniest places in the entire country. It seemed like a good reason to go there. The ferry crossing from Wellington on the North Island to Picton on the South Island was stunning. Things just became more beautiful from thereon.
As soon as we arrived in Nelson, Julien went into job search mode, as we looked for a place to live. It was close to Christmas and rental places were scarce, so we ended up subletting a room while we searched for something more permanent. There we serendipitously made friends with the loveliest couple, he from Canada, her from Mexico. It felt like arriving straight into loving arms, which made our first few weeks, and adventures so much more fun.
Together we went to the Nelson Lakes National Park.
And Split Apple Rock in Golden Bay.
We went out for dinners all over town and went digging for cockles together. (Julien made the most delicious clam chowder with them.)
A few days after New Year we finally found a big beautiful house on top on the hill in the centre of town and moved in. It was the first time in 6 months that we had stayed anywhere more permanently that a few days or weeks and I was relieved as my body and soul really needed some time to ground and settle. It was at that time that I wrote this article about rituals for moving into new houses.
As soon as we were established, I opened up my calendar for new 1:1 mentoring clients and filled my books with incredible souls. My 6 month mentoring program is now full for 2016, which is such a delight. I still have some spots available for 3 month mentoring programs however. As it promised, 2016 has been very sweet indeed, and I am incredibly relieved for this.
Moving into this house has been exactly what I needed. After a massive product launch (see: Manifest More, which right is now available for a limited time at a Pay What You Feel price instead of the valued price of $137 USD), while travelling around Bali last year, and then not having a place to stop and take stock until this moment here, I was literally at my wit’s end, and utterly exhausted.
I started questioning my decisions, resented my inability to show up fully for you, my audience, and my business, and was fearful that I had somehow stumbled down a path that wasn’t quite right for me. As it turned out however, I hadn’t gone so wrong, rather I was physically and emotionally spent. As soon as I had some time to rest and ground, the world because easy and fun again.
I definitely learned that there are physical limits to my adventurous aspirations, and that running a business while moving non-stop can be very difficult, when I haven’t put supportive measures in place. My energy levels couldn’t keep up with everything, and that made me feel scared and like I was failing at life. I shared more about that in depth in my article: the conflicting paradox of life on the road.
Since living here, I have started singing lessons, am learning the ukulele and go to my local hot yoga studio 3 times a week. I am enjoying this time to just do my work and enjoy a calmer, quieter way of life in the peaceful and sleepy arms of New Zealand.
Concurrently, we’ve had the fortune to visit and explore many more beautiful places. Our friend Scott took us sailing around the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park. We spent 3 days gorging ourselves on freshly caught fish, diving off the boat into the fresh, crisp water, reading mystery novels and chatting about life and love and happiness. It was glorious. I never wanted to leave.
We drove around the west coast region of Maruia and soaked our bodies in the mineral-rich thermal hot springs, and played with seals in the spectacular town of Kaikoura. Julien made a video of that too.
And most recently we drove to the northern-most tip of the South Island, Farewell Spit, and spent a few hours at the most incredible Te Waikoropupū Springs. They are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere and contain some of the clearest water ever measured, with 63 metres visibility. Amazing! There are signs everywhere that say “don’t touch the water” but I couldn’t help myself. It was cold, very, very cold. Probably the coldest thing I’ve ever touched in my life. And so magic.
Two weeks ago I went on a whirlwind trip and flew to the Austrian Embassy in Auckland to renew my passport. There I met up with my sweet friend and the designer of Manifest More at Sip Kitchen over a delicious lunch that I still dream about today.
And now, I find myself here with you, watching the sun climb up into the sky. Again, we find ourselves at a turning point. After 6 months in New Zealand, and 5 of those months here in Nelson, we are about to embark on a new escapade, further south into the depths of the snow fields for the winter season.
I like New Zealand. But I don’t love it. It’s nature and landscapes are beautiful. But the culture, excitement and enthusiasm for creating a wonderful world and existence appears to be lacking. People are very sheltered and wrapped up in their own bubble, making conversations with locals bland and uninspiring. This is not a place for being on the leading edge of innovation. As my friend Lilly says “New Zealand is like being in an armchair”. Soft and safe and comforting.
Meanwhile, Julien has found his “dream-man-job” with a conservation program, where he gets to spend 5 days a week out in the field driving around on a 4-wheeler and shooting pests and imported animals like possums, goats and rabbits.
I’m excited because I always love discovering new places, and I’m looking forward to having all week every week to focus on my things, instead of being distracted by my handsome man all the time. I’m nervous because the town we are moving to, is… let’s just say my people don’t really reside there. And because I’m terrified of being cold! As we speak, I’m manifesting a new house with the best central heating system imaginable.
I’m also really excited that I will have 4 months to really focus on my projects, prepare and work, before I take 4 months off from mid-September while we travel around the rest of New Zealand (Queenstown: I’m looking at you!) and Asia later this year.
See? I’ve learned that this is important for me as I move forward. And I’m really excited about taking intentional time off for the first time since I started my business 3 years ago.
There. I think you’re all caught up now!