Six Months in Southeast Asia/New Zealand: The Wrap Up At Last

Fragments of the boy who left exist in the man who returned. To call it a life changer would be an honest understatement. The trip of a lifetime is what it was and I’ll never look at the world the same again. My voyage to Southeast Asia and New Zealand lasted for half of a year and my return home wasn’t even close to the end of it. In fact, I would argue that I’ll be taking the remains of that experience to my death. Looking through the images and allowing my mind to delve into the increments in between, it’s evident to me that I will never let it go completely.

I landed back in Canada in November of 2013. I began sharing the adventure with all of you at the end of 2014. Today, on May 16, 2016 I end these particular literary recollections as I move forward in life, continuing to travel, continuing to explore, and continuing to share this wholly fulfilling aspect of my life with whomever may have just the slightest interest in it.

Teresa is my partner in life; in travel it is no different. We’ve been through many hardships, particularly in the first couple of years of our relationship. We’ve withstood numerous tests throughout and I believe we are more than ready to face the many more that will come our way in the future. These experiences, this journey, would not have been the same without her by my side every step of the way.

We were privileged to visit the small town of Matamata, a couple of hours outside of Auckland, New Zealand to visit the famed “Hobbiton” where part of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed. I’ve gotten some of the most positive response regarding this experience both online and in person. It was mesmerizing and, simply put, very cool.

Now we had about a day left before finally returning to our home in North America. We would spend it driving around Auckland, taking in the sights and sounds, checking out a movie (Thor: The Dark World) at a massive cinema downtown. We also did a bit of wine tasting at a few wineries north of the city.

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Pac-Man Smash air hockey table where dozens of pucks drop midway…and yes I am that immature at times!

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The ladies love the God of Thunder

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Auckland Sky Tower lit up at night

That feeling of the end of a trip, the last day before you know it’s over, has been one of the most drawn out sentiments of my life. The experience of the six month journey did not end on the last day or the day we returned, or in the weeks that followed. As I said before, I believe I will take this to my death. It has changed me that much that I will never feel as though it’s over (although every time I return home from an adventure now, it hurts inside to reminisce on it; I miss them, to varying degrees, that much).

I was born to do this and I’ve made it my mission to live a life at home in Canada that allows me to save money, pay my bills, stay in shape, visit my family, and appreciate my own home and my own culture. If I can’t do any of those things, then my travels would really be myself just running away from things that I don’t like. It’s like entering a relationship with another person; if you aren’t satisfied with yourself, if you don’t respect yourself, if you aren’t truly happy, then it will be difficult or impossible to make the other person happy as well. If I didn’t respect my home, if I wasn’t able to make a life here in Canada for myself, if I couldn’t survive here happily, then leaving it to travel would just be a way to mask the unhappiness of my own habitat. If travel has taught me one thing, it’s not just to learn to appreciate other cultures or learn to be happy and content despite immersing myself in levels of discomfort that I’m not used to. It’s taught me to appreciate who I am, where I come from, and how truly great I have it in this wonderful country I live in. I might not wind up living here for the rest of my life, and that’s okay. But after experiencing now dozens of other cities, towns, countries, cultures, and peoples, I’ve never appreciated my own home more than I do now.

This massive trip I undertook back in 2013 is embedded in my psyche, my essence, and I take it with me wherever I go. It wasn’t a vacation, it wasn’t an escape. It was a spiritual necessity that I will never be able to recreate and that I will never let go. The yearning makes me sad, and I’m alright with that. Here’s to a lifetime of travel.

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Air New Zealand takes us home

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Contemplating existence

 

54 thoughts on “Six Months in Southeast Asia/New Zealand: The Wrap Up At Last

  1. I feel like I know exactly what you mean. California is my home. Job and family are here. It’s where I grew up and where I love. But the wanderlust will always be there and living here makes me appreciate them more. I loved reading about your adventures and the ones you have had since. I hope they keep coming. And I cannot wait to see where the world brings you two next.

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    • Thank you so much and thank you for having followed me for as long as you have. I’m glad you can relate and understand this perspective that us travellers evolve within ourselves as we progress through life. The wanderlust does not die!! Can’t wait to share more with you and see where your travels take you as well.

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  2. What a fantastic adventure! Good for y’all. Now, if you make your home and all of that, your new adventure begins. That’s the most fantastic journey of all. Congrats on just friggin’ doin’ it! 😃

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  3. sounds like a wonderful life changing trip and I like your wording

    “embedded in my psyche, my essence”

    ooo
    and the closing photo (contemplating) is my fav of the post – but great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aaah your home country is on my list…what an intriguing and unique landmass to explore I’m sure. I was watching a documentary on the duck billed platypus native to Australia…just one of so many unique species I’d like to see in the wild. Thank you for journeying with me thus far…can’t wait for more!

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your articles about this big trip.
    The comparison with the relationship surprised me at first, but it is so true. When we are not honest and hide ourselves we cannot get close to something new.
    I have just one question: In one article you wrote, that you were afraid to travel to Brussel, because of the terror attacks. Was there an attack in Europe in 2013?

    I would love to know more about your adventures, keep blogging! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I ponder quite often the dichotomy in my life: my contentedness at home and my insatiable itch to travel. Neither would be the same, or as valuable, without the other. You’ve said the same thing, in a wonderful way; I liked your analogy of needing to love yourself before loving another person. I know how that trip must stay with you. I’ve got a few years on you, and I know how my travels have colored my life in so many ways. I’ve enjoyed trailing along with you and Teresa through this journey!

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    • I was going through my comments and realized that, although I thought I replied to all of them, I obviously didn’t. My apologies! I truly appreciate you being along for the journeys that Teresa and I have taken. I’ll always do my utmost to create as many more as I can. This summer I’ll be doing a road trip across my own massive, beautiful country of Canada, something I’m in the midst of planning and truly can’t wait for!

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  6. Coming home is the hardest thing, in my opinion. I was so homesick when I traveled, but I remember the day before coming home being the worst thing ever. I wasn’t ready to go back, in spite of how much I had missed it. You are right; we carry it with us forever.

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    • I totally understand that. For me, I didn’t feel that sadness on this 6 month trip because it was such a long experience that it spilled over in to my time returning. It wasn’t until some time after that the gravity of it hit me. The trip that I JUST undertook to Europe in which I returned at the end of April was more like how you just described: I was so sad to leave and I was living in every single moment of it. I didn’t expect to feel this way before even leaving our last location (Denmark’s Møns Klint…so beautiful) but I was tearing I loved and missed it so much.

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  7. Great post, Darcy. I worked abroad for a few years and have been fortunate to travel a bit, and it has been the thing that has changed my life and my outlook on life the most. You are absolutely right that in it never leaves you!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ironically I was just talking with someone about how travel can change one’s outlook on life and help one discover new reserves of strength. This post serves as confirmation for those points!

    Also, I’m sorry if you’ve written about this before, but how do you make enough money while you’re in Canada to travel? I know you’re a writer, it’s commonly understood that it’s hard to make much money as a writer.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I so much understand and agree about life-changing journey. There is a quote that I love, which says: “Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance travels. You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.”(C.Ross) The amazing part for you is that you’ve grown outside with your partner. I wish you two thousands of further steps in foreign countries!
    Greta

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate that you can understand this perspective Greta. I definitely feel like I grew beyond the “puzzle” I was a part of before leaving for that long trip. I’m lucky enough to still feel as though I fit, just in a different way. Thank you for the well wishes 🙂

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  10. Loved this – I’ve got two more months in southeast asia and I often wonder how it’s going to feel when it’s over. I also worry about the ‘travel as escape’ narrative, and how we may create wanderlust as a phenomenon in our lives to avoid what makes us uncomfortable. There’s power in traveling, but there’s also power in settling down, growing your roots, and committing yourself to place and community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the comment, I really appreciate it. I favour a good balance between travel and home. Sometimes they are one in the same, other times we use travel to hide from our problems. I prefer using travel to help identify any issues I may be having at home, provide me with some perspective, and give me the motivation to tackle them when I need to. I hope you enjoy the rest of what I’m sure is an incredible trip through Southeast Asia. I’m always envious of those who are in your position. Soak it in while you’re in the midst of it. Life will never be the same again.

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