We have decided to stop travelling and return to New Zealand. Sorry to the people who recently signed up to our newsletter – there won’t be any more!
As of this writing, we have now been back in Wellington for almost two weeks. Nothing much has changed, which is about what we were expecting. Most people we’ve spoken to have only had a fleeting interest in our trip, and I don’t blame them. It’s difficult to feign interest in somebody else’s adventure unless you’ve shared a similar experience. Perhaps people are worried that any question they ask will be met with an hour of tales and tangents. And they would be correct.
Life invariably goes on. People have their own worlds in which they live, and in this age of snappy, shocking information delivered straight to your phone screen, there doesn’t seem to be a place for long, slow yarns. People have very short attention spans. I include myself in that category. I have this nagging feeling when I’m actually telling one of our numerous tales that the listener thinks I’m waffling or bragging, which often makes me trail off or wrap it up. I’m also very much aware that I’m not a particularly good story teller. Some people can speak about taking a trip down to the shop to get some bread and make it an interesting tale. I can barely hold somebody’s attention despite having an arsenal of almost unbelievable experiences. If I hadn’t decided to write this blog, the whole trip would already be starting to seem like a long, unreal dream.
The intention of this blog was never to sell ads, offer half-assed advice, or promote ourselves as travel gurus. I didn’t trawl around the web trying to brighten our name in the limitless constellation of the travel advice blogosphere, or write guest posts or top ten lists. Here, at the end, the result was very much what I expected. The blog did enough of the right things to show up in specific Google results, and now there around 70 people viewing the site per day – a minuscule amount in the world of the internet, but still more people than I actually imagined visiting.
In spite of this not being a particularly popular blog, it has succeeded beautifully based on my initial goal for it. Caroline and I can now read back on the old posts and remember many hundreds of little details that would have otherwise been forgotten. Case in point, I just clicked the ‘random post’ button in the sidebar (that’s the banana with question marks) and was reminded of a tiny nun who lured us into a tomb and sprayed perfume in our eyes. We’ve had so many peculiar experiences, that something as small as a nun spraying perfume at us would have been completely forgotten had I not written it down. If there is one lesson I can offer you, happy reader, it’s this: if something particularly interesting happens to you, write it down with as much detail as possible. If you’re anything like me, you will forget the details as time shuffles forwards.
So where are we?
Caroline, through an official application process and a Skype interview at a shabby hotel in South Korea, successfully reapplied for her old job at NIWA. She is very happy to be returning to her friends, the smelly sponge goo, the voyages out to sea, and the routine which we both surprisingly missed.
I’m going back to school after – dear god – ten years in the work force and 2.5 years travelling through Asia. Whether or not my brain is still able to function for three years of study is a matter of debate. I’ll be taking a Bachelor of Communication majoring in Journalism. Investigative writing wasn’t really something I’d considered before travelling, but if anything, creating this blog has fuelled my thirst for hunting down interesting fact-nuggets and offering them up in (hopefully) less boring passages than I initially found them as. I’m very much aware that my writing needs work, so the upcoming years of study will helpfully hone those skills.
Right. I think it’s time to sum up and then be done with this blog for good. It all boils down to this: I couldn’t have done it without Caroline. Her uncanny ability to pick up languages meant we could sit down at tiny, backwater stalls and still eat well. She made fake plane tickets to ensure we could get annoying visas while I wasted time on the internet. In the physically challenging times she adopted the determined look of an army general who’s seen it all, and encouraged me onward. She lay in the damp tent next to me as Japanese typhoons pummelled us, thoroughly disliking it but not complaining and even trying to find the bright side. I know for sure that I couldn’t have lasted as long, or seen as many places, or spoken to so many people, without Caroline. So thanks, Shrew. I love you.
This is also the only post that Caroline won’t be proofreading first. Ha!
Cheers all. See you in Wellington?
Taipei’s art scene
Cycling through Fujian Province
The very odd Cao Dai religion
Motorcycling into the wrong jungle
Inside the world’s largest reclining Buddha
Monks on a bus (and us)
Ten days of no eye contact
The fifth dimension
Far too many leeches
Little jungle people