Packing up from St John St

Wellington Travel Blog

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Home for the past 5 years

I had my last day at work yesterday.  It was sad to go after 3.5 years. Nevertheless, I recall a passing moment of wisdom where I thought, 'You can always sell your time but you can never buy it back' and felt that it is time for a change.  Perhaps it was the mundane discussion about an unnatural phenomenon, well known to those in my profession, called 'billing' that brought this on.

The last week has been hectic tidying up loose ends and involving a fair bit of going out and drinking with friends before I leave to Colombia on Tuesday.  My room in which I have lived for the past 5 years now resembles something like a scene out of Trainspotting.  Just a mattress on the hard wooden floor, a couple of bottles of red vino, a paua shell full of old coins and the few other items that I will shortly try and squeeze into my 20 litre backpack.

Sunset from my back deck
  Condensing one's possessions to survive for 5 months into a 20 litre 58cm,W-24cm, D-22cm pack and keeping everything under 7 kg is no doubt but one of the small challenges I must overcome in the following months.

Unfortunately my health has suffered from my incessant attempts to stay out all evening over the past week and I now have a cold.  It is raining here for the first time in what seems months, which is just a small reminder of what the Wellington winter is yet to bring. It will be another year before I see winter. I'm avoiding it for the meantime. Perhaps next winter I will be in Austria or Switzerland. Perhaps not. 

After 8 years in Wellington and 5 years at 10 St John it feels like time to leave.  But of course, as the time approaches mild feelings of nostaligia arise. A heightened appreciatation for all the small things that make Wellington a wonderful place to live creep into my consciousness.   I often tell the many travellers that I meet here that Wellington is 'sticky' and that if they are not careful the will end up here much longer than initially expected.

I will miss my work and my workmates. I will miss diving for crayfish after work until dark and cooking a feast for those around me. I will miss the sunsets. I will miss living with 6 or 7 fun people and many friends in Wellington . The constant flow of international travellers through my small place called home. The short walk into central Wellington to the Southern Cross and the old Maori wahine named 'V', who. without fail, greets me with a kiss and the words 'I love you Mark', like clockwork.  I will miss Havana and Mighty Mighty and the eclectic people who gather there. And I will miss the slightly more zig-zag walk home up the length of Cuba Street, a stop for kebab, and the final path up the stairs to 10 St John, where 'the lovely old trees' once stood, passing siliently past the old drunk in his tattered suit, as if it is a warning of what not to become. 

I think of all the people I have met over the past 5 years and hear the ring of truth in the words of John Donne from For Whom the Bell Tolls; "No man is an island, entire of itself" and I appreciate that each one of the people I have met and gotten to know has contributed to and enriched my life making me the person I am today.  I thank them all for the lessons that they have taught me.

Here I have a job, status, freedom and perhaps have earned a little respect. Where I am going I will be inarticulate, incognito, anonomous and alone amongst an inevitable sea of millions of individuals.  But I hope that amongst those millions there will be a few souls with whom my path will cross with whom I will share much merriness and laugther.   It will be an amazing journey with an unknown destination.  I read somewhere that it is not the destination that is important but the journey and I tend to agree.

But for now I have a cold and hope that the beautiful swiss nurse, whom I met two weeks ago, will come and visit me to care for me for a short while before I depart Neuseeland.

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Home for the past 5 years
Home for the past 5 years
Sunset from my back deck
Sunset from my back deck
photo by: Ils1976