Routine. Routine the great equaliser. The great smotherer of all things different. The inevitable steamroller of all the peaks of life. It’s what we hold to; it’s what we’ve come from, and what we’ll always return to. Routine and time. Time the great healer, time the memory fader, time the double edged sword, time the… ok enough of the cheesy philosophy, I don’t think it becomes me as of yet, I’m still too young and I don’t have a beard. But I think you know what I’m getting at.
Two days back and it seems like I never left. Like the past six months was some feature movie I watched last night. Are we that desensitised or forgetful? That six months of adventure is just part of our routine entertainment? Or is that just blatant prosperity, that we take those six months for granted? Sorry I said I’d stop with the philosophy. Back to the point.
It’s like I changed lives while I was overseas and then picked up my normal one once I stepped off the plane in Auckland. I had nothing like the weird sensation I had when I got back from my last big trip. The feeling of knowing everything and everyone around me again, but somehow feeling it’s still foreign.
I have a number of theories for this:
1. Last time I was travelling with Josh the whole time. This time I was by myself a lot so I only had mind games to play in my own head and during the last two weeks in Holland my mind was completely in NZ.
2. I used Skype and webcam a lot with NZ so it never felt like I was too far away.
3. I was really close to my family in Holland so I was used to family life and the transition to NZ was easy. That’s my take on the situation.
My anti-jetlag schedule worked ok, not as well as on the way to Holland though. The problem was I was only able to sleep about five or six hours from Hong Kong to Auckland, and six hours out of 36 isn’t a good ratio. I was fresh when I arrived; I had just woken up but I lasted about 9 hours before I crashed and burned. But one nights sleep in my own bed and I was completely fine.
My eight hour wait in Hong Kong was so boring I was ready to chew my hands off. I’ve already seen Hong Kong and I wasn’t keen to ride the train for two hours in and out of the centre, suffer the intolerable humidity and crowds, all the while carrying a stuffed full backpack, a four kg plastic bag, and two jackets with pockets full. So I read an entire Alistair Maclean book (my mind was severely lapsing though, I can hardly remember what I read and I often had to re-read passages), wrote my previous blog entry, and listened to music while forcing myself not to fall asleep. I was hoping that would make it easier to sleep on the next flight, that didn’t really work.
It was really great to see all my family and friends again and speak English as fast as I wanted. You know I thought I’d seen the end of pronunciation problems but alas it follows me everywhere. We have a Japanese home stay and he asked me what an object was called pointing at a clothes rack, so I told him.
He repeated ‘rack’ as I had pronounced it.
“Like rack?” pointing at his leg. It was then that I realised he was saying leg but in an extreme Japanese accent so it sounded like he was saying ‘rack’.
“No no, rack”
“Yes leg, l-e-g?”
Nice. Welcome to NZ.
What an amazing six months though, of course you expect me to say that, but I can’t believe I saw as much as I did. Totally worth it, most things were once in a lifetime experiences, maybe that’s why it felt like a movie. So I put together some lists which may interest you and give you some perspective on what I did.
Morocco, Montenegro, Southern Germany, seeing all my family, riding in the Austrian Alps, mint tea and tagines, my distinct lack of jetlag, and the Causeway Coast in Ireland.
Not going to Scotland or Scandinavia but I guess you can’t see it all, over packing, the terrible weather in my first few days of riding in France, not buying more in Morocco, and not meeting someone who owns a Renault Val Satis. There are heaps of them in France and I really wanted to know what type of person buys Renault’s ugliest car ever.
Problems with the bike:
Dead battery, blown tail light, missing side panel, and a loose battery connection
Number of times I was asked what part of Australia I was from:
Too many. I even got asked this by Australians, so I’d say Australias third island. That confused them.
Nights slept at:
Relatives houses – 78, Friends houses – 38, Camp grounds – 29, Hostels – 10, Hotels – 7, Pensions (rooms people rent out in their houses) – 7, Planes – 3, In the car – 2, Airports – 2, Bed and breakfasts – 2, Bus – 1, Ferry – 1, Tent on the side of the road (i.e. in the Sahara!) – 1, Random bushes on the side of the road – 1.
Top speeds made by me:
Car – 205 km/h, Bike – 195 km/h
Speeding tickets received:
One speed camera in Germany and one bribe paid to a policeman in Morocco.
Kilometres made by me:
Car – 7,700, Motorbike – 8,500
Australia, Hong Kong, Holland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Monaco, Morocco, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Austria, and the UK.
Languages attempted (in order of ability):
Dutch, French, Spanish, Afrikaans, German, Italian, Polish, Arabic, Croatian, and Albanian. Oh, and Northern Ireland’s version of English but I never really understood it…
This is Kurt signing off, thanks for watching.