Actually…I’ll Take the Warm Hostel…

As I’ve said before on my blog, I am a bit of a planner.  When I make commitments, I like to keep them.  That being said…there are sometimes when you just have to abandon ship…Like when you end up staying in a hut with no heating when it’s -3ºC at night…

A few days ago I left my hostel in Taupo to work on a sustainable farm that I was expecting to be all kinds of amazing.  A solar heated shower, composting toilets, connections with the Maori community.  Sounded absolutely perfect for me!  Um…in SUMMER!

In retrospect, I was warned about what I was getting into.  I knew it’d be a bit rough, but I definitely was not expecting it to be that rough.  The farm was located in a valley with tons of shade from trees (again, great in the summer), which meant that in the winter there were only about 2 hours where you could physically see the sun in the sky.  As someone who already gets a bit dysfunctional when we lose daylight in the winter, I was really struggling.

I’ve also discovered that while I’m abroad, I need to be with people.  Yes, I am a socially awkward turtle.  However, when I do make connections all the way across the world, it does wonders to stave off the homesickness and help me feel a bit more grounded.  The last few wwoofing gigs, I worked alone, so I was really looking forward to this farm since I would be with a few other wwoofers.  Well sometimes it’s not just about working with other people.  It’s about working with the right people.  The other wwoofers were great, but for how much time I was around other people, I spent a surprising amount of time in silence.  So it was dark, painfully quiet…and SUPER COLD!

Honestly, the cold was the real kicker.  The hut I slept in (which apparently used to be used to house prisoners…) was so cold that I was shivering under three duvets AND a sleeping bag.  The last night I was there, I didn’t sleep at all.  On the bright side, I did manage to watch two movies and skype my mom (who asked if I was calling from Antarctica).  Still, it was time to call it quits.

There’s a part of me that really, really wanted to stick it out.  Despite the fact that I was so miserable there, it was a fascinating place!  A little bit unhygienic perhaps, but really interesting in terms of the sustainable practices and Maori culture.  I have nothing against my host or the farm itself.  But man am I glad I left.

There’s something to be said for perseverance…but there’s also something to be said for walking away when something isn’t right.  Part of the reason I came to New Zealand was so I could have a year pursuing interesting jobs, exploring, and just enjoying the world.  I didn’t come here to make myself miserable.  So I left.  My host was very understanding about it and thankfully I had a friend who offered to rescue me (and brought me thai food since I hadn’t slept at all the night before).  In the end, no harm done really.

 

IMG_20170513_160745783_HDR
The summit of Mt. Tauhara just outside of Taupo.

So for the moment, I’m back in Taupo, finding hostel work.  It’s not exactly the type of work I thought I’d do over here.  I definitely had some preconceived notions about working with alpacas or joining a hippie commune.  Now that it’s winter though, I think I need to find a nice little hole to hibernate in…and I think that hole is Taupo.  For now, it’s my happy place.  In Taupo I have jigsaw puzzles, friends, and the chance to meet some really cool people from all over the world.  So here I am, trying to go with the flow and feeling out where I should be right now.  All I know is that it’s not where I was.

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