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.
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.