This is the first of two posts about travelling around NZ by myself and how travelling in general isn’t always the best time of your life, not because anything particularly bad happens, but because your brain decides to riddle you with anxiety.
Raglan is a beautiful little coastal town on New Zealand’s North Island renowned for being a great surf spot. (I went surfing once in Bali where I shared the ocean with a dead chicken which was incredibly off-putting, believe it or not). There are heaps of other adventurous things to do in Raglan like kayaking, paddle boarding, caving, rock climbing and hiking and these are pretty heavily advertised around the town. This is a place where you come with your mates and do fun shit. There is a relaxed, holiday vibe and all the Kiwis I’ve met rave about it.
I arrived there on a grey Wednesday afternoon. I was slowly making my way home and had planned to have a day there. The oracle (aka iPhone) had predicted a miserable forecast of rain, like continuous rain for the next 24 hours. Those little rainclouds all had 100% underneath them. NZ summer at it’s finest. I’d kind of missed the boat on doing any activities for the day so searched out some yoga classes instead. I drove to one about 10 minutes away which was atop a hill with beautiful views of the ocean, but when I got there I realised it more like a retreat and freaked out a little about all the yogis that were there. I found another yoga class here to go to and it was super chill, the teacher was lovely and there were hardly any people there which was kind of perfect for me. I felt physically good afterwards but my brain still hadn’t caught up.
I sat in my car after the class and the rain started to pour. I couldn’t decide on staying in a hostel or my tent. I really wanted to drive back to the city because I wasn’t feeling hanging out on my own, but I was also stuck with the thought that I should be having a good time and I should be doing fun stuff. This is point that I figured out that I’d had this building sense of anxiety all day – it had been staring me in the face. Anxious me does not want to engage with people I don’t know or do any activities. Anxious me struggles to make little decisions. Anxious me feels like a failure and worries too much what other people think. I phoned a hostel but they were booked out so I decided to drive back to the city. I felt like a bit of a loser but knew I’d made the right choice for me at that time. I also realise that going home is not always the answer.
I can laugh about the fact that I essentially went to a super cool place in NZ had a coffee and a sandwich, did a yoga class and then drove home. PRETTY RADICAL. Similar experiences include the time in India I ordered a take away pizza which I then ate alone in my homestay room and hanging out in a shopping mall in Malaysia all day because the air-con was great.
I think that for me, it was better to not try and force myself to have a good time when I really wasn’t feeling it. Life is not going to be fun all of the time, despite what social media will lead us to believe. When you are travelling round there is sometimes a pressure that you should always be seeing new things and doing things and they should always all be incredible. Oh and you should always Instagram them (don’t get me wrong I love IG). The times like this when things don’t quite work out how I’d imagined don’t negate the awesome times I’ve had. It’s all relative. I’m sure that one day I’ll go back to Raglan and do some of that fun stuff and I’ll make sure I Instagram the shit out of it too.
(Side note: I’m fully aware my life is pretty easy and brilliant most of the time, pesky anxiety doesn’t give a shit about that though and I believe in being honest about feelings)
(Also: I managed to distract myself from some of the anxiety by listening to the Women of the Hour podcast which one of my amigas introduced me too. Go check it out, they cover some important topics and you get to listen to some amazing, inspiring women. It makes me laugh and cry.)