The Wild Places

The wild brush around me seemed to hold stories as it scattered itself across the hillside. Stories of those who sought to claim it under their name, and those who simply wanted to settle for a better chance at life. The Pacific Islands hold their own history that I know little of, which prompts me to ask questions and seek answers.

In school, I never learned much about New Zealand, and in retrospect I realize that most of my education was rather ego-centric. While knowing the history of where you live helps define your understanding, I dearly wish I had learned more about global history. Wandering around the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa I learned of birds I have never heard of, tribal names that are new to me, and the itch that I wanted to learn all the more about this land.

In a local book fundraiser, I found a book called Kiwi Milestones, which details the major shifts for the Kiwi population for only $2. Famous cookbooks, rugby teams, Olympic athletes, and cultural shifts are all listed with pictures and a rounded view of the events in New Zealand. I sat for hours soaking up the history that is not my own, but is slowly absorbing into the story of who I will become.

New Zealand is full of wild places. 1/3 of the land is protected by the government, where people can tramp (the word for hike) and enjoy the splendid wonder of what these islands would of originally looked like. Even in between the scattered houses of the suburbs there are wild places to wander through to discover new views of the stunning valley below.

The wild places have awoken the places that felt blocked inside of me. For several weeks I have been battling with writer’s block, which has made my current career path rather challenging. Part of it comes from the idea of social media jealousy, that people will look at our lives and think we achieved this out of luck. I often encounter people and say “oh I wish I could travel like you do!”.

In reality, sometimes living on the road is hard, and it certainly is not for everyone. Traveling actually is cheaper for Fern and I than to stay in one place, because we all know how insane rent prices are these days. Despite living the thrilling nomad life, I still have to maintain discipline to keep working at my job, and resilience to fight when my body wants to quit. On our last road trip I got sunburnt rather severely while blissfully kayaking in the bayou. In the days to follow I hobbled on a swollen sunburnt foot, but was too stubborn to miss out on any experiences.

The wild places are full of bites, sunburns, potential illness, and the frightening unknown. Yet, the wild places are what call to me the most. Despite hobbling on my foot for the weeks to follow, I managed to make it on my own to New Zealand, and have been warmly welcomed by Fern’s family since arriving. I even have my own pillow to sit on the ground with, since they discovered I am a frequent floor sitter.

Fern and I have been laying low, as the last couple of months have been rather hectic with moving, traveling, and working. In a conversation today I realize that I may be a frequent traveler, but I have traveled more to other people’s homes. I have lived in tribal homes in Thailand, stayed with friends and family all over the US, and now I am in the care of a family who is already an extension of mine. With good humor, conversation, and a safe corner of the world, my heart is content.

There are wild places that are uncertain in our future. Places that are clouded with the inability to see how the cards may play out for our dreams. Yet, Fern and I both know that with anything in life, it takes hard work. With continuing to build on what we already know, we hope to better establish ourselves amongst the wild, because there is certainly no better place to be in than the wild places this world has to offer.

Love and Light,

Bethany Jane




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