I live three hours away from paradise

As the summer holiday draws to a close, I refuse to resign myself to the usual dread that fills these last few days.

I have persuaded my friends to go on a spontaneous roadtrip with me in which we are all going to explore and be adventurers again.

Our planning for this one day roadtrip began on New Year’s day, right after 12am, and by 1am, we had decided to meet two days later to drive up North to a “developing” city named Tauranga, a three hour drive from where we reside.

I don’t know whether you know this, but here in New Zealand, developing cities don’t look like your usual slum of the earth.

Instead, picture a sunny harbourside town, where every street name and road sign has the word “ocean” or “coast” in it, and everybody in the neighbourhood looks extremely tan and fit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole town was selected to star in the next Baywatch.

Anyway, that’s where we found ourselves in, overdressed and overheated, strolling through a harbourside paradise.

To point out our exact location in paradise, we were in Papamoa, a suburb with a beach that residents actually use! something that rarely happens where I live.

Since I came unprepared to this harbourside town, without togs or a towel, I did not get a chance to bare my skin to the summer sun or dip my body into the ocean. I did have a front row view of the sea and watched longingly ahead at the surfers and swimmers catching their next big wave.

When the excitement seemed too good to miss out on, I rolled up my pants and ran into the crashing waves, not caring that my bottom-half was soaking wet and that I didn’t have a spare change of clothes.

The salt and sand was still on my mind when we left Papamoa. So I insisted we wrap up the evening by watching Indiana Jones late into the wee hours of the morning.

I want to wake up every morning in Papamoa. It reminds me of adventure and beaches, sand and sunshine, of things people should do more of to fill their lives with excitement.

As I wake up in my own bed with the wind howling outside, I ask myself, what can we do to make our lives more adventurous when we have jobs and responsibilities?

I hope to continue searching for an answer to that question as I return back to work next week.

The hidden workshop

Enid Blyton taught me that summertime is all about exploring, and that if you look closely, even ordinary things can start to look like treasures.

I’ve discovered a workshop hidden right outside my new house. It’s hidden because nobody can see its potential but me. If I were to describe it to you, I’d take away the magic from this place. Instead, I’ll talk about what I plan to fill it with.

Coral. She’ll go in there first. That’s my coral-coloured kayak. It’ll be a proper little home for her. I take her out to go exploring with me during the summer but she hibernates during the winter months. A tarpaulin over the timber shelter will cover her nicely from the harsh sun.

My imagination. It’ll be nice to have a place to store my imagination. These days I daydream from room to room, leaving too much of my energy in bits of places. Virginia Woolf always said that a writer needs a room of one’s own. Mine just happens to be a workshop!

I am happy to have found a small space to occupy and fill with wonderful projects. It’s a way of keeping the magic alive even if I am now an adult.

The gutsy girl

Because I’m young, stupid and naive, I thought it would be a no-brainer to follow in the footsteps of some leading ladies and heroines in this book:

The Gutsy girl: Escapades for your life of Epic Adventure

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By saying YES to all the roadtrips I got invited to this Summer, I definitely came out scathed with memories.

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Road trip 1: Tongariro Crossing (Or more like the spilling out of guts)

So here’s what happened:

I was supposed to go on an epic 8 hour hike with my group of girls across the Tongariro Crossing but as soon as we arrived at the backpackers motel I had a severe case of the runs which lasted the entire day and night and the morning after. So I was a no show, and ended up lying in bed the whole day.

I did leave my room once to grab a glass of water and ended up being treated to a few hours of humourous conversations with a cast of international backpackers and a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with roast chicken, ham, potato gravy… everything. And, to top it off, I made 4 new, amazing friends.

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Roadtrip 2: Cathedral Cove (The drowning incident) 

I must have thought that I was Wonder woman because when the waves were crashing down against the rocks, I recklessly abandoned any notion of my mortality and headed further out to sea and well, got stuck in the waves.

It was the loneliest and scariest moment of my life trying to stay afloat while the waves continuously crashed down over my head. All I could think of to the waves was: ‘Stop! give me a break so I can swim to shore.’ But it was just too strong and I felt so small against this big ocean.

My moment of relief came when someone swimming in the ocean saw me and dragged me in to safety.

But just so that I would get over my trauma, I went right back out to the ocean and had some cautious fun splashing about in the shallower areas.

How gutsy was that?

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To sum it all up

I had some good gutsy and bad gutsy moments, and moments where everything literally spilled out from my guts. Splendid!

Since summer’s almost over, and I’m trying to squeeze every little bit of fun out of the sunshiny weather, I think it’s time to consult my gutsy girls book to see what’s next on the adventure agenda!