I love to travel. I always suspected I would. I didn't go overseas until I was 12, and then that was only to Australia, but I delighted in every little thing that was different from what I was used to - which is odd, as when I went on holiday with my family in New Zealand, I was mightily unimpressed with everything that was different. Auckland imperialism? Or just an inability to see the beauty of my own country because I was too consumed with the embarrassment of being the only one of my friends never to have left*?
I never understood those (and believe it or not, I've met more than one of these people) who didn't want to travel. Who didn't care. Who were looking forward to staying in one place, with occasional trips to Fiji for good behaviour, for the rest of their lives. I would say I tried to, but I was a spoiled teenager, so I probably didn't. Hell, I'm a lot older and wiser now, and I still don't try. I just shrug and say to each their own, and cross the street if I see them coming**.
It therefore should be no surprise that I left as soon as I was done with university, taking off as if I had been shot out of a gun. I loved New Zealand, but all I wanted to do was travel. And I have - but while also getting and maintaining a life for myself. I think it's really easy to enter into a state of arrested development when you're away from home, and I think I could have easily entered into that mindset. Instead, I have chosen to make sure I have many homes, which has its drawbacks, but is mostly a good thing.
I saw this attitude pay off this weekend, in a really amazing way. It was the busiest weekend I've had in a long time, and I loved virtually every moment of it, despite now having one completely unread newspaper of guilt (aka The New York Times) sitting on my coffee table, taunting me with all I don't know. An old friend from New Zealand, whom I have known since I was all of five years old, flew in from her base in North Carolina for a weekend of gallivanting in the city. We partied in Brooklyn on Friday night, enjoying the highly American pursuit of bowling***, and ate a few meals together, but for the most part I left her to gallivant on her own**** because I was attending...The Blogcademy*****!
Blogcademy was a Big Deal. I attended the inaugural workshop, which ran over two days. It was held in New York (convenient!) but people came in from all sorts of places, including my other homes of New Zealand and England. In fact, the founders consisted of one New Zealander (Gala Darling), one Brit (Kat Williams of Rock N Roll Bride), and one American (Shauna Haider of Nubby Twiglet). I kind of felt like they were me split in three, but with more glitter (way more glitter!) and, let's be honest, success and talent******.
I learnt SO much. I can't even begin to talk about it, because it's all still churning round my mind, refusing to settle so I can decide where to begin applying those lessons. But even better than that, I had the most amazing time. Being surrounded by an international community of unbridled talent is where I want to be all.the.time. In fact, I came very close to inviting some of the other women to move in with me (though as I look around my Manhattan-size apartment I'm quite thankful that common sense prevailed).
This weekend taught me many, many things, and not a small part of that is the value of surrounding yourself with people who get you, and who are like you, but who have different backgrounds and experiences and points of view also. Those who can teach you things, and make you choke with laughter on your water while doing so. And I have to wonder - do those who don't travel get to enjoy those moments? Because if not, ouch. It's worse than I thought.
*We went on many, many holidays, always in New Zealand. My parents believed in understanding your own country before beginning to explore others, and probably also in not spending tens of thousands of dollars dragging three ungrateful kids around the world. I hugely appreciate this now. But at the time, I was an ungrateful little sod.
**Kidding! Obviously. I mean, they're not going to be in New York, are they?!
***No, I'm not very good at bowling. As if you have to ask. But yes, I enjoy it regardless, as much as I can when I'm not winning losing. (Let's call a spade a spade).
****That sounds mean. There were other friends of hers in the city also!
*****With about 25 other bloggers. I wonder how many blogs about Blogcademy will be posted today?
******For NOW (evil laugh).