Day 873 – NEW ZEALAND: Re-entry

I’ll try not to cry as I write this post…

I feel no small amount of loss at this present time. I feel grief over what I have lost, and what I am losing. I also feel an excitement of what might be, but a loss because I know I don’t have the energy to pursue it.

I am in grief. And it hurts.

Let me expand…

  • Physical Fitness
    I arrived in Christchurch after my journey the fittest that I possibly ever will be. It was never in my psyche to train for anything in particular; including physical activity into my daily life through commuting and travelling by human power was and is my primary form of daily physical exercise. I know for a fact that from here on in, I will only become less fit. But I like the way my fit body looks. I like the fact I can skate 50 minutes to work and hardly break a sweat. The reality that I am losing this reality – a reality that was my reality for so long – is crushing. Never mind the fact that I can still see my ribs. This grief is tempered by the knowledge (courtesy of my mind) that a time of not pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion is probably a good thing. But try telling my heart that. My heart is still infatuated with a squewed version of physical wellbeing. It hurts.
  • Affection
    I have been alone (not lonely, but alone) for well over two years (EDIT: Single for six and a half years). During that time physical intimacy has been all but non-existant. It was not something that was even remotely on the radar. I was on a mission, and I was totally enthralled by adventure. Now, I find myself all of a sudden noticing girls. In my mind I have gone from being a “bachelor till I can be bothered” to “I’m open to the suggestion”. Therefore it is hard not to rush into seeking a romantic relationship. There is so much other adapting pressures I feel at present, that to add to that the pressure of a relationship would be unwise. There is too much good emotional wonder in being close to another person for me to run the chance of spiraling into emotional stress. Therefore I have re-committed myself not to make any big decisions for 6 months (well, 5 months and two weeks; I have been back two weeks). And that hurts.
  • Inconsistencies/hypocracies/conflicts in beliefs
    I received a text from a great guy currently embarking on an around the world tour. He’s starting it off by cycling a few weeks in New Zealand. He said “This wild life is quite liberating for me. Thanks for the inspiration. It has and will definitely change my life forever.” I replied with “Yeah well be carefull. It makes you abhor the status quo and conventionality. It makes you question everything. It exposes contradictions and hypocracies within you.”

Is this way of life that I have been brought up on really the best way to live? These values that I have held so dear…what are they based on? Are they rooted in love, or are they constructs of a fearful group of people? You see, throughout university and for a considerable time while I was in Japan, I actively sought to learn all I could about the Christian faith. To live it out. To make it the basis of how I act and make decisions. I still believe that there is such immense amounts of truth in the bible, but what about those niggling little issues that just don’t make sense? And if I was to throw it all away, what is the alternative?

  • Humanity’s misunderstandings
    “This would not have happened if he was white,” the fellow taxi driver commented….

This was a quote I read in today’s newspaper about a stabbing of Abdulrahman Ikhtiari, an Afgani taxi driver in Christchurch. Obviously there would have been much more to the story, but this hurts because I have seen the humanity of this globe we inhabit. It makes me want to scream out loud.

  • Who I really am
    Who am I? Am I ‘the skateboarder guy’? Am I the legendary ‘around the world traveller’? Or am I really the guy who gets the most excited by vocal harmony? I had this revelation as I was cycling home today from work (15 hours a week cleaning at the awesome Dreamland Hostel in Christchurch). The thing in my past that always gave me the most amazing adrenaline rush was the splendour of harmony singing. I feel a certain pressure to conform to others’ views of who I am, when all I want to be, is who I am.

But then I am not who I was, either. Indeed I am who I am. This journey has changed me in ways I am sure I still have not discovered.

And it is all so hard not to rush. So hard not to rush. In typical 21st century Net Generation fashion, I want the answers and solutions now. For three years I worked in a Japanese environment where people did not have morning or afternoon breaks at work. I am accustomed to being on the go. Moving. Forward. Progressing at a tangible, measureable rate. And I feel as though they expect it. Whoever they are.


I do not, by the way, want anyone to become overly concerned with my head space right now. Among other things, I am sure I am experiencing a fairly large dose of Re-Entry Shock or Reverse Culture Shock (one resource of many: There is a process to it all, you see. And I can see that. The process. And the more I can get out of this awesomely valuable time of screwed-up-ness the better. That’s why I’m being as honest as I can on my blog. And considering counselling. Nothing like a good tearing up of one’s mind to sort some stuff out.

In other news, on a whim I found myself back in Blenheim this last weekend. Visiting her. Appreciating now her valiant and courageous understanding of my current head space. It was a great weekend. An escape. An escape that ultimately served to bring reality closer.

Wither Hills, Blenheim, New ZealandWither Hills, Blenheim, New Zealand

Wither Hills, Blenheim, New Zealand

Well I got to the end of the post without crying. Feeling knackered though…

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7 thoughts on “Day 873 – NEW ZEALAND: Re-entry

  • Eric

    Hey Rob, i'm hearing you man, in lots of ways

    There is definately some sort of reverse culture shock when returning home. i've been back almost a year now, remember really struggling those first few months

    We should catch up when your down in Invers next


  • Katey B

    I'm sorry but your post made me laugh it was so you.

    Starting with worrying about losing your fitness and then your commitment to not committing, urging readers to not get too concerned about your reverse culture shock, and then the end when you to Blenheim…

    As it is with freshup Kiwi life has 'gotta be good for ya'.

  • Scott Wayland

    Hey, Rob: Like a storm, gotta weather the wind and waves. Here's a formal congrats on finishing the bugger. Do you wake up skating in your sleep? I can hardly unplug from my meager 99 days on the road. I think about my big tour every day. Yours will haunt you the rest of your life–mostly in a good way, I hope! Good idea taking things slowly.

    For a great read and an amazing story of "re-entry," check out The Long Walk–some Polish name for the author. A story of WWII survival–amazing.

    Be well.


    Your HPVelo comrade in California

  • wim harwig

    Hey Rob,

    It's nice to read that you're growing into adulthood ! Yes, I know it is painful sometimes, but you choose to do it the hard way.

    Of course it would be easier to stay at home and marry the first lady who is willing ….. but probably more painful !

    Imagine, do not believe ; that's my device!

    get safe and sound,



    Don't forget to revisit the spot in your memory "that will always take your breath away every time you revisit it".


  • andrew morgan

    hi rob, thanks for posting this. i think you're right in seeing this time as valuable. don't rush. wallow in it. through the juxtaposition of what you felt and what you now feel, essence will light up.


  • Jean

    Hey Rob,

    "They" is probably us, your blog readers… please don't feel any pressure to do big exciting things just so we have something to read about! You're not our property, we're privileged that you let us watch from the sidelines.

    I think the "no big decisions for 6 months" idea is an excellent one, stick to it. 6 months at least. You'll probably find the time will fly by ( – although if you keep visiting Blenheim it might drag a bit!) Write stuff down (not necessarily on here) so you can tell how far you've come. Go on a retreat every now and then for some peace and quiet and a change of scenery.

    Don't know why I'm giving advice really, you seem to have it under control. 🙂


    P.S. Don't give up on God – the more you know Him the more unknowable you realise He is… didn't your grandma say something that?

    P.P.S. The offer to proofread your book still stands 🙂

  • Steve R

    Hey Rob! Great to catch up on your blogs once again. I'll always remember your visit stopping off in weird Luxu and talking to my classes. Your stories and perseverance have been an inspiration to me, as I'm weathering some very tough times in this part of the world what you skated through.

    That reverse culture shock thing sounds pretty scary … well maybe it's just me, but I've lived abroad for so long I get nervous about reading stuff like that. All the best on dealing with it, and same with your book publication!