Day 902 – NEW ZEALAND: Priorities

So yesterday I went to a counsellor to talk through some of the issues that are bothering me at the moment upon re-entry to New Zealand.

Some semblance of clarity has been restored, but it’s still all very scary.

Basically I realised that there are heaps of things that I want and/or need to do. They are all very ligitimate needs and wants, but some are more pressing than others. That is, I have priorities.

Here’s a list of high-order priorities that I have at the moment:

  • Invest time in relationships. D’uh, right? Yeah well it’s not always so obivous that spending time with loved ones is important. Look at Chris McCandless (see the book and film based on his true story, called Into The Wild). He let go all that was truely important in his life to pursue his own dreams, and they ultimately robbed him of his life. He missed out on what should have been a hugely sugnificant joy in his life; his family. Well at least that’s one of the lessons I got from his story.
  • Earn money. It is quite tempting to not actively seek work at the moment. Mainly because it is quite nice to just sit at home and ponder life. The problem with sitting at home and pondering life, however, is that the pondering tends to go around and around in circles. One hour of pondering and writing down thoughts is even more effective than five hours of pondering and not writing anything down.
  • Follow up on creative writing courses for 2009. It’s amazing how little thought I am putting into the idea of writing a book, even though that’s what I want to achieve by the end of the 2009 academic year! By the way, if anyone has some good suggestions of any great contemporary travel/adventure books to read, let me know. I’m keen to get a reading list started.
  • Get involved in a local church. There’s something about this Jesus fella and what he said about life that just makes sense. There are plenty of things surrounding him that don’t make sense too, but I’m keen to investigate. I reckon the place where people who are into Jesus congregate is a good place to start.

Immediately after finishing my journey, when I arrived at my parents’ house in Christchurch, I began a flurry of investigation into study options, career options, relationship options, options that were realistically not the biggest priorities right at hand. I wanted to be stable and settled now! I wanted direction now!

I still want those things (kind of, maybe, perhaps), but realistically they don’t happen overnight. Gotta focus on the immediate issues at hand.

On a totally side note, and speaking of not focussing on the immediate issues at hand, I am still registered in the upcoming Motatapu Icebreaker as a participant in the marathon section on the 14th of March this year. It has been difficult to get myself motivated to train for this, especially for the shorter distance training runs (up to 10km). I’ve done one long run so far (16km) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have a great training schedule to get my running muscles (or more importantly, my running joints) up to speed. Heather from Blenheim sent me this schedule, since she is also entered in the marathon, and has done much more running than I have.
However, the problem I find with running (or any physical exercise for that matter), is that if I do it on my own, with the sole purpose being just to ‘exercise’ or to ‘train’, I find it extremely difficult to motivate myself to do it. A run to work, a skate to work, a cycle to work…this is fine. I’m going there anway.

A run to….somewhere…..and back again, or a skate to…..somewhere….and back again….um….yeah….seems kind of pointless (apart from the physical benefits).

So I have contacted the Christchurch Marathon Clinic, and have arranged to join in on one of their weekly runs tomorrow. A 14km flat-land run around some suburbs of Christchurch starting at 8am. I’m looking forward to some social and intellectual benefits from running with others tomorrow, in addition to the physical benefits. Several of the Marathon Clinic members are also participating in the Motatapu marathon, and to my relief, there are others that will be glad just to complete it, rather than compete it.
The Motatapu Icebreaker is a fully off-road marathon with numerous river-crossings, 500m vertical gain, and lots of ups and downs. The route crosses from Wanaka to Arrowtown in the South Island of New Zealand, crossing otherwise closed-to-public land belonging to Shania Twain. I refuse to consider the event as a race, and I certainly see myself as a ‘participant’ rather than a ‘competitor’. I’m looking forward to travelling through some great Otago hill country. By the looks of things is is going to be a beautiful day out!

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4 thoughts on “Day 902 – NEW ZEALAND: Priorities

  • marcCO

    I love to read about travelling. That's why I completely followed your blog. I Loved to read the books of Ted Simon (JUPITER'S TRAVELS, Dreaming of Jupiter) (Around the world in the 70's, and again in 2001) Journalist-writer-motorcyclist.

  • Keryn


    My husband Simon just got two books for Christmas that I think you might like – Mood of Future Joys and Thunder and Sunshine – the books are in two parts and are by a guy called Alastair Humphreys. They are about his journey around the world by bike. They are published by a company called eye books. Simon said they remind him of your journey.

    Also, there is a church in the Christchurch area that you might be interested in – Opawa Baptist Church – Their pastor Steve Taylor has a blog which is quite interesting.

    Good luck!

  • Finn

    Hi Rob,

    I also just finished Into the Wild, and a friend gave me a book that im really enjoying called "The Rum Diaries" by Hunter S. Thompson

    It has travelling as a theme, but what I like the most are the observations the author makes on what he sees around him which. Give it a try 🙂

  • Steve R

    Hey Rob I'm still keeping tabs on your blogs. You know, the guy who you hung out with in Luxu. I'm still hanging out in that place, yet I wonder why. It is with great interest that I'm reading all your posts on reverse culture shock. Keep filling us in, and watch that bandwidth 🙂