14degrees off the beaten track
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November 15th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,New Zealand

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I had to ask Heather to pull over as she expertly navigated her car across the narrow gravel road leading to White’s Bay. Even as we were appraoching the hill, I was lost in nostalgia. Not that I have spent much time at all in the Blenheim area, but because the dry, hot, windswept environment reminded me of the MacKenzie Country in central Otago. I had spent every summer holidays camping with the extended family at Lake Benmore near Twizel as I grew up. Those holidays felt like months long. Completely carefree. Although I’m sure that Dad wouldn’t have been able to take more than a few weeks off work. Perhaps one of my relatives reading this entry can tell me how long on average we would spend camping?

In anycase, it was magical to be taken back in time. Heather pulled over on the verge, and I took in the view.

Rarangi (Whites Bay), near Blenheim, New Zealand

What the image above does not show is the white snow-capped peaks of the Kaikoura Mountains in the distance. The view was spellbinding. “This is dangerous,” I said to Heather.

“You keep saying that,” she replied. “Why is it dangerous?”

It is dangerous because I am rediscovering the amazing beauty of my homeland. It is dangerous because it reminds me how wonderful it would be to live here. And that is dangerous because I still have so much desire to work and live overseas. Seeing this creates a tension inside of me. A tension between wanting to remain here forever, and wanting to still experience life overseas, and wanting to do all that at once, if that makes any sense at all…

Right now I have so many options I feel are available to me in terms of how to move forward. What a wonderful luxury. The only thing I can do to relieve this pressure of choice is to be thankful for the options. Thank God, thank whoever…just thanks. We are spoiled for choice here in the western world, and I think we often take that for granted, letting that reality stress us out too much.

Rarangi (Whites Bay), near Blenheim, New Zealand

As for one option I have been considering for a long time, I was greatly encouraged and enlightened by Heather and her workmates at a pot-luck dinner we attended tonight. Friends of Heather’s, Larry and Kim from Ontario, Canada, invited friends over for a slide show of their recent family holiday in the North Island. I was in a home full of teachers, and I got some very interesting perspectives on what excites those in the profession, and also what doesn’t excite them, of course.

So big thanks to everyone involved. A very loverly evening.

Rob and Heather in Blenheim, New Zealand Teaching host Larry to ride the Street Machine GTe recumbent in Blenheim, New Zealand

Teaching host Ryan to ride the Street Machine GTe recumbent in Blenheim, New Zealand Teaching host Morgan to ride the Street Machine GTe recumbent in Blenheim, New Zealand

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    Permanent Link     Comments (9)

Comment by rachel Callander — November 18, 2008 @ 7:44 pm | post a comment

Hey Rob

When I was telling Sam about our Twizel holidays for the first time.. I told him that we spent at least 7 weeks camping every year, with everyone. He of course was amazed at this, but also dubious to my story's credibility. So when he didnt' believe me, I was most put out and told him to check it out with Mum ( thinking she of course would defend my honour as a story teller)…. hmm it turns out I was so wrong. What felt like a 2 month holiday, was often little more than 2 weeks. Ahh to be young and carefree and have holidays like that again. What bliss we grew up in.

Comment by daisy — November 18, 2008 @ 10:59 pm | post a comment

I've always had trouble with this as well. I know it must have only been a couple of weeks, because Dad would have been on holiday from work, but it felt like the whole summer. They were the best times.

Comment by Heather — November 19, 2008 @ 2:09 am | post a comment

Wicked!!! :)

Comment by Lee — November 19, 2008 @ 6:28 am | post a comment

My Dad and I went camping together in White's Bay when I was about 12. We had baked beans for tea, cooked on a little gas stove, and it was magic. 'Cept for the sandflies, of course.

It certainly is a privilege to have such a wide world (geographically, vocationally, spiritually) open before you. May you make brave, wise and glorious choices.


Comment by Mum — November 19, 2008 @ 8:16 pm | post a comment

I think the longest time we ever had on holiday was 3 weeks. One time you were with the Capos first then with us so it would have been 5 weeks in all. time always seems longer when you're young!

Comment by Dad — November 19, 2008 @ 8:48 pm | post a comment

Actually, I think the longest time was 4 weeks but in any case they were great times – catching rabits and letting them go again, fishing, playing on the paddle steamer….seeing Uncle Lindsay falling in the drink. There is nothing like a camping holiday.

Comment by rachel Callander — November 19, 2008 @ 9:24 pm | post a comment

ahhh the glorious paddle steamer… what a legend of an Uncle you are Uncle Des.

Oh gosh it was fun

Comment by Timmy C — November 21, 2008 @ 3:17 am | post a comment

since when did we let the rabbits go after we caught them Uncle Des?

Comment by ChrisJ — December 7, 2008 @ 3:26 am | post a comment

Hi Rob,

I might be able to give you one additional perspective on the "home vs. overseas" quandry.

As you know I recently had my own decision to make about staying in Japan a little longer of heading back to the states. In the end I decided to take the opportunity that had presented itself and stayed in Japan. Though I often imagined how nice it would be to spend Christmas with my family for the first time in 8 years…

Probably the best comment I got from my Japanese friends was from Emi down in Beppu (remember?). She said that I can "always go home". The more I dwelled on that, the more I realized it was true. Home is always there waiting for me and it will feel even better to head home once I am completely sure I have accomplished and experienced all the things I set out to.

Perhaps it is similar for you. You have an amazing array of choices before you. None of them are wrong. Its just that some of them you may never get the chance at again. Maybe this makes it easier to choose them, I don't know. But living with the choices you did make is probably better than regretting the things you could have, but didn't do.

My 2 cents.

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