There are times in life when you feel like you are along for the ride. I hate that feeling.
A control freak by nature, I’ve always been resistant to the idea that circumstances dictate life direction. I despise waiting for the perfect time or the perfect job or the perfect bank account to start really living. The unfortunate reality is that we actually need jobs and bank accounts, and timing, as it turns out, has to be factored into most of our decisions. Even more true is that these circumstances out of our control can teach us valuable life lessons. Even still, I live for those moments when you can reach for a big slice of life unapologetically, breaking every rule in the book and defying what is seen as sensible and logical.
I’m a firm believer that we can reach much more life-living than we realize. If you’re lucky, you get a few pivotal moments like that, where you get a minute or even an hour of “life plucking.” It is almost as if you get to look at a menu of various life directions and just point to one, making it happen. It is in those moments that you get to feel what it’s like to become alive, and you start to get a bit addicted to the unknown.
I remember feeling like this when I sat at a café in Nelson, New Zealand. What started as a “land in Auckland with a backpack and see what happens” situation turned into a gig selling bus tickets outside of an Auckland hostel. For every bus ticket sold, I’d get twenty dollars to put toward my own country circuit ticket. For three weeks I sold tickets until every dollar of that year-long bus trip was paid off. I set off the day after I reached my goal, hopping on and off the Kiwi Bus for the next couple of weeks . As I toured the north island, I tried to find a place where I could live for a few months and find work. I had met a local Kiwi who told me about the town of Nelson in the south island. Fruit orchards, vineyards, beach and a local artist/musician scene, you say? I was sold before I even arrived.
As predicted, I fell in love with Nelson. After two days, I found a family through a local college who was advertising room and board. It was after two minutes of meeting them and touring their purple guest cottage (complete with an apple tree) that I was paying my first month’s rent. By day three, I found a job at a local café, just three blocks from my new cottage.
I remember sipping on a flat white in my black apron during my work break on day one. Who would have thought that I could mentally concoct and execute a new life for myself in just three days? I felt like I had piecemealed a costume together in 72 hours, and just like that, I was a resident of Nelson.