One of the great things about travelling for the longer term is the ability to stop for a while, settle a bit, and find out more about the place you are calling home for the next section of your life. Whatever travel means to folk, to me it is being somewhere different and experiencing somewhere new.
This is what I am doing now – pausing for a while in an absolutely staggering location, with the added bonus that I am earning a bit of cash to keep the adventure going on for as long as possible.
The work here, thus far, is not too taxing, although I am led to believe that the season is only just starting and in a couple of months I expect I will have changed my mind on that front. In the meantime, we are gently easing into the whole thing, splitting our time between running the cafe in the morning for the buses that whiz folk up to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and then generally helping out in the holiday park for the rest of the day.
The majority of folk who come to stay are here specifically to do the crossing, and who can blame them, given that it is billed as one of New Zealand’s top day walks. It takes you right up to the edge of Mount Doom (which you can climb to the top of, if you are feeling so inclined, although at this time of year it requires crampons and ice axes), and past all manner of other interesting volcanic activity. Being so popular, of course, means that the walk is also exceptionally busy, a marked difference from the walks I did in Australia where I could often walk for hours without seeing a soul. And no, I still haven’t done it, although when I get a spare moment I certainly will.
The other good thing of course about working in a holiday park is that we still get to meet all kinds of people, which is one of the general joys of travelling. Recently, for example, I met a Frenchman doing the 3000km walk from one end of New Zealand to the other, with all of his gear on his back. That was a pretty inspiring tale. Otherwise it is a mix of people from all over the world, all with their own stories and tales to tell. Some are just here on a three week break, others are visiting as part of a longer trip, either round the region or round the world. It’s interesting stuff, and great to be able to keep meeting folk, even whilst standing still.
As well as everything else, Spring is in the air, the days are getting longer and the nights are slightly less bone chillingly cold. This appears to have caused hundreds of giant green moths to appear, who after a night of presumably amorous activity to ensure the continuation of the species, lie around all morning quietly dying. The birds are entering a flurry of nest building activities – much rousing chirping is taking place against the wonderfully clear sky. Soon I expect the cries of little baby birds demanding food will appear. Which should give the two cats, Coco and Chanel, something to think about. Until the next time, enjoy yourselves…