On the Road

 In 2016 Blog Archive

Yesterday I returned from a week in the Marlborough Sounds, a week after I returned from spending a month in the States.

The Sounds was an assignment for a magazine, writing a piece on hiking, biking and kayaking the Queen Charlotte Track. Being ‘on assignment’ is as good as it sounds: exploring new places, meeting new people, trying new things – it’s not a bad gig, and I’ve always enjoyed it more than a day job.

It isn’t easy: it’s not a 9-to-5 work day; I’ve picked up diseases and injuries, it can be lonely, and I’m often too tired to sleep at the end of the day. There’s no room for an ‘off’ day. Preparation and returning home is time-consuming: I spent today unpacking, cleaning gear, and checking to see what (if anything) needed repairs. And I still need to transcribe my notes and write the story. Deadlines are forever creeping closer.

But I like that; I like that it’s challenging. I like working through all of that to find a story worth telling.

I’ve been writing for a long time, always with the lifeboat of a day-job. For most of that time, I was single and working up the courage to be a full-time writer. Now that I’ve cut the lifeboat adrift and I’m writing for a living, I also find myself sharing my life with someone for the first time.

Haruki Murakami wrote: “Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting.”

How very true. Now that I’ll be travelling more than ever, I have a home I want to spend time in, and someone I want to spend time with. Now I have someone to miss. I try not to speak or contact him too much while I’m on the road because it takes my focus away from the journey I’m on, and it only makes me miss him more. I’m lucky he understands.

A form I wasn’t expecting… I desperately want a crystal ball to see what the next year will bring; he laughs at me, content to let life unfold as it will.