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Published: April 1st 2008
The base backpackers in auckland
I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it.
- Rosalia de Castro
I wake to the irrevocable ear-worm of "just gotta get out of this place", how apprpopriately sung too, by "the animals" as my vision struggles to focus on this large dark blue object infront of my weary eyes. Am I awake? Have I slept? What ungodly hour is it now? The all too familiar 24hr noise that never ceases in the dormitories as people check in, stagger in, fall in, fall out, fall over, lights on, argue, clang, clatter, stumble, fart, vomit.
My eyes settle and focus, becoming very rapidly unsettled as the the tiny electric signals that travel from my pupils to my brain, relay the information that the large dark blue blurry object is infact a rather rotund backside, splilling out from the top and bottom of an unflattering pair of denim shorts, mere inches from my semi-concious face. I am somewhat in disbeliefe yet unsurprised at the same time to witness this total eclipse of the dormitory, have these people any thoughts or considderation for the people around
standard clean dorm
this is as good as they look
them? Are they so young and naieve that they just dont think, and simply act? Or are they so selfish that they only think about themselfs? I'll wager this ones Brittish, no, English even. I doubt very much that she's so weather travell beaten that she, and her group, are immune to the entities of personal and impersonal space that they have become amalgamated into one. Even then, for those who have this higher experiance of travell, most will still have an appreciation and respect for their fellow travellers immediate surroundings, sleeping or otherwise. No, in fact it is dispare and disbeliefe, she breaks wind.
This is why I have always wanted the smaller dormitories, 6 beds (3 bunks). And if your lucky to get in early, the lower bed. Much more personal surroundings, people and meetings. Away from the Cattle and sheep market that these places are. Some kind of irony in the fact that New Zealand is sheep capital of the world, I wonder exactly what species that statistic refers to. Hunderds in and out, marched through, check in deposits, passport details, over-ladden travellers with a plethora of plastic bags. They are the worst kind, the plastic
Just gotta get out of this place...
bag brigade, even worse than the snorers. At least snorers are not to blame for their afflicted and burdened disease that makes the rest of the travelling population think of them as a lesser human being than even that of the despised traffic warden. Usually girls, fresh out of school or sometimes university, either way, with the travelling IQ of a gnat and considderation for others of an oyster. They either stumble in late from arrival, or the pub, or even more annoying, up early for a connection to another sheep pen. And if fate is being particularly mean or schardenfreudian, all three, and an hour after the other has stopped rustling through every crinckling, rustling, despised, unbearably noisy plastic carrier bag, only to find she had what ever she was looking for in her quite backpack all this time.
I role over and bury my poor assaulted face into my pillow. Not got the will to stand up and return the favour in any kind of inspirationally intellegent manor, nor the brain power, still in shock. They all arrived at 3am from the pub too, lights on, shouts and screams, falling everywhere, 6 of them. There's no point
The tallest building in dorkland...wowee...
in letting them know there are another 3 folk in here trying to sleep. The needs of the drunken many out weigh that of the sober few. Besides, they are obviously oblivious. Dont think i have had more than a straight hours sleep for nights, so disjointed, falling asleep at the keyboard, the cafe, even the shower. OK, too many beds in here and if I am going to have to suffer the stay of the hostel until the paradoxically named "Freedom" is repaired, then i'm going back to a small dorm.
Without even so much as an acknowledgement form the Assailant, I rise and am half tempted to display my naked self to her as she bends down into another plastic bag. The thought makes me chuckle for a brief second but there's no doubt in my mind that she would either make an aweful scene that I just cant be bothered with, or would again (and more propably) be oblivious, to my revenge. I wonder if i'm infact invisable. Backed into a corner and trying to throw on a pair of jeans and t-shirt, she doesnt even move to allow me to change and I suddenly become
aware of why some people are fixated with strangulation. Indiana Jones would have been impressed at how I managed to negotiate myself out of that corner of the dark room. In one flowing movement, swinging back into my lower bunk and round the outside without even touching the sheets, avoiding what I can now only describe as the Rancor, before the beast gets the chance to reproduce for a second time the remenents of some fowl kebab or burger that was innocently destroyed on the way back from the pub. Then, confronted my a maze of hurdles, objects, half eaten food and absolutly no floor space, I jump and swing, desparatly hoping for no sharp or gooey things on my bare feet, made it to the door, a moment of joy as I feel escape is certain, only to find that the door handle itself was been booby trapped, ketchup.
The bright surgicalness of the corridor and lights provide little comfort and an array of new obsticles. Sticky floors, sleeping travellers waiting for their rooms to be cleened, an arguing couple and binbags full of laundry. Lift or stairs, lift or stairs...? Lift opens, lift it is. God what
Where to next?!
The endless possibilities of journies
a mistake. Doors close and it starts to move down before those little electrical signals inform my brain that the overwhelming stench that is burning my nose from the inside out is a, and potentially the other half of the Rancors, kebab. Semi-digested and strewn down one side of the walls, it sucks the very life force from right out of me. One hand over my mouth and nose, the other on my very tensed and not quite wretching stomach, I exit the lift, eyes watering and find a cleaner taping a sign to the lift outer walls "closed due to cleaning"
Reluctantly I check in for a further 3 days, but make sure i'm now in a small dorm. Still the earworm, but with a slightly more manic version ringing through the brain. How I wish they would hurry up with fixing the camper. Come on Freedom. Stairs back up to my room and feverishly throw what little things I have here into my bag and move back to room 301, quiet, clean and peaceful. I decide to go down and type the traumatic mornings experiance up to a rather dormant blog. Ahh, the blog. How quite its been of late, of 2008 in fact. The truth is I haven't been doing what I would reffer to as travell since December. 3 months of dormasticity, this isn't why I came to NZ, this isn't travell. Unfortunate situations with the Campervan and working for the film has kept me here too long. Its time to get away again, just have to be patient, and tolerant.
This isn't travelling. Looking up from the PC I see its wet outside. The young woman beside me complains to her friend that its rainging too hard to do anything and shes bored. Lady, where I come from, we call this mist. I refrain from saying just this. Bored indeed. This isn't travelling. They are not travellers either, in fact, very few I fear really understand the meaning of what it is to travell. I'd throw and educated guess that 90%!o(MISSING)f the people here, "travelling" New zealand, are on a 6 month route that includes: Thailand, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and, if they're feeling adventurous, the Cook Islands. Perhaps 5%!w(MISSING)ill vary their route and time allowed on such a trip. There may be as much the remains that make their own path and dont follow the trail. Even then, perhaps at best, there's the 1%!t(MISSING)hat will ever truely know what travell is. There was a time when a traveller was a pioneer, setting out to explore the world for wonders new, discovering new cultures, animals and insects, making history. Now, as with so much of life, everything is pre-packaged with add on extras, sold as a glossy image from a magazine by a sales person behind a desk that has never even been out of their own country. This isn't travelling. Being spoon fed on an exciting route that allows you to sit on a bus from A to B, herded into a place of activities and then onto your pen for the night, just to repeat the process again the next day, Groundhog. I have met so many of you, and you all seem so happy, bleating together. A spoon-fed holiday at best. This isn't travelling.
I am so keen to get on the road again, or perhaps now, for the first time. With nothing but a companion, tank of gas, map and ideas. Ideas, that is what will take us now on this journey. A desire to go here, or here or even here. The freedom to go where ever and when ever one wishes. The independance that comes with the fact that the only plans that you can ever really make are with the knowledge that everything changes. Being able to make it up as you go along, being able to cope with, handle and move on from what ever obsacles come your way, and not running home when you decide you dont like where you are. Journies aren't meant to be easy, relaxed and trouble free, as is the same of life. Its meant to be a struggle, a fight, an experiance that you will never forget, that stays with you. To travell honestly is to remove yourself from your comfort zone, to challenge yourself in what you do and where you go, in life. The non-travellers all seem to be concerned about their destination, the travellers with the journey. I think its easy to see the parralel of Birth the start, Life is the journey, and ultimatly, Death the destination. And one wonders as to why I seem philosophical about journies so much? I leave this entry now, with a poem I wrote on a train from Newcastle to some where, I forget the destination, while I was at university:
LIFE, THE JOURNEY
An early start, long day ahead,
Reluctantly, rose from cozy bed.
Got my shit together, rolled a smoke,
On sunny platform, had a toke.
A feeling of peace & contentment set in,
Appreciation for life, beating within.
A journey in front, what a wonderful thought,
As the freedom we have cannot be taught.
Experiencing the world, going places,
Meeting people, all sorts of races.
Moving around, away from the hive,
For its times like now I feel alive.
Outside the clouds are rippled like Bark,
One forms a massive question mark.
The sun shines bright on this glorious day,
With kids in the field out to play.
I sit here, as the world flies by,
Billions of people under this sky.
Each of them controlling their time,
And each of their lives as complex as mine.
In the open air, stand a million trees,
Tall & proud, but bearing no leaves.
They grow fascinating, not one the same,
Each forming like nerves round the brain.
An industrial plant lies far away,
Giant chimneys, like thimbles, smoking away.
Power lines in the distance, stretch over the sky,
Like musical notes dotted on high.
Villages and towns, like clustered nests,
Graveyard stones & remains of the rest.
Train-spotters all over the place,
& rock formations with a human face.
I’m in no hurry to get where I’m going,
Rushing in like a fool & not knowing,
That there are all these wonderful things to see,
For the experience I desire, is life the journey.
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