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Published: January 30th 2012
Its true. We’ve almost been here for a year. I really cannot believe it, a year of living out of our van and oh how I’ll miss Van-Demon. We met the father of the women who sold us our van and he was mentioning that Van-Demon was an early explorer of New Zealand and the reason they named the van after him, our van is a true exploring machine.
We’ve spent some time doing all kinds of things in these past months. Wwoofing on sheep farms, tramping, more tramping, visiting with family, sea kayaking and more wwoofing. My sister has been travelling with us for the past two months and she is buying our van from us when we leave.
One of the most interesting wwoof’s we’ve done thus far was last week. We wwoofed at a Hare Krishna commune made up of four families and two student identical twin monks a bit younger than us. Talk about a non-drug induced trip! Ever morning we were asked to join their morning chanting ritual followed by an hour of class. It really blew me away to see fully grown men and women with children in tow chanting and dancing like they were, well, full of spirit. The annoying part of it was how much they came off as self-righteous. Never asking us what our spiritual beliefs were, they gave us the gears during each class about how Christianity was so fake and those that follow it weren’t real spiritualists and how at least they follow a god unlike Buddists… blah, blah, blah. I don’t believe in any organized religion and dogma gets my goat. They spent so much time explaining what they weren’t and very little on what they actually were. Further, they tired so hard to convince me that meat eating was the worst thing I could be doing for the planet, my health and my spirit. I really question how much research they’ve actually done outside of their Gita, essentially their bible, because if they did its impossible to argue that meat eating is bad for the environment if done ethically and morally, for my health, if I’m not consuming meat and only meat but rather in good portions and not processed and for my spirit, well I really have a different definition of spirit than what they do. But really, who cares what other religions are doing. They should focus on what they are, not what they other religions are doing so wrongly. Finally, nothing bothers me more than Dogma. Oh, my, oh my. I would probably have listened much more intently had everything they said hadn’t been so dogmatic. Really the whole reason I do not and will not follow a dogmatic religion.
I did learn quite a bit though and the food, oh damn the food was good. Food is such an important part of the Krishna life that they have two members dedicated full time to cooking for the rest of the members. I learned a bit of the art of Vadic cooking and I rocked over 100 samoas for their weekly market food stall. They have a huge organic market garden too that we spent a lot of time in.
The whole week I was so chatty with everyone, you know me. But I was trying to befriend one of the monks, Chaitanya, who would do all the animal work like milking the cows. I’d ask him all kinds of questions and had very open and honest conversations with him. I learned later in the week that I was not to spend so much time with him as he is in a celibate stage of his devotion and I might be tempting him. I really had to laugh. Good job at putting me off even more. Quite funny. All in all, I’m really happy we went. Even Patrick enjoyed it. Its really good for a person to be totally taken out of what they know and plunked right in the middle of something that really questions their own beliefs.
I would be lying if I said I’m not nervous as hell about heading home. I’m nervous for all the reasons I was nervous about coming over here. The newness of it all. Starting all over. Finding a job. A place to live and most importantly, the fear of being sucked back into the rigors of mainstream life. A 9-5 job, working for the man, bills, not having enough time for what I really feel passionately about. All these are everything I want to avoid. We both feel strongly about living life for ourselves and a main driving factor for us coming to New Zealand. I just have to know that we have it in us to make the decisions we want and that the life we want is the life we will create. I guess I’d feel so much better if I had a bit of direction. Right now we are literally throwing a dart on the Ontario map. I really miss my friends in Calgary so much and the thought of leaving them after our return to Canada and starting all over just overwhelms the hell out of me. I just haven’t been myself lately. I’m so lucky to have the husband I do that understands me so much and knows exactly what needs to be said at the perfect moment.
Anyway, the next week is filled with a really exciting festival called Luminate. Its full of amazing workshops, music and its 8 days long. We received a job opportunity during the festival to run a potato stand and make half the profits. This extra income will really help us with the last phase of our trip. We have sold our van to my sister and secured two bikes as we are going to tour a bit of the north island for 3 weeks on bike! It’s going to be amazing. My friend Lauren said that to her it sounds like ultimate freedom, and really it is. This whole year has been just that. Freedom like I’ve never experienced and I have loved it.
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