One year and three months around the Ring of Fire.
456 days as far away from home as possible. 10,944 hours outside my comfort zone.
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
For a year, my head was upside down and now that I am back, my head is spinning around – literally. I haven’t posted anything since I am back and it has been a week now. A week to get used to my country again. A week to get back into this timezone. A week to try to realize that one of the most amazing part of my life (so far) is over. My head is spinning probably because I took too many planes in such a short time and it created some small troubles in my ears that make my head spin each time I try to look around. But I think it is spinning because of all the memories I brought back with me. All the memories I don’t want to forget. All the incredible things I have seen, I have lived. All the amazing people I met and that I want to meet again.
We spent one year and three months around what they call the Ring of Fire, and I wasn’t enough. I would go back right now if I could.
What is the Ring of Fire?
The Ring Of Fire is an area around the Pacific Ocean where most of the Earthquakes (90% of the world earthquakes) and Volcanic activity (75% of active volcanoes) happen. Japan, Chile, New Zealand, Philippines, California… All of them are in the Ring of Fire and their inhabitants live with the danger that someday, something will happen.
Living there is making you humble in front of Lady Nature. We lived a big earthquake in Wellington, the one that happened in Kaikoura earlier this year. 7.8. When I lived in France, 5 seemed to be a huge earthquake, so imagine what 7.8 felt like. I wasn’t prepared for it. Well, we felt some small ones before but it had nothing to do with that one. Walls shaking for way too long, way too often. Almost every five minutes for a week we had a 5 or 6 earthquake. But what can you do except taking care of each other and making sure everyone is alright?
How does it feel to get back?
It is weird. That is what I have been telling everyone since I am back. It’s different have been away for so long and having away for only six months like I have been before each time I went to Canada. Six months is not enough to see real change, one year and three months is long enough to see it.
First of all, I got used to the driving on the other side! I have to learn again on this side.
Then, people here in France are mean. Well, not all of them but in Paris, it is terrible. I can’t believe it. Maybe I lost the habit of it but I never want to get used to it again. How rude are the sellers in the shops?! You say hi and no one answers. They don’t even smile when they do the sell. When you try to be nice, you only get a blank face looking at you as if you were bothering them. What’s wrong with you people? It is your job to sell things, try to be happy about it or fake it! Many people would want your job and do it better.
Paris is definitely not clean. I forgot how dirty everything was here. I forgot how I never wanted to go in the public toilets, especially after going to Japan. Well, two minutes after getting out of the airplane, I remembered why. I went to the public toilets at the airport. Toilet paper and feminine products where all over the floor, on the three toilets! What the hell! There are trash bins people! Be civilized. Same goes on the street floor. Papers, cigarettes…
Everyone smokes. I never noticed before, but everyone smokes everywhere in Paris. In New Zealand, I have seen such a few number of people smoking – probably only foreigners – and in Japan they have these “boxes” for smokers. But when you walk in Paris, you walk through a cloud of smoke anywhere you go.
Driving is hell. People driving in Paris are definitely not civilized. They can’t understand that if the light is green but there are cars blocked in front of them they shouldn’t go otherwise it would block the traffic…. So they go because they think they deserve it, and they block traffic, and everyone do the same and traffic is hell… Selfish much? I actually heard someone hunk before the light goes green to someone so he would go forward. THE LIGHT IS RED DUM****.
The plus side of all of this is to see family and friends again. It has been really nice to see them again. I haven’t seen everyone yet but I am looking forward to it.
My head is still spinning and I am dizzy but I have to see forward. What do I want to do? What should I do? Do I want to stay? Do I want to leave again? To where? Back to New Zealand? Back to Canada? Elsewhere? I don’t know. I can’t choose, it is too hard to choose and close the door to all the possibilities. When people ask me where I live in France, I can’t even say a city. I live in Caen, I live in Paris. I love driving from one another because I feel free to do whatever. If I could fly every three days to Montréal or Wellington I would. It is just too far. I can’t settle and make up my mind because I love the liberty of travelling. I got the travelling virus. I can’t stop dreaming about the next adventure.
I learned how it was to backpack and live in a van this year and I love the idea. I loved the experience and I want to do it again. I would love to buy an old Combi and change the inside and go travelling somewhere else. I haven’t seen much of Asia yet but I would love to go to Myanmar to see the sunrise, I would love to go to Peru hike the Machu Picchu, I would love to do a yoga retreat in India, to see the Taj Mahal, I would love to walk the Annapurna’s in Tibet.
I already miss walking the mountains with my too heavy backpack. Watching the sun rise from the Mackinnon Pass or the milky way from the Routeburn Track. Running to get the perfect shot of the sunset in Saint Clair’s Beach in Dunedin. Discovering Japan that I never expected to like that much. Talking to strangers everyday. Learning about other’s lives and sharing some moments with total strangers that will become friends.
After a few days of crappy weather we finally had a really nice sunset. It wasn't expected because the day started quite rainy but later on, around 6PM, the sky let some shine through while we were watching the Royal Albatros of #Dunedin. On the way back to the city we decided to go back to #stclairbeach to see the sunset 🌅 It was stunning!
Quit your job and travel for the sake of travelling. It will bring you more than you can imagine. Explore, Live, Love. That’s all we should do. That’s all I want to do. — Welcome Home