When the song comes on I’m sat in my parent’s kitchen in England, drinking green tea at the long wooden table in the middle of the room.
I’ve got my iPod on shuffle while I type away at my laptop and all of a sudden a song comes on that immediately pulls me back to Auckland.
I’m in bed, the covers are blue and white, and the room is cold. I’ve tried heating it up with the small electric heater but the ceiling’s too high, the window too old to retain any warmth.
A month beforehand I’d been sharing this hostel bed with someone else. Now the entire bed is mine.
I stay up late, sometimes scared to turn off the light and let the darkness consume my mind.
I know tomorrow will be the same. I’ll dress for an Auckland winter and sit in the lounge to apply for jobs and write until the friends I’ve made come back from work and we’ll cook and chat and maybe drink.
I am anything but happy but I try to enjoy myself because I don’t have anyone to fall back on. I don’t have that luxury of being a couple who travels together anymore, where sometimes less effort is made with new people because you always have each other.
I say yes to as much as I can, even if it’s the last thing I feel like doing.
I continued trying to say yes to as much as I could for the entire year I was in New Zealand.
Not only did it help secure friendships with people but being busy helped occupy my mind.
I got an apartment with one of my new friends and went on road trips around New Zealand with other new friends.
I filled that year with as much as I could. Determined to not let a break-up ruin a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel and work in New Zealand.
Somehow, I ended up having more fun and meeting more people during one year in New Zealand than I did during two years in Australia. Somehow, being alone gave me a huge confidence boost.
I look back at moments that would normally seem insignificant.
Moments like watching the sun set from my balcony, visiting a geothermal park with a new year’s day hangover or my friends and I taking stupid pictures of each other on a boat at Milford Sound.
Looking back, I realise that I probably wouldn’t have laughed that hard or invested so much of myself in those moments if I hadn’t been on my own.
To me, those moments aren’t insignificant. They helped me rebuild myself, when before I’d been completely broken.
But I was still in the same city. I still couldn’t walk down the street without feeling self-conscious, wondering if he was there.
I’d walk into bars with my friends and quickly scan the room. I’d go to a popular event in the city and worry about seeing something, or someone, that I didn’t want to see.
I still had fun; I laughed a lot, probably drank a bit much, stayed out late. Being single brought with it a sense of freedom that I hadn’t felt since my days at university and that helped me move on as much as I could.
When the essential skills visa I’d applied for was declined and I found out that I’d have to leave New Zealand I was devastated.
I packed up my apartment and said goodbye to my friends, wondering how I could possibly live in England again after being away for three years.
I didn’t realise that when those tyres hit the tarmac at Heathrow I’d be grinning like a maniac, realising that leaving New Zealand was exactly what I needed. Distance was what I needed.
All of a sudden I was detached and starting again.
Almost overnight, that distance propelled me forward.
Since I’ve been home, I’ve been living in that strange place in between finishing one chapter and starting the next.
Now the next chapter’s about the start; I’m moving to London to start a new job in online PR!
Am I going to stop blogging? No way! I still have so much to write about New Zealand and Australia, I’ll be using my weekends to travel to new places and of course, I’ll be sharing my experiences in London.
Last November I was pretty much still a mess.
This November I’m moving to a new city on my own and, despite having what seems like a million things to do before then, I couldn’t be more excited