Hey everyone. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on here but today I needed to write, so here we are.
I’m not entirely sure what made me come on here again, or stay away from it for so long. I have been sitting in my room this afternoon feeling a bit meh, and I just started watching ‘The Bear’ (a new chef series), which lead me to looking at this blog. I felt all kinds of emotions looking at my previous posts, I think because I know that food and travel is what I love the most and I so enjoyed sharing both with others in the past. Writing is an outlet for me and something I really enjoy, but it’s not something I have prioritised in such a long time, however I think I need to. The time has come 🙂
Since moving back to New Zealand I have been on ‘a bit of a journey’ I guess you would say. I moved back to what felt like ‘reality’, after living away from my home country for over a decade. It’s not to say that I felt like I stopped having fun, or ‘living’, but more that I realised I needed to sort some parts of my life out if I wanted to have a future that didn’t involve living paycheck to paycheck, lacking any type of financial security. We had spent our 20’s living our best lives, travelling every couple of months and eating out wherever we wanted, but all of our savings went towards our next trip, which left us with nothing to fall back on if we needed.
Now I know that for me personally, life is not all about money, but it is about being able to spend your time doing the things you love, with the people you love. Simple as that. Money is a vehicle that gives you that time and freedom and I understand that. And sometimes we have to do things we don’t love to realise what the things are we really love, and that’s okay.
After a couple of years being back in NZ, I started on a pretty intense personal development journey where I finally sorted out my finances, and started working on the things I needed to within myself. I consumed myself in books, seminars and podcasts, and I admit got slightly obsessive over the idea of setting up a future for myself. There were lots of positives that came out of that, including I became more educated in areas I had no idea about previously, I made a lot of new friends (which is something I struggled with when moving back home), and I also gained a whole lot confidence in myself through a growing self image. I also developed good habits in my health and fitness, and it lead me to give up drinking, which is something I should’ve done a long time ago but I didn’t think it would ever be possible.
In the middle of all of that, the pandemic started, and it meant my hours were reduced at work to 80% and then 60% of what they were previously. That was also reflective in my salary, and it also meant I missed out on the bonuses as well (which could be another $20-$30k annually). I ended up having more time, but less money and I didn’t enjoy that.
I eventually got back into full time work and while it wasn’t a job I loved, it was great to meet other people and I really enjoyed the team. I was back to a stable salary and had a good amount of my own time, for awhile at least. My focus for most of that time was still personal development and during this time I did the 75 Hard Challenge (mainly to get back in shape after replacing alcohol with cake haha!) which was a 75 day challenge that I had to do 2 x 45 min workouts a day, drink a gallon of water, read 10 pages of a personal development book, and eat clean or follow a meal plan. Something still felt missing though and I couldn’t put my finger on it. We had another lockdown in that time and that one was tough. It kept being extended and we were encouraged to work from home for awhile after, which made me more and more withdrawn. I hardly left the house.
In January this year, I was determined to do as much walking as I could, which is one of my favourite things about moving home – all the beautiful walks and tracks we have around in such easy access! I had been walking every day and then one day I broke my ankle, which meant no walking for me for awhile and it got me pretty down. I realised from that how much exercise and nature was good for my soul and general mentality…
In March when the borders started to open in New Zealand, I went back into my travel role and everything changed pretty quickly. My workload ramped up and I was doing 6-7 days a week for a good while, leaving not much time for anything else. I was working from home, so I didn’t see friends for months, as I would usually catch up with friends on lunch breaks or after work in the city, and I hardly ate out or tried new places. Personal development took a back seat, as did everything else.
This lasted until August when I had a holiday planned to Queensland and I decided that was enough. Well my body and mind did I think before me. I had physical burnout symptoms, I struggled to make plans and generally felt low. My family were in Wellington visiting, and I didn’t feel like I could be completely present as I was constantly thinking about work. I knew that wasn’t what I wanted.
Going to Australia helped spark my love for travel again; something I had lost since we weren’t able to do it for the last few years. It also reignited my love for cooking and all things food; something I had also lost due to being so flat out, as deciding what to cook or eat became a massive chore.
I have created some pretty firm boundaries on my return from that trip, including not working weekends or checking emails/working long days or into the night. I’ve started to get back into cooking big dishes on the weekends, and have even been out for a fancy meal 🙂 It’s been an adjustment and I’m not going to say the weekends haven’t been a struggle. I also know it’ll be a slow journey to get back to where I want to be.
I can feel it deep down this is what makes me happy, I can feel this pull to all things food once again. I don’t know what this means for my future, but for now I’m going to go back to doing what I love by making and sharing things on here related to food and other things I enjoy. I plan to keep up those boundaries and work on a better balance, as I do love lots about my job and it allows me to travel too.
I’m not quite sure what I intended with this post, it has ended up a little like a journal entry but it has felt quite healing. I’d like to now put together a bit of a plan of what I can manage on this, and take it from there. I’ve often hit analysis paralysis on this blog, and not done anything. But I think writing is something I want to do, and should be doing, and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
I’d like to share all things food, fitness, travel, sobriety and finances, as they seem to be my main passions, so hope you enjoy following along. Let’s see how this goes.
Thanks for reading if you got this far and let me know if there is anything you’d particularly enjoy reading from me as well.