Lately, when I close my eyes, I see a beautiful montage of my memories from Wellington.
It’ll forever be a special place to me: it protected, challenged, nurtured, and helped me grow in just six months. I never thought I would even LEAVE until my visa expired. But alas, life is full of changes and decisions that we make for our best.
And now, here I am – fresh off a plane, in Melbourne.
I’m still a bit emotionally drained from the past few weeks – I left my home in Wellington and attempted to relocate to Wanaka, a town that is literally 1/4th its size and glamour. Wanaka is a beautiful laketown, but I just couldn’t picture myself living there as I did so easily in Wellington.
I didn’t see how much I loved Wellington until I left, though. I could barely contain my emotions on the ferry – and my first stop in South Island (Picton) was a literal blur through my puffy eyes. Either I’m one hell of an emotional traveler or I just get too attached to a beautiful city. Or perhaps cities are my boyfriends, as Kirsten Powley breaks down.
In any case, it shows how thankful and blessed I am to have spent six great months in the cultural capital of NZ. I am adamant that Wellington is the most liveable city in New Zealand. For foodies, I’m also certain that the best food in New Zealand is circled in Wellington – great cafes, coffee, and the cutest little bars. The arts/music vibe electrifies the city in a miniscule Melbourne & San Francisco-esque way. Truly a magical gem on the southern tip of the North Island.
My last full Sunday in Wellington (March 30th… has it been that long?!) was spent on a friend’s motorbike, watching the most beautiful coastal views in the world zip by. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect way to have spent it. It was glorious, it was blissful, it left me loving the city even more. It was in that moment I realized just how fond I had grown of the 400,000+ populated city. Now, I had done the walk around the bays several times before, but there was something magical about riding on a motorbike. It was the TRON version of Wellington. Thanks, Iggy – you made my last Sunday a badass one.
In all, I experienced some of my hardest and greatest times in Wellington – and they all made me stronger and more independent. It was in Wellington that I experienced the sheer joy of solitude and traveling on my own – never attached to anyone else’s agenda. It was in Wellington that I felt a sense of belonging – it was a liveable, loveable place with an artsy, music vibe that nowhere else in NZ compared to (seriously). After gallivanting around both islands, there is absolutely nowhere else I love more in New Zealand than Wellington.
From my flatmates exposing me to a new world of geekdom (draw-a-thons, bad movie nights, horror films, video games, etc.) to the weekend excursions I did solo that practically ran holes in my socks, I was always blessed with something to keep me busy in Wellington. I was constantly mesmerized by all the talented, beautifully-spirited people I met in Wellington, whether expats or not. That’s not to say I haven’t met great people outside of Wellington, but I can honestly say that I think some of the friendliest folk live in the capital city.
And if I was too tired to walk or bus anywhere, the ocean was right outside our door. Goddamn. I was spoiled.
But I knew there was more adventure waiting for me beyond the luxuries of Wellington. Leaving wasn’t as easy as I expected, but with time and patience comes great reward. Here’s to new explorations and adjustment periods – a new country, a new city, a new visa. Letting go might be tough, but looking ahead is always best for the mind, body, and soul.
P.S. I owe everything to the lovely people below for ensuring I had a home to stay in Wellington for my stay – you’re all my guardian angels. THANK YOU! Mo & Kelly, you were the most incredible flatties ever – thanks for putting up with me since October (and for stashing half my luggage until I eventually return). <3