I woke up this morning feeling giddy. A kind of random combination of calm and excitement, of impatience and relief. Today marked the end of my ‘work week’ in Taupo which means I was free to go anywhere I want to.
In a way, this is the real start of my van life and summer of freedom. I’ve been living in the van for over a week now but up until now everything has been pretty scheduled and planned. Now I’m truly free to go and do whatever I want!
I’ve had a really great week in Taupo. It’s been fun working with the Ironman team and helping them adopt our software for their event and it’s been super inspiring to see all the athletes participating in the Ironman 70.3 race on Saturday. I was impressed how many of them are just normal people (not super athletes) and it was a great reminder that we all can achieve so much if we just set our minds to it!
All in all, it was a really successful week.
But it’s also been a tiring and challenging week. As a true introvert, I find spending a lot of time around people – especially those I don’t know well – very draining. It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy it, it just takes a lot of energy. I need to balance it with ‘me-time’ to keep my energy levels up, but that is hard to do when you’re surrounded by you colleagues, people you’re supposed to be training and supporting and a whole bunch of athletes and supporters.
Sometimes I wish I could be more of an extrovert. Someone who loves to be surrounded by people, who gets energised by it and loves chitchatting with random people. Weeks like this past one would certainly be less exhausting. But then I remember all the great stuff about being an introvert. Being able to give myself all the inspiration and entertainment I need without relying on external stimulation. Never feeling bored on my own. Having this really rich inner world that can keep me engaged and entertained for hours. Not relying on external factors to be happy and, most importantly, not being afraid of being on my own!
Yes, sometimes it would be nice to be more of a people-person. To be that bubbly, super likeable person that walks into the room and just makes friends with everyone – and is having a great time doing it. Someone who draws energy and excitement from the busy, noisy world we’re living in.
But I’m not. I’m an introvert and that means after a week like this I really only crave one thing: Solitude!
And the ocean!
Taupo is really nice and located right on the edge of New Zealand’s biggest lake but, pretty as it might be, it’s not the ocean! There is just something about the open ocean for me. Being near it, in it, or even just seeing it gives me energy and just makes me feel happier. I love hearing the sound of the waves and just the vastness of it.
So even though I’ve had a great week in Taupo, this morning I woke up excited and anxious to hit a road and get the two things I’ve been craving most: Solitude and the Ocean.
I was spoiled for options. From Taupo both the east and the west coast are just a few hours’ drive and I have friends that I could be meeting up with in all directions.
After checking about 7 different wind, weather and surf reports, I decided to head east towards the Bay of Plenty. I took aim for Whakatane and now find myself in Ohope which is just a few km south of Whakatane. It’s a small, quite place with a big surf beach – perfect of a few days of much needed ‘me-time’.
I’ve already been for a surf on my longboard. It was choppy, windy and a bit messy but after a week away from the sea, I was happy with anything. And I'm definitely making some progress :)
I’ll probably stay here for a day or two to re-charge the batteries and spend my days surfing and writing. I’ll then start making my way north. I’m planning to be in Tauranga later in the week or on the weekend to catch up with friends there – I’m not a total loner, I just need alone time in-between people time :)