writer, reader, dreamer, doer

The Blog

Home? Or Away?

A lot of people who come to New Zealand for a visit, wonder how anyone could possibly want to leave it. Then they do, go back to their much more exciting countries, and long for another holiday.

As someone who lives in New Zealand, I can tell you there is a huge difference between living here and visiting here. A visit allows you to see the sights (which are undoubtedly beautiful), experience the culture, which to many is exceedingly novel and exotic, and return home. A life here brings to the surface the mundane existence that one faces here. 

In short, it's an island. It's small. There are little to no opportunities unless you fall into a specific category of "creative", and after a few years here (almost twenty-two, for me) you realize that without a hefty income you can't often leave the country for longer than a few weeks. Even a trip to our neighbour, Australia, is a minimum of $400 one way.

This is why, I think, I get so jealous when friends casually talk about taking a roadtrip to a new state or Canada (if they're on that continent) or an entirely new country (if they're lucky enough to live in Europe). Because they can. Because for them, driving from Luxembourg to Germany is literally a 3-hour endeavour, and not a 32+ hour flight and stopover experience like it is for me. Because for them, flying across state lines doesn't cost them several months of their entire taxable income.

I had a friend recently post about how she cannot understand how people in New Zealand would want to leave it when it is so safe, and so beautiful. She herself is from South Africa, and has seen things I can only imagine in my nightmares, so on the one hand I entirely understand her perspective. But on the other, she has experienced SOMETHING. She has lived somewhere (sure, not a safe and comfortable somewhere) and now can look back and because of that retrospective glance appreciate the country she lives in now.

I don't have that.

I don't have experiences that bring forward the beauty of life in New Zealand.

I left Ukraine when I was six years old, I didn't even attend school there, I barely remember where we lived. Although I have extended family back in Kiev, and worry about them every day with what is going on there, I can't personally relate to the plight at all - I've never experienced anything like that.

Without experiences, a person remains only partially filled. Without experiences, good or bad, a person is empty. I understand why my friend would rather I take a road trip of the country instead of flying to a new one where I could get stabbed or beaten, but the reality is that I can get beaten or stabbed right here in this "paradise on earth", too.

Another thing tourists rarely experience are the local gangs and violence that goes on behind the scenes, behind the countryside covered in sheep and Maori performances in Rotorua.

I think the reason why I'm thinking about this again is because I feel stuck. My muse has been slow and sluggish of late, allowing me to plan stories but not write anything new. I feel like I've run out of creative ideas. I feel like I'm failing as a writer because I can't produce a continuous stream of new work for my readers and supporters. I feel empty.

And I know I speak from a place of privilege, I know that I am in huge debt because I chose to travel outside of New Zealand instead of staying put, paying off my student loans and just roadtripping the country instead (for the third time, mind you). I also know that the last time I was away from New Zealand was just a few months ago, when I was lucky enough to participate in the Cabins Retreat in Connecticut.

But my heart is screaming.

My soul is screaming.

My muse is shuddering in a dark corner devoid of ideas because I can't continuously be on the move. Because I can't just drop life and go, and hope for the best. I wish I could. That would be the one brave thing I could imagine myself doing.

Do you ever feel stuck? In your actual physical places, in virtual places, in your mental palaces? How do you kickstart the inspiration again? How do you turn those negatives into positives?

Velvl Ryder