Matiu/Somes Island almost to myself

My plan for Monday was thrown into doubt at 5am when a gust of wind woke me up. At first I thought it was a passing truck, but several “trucks” later it clicked: this isn’t a convoy, it’s just Wellington being Wellington!

In the lead-up to my staycation, I picked out Matiu/Somes Island as my number one place to see, and I’d go on the first tolerable day, weather-wise. Roaring gusts are not what I consider tolerable, especially when there’s a ferry trip involved! Continue reading “Matiu/Somes Island almost to myself”

Spring!

A breeze so kindly

Softens a winters grip

Please wait with me

We can take in the sun

– Birds of Tokyo, White Leaves

 

Today, 1 September, marks the beginning of spring!*^ And it’s an absolute pearler.

1-flowers
Just don’t look at the forecast!

*In the Southern Hemisphere.

^Some may argue that seasons start at the equinox/solstice. They’re wrong. This is my blog, and I say they start on the 1st.

This turn of the calendar came to my attention when a fellow blogger posted about her plans to write 30,000 words this month. (Good luck, Lauren! 🙂) I’m not going to do that. But I would like to take the opportunity to “spring clean” myself a bit. Continue reading “Spring!”

This is your captain speaking…

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard this Sunshine Airways flight to Wellington!

We’ll be taking off to the north and reaching a cruising altitude of 50 feet before making our descent into Wellington.

Our flight time will be 10 minutes, including the safety video and musical interlude. This is assuming you read at an average speed and you don’t go down a Youtube rabbit hole.

The weather at our destination is 10°C and cloudy, with a forecast of four seasons in one day and a chance of broken umbrellas.

We don’t have the budget for a safety video so go watch one of Air New Zealand’s. Stop your music for a minute and listen!

Please read the safety card on the table in front of you, even if you fly with us often. This information is specific to this aircraft.

1 safety card

In case of unexpected turbulence, immediately check GeoNet and post about it on Reddit.

If an emergency were to happen, please Drop, Cover and Hold.

The emergency exit is at the top-right of your screen if you’re on a Windows PC. It’s the little red x. No, you don’t get to go down the slide.

At this time we ask you to switch your electronic devices to flight m– wait, read the rest of this post first!

Thank you for flying Sunshine Airways, and enjoy your flight!

2 mouthed plane noises
[mouthed plane noises]
Oh right. You can put your music back on now.



Ahh, isn’t that relaxing?

 

☀️☀️☀️

 

Our cabin crew will be offering a choice of a Cookie Time cookie or –

COOKIE!

3 cookie

NOM

4 crumbs

Oh… kay. Would you like a cup of tea, sir? Oh, sorry, too late, we’re starting our descent already! Told you it was a short flight. Here, have some candy.

5 candy
Testing the rest of our fleet for… safety. Yep.

Flight attendants, prepare the cabin for landing. Flight attendants? Oh, wait, we don’t have the budget for those either. Fine, I’ll do it myself.

6 whooosh
WHOOOSH

 

☀️☀️☀️

 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Wellington! Local time and weather are available on MetService. If the forecast is sunny for the next ten days straight, alert Stuff immediately because this is big news. (Seriously.)

Please remain in your seat until you’ve shared this blog with everyone you know. (Please?)

Thank you for flying Sunshine Airways. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

7 Oh man, not again
Oh man, not again!

Introducing National Mental Health Day

Watch winter melt away

Look for longer days

The sun comes out

Come up from underground

Yellowcard, The Hurt Is Gone

 

We all need a mental health day sometimes. But what if the whole country could have one at the same time?

Allow me to propose a new public holiday for New Zealand.

nmhd

Hard Times

I’ve noticed people around me seem a bit down this week. Work colleagues are visibly unhappy, even the usually bubbly ones. My flatmates tell me the situation is the same in their offices. I’ve been way off-colour myself.

This got me thinking: Is there something in the water that’s making the whole town upset? Am I generalising from myself with a heaping dose of confirmation bias? Have I just been unlucky with a small sample size? Or is Wellington just feeling flat right now?

I hit up r/Wellington to take the pulse of the community. The response was overwhelming.

rip my inbox

I got 39 replies in 24 hours. Not quite r/AskReddit levels of “RIP my inbox”, but strong for a modest community like ours.

Many culprits were suggested for the citywide gloom. Many workplaces were complained about. We even considered calling in Wellington Paranormal. But several commenters pointed to another cause – one that runs wider than any workplace.

SAD city

At 41° south, Wellington doesn’t get a whole lot of sun between May and August. This (somehow or other; reports vary) leads to the well-documented phenomenon known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Not everyone experiences it – some of my colleagues are still delightful rays of sunshine! But it’s common enough that it could plausibly bring down a large proportion of the city’s office workers.

Whatever the cause, mid-to-late August is the worst time of year for it – we’ve suffered for a while, tempers are starting to fray, and the end isn’t quite in sight yet. And as it stands, there’s no public holidays for two months either side. What better time to give everyone a day off?

Holiday spirit

How does one celebrate National Mental Health Day? As the commenter above suggested, it’s simple: Just do whatever you’d do if you took a day off work! Relax, socialise, create – whatever (healthy) activity brings you joy and gets you ready to face the world again.

And while you’re doing that, spare a thought for those of us for whom “mental health” means so much more. A National Mental Health Day would be the perfect conversation starter for New Zealand’s mental health crisis.

Awareness events come and go, websites are easily forgotten, but a public holiday would give the issue a permanent place in our consciousness.

Tell me you’re not thinking about Labour Day already. It’s still two months away! We could give mental health the same recognition as the 40-hour work week. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

calendar

New Zealand needs a National Mental Health Day.

To bridge that pesky gap between public holidays.

To blunt the impact of SAD.

To recharge for the final stretch of winter.

And to get people talking about mental health.

Let’s make this happen, New Zealand!

 

And in the meantime, fellow kiwis: Hang on till the hurt (of SAD) is gone.

Change comes for you

Even if you’re hiding out

So wake to this truth

And maybe you’ll believe me now

Forget Fiji. I’m taking a staycation.

Patrick, if you wanna win an award, you have to do something.

Hmm… I wanna defeat the giant monkeyman and save the 9th dimension!

Me too! But that sounds a little hard. Why don’t we start smaller?

I wanna defeat the little monkeyman and save the 8th dimension!

Smaller.

Doctor.

Smaller.

Fireman?

The smallest you can think of!

A job at the Krusty Krab?

Yeah! I do things at work all the time.

Then let’s go!

– SpongeBob SquarePants, Big Pink Loser

 

A conversation like this has played out in my head over the last few months. No, I’m going to work in fast food; I have a better job already, thank you very much. My version is on the topic of travel. It progressed like this:

  • I wanna take a year off and travel the world! (Don’t we all! It’s quite a leap though.)
  • I wanna take a month off and travel Europe! (Kind of daunting.)
  • Fiji? (Can’t be bothered planning.)
  • Gold Coast? (Yeah, nah.)

The smallest I can think of…

*lightbulb moment*

A staycation? Yeah! I do things in Wellington all the time!

You Are a Tourist

The idea came to me during a conversation with my new flatmates about things to do in Wellington. There’s a bunch of things here that I haven’t done in the four years I’ve lived here. Like:

  • Somes Island
  • Days Bay/Eastbourne
  • Wrights Hill
  • City to Sea Walkway
  • Weta Cave
  • Wellington Museum
  • Wellington Zoo
  • Wilton Bush
  • Paekakariki Escarpment Track

And a couple I’ve done before but not since I moved here:

  • Zealandia
  • Te Papa
welly map
So much Wellington, so little time…

As a nine-to-five worker, I don’t have the time or energy to explore everything the city has to offer. What to do? Take a week off work and live like a tourist for a week!

I’m not promising to do all of the above in a week. That wouldn’t be a holiday! Maybe just three or four. But I do want to check them all off in the near future.

I’ll just pretend it’s Fiji, baby

Fiji has been on my mind lately. I haven’t been there before. I’ve been to other tropical islands and enjoyed them. It’s winter and I need more vitamin D’s. And there hasn’t been a hurricane or a coup for a little while. Seems ideal, right?

Well, yes, but… despite all this, I can’t convince myself to book the trip. After months of dithering, I realised that if I really wanted to go I’d have booked something by now. That’s my gut feeling saying no.

Why? Well I’m not good at translating gut feeling into English, but there are some reasons why a Fiji holiday might not be right for me:

  • I’ve never travelled solo before.
  • I’m not comfortable with the idea of being alone in a foreign land.
  • I don’t like flights longer than an hour.
  • I don’t like spending large sums of money.

My hope is that touristing in Wellington will be a stepping stone to something bigger. I thought Fiji was small enough for me. But, like Patrick, I’m starting with something smaller. The smallest I can think of.

Book it in the diary. 27-31 August. Staycation!

view from mt vic
Tourist spot #1: Mount Victoria lookout!

What tourist spots have you yet to explore in your own backyard? Would you consider a staycation over a tropical vacation? Let me know!

Thank You for Today

One of my favourite bands dropped a new album today, and it’s an absolute doozy. It’s by Death Cab for Cutie, it’s called Thank You for Today, and you can make your own album cover! Which of course I had to try out:

deathforcutie

Thank You for Today is a statement of gratitude to everyone who’s helped the band to get to where they are now. And don’t we all have something to be thankful for? So I thought I’d take this opportunity to give some thanks of my own.

The “Ol’ Flat Peeps”

Thank you to the two amazing, kind, spirited women I’ve shared a home with for the past 18 months.

Thank you for the laughs and banter, the snapchats, the random car trips, the house parties, the shared dinners, and all the simple joys of flatting.

Thank you for supporting me when I needed it most, and thank you for talking sense into me when I was about to lose it.

Thank you for inspiring and encouraging me to do better for myself. You leave me far better than you found me. You’ve grown too and I’m really proud of you.

You’ve been the greatest “flat fam” a guy could ask for. Missing you already! 😢

The new “Krusty Krew”

Thanks to my new flatmates for being so open and friendly. You’ve made the best of what could have been a terribly awkward situation. And it’s great to be among fellow SpongeBob fans!

Campfire_song_song

Hope you stick around a while. Looking forward to many adventures ahead!

My online community

r_wellington

Thank you r/Wellington for welcoming me during what was a difficult time personally. You’ve opened the door to so many incredible experiences and social opportunities, and it’s no understatement to say you’ve changed my life for the better. This community is truly special and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.

Thanks to all the lovely people I’ve met through the site, either online or in the real world. You’ve played a big part in shaping who I am today. One year ago I was a loner. My, how things have changed.

You’ve also been a wonderfully supportive early audience for this blog. Thanks for your encouragement, and thanks for putting up with my advertising!

The musicians

Thanks to all the artists on my playlist (and elsewhere on my Spotify) for providing the soundtrack to my story. Your words and sounds have touched me at a very deep level. You’ve brought me joy, helped me find my purpose, and kept me going in my darkest times.

You probably won’t ever read this, but if you do, know that your work is appreciated down here in Wellington, New Zealand! (Also, please leave a comment!)

You!

And, of course, thank you, dear reader for taking the time to read my posts. It still seems surreal that the words I scribble in my notebook end up on computer screens all over the world (well, the English-speaking world). Even more so that thoughtful comments come back to me. Thanks to your feedback I know I’m on the right track, and I’m convinced there’s something more to this.

It is my hope that this blog will become a resource for anyone living with mental illness or going through difficult times. It’s very early days still, but already I’m finding it useful for my own reference, so maybe it can help you too.

 

Thanks to everyone who’s helped me to get to where I am now.

Thank you for today.

And thank you, Death Cab for Cutie, for Thank You for Today. (PS: Please come back to Wellington!)

 

What are you thankful for? Let me know!

And while you’re giving thanks, why not give the album a listen as well?