I’ve spent the last 5 days in New Zealand with my wonderful, amazing, inspiring friends, Libby and Jimi. Libby and I met last year in Flores, Guatemala, playing Spanish Scrabble and eating tamales at the night market. It’s been a great reset that I didn’t know I needed, playing in waterfalls, walking down rivers at night, having a grown-up Easter egg hunt. They’re fellow adventurers, and have taken me to some amazing secret Fern Gully-style places (including one Jimi found while floating for 10 days down a river on an $8 inflatable lilo to raise awareness for mental health).

Jimi and Libby are in the midst of constructing a tiny house, and I was really happy to get a chance to put some energy into that yesterday, especially when we found the welding masks.

Being with people who are doing good in the world while having both feet planted firmly and happily in the earth, is a big blessing. It’s reminded me how important it is to be in nature – something which I haven’t had much of a chance to do since my return to industry hours in November. This time has also put into perspective so much of what’s been stressful over the last 5 months. I haven’t written about it much, but the return to work was a big challenge. Having expected it to be a fairly easy transition with friends and people I trusted, it was instead fraught with difficulty at every step – from visas to flights to housing – full of problems and delays. It’s been especially taxing for me to be at the fringes of enormous workplace turmoil, as I’ve always self-identified as an easy going, happy person, that has never had such interpersonal dramas before. The last 5 months feel like a continuous soap opera, and I’ve never liked daytime TV.

The process of moving countries and changing jobs is a significant one, not to be undertaken lightly, but I never thought it would be like this and cost so much from a wellbeing perspective. Being here, with feet firmly planted in the sand, watching the tide go out, I’m back to myself. All the other stuff has been static and I’ve finally tuned back in to the worthwhile things in life.

Ironically, as I was having this amazing day yesterday I learned that the Australian PM abolished the 457 visa… That’s the visa I was told had been submitted back in February upon my arrival, but which I learned was only put in last week. Oh, and my title in R&D is no longer on the list of approved foreign highly skilled worker titles. So while I’ve been settling into my life in Sydney, feeling at home, getting grounded, building a community and a life, I’ve found that it may all crumble due to the same administrative oversights that have defined my return to a conventional lifestyle. I suppose this time around, with 5 months of wisdom-promoting experience under my belt, I can look at this next phase and try to move through it with more grace and patience and love and acceptance.

That said… living on a mountain in the Dolomites, a surf van in the Algarve, or a tiny house on Cape Breton is looking more and more appealing.