Most of you know that I have a thing for New Zealand. That over the past years it has become my home away from home, my second home at the other end of the world. Always escaping winter – or at least part of it – I’ve split my life between Europe (mostly Vienna) and down under.
Right now, I’m at the start of a new season in NZ. Sitting in the garden on this peaceful Sunday morning, soaking up the sun and being aware of the fact that I will be able to wear my flip-flops 24/7 for the next three months, is almost enough reason to come here over and over again.
Almost. There are a few more things to it, of course.
So, for all of you who’ve wondered what it is that makes NZ so appealing to me and what it is that I miss the most when I’m in Europe, here are my top five – the package that turns New Zealand into my personal place to be.
1. Nature & the Sea
Vienna is beautiful, a city truly worth living with all its breathtaking architecture, park areas and its culture, including a long tradition of coffee. However, when it comes to geographical placement: not so great. It’s pretty heavily land-locked, no ocean far and wide. So as someone who loves the sea, every few months I’m starting to miss it enormously. Living right by the sea for a while is something I need – a yearly fix, if you can say so.
And NZ is a perfect remedy. I could sit on the beach and watch and listen to the waves for hours. Walk barefoot for miles just to feel the sand and the water between my toes. For me, it’s re-connecting with nature, helping me ground myself and see clearer what I really want.
NZ has charmed me with its surf ever since my first visit. And being stuck in between land in my European life, this is naturally one of the things I look forward to the most: To be in the water. To have the freedom to be able to take your board and paddle out whenever you want. To not be limited to a short vacation or a trip on the weekend. To have the possibility to go surfing whenever I feel like.
3. Laid-back Lifestyle
Does the sea calm you down, make you happy? Maybe that’s one of the secrets of the laid-back Kiwi lifestyle and mentality. When I think of NZ – in specific Taranaki – the following images pop into my head: green paddocks with the ocean in the background, wooden houses with unlocked doors, flip-flops 24/7, easy-going folks.
Not sure – is that too cheesy or too romanticized? Anyhow. NZ is definitely a place way more relaxed than Western Europe and in my eyes this is one of its big assets in an ever more stressful, fast-paced world.
4. Space & Freedom
Closely connected with the vast stretches of nature and the relaxed lifestyle comes another, more vague notion: the feeling of freedom and space. Whenever I’m in NZ, the uncrowdedness and the open space around allow me to unfold – not only on a physical level like being able to step out the door and go for a long run in nature or finding a quiet spot outdoors where you can sit for hours without anyone passing by. It’s more. The physical space around seems to open up space in my head, giving me more capacity to be creative. Helping me to be more in tune. Teaching me to fully live my freedom.
5. Friends & a Home
Last but not least: My friends. After spending so many seasons in Taranaki, returning is like coming home. You have your crowd, your place to stay, your car checked and running. It’s the most amazing feeling to know that at the other end of the world a bunch of people, cats and dogs are looking forward to having you around.
Happy if this piece inspires you to find your soul place, too.