Saturday, 10 June 2017

Detached From Reality

So it's been a while since I have even wanted to write yet alone actually write something down. There is going to be a lot of emotion in this one so bare with me ok. I am going to pick up from my time in New Zealand so far as being here has been both the best and the worst time of my life.

For the family and friends that follow my writing and the strangers too, some will know, some won't that myself and Lauren decided to go our separate ways at the end of 2016. We had some amazing times and some real rough ones, and for reasons that don't need airing on a social media platform, I decided it was best we went our separate ways.

As you can imagine it was not an easy decision we travelled the world together, but no matter how much happiness you have with someone if there are deep cracks in the foundations of the relationship then you're only papering over them. I wish Lauren all the best and hope that she finds what she is looking for I am sure she will.

Just arriving into New Zealand from Fiji was an absolute nightmare my flight was delayed, no big deal right? But when the delay meant I entered New Zealand 25 minutes after my visa start date it was a huge deal. I was told in Fiji my visa would be null and void and had to purchase a flight out of New Zealand before I got on the plane as my visa was only going to be a 3-month tourist, not a 12-month holiday working. I am not going to bore people with the details, but after a long process, The Immigration Board accepted it was not my fault and granted my HWV. Stress over well for that part anyway.

After spending a couple of days in Auckland, I bought a car and headed down to Hawkes Bay (Hastings) as I had been told of work there on the vineyards. I was still with Lauren at this point, but the cracks were already beginning to show deeper and wider than ever and with the stress of the visa situation and having to get back into the routine of a working life again I struggled. I struggled more than I let on to people and as I always do I put on a brave face and I deal with the shit life throws at me with humour and comedy, I'd describe myself at that point in my life as a sad clown, smile on the outside, sad on the inside.

For those that know me, they will know I am a passionate man, I wear my heart on my sleeve I say what's on my mind, and I don't play games. I am loyal to a fault, I'll talk to anyone and find making friends real easy, but I can honestly say I've never in my life felt so alone as I have done in New Zealand although I have made friends here most have been other backpackers who have now moved on or gone home. It's hard to explain really but when you've dreamed of something your whole life, and you finally get it, but when you get it you're not happy it just all seemed like a complete waste of time. I came here to start a new life, and it started off on a wrong note and took a long time to get better.

After a few eventful months which included Christmas and a breakup, I decided to move on. I made my way to the South Island for a more permanent job, I mean, after all, that's what I needed to keep this dream alive of living a part of my life in this beautiful country. I ended up in Nelson and after a couple of weeks managed to land myself the Assistant Managers job at Noel Leeming. It was just what I needed a constant challenging distraction for the hurt, the upset and the pain I was feeling inside. I was in a really dark place and could not get out of it.

It all came to a head, and I decided I had done my time it wasn't working it was time to go home. I have never quit on anything in my life, but I had no fight left in me, I could not find happiness, I could not see a future here in New Zealand. I missed my family more than I thought, now that I was back to a working life the distance from home felt bigger than ever. I struggled to cope with being alone in a new country with nobody to turn to. I joined the gym but just could not motivate myself to go, I had no desire to do anything but drink not that I need an excuse to drink but...... (trying to inject a little comedy into this post as best I can)

I honestly thought nothing and nobody could get me out of this mood of complete unhappiness, I spoke with my little sister, and she told I'd be stupid to give up my dream and to man up and get on with it. Man, I tried but I just couldn't. Then out of nowhere, I met a girl, and although it didn't erase all the pain I was going through being with her made me happy for the first time in I can't remember. It was the first time that I'd not looked into the past to see where I'd gone wrong, it was the first time in a long time that I looked into the future. Now meeting this girl also meant I met her family and my god what a family they are. They welcomed me like my own family would, they are just like my family back home it's actually scary how comfortable I felt being around them. The only downside was the girl I met was leaving to work in the states for 4 months only 2 weeks after we met, but I was not going to let that stand in the way, and it didn't we were both on the same page real quick.

She left on the 15th May, and it was hard but that's life, 4 months is not a long time in the grand scheme of things. Then 22nd May 2017 happened, and it knocked me for 6 for anyone that doesn't know there was a terror attack in my hometown of Manchester. I had friends who were at the concert, and sadly I have friends of friends who passed away, I'll try and explain for people what it's like being from Manchester.

"When you are born and bred in Manchester, you understand the temptation to pay tribute to your home city as frequently as possible. It’s in the blood. Manchester is the one thing we’ve all got, shared, together, like a third arm, a sixth sense or a fourth emergency service. Above class, race, sexuality, gender, we are first and most prized: Mancunian.  There is an indigenous city-wide pathway to togetherness that Manchester understands as if by nature."

I can not put into words how hearing the news affected me but I know a little piece of my died with the 22 brothers and sisters that were cowardly taken in the name of Terrorism. I am once again struggling to come to terms with the fact I am away from home, I'm struggling to accept I can not be there to tell my family it will be ok. Manchester is known around the world as a worker city. It's represented with worker bees, and out of a sign of respect and a sign of togetherness, thousands of people have had worker bee tattoos. I am one of those people I could not pass up the chance to give something back to the people, the city that made me the man I am today.

Now for a few weeks before May 22nd I was honestly at the happiest point in my life it was like I was walking on air. I felt the happiness that I can honestly say I have never felt before. I finally had everything in line. And on a personal note, I am happier than I have been in a long time. It's hard knowing someone I cared about and didn't really get a chance to get to know is away for a while, but I know we will pick up where we left off when she gets back. I just hope we don't put too much pressure on it with us being apart, but I think we will be ok. Her family have been awesome while she has been away and I feel now I have people to turn to when the shit hits the fan.

For anyone that reads this and worries, i.e., Mum, honestly I am fine, I have been through a lot of shit in my life, and I am still going strong.

But I will say this to anyone that isn't in a good place, trust me you always have someone to talk to, there is always someone to turn to. Don't ever think you are alone and believe me it will get better.

I will catch up with this blog shortly I am sorry I have not been active since October, but as you can see that's when I got to New Zealand, and if you're reading this you will know life has not been all that great for me :)

Take Care

Richard :)


  1. Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your travels, and indeed a side of full time travel that many would not be aware of - the times when we are unhappy or scared; the times of lost and tragedy. Since we began our life as full time travellers living on our boat and sailing far and wide I have experienced a couple of terrible losses. I lost a terminally ill nephew when he lost his battle before his 2nd birthday, and then I lost a cousin in very tragic circumstances. It is so very hard to be away from family and friends at times like these. You need comfort, but more difficult to accept is being unable to comfort those dear to you in need. Enjoy New Zealand it's my home country.

  2. As a fellow Englishman (or Englishwoman I should say), I follow your Facebook statuses and have been aware of events in your life, however, as you rightly said, you aren't the type of person to share your personal feelings on Social Media, and so I had no idea of the personal struggle you have had. I admire and respect you for not using your social media presence as a platform to vent, however I feel your pain for feeling so alone (I have felt the same in my travels throughout my life) and I am so happy for you that you have found that middle ground! It's true, it doesn't matter if your dreams have become a reality, the shite situations you found yourself in in the run-up to your dream are bound to play a part in bringing you down (again, I have been in these situations myself in my travels!). Keep on posting your amazing photos and keep on smiling, I just hope future smiles won't be associated with clowns x #feetdotravel

  3. Thank you for sharing your personal struggles during your travels. It is not easy to travel away from family as I also know but am happy you have found peace with the fact that you have someone to talk to. Also you now have a new girlfriend who will join you back in New Zealand soon. All the best to you and keep thinking positive. #feetdotravel

  4. Nice to meet you :) I share your feelings on the terror in Manchester, it seems that our world is continually going to shit these days. I hope you find all of the love, happiness, and inspiration in your travels to keep moving forward and share your passion with the world. Don't forget that the struggle is part of the story ;) #feetdotravel

  5. Thanks for sharing - a powerful post. I think people sometimes assume that because we travel we are immune to sadness and difficult times - I moved to Canada in 1990 after a break-up and found it hard as no-one around me knew what was going on in my head - I ended up leaving after 9 months to be with friends who understood. As you say having someone to talk to is so important. Good luck with your new relationship and your life in New Zealand. #feetdotravel

  6. Richard, I have really enjoyed your adventures, truly amazing and what you have done and achieved is simply awesome! Things happen for a reason, we are thrown curved balls and obstacles and that will never change in life but you have certainly come out on the other side smiling. Enjoy your adventure - Dan

  7. When I swapped phones, I lost this blog. Found it again.

    I often wondered why I’d not seen Lauren on your Insta or Snapchat. But you look as though you’re really enjoying yourself out there. Loved seeing the clown make up this evening! 😂

  8. Wonderful experience and interesting information found here. Liked your valuable sharing. Thank you so much for that….!
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