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For the past week we have been traveling down the North Island with a backpackers bus called the Magic Bus.  From Auckland to Wellington we had two different drivers, Young JoYoung (“Two youngs one jo–put the jo in the middle” he said as his introduction) and Glenn.  Both shared loads of information with us, but there are a few things that stand out when I think of my magic travels…

Thanks to Glenn I now know that:

1. Any moment can be concluded with the phrase “sweet as.”

2. Almost every small town in New Zealand is world famous for something (wellies, bulls, huntingdogs, sheep shearing, carrots…)

From YoungJoYoung:

3.  According to YJY, we drink “green stuff” in Vermont, and “Drinking that green sutff is like going to wineries; you don’t care what the wine tastes like, you just drink it and get drunk!”

4. “Actually” is the third most spoken word in New Zealand.

But the simplest and most important thing YJY said was in response to a traveler asking if he could change his mind:

5. “Can you change your mind?  Well it’s your mind, of course you can change it!”

It seems so obvious, but as I think of it, so often I get stuck in my decisions and worry about changing plans (or not having any plans).  Before this trip I planned at least 80% of a journey before I embarked on it, but as my New Zealand departure date came closer and closer these two and a half months remained blank.  As my two-year long relationship evaporated, so did all my energy for the future.  All I could do was take each day, each hour, as it came.  Thanks to Erin, we did have a place to stay on the first night in Auckland, but the rest of the trip has been planned in two or three day increments.  Throughout the past month, I’ve changed not only my mind but also my approach to travel and to the future.  I am more relaxed and more aware of the subtleties of my actions, of others, and of the movement of the day. 

In New Zealand, jade holds much significance and you can find jade pendants everywhere.  One of the common pendant symbols is a spiral, which signifies change, growth, and new beginnings.  So I am taking this as my own symbol,  finding wholeness in the circularity and freedom in the movement of the spiral.