Tāupo, Aotearoa New Zealand
June 5, 2021


Morning. Coffee. And the first things I notice are the birds. Small wax-eyes, different, more pedestrian than what I'm used to seeing out my windows.

I'm back in Tāupo, a few short hours from being back home. Home. A place, a building, a city that doesn't feel like it did when this year started.

Old, wrinkled clothes, cut to a body that doesn't exist anymore. A favorite tune that hasn't aged well. I'm heading back to something doesn't feel me anymore, and that hasn't changed a bit. It's me, doing the moving.

For better or worse, part of my heart has stayed behind on the South Island. It's the wide-open landscapes, the mountains, real mountains, real trees, real rivers. It's the freedom of getting up in the morning, and heading that way, just to see what's over there. The micro-costs and discomfort and firm prodding of living in a tiny space on wheels. It's waking up every morning well outside the superhighway of how life's "supposed" to be lived, facing the question, what am I doing with this day of mine?

When I first headed off into the van, it was a lot like heading off into living internationally. I was nervous and unsure and got myself out the door by saying, hey, if this sucks or is a bad fit for me, I can always just turn back.

Like living internationally, I very quickly realized that this kind of life is the opposite of sucks for me. It's enlivening, challenging, deeply and fully stimulating. And I think about the house I'm driving back to. One I love, one whose very floors I laid by hand. About the birdsong that surrounds it each dawn, each dusk.

And I can't help but feel claustrophobic. It has no wheels. No petrol tank. No pedal, right foot, leave here, go there.

Dark, rainy winter days, too are coming, and they tend not to be good for me. Covid is still a part of all our lives. I know that the only way out is through, enduring another winter. Hoping we all get poked in the arm and that one day, some day, I'll be back on a plane to Paris or somewhere brand-new.

But today, my driving has slowed. I'm taking scenic routes and back roads. Stopping for photos and one more drone shot over that river.

Today, I'm not ready to go back.

Have an honest week,


p.s. The best thing I saw all week was this excellent, simple video explaining confirmation bias. It's everything I love about the brain and science, wrapped up in one.

Enjoy this letter? Share it!