The old saying ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ could easily apply to travelling outside of NZ. You step outside these borders and into the outside world and you quickly see that not everyone enjoys the peace and quiet we quite often take for granted here in Canterbury. The fresh air, drinking from the tap, the uncrowded streets, the friendly people, the accessible outdoors and the temperate climate – throw yourself into the middle of LA, New York or Mexico City and you quickly realise these are things that would be highly prized in other parts of the world.
Sure these cities have their drawcards (we wouldn’t have visited them if they didn’t right?!) – the wow factor, the people-watching, the rich heritage, the amazing architecture and their sheer size all add to a certain impressiveness you can’t take away from them. But when you start to take a closer look, wander the streets and think about what it would be like to actually live there, possibly squeezed into a one room apartment above a noisy city street with oppressive heat and angry neighbours then I’m sure the novelty would wear off pretty quick.
We’d only been away three weeks but the amazing feeling of walking into our house, looking out and seeing the trees, the river – it was almost like we’d been away for months. I love travelling but I love to come home too, even if it’s just to get that wonderful ‘so good to be home’ feeling. Fred Dagg wasn’t too far wrong when he said ‘we don’t know how lucky we are’.
I think Kiwis actually make quite good tourists because they can appreciate what the rest of the world has to offer, take the good all the while feeling content they have a real nice nest to come home to when all is said and done, and the credit card’s maxed out. There’s no arrogance, no ‘why can’t things be like they are back home’ … it’s just ‘oh wow this is cool’ and thanks for the memories. Sure we have further to travel but once you’re on a plane it doesn’t make that much difference if it’s five hours or 12 hours it’s over quick enough (except I’m a little grumpy that you can’t take water bottles on the plane – I get so dehydrated and I hate having to bother flight attendants all the time, I’ll bring an empty water bottle next time and get them to fill it).
Ideally three weeks isn’t quite long enough in my opinion but still long enough to appreciate this home we call Christchurch, I can only hope not too many people uncover this little gem of the south.