The small seaside town of Whitianga, Coromandel, New Zealand, is nestled in on the coast next to a long, white sandy bay and beautiful aquamarine water.
When I arrived, there was blowing a gale on the sea front but, luckily the campsite was sheltered. I picked my little tent in between the hedges. Each plot was the same size, clearly for cars and a family tent, my little one man home looked cute and a little scared, nestled in the corner.
As I cooked in the kitchen that evening, I was given some avocados by a Belgium couple. Hmm, avocados. I also got talking to a British guy and his American Girlfriend. They were planning to hike to the next town the next day and kindly invited me along.
That simple yet kind gesture made me feel so happy. I sometimes got the feeling of crushing lowliness so bad I want to cry. I knew I would meet new amazing people on this journey but when you are on your own in a tent, I felt so insignificant. I had very little contact home no email or a phone. I was without friends or husband or family.
But that night I went to bed happy at the prospect of company and hiking the next day, even a cold shower could not dampen my spirits!
New Zealand doesn’t have public foot paths like in the UK, yet, it has the great tramps. I still think of giant homeless people when someone says that. So if you want to get to the next town it’s on the road not thought the fields. Luckily New Zealand roads are pretty empty of anything but squished possums and the occasional farm animal. This meant our walk was actually very pleasant.
Hot though, very hot, the sun being so strong it. Then I started to develop a blister. It was fine, it was fine, I kept telling myself; I wasn’t going to show any weakness next to these two outdoorsy, capable people, so I just carried on chatting and trying to ignore the burning sensations on the soles of my feet. Until about a 1km out of town, BANG, it burst and suddenly the pain engulfed my foot and I promptly sat down. I was very embarrassed.
“It’s fine, just a little blister, I won’t be a minute, i’ll patch it up and be ready to go in just a sec!” And inside my head: “owwwwoowoowwowowwwoowo!”
As I sat there wincing, sock and shoe off, a car drew up beside us with a trailer.
“You look in need of a ride, jump in the trailer”
Thank you thank you thank you!
I spent the afternoon hobbling around the new campsite and beach. Not only had I got no skin on my feet, I had sunburn with awful sock lines on my legs and an impressive collecting of sandfly bites. Go to New Zealand, they said, it’s safe they said. Yeah…
That evening I got worried. Things started to build up in my brain, and I started to panic slightly. No money, no job, no transport and no one to travel with. I was not home sick; I just missed chatting each night, taking about the day etc… So Dear diary, here are my troubles. I wrote a list with possible solutions and felt a little better.