NZ10+ : Day 32: TAUPO to AUCKLAND

A near-miss in order to catch the bus, but the day is saved by one of the gang. A day mostly spent travelling, before realising late in the day, that this would be final day of the diary entry...

Thursday 17/04/08

Chloe was the first thing that I saw this morning. Which was odd, as she wasn’t staying in my room. The first words I that heard this morning were “Wake up Colin, the bus is here.”

Both of my f***ing alarms failed to rouse me from my monumental sleep. I either slept through them both, or had accidentally rolled over them and had turned them off. I was joking the day before that a sleep-in hadn’t happened to me on the trip yet, and that I could not let it happen to me that night, because if I missed this bus then I wouldn’t be in Auckland in time for my flight home. So, I owe Chloe an awful lot. If I see them later for a drink, the 1st round is on me!

I think I was still a bit tipsy this morning. Luckily, I grabbed some “shuteye” before we hit Rotorua for a brief stop. When we got there, it was bucketing down with rain. I was starving though, and had to venture off of the coach to get a sausage roll, which turned out be fine! Maybe the North Island can handle them properly.

I had been talking to Shayne about Tesla, the Cold War and Metal Gear, and it felt good to have a “clever” (trying not to be pretentious there, probably failing) conversation after so long not talking about science or technology at all. Wish he hadn’t have gotten off the bus in Rotorua, as I reckon we could have chewed each other’s ears off for the rest of the day.

From Rotorua to Auckland (via Matamata and a McDonalds) we watched the Goonies, but I think I slept through the middle part. I then jumped off at YHA International and waved goodbye to Chloe, Amy and Stephanie. I feel quite sad to leave them behind, I got on very well with them all. Probably because, without prompting, they told me I would make a good Doctor Who.

I hadn’t written about people’s character at all on this trip, I seem to avoid it, I don’t think you could (or should) sum someone up in a few lines. In the years ahead, maybe memories won’t be enough, and I’ll have wished I had jotted down reminders of people’s individual quirks and personalities. I’ll particularly miss Stephanie - she had a quiet confidence, and a reserved, incredibly quick, incredibly dry, wit. As mentioned earlier in the trip, I think this is a state that I wanted to get to for myself on this trip. I used to want to be the centre of attention, whereas Stephanie showed me just how funny and clever you can still be, by being a (very dry) observer. She had a constant sense of curiosity, and a definite sense of direction and confidence, and all of it expressed without demanding a spotlight in every quiet moment. I wanted to be more like that, like her, from now on. Or rather, to get back to being like that, as I think I used to be a bit like her once upon a time, rather than someone who has more recently always demanded the limelight to validate myself. Stephanie ended up teaching me a lot about social confidence, and inspiring me more than a fair bit.

All of which is coming back to the question of if I have changed or not.

I guess it is because of this Galileo-esque realisation that I have come to, that I don’t actually have to be the centre of the universe. People on this trip have genuinely seemed to like me for being 100% myself at all times. Previously, I would trying to create the ‘right times’ that suited what I thought would be best, being extrovert, forcing the creation of such moments. Perhaps, or rather because of, travelling with people that I don’t know, I’m not grabbing the spotlight or creating a situation where I think I feel comfortable anymore. I am realising that I am comfortable just being me, and then the situation can just roll from there.

I hope that’s a nice summation of the ’death’ of my ego. I don’t want to go back to my old ego-ish persona. Somewhere between the New York epic trip to make Mancattan, and before I’d gone away on this particular trip, the sense of confidence and assuredness that I possessed had transformed and ran-away with itself. I had gotten hold of a gross delusion that I had to profess my greatness, in order to be great. I would engage in the loud business of convincing others of this fact.

Being here, and doing all of this… has shown me that Colin Warhurst is actually okay just being Colin Warhurst.

To me, travelling has been finding a balance between confidence, and being natural. I haven’t tried to be a comedy ringleader, alpha-male, egotist or anything like that. I feel like I am holding my natural state - not a costume, nor an identity that used to make me feel more comfortable. Just me.

Maybe I shouldn’t try to quantify the “quiet confidence” that I thought I had seen in other travellers once they had returned home, and that I wanted to seek for myself. For me, dropping the ego was the main thing, but everyone’s perception is different. It’s all relative. Once I get back, it will be interesting to see if everyone else thinks something has changed within me or not.

If I can go home and keep this inner confidence, I will be happy. It isn’t Zen, or enlightenment, or Nirvana. But it does feel good.

I think on that note, and barring me being bored or stuck anywhere between now and getting home, this may be a good point to put down the pen. If I do meet the girls for one more drink, I’ll have to add more of course.

But failing that, as of now, from Auckland, this is a more seasoned, confident, knowledgeable and tired Col, saying “Thanks New Zealand.”


A day mostly spent travelling. I was in two minds as to whether I would go back out later that night, but as I got off of the bus, I realised that I din't have anybody's numbers or details of where they were staying. As such, my final farewell to Greg, Lewis, Andy, Chloe, Amy and Stephanie wasn't planned, and the last time I saw any of them, was as they waved at from the bus window. Sorry gang - I hope the party the night before served as a much better official sign-off.

Needless to say, once I was on my own and looking for something to do, I immediately sought out the Nandos in Auckland, and undid the damage of my previous raw-chicken in experience in Wellington.

It felt right, and quite poetic, to finish off my diary entry sat at the very same bar (and possibly table) that I had sat at for my first New Zealand drink. I had gone full circle, sipping beer in the very same spot as I had twenty-seven days ago. Two bottles of Auckland beer, with one heck of an adventure in-between them.

I took a picture of my "Human Bar-Fly" t-shirt (with everybody's catch phrases, phone numbers and emails printed on the back) before I packed up my bag for the last time.

The final summary of my adventures, and how I had been affected, are summed up perfectly above. I will not try to add anything to the notes on the wisdom that my past-self had attained.
But I will add that yes, I have kept a measure of that ‘quiet confidence’ over the years – and it has served me well. Though it is difficult to remember that I can still attain this state at times, I do treasure the ability that I can still find this mental state today, that I can retain it, and draw strength from it.

New Zealand granted me one hell of a Power-Up. Super-Hero Strength, 110% ABV!

I did not meet the girls for one final drink in Auckland, and so the adventures in my diary ended there. That would have been the end of my New Zealand adventures. But there was one final escapade that was waiting for me at the last moment, at the airport in Auckland…