Leaving New Zealand is a very bittersweet experience this time round.
Coming back to Wellington only a few months ago felt like coming home, in many ways.
As I sat in a taxi weaving its way across Wellington's hills -- yes, of course the Mount Victoria tunnel was closed -- I tasted the sea air, smelt the fresh breeze, and listened to the New Zealander accents on the radio.
Coming back to #geekflat, the much-loved hashtagged abode I shared last year and this year, was a real joy, with its fast Internet, gorgeous views and shared communal understanding of the way of the geek.
And I have deeply enjoyed being back in Wellington, seeing friends, making music, jaunting around New Zealand, hopping over to Australia for a weekend.
#geekflat looks much different now, though: packed, cleared, empty.
"It hurts like billy- oh, but it is such fun to see it coming away," says Eustace of his dragon skin in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
And yes, that emptiness does hurt. There's a pang as I get ready to leave this place that I love.
But in that emptiness is peace; with my single suitcase and carry-on bag packed, a reduced amount of stuff to store in NZ and everything else given away, recycled or discarded, there's a sort of zen mindfulness.
I do not need more than what I can take with me. With the technology in my carry-on, I have access to the combined sum of the world's knowledge. [Citation required.] I have more than seventy days' worth of music and audiobooks on my iPod.
I have developed, in the last year and a half, a real awareness that material possessions are just things, that there are so many people who envy me for my globetrotting, countryhopping international lifestyle but are held back by the fact that they have Stuff.
I used to be one of those people. I might be again. But for now, I roll on out the door tomorrow morning, with my bed and chair donated to the Women's Refuge and my heart light.
But I will miss Wellington.
I've been listening to this version of the New Zealand national anthem a lot over the last
week or so, as I get ready to miss this place deeply.
Enjoy -- and, if you like it, it's avaialble as a free download (9MB zip file).
My lovely choir mates at Wellington Cathedral surprised me with this amazing present to say farewell until I return to New Zealand.
I've decided to call him Benjamin Knitten (I would be Peter Purls in this relationship...) and I wouldn't be surprised if he were to turn up in some of my travel snaps later on this year.
Thank you all, my lovelies -- I am truly touched. It's not like I needed another reason to sniffle as I leave Wellington of course (you buggers!) but I shall just have to look forward to japes with Benjamin Knitten until I'm back.