Walkabout: Paraparaumu Edition

It’s about that time again where I get real with you guys: my readers, my family, my friends, and tell you what’s up in the life down under.

This weekend I decided to take a train ride up north to Paraparaumu, a little town on the Kapiti coast. New Zealand has proven to be a test on my perseverance, much more so than any other time I’ve been abroad, and I think it’s about time I come clean.


I love it here in some ways, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that certain things haven’t gone to plan since moving to Wellington. And I hate sounding like that ungrateful traveler, but it’s the truth of how I feel these days, the rut I can’t seem to get myself out of.


In the matter of a few months, I severely injured my achilles hill and was a part of the unlucky 1% that didn’t get covered by the local ACC insurance for my medical bills. The injury put me out of work for a bit, and I was in pain for a good two months. Even now, after a long day at work I can feel the ache coming back into my foot.

For someone who loves being outdoors and finding the best hidden hiking trails, you can imagine what state of mind this injury put me in.


I recently bought a car for my upcoming South Island travels, as some of you already know. Well, after a grand total of two weeks of ownership, a drunk driver (or was also texting) totaled my parked car a couple of weeks ago while I was working an 11 hour shift at work.

I’m still looking for answers and some sort of reimbursement from this driver who was charged with a DUI by the police, but that car is no longer feasible for the trip I’m leaving on in 17 days, and I spent the majority of my savings on it.


Work has gone from something I was really excited about in terms of management, to a place I dread putting in 40+ hours a week at now. There’s so much stress involved in my current position, and especially with the Holidays coming up, we’ve been flat out for the month of December so far. I’ve lost my inspiration for the music side of my life, mostly because I come home so exhausted these days.


On top of that, I have a confession to make to you, I don’t enjoy living in Wellington all that much. I write about the city all of the time, and talk about all of the awesome things there are to do around here, and there are some aspects I really love about the city, but to be completely honest, it’s not a place I’d want to live in again.


It may have to do with the place I work, where we have a lot of haughty business types, but the pretentiousness of Wellington is overwhelming sometimes. Combine that with the ridiculously bad weather, and I find myself depressed more often than not from nothing more than living in the city.


The craft beer and awesome hiking trails around the city are really what keep me sane while living here.

It’s too bad I haven’t been able to travel more around New Zealand, because I’ve heard the rest of the country is a lot different from Wellington, but I’ve been trying to save as much as possible for travels in the summer.


With all of that out in the open, I still want to portray Wellington in a good light on this blog because it is a beautiful city, and some people absolutely love it here, but I guess it’s important to admit that it’s not for everyone either.


Perhaps it’s a mix of staying here for too long – after getting used to up and moving every few months – and maybe it’s a touch of bad luck and the wrong perspective.

I left the city on Saturday, happy to get away from it all, getting lost in the music coming out of my iPod, and zoning out into nothingness. It was about an hour train ride, and suddenly I was in a new place to explore. A town that had “elderly” signs, clean streets, a cute little beach, a great New Zealand craft brewery, and everything I needed that day.


It’s true, I’m ready to move on from Wellington, but I know I need to stay in this job for the necessary funds before I jump in a car and travel more of the country or hop on that plane in March and head back home.

And it’s important to note that I’m still incredibly grateful that my life has lead me here. For the friends I’ve made, the relationships I’ve created, and the new culture I’ve grown fond of, I don’t regret moving here for a moment.

As I was eating my lunch on the beach by myself in Paraparaumu, I took everything in around me and all the pain I had been feeling lately. I didn’t like who I had become, an unhappy person in some important aspects of my life.


Everything didn’t just melt away into contentment, I still had a stressful job to go back to, and a wrecked car in front of my house…but, there was something else that came to me while I was sitting there as well – a sense of calmness.

Things aren’t always going to be perfect, but I still have a lot to look forward to and to be thankful for.

I have the ability to Skype my family whenever I need some love from home, I have my own space in my house to find inspiration, I have trips and flights in the near future, I have friends that make me laugh, and I have a boyfriend who makes me very happy, and most importantly, comfortable with just being me.

That’s the conclusion my walkabout lead me to.


As I was finishing off the day checking out Tuatara brewery, I ran into some locals from my bar. We ended up chatting for a good while, and they thought it was so cool what I was doing with my life, and awesome how I’ve traveled all this way on my own. They bought me a couple of beers, and even gave me a ride to the train station. Again, a change of perspective goes a long way.


A little bit of kindness on Saturday, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer couple to chat with.


It simply acted as a reminder to not take things in my life so seriously, to not let stress overcome me, and to take one thing at a time, because everything happens for a reason. Cliche, but true.

I took a breath and stepped onto the train for the ride home. And this time I noticed the colors a little more outside my window, the scenery which is always astounding in New Zealand, and most importantly, the expressions of my other train mates – and the type of day they were probably having as well.


Sometimes I just need a little reminding.

Sometimes all you need is to love more.



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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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