Bella, Master of Slow Travel

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I bundled myself out the door of my home country, pale and ill from the weeks of stress leading up to departure. My lack of enthusiasm was a paradox that had puzzled people as D-Day approached, assuming as they did that I would to be more excited about the trip of a lifetime. Instead, a mixture of fear and sombre determination kneaded my stomach as I dragged my absurdly heavy suitcase through Heathrow airport, considering the likelihood that this was all a huge mistake.

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Canoeing (A Christmas Story)

It’s December; a month that conjures from the cauldron of Hades that intensely socio-political debate about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. It’s also the anniversary of a merry tale of friendship and canoeing, of adventurous spirit, and, for me at least, nostalgia. This lengthy anecdote is set in summertime, with no decorations or carols or snow or Santa but, much like Die Hard, and indeed all the best Christmas fables, does have heartwarming themes of family, home, goodwill and altruism. Moreover, to prod the naysayers a bit more, just like Die Hard Christmas is essential to the plot of my chronicle, and there are no other ingredients to festive tale than heartwarming themes and being set at Christmas. There, I said it.

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New Zealand

I’m breaking tradition a bit by publishing a post about a country while I’m still in it, which is risky for the obvious reason that if the locals get hold of this literature I may be tossed into a volcano faster than you can say “chur,” which is a phrase not nearly as widespread as people want you to think. Indeed, not once have I heard someone say that, and I’ve been here for almost two years. Nonetheless, now seems like a still moment in my pond of life, calm enough between the ripples of upheaval from the rocks 2020 has thrown at me to reflect (pun intended) on my very long Kiwi experiment.

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Homeless (What is Home?)

I don’t have a home any more. I’m a rule-abiding outlaw, a stationary wanderer, glamorously slumming it as a resident of nowhere. People find this hard to accept; of course you have a home, Bella, everyone has a home. It’s true, though. This isn’t to make some sort of political statement, renouncing my affiliation with any particular nation to declare myself a cosmopolitan citizen of the world, and neither am I trying to sound edgy to align myself with the hipster digital nomad crew so I can sit with them at lunch. I actually think having a home is severely underrated, as I will shortly explain.

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The Bucket List

Astonishingly, not only do I genuinely have a bucket list – an amalgamation of disparate things that I want to experience or achieve in my life – I’ve actually done a lot of things on that list. At some point last year I emerged in a billow of steam from the sauna of everyday life, pleasantly dazed and lavishly embellished with a fluffy towel, long enough to realise that I’d done so many of the things that I would have to make a new list.

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Snowboarding, or What I Learned From Doing Something I’m Not Very Good At

As an alarming global pandemic sweeps through every nation like a brisk autumn wind we have all found ourselves, alas, with a lot of time to kill. Except, of course, medical professionals who have all kinds of apocalyptic hell on their hands, and may we all utter a silent optionally religious prayer for those poor, overworked souls. What I have on my hands, apart from residue of soap and hand sanitiser, is the abrupt void of nothingness that comes with a mandatory government-enforced holiday to write all the articles I never got around to at the time when they happened and, boy, do you have some delightful reminiscing coming your way, my dear reader. Let me fetch my half moon glasses, recline suitably in my chesterfield armchair, and take you via a progressively blurry scene transition all the way back to seven months ago when I went snowboarding for the first time.

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Bella’s Travel Guide to Coronavirus

I’m what you might disdainfully refer to as a ‘traveller’, and since I’ve become stranded in truly the worst place on planet earth – New Zealand’s South Island – by a virus sweeping the globe faster than you can say “Don’t lick that door handle,” I clearly have nothing better to do than erroneously proclaim myself an expert on this brand new (ish) COVID-19 thing. Due to my newfound internet-based wealth of coronavirus knowledge, plus 819 days and counting on the road, I am clearly well positioned to advise other travellers on what to do during a pandemic, as well as people who aren’t travelling, or in fact anyone bored enough to read this article. So sit back, grab your hand sanitiser and allow me to guide you through what was once the stuff of Hollywood movies but is now your foreseeable future.

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The 2010s: Rough but Showed Promise. 3/5 Stars

Ahh, 2010. The year David Cameron was elected Prime Minister, 33 Chileans were rescued from a mine, and Inception was released. Who’d have thought ten years after Christopher Nolan’s huge blockbuster infiltrated our cinemas people would still have no idea what it’s about.
2010 was the year I moved, bright eyed and full of ambition, to the big city from my rural hatching place. Ambition that was soon crushed, alas, by economic turmoil, the world seemingly in free fall from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, as well as the crippling self-doubt of young adulthood, which was a joyful time. Still, the 2010s were considerably better than the 2000s, with those ugly and impractical low waisted ‘hipster’ jeans, the so-called War on Terror, and, worse, Britney Spears all over the radio. What a strange decade it was.
Nonetheless, as we edge tentatively into 2020, allow me to strain my memory, dimly recall what I’ve been doing all this time, and thus present to you something you had no idea you needed in your life: Bella’s completely objective review of the last ten years. Grab a beverage and your comedy ‘2020’ party sunglasses, and prepare yourself for a slightly depressing but ultimately redeeming trip down memory lane as I rate the 2010s a mediocre, though not terrible, 3 out of 5 stars.

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