What Goes Up.

by Ant Stone on September 8, 2010

in New Zealand

I’m leaving New Zealand next week to return home to England, one year earlier than planned. I had a whole blog post sketched up in my head, it was riddled with romantic notions, and heartfelt reasons which would help me to appear enigmatic and brave. Then I realised it would take the best part of a day to explain everything, and I just don’t have the time. So, here’s the synopsis.

A few weeks ago, Reb was offered a new job here in Wellington. Three hours later, her dad called to say he was facing a series of tests for pelvic cancer. This is the third time during the three years we’ve been away, that someone close to Reb and I has taken a lashing from the disease.

Returning Home

Reb left Wellington a few weeks ago to be with her dad and family, and during that time we’ve realised that returning to New Zealand would be the wrong decision for us right now.

For starters, the 12-month working sections of our 23-month working holiday visas expire this October, and we were due to return to England in March for my sister’s wedding; which meant we would have to fly from New Zealand to England to New Zealand, to England to New Zealand, and eventually — you guess it — back to England.

I checked behind the sofa and in my old jeans’ johnny pocket, but we just could not find that kind of money.

The long and winding road

Leaving New Zealand is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve faced. This city is more than a destination along The Trail.

Homeward Bound

For the passed year, I’ve been Uncle Ant to my young niece and nephew, and reconnected with my older sister who emigrated here nine years ago, as well as enjoying the company of a handful of close friends.

Next Thursday, I’ll fly to Kuala Lumpur, and enjoy a few weeks exploring Malaysia and celebrating my homecoming before touching down in London Heathrow and into the arms of Reb, to immerse ourselves in one of the most amazing places on earth: home.

I’m sure you’ll get the full low-down on the highs and lows, I just wanted to keep you in the loop as to why things have been — and will probably continue to be — a bit stuttered here on TrailofAnts.com.

If you have any tips or advice about travelling in Malaysia, I’m all ears. I realise it’s heading into the monsoon, but I’d really like to explore some regional food, and would be keen to hear from anyone who’s toured the country by motorbike.

(Oh, and to complicate matters, I’ve completely redesigned the entire site — and I just know there are gremlins lurking in the midst, so please do let me know of you find any).

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt September 8, 2010 at 6:57 am

Sorry to hear the news Ant. While Aoteroa will miss you, I believe you’re right that it’s best for you and Reb to be at home during this time.

Enjoy Malaysia, I’m afraid as of yet I don’t have any advice to offer on that area of the world.

Sending you positive thoughts …

(and I really like the redesign – I’m craving one myself)

Ant Stone September 8, 2010 at 7:04 am

Thanks Matt, I’m leaving NZ in your capable hands. Don’t keep shaking it so much though! The redesign, ah, well that’s another — much more painful and emotional — story!

Verity September 8, 2010 at 7:03 am

I’m really sorry to hear about that Ant :(. It seems like you are making the right decision though to be at home with family.

All I’ve seen of Malayasia was a distant city over the border from Singapore so unfortunately no tips. Hope you have a great time though!

Also the site looks fantastic. So colourful!

Ant Stone September 8, 2010 at 7:06 am

Thanks Verity, you know when you’ve made the right decision; a huge weight seems to lift from your shoulders. That happened today. I’ve visited Penang and Langkawi, but would like to discover more of the country.

Thanks also for the feedback on the site redesign; “So colourful!”, too colourful?

Gillian September 8, 2010 at 7:11 am

Ailing family members are one of the risks that we face when we step out in search of our own stories. Deciding that it’s time to return often is not that difficult a decision but coming to terms with what that means can be the hardest part. I wish you well as you return home and find your place there again.

I, too, like the site redesign…worth the work!


Ant Stone September 8, 2010 at 7:13 am

Deciding that it’s time to return often is not that difficult a decision but coming to terms with what that means can be the hardest part.

Thanks Gillian, you’re so utterly right.

Linda September 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Gosh ~ Ant – Sorry to hear about Reb’s father’s illness and her having to return home earlier than planned –
And now you too – We’ll miss you being down under!

Frustrating having to move on when things haven’t quite run their full course and you’ve not quite had your fill, but this is all a part of the journey, which I have no doubt will in turn lead on to other unexpected events that you’ll eventually say – well, if wasn’t for that…

Love the clean look of the website –
Happy travels
Linda 🙂

Ant Stone September 8, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I’ve always been in the Karma camp — what will be, will be. It’s served me well thus far, but will definitely miss this neck of the woods.

TheCyberGypsy September 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Tioman in Malaysia is a wonderful island to stop off at – there is a cheap flight there from Singapore so if you are heading in that way it’s a good place to start perhaps. Last time I was there just at the end of monsoon, I had a bungalow that had the sea around it when the tide was in, monitor lizzards swimming up the local streams and jungle to get lost in. You can walk from the main airport around the coast past beaches isolated and perfect for a hammock and a life of subsistance.

Penang and Singapore have to be my two best places on the planet for food. YUM! Penang still has some of the street food vibe about it that Singapore lost when it all got chased indoors by the clean-up potty people in charge.

Coming home is lovely. Leaving when it has become ordinary again is lovely too, it’s like breathing.

Ant Stone September 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I love your comment, and the analogy with breathing. It’s full of all the expectations I’m consumed with. Penang has been a firm favourite among travellers in the region, so I’m convinced I’ll be tucking into the local cuisine sometime soon.

Laurence Norah September 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Hey Ant,

Sorry to hear about Reb’s father. The weird thing about reading a blog is that you start to feel actually connected with a person you’ve never met, so hearing this sort of thing comes as a bit of a shock. The good news is that the world will still be there with all of it’s wonders once this hurdle has been overcome 🙂

ps, love the site redesign

Ant Stone September 8, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Thanks Laurence, you’re so right about the emotional connection we make with certain blogs. It’s often like reading a novel, and being entangled in the main characters’ own emotions. An interesting concept.

Claire September 8, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Sorry to hear your news and hope everything goes well for Reb’s Dad. It must be strange to be heading home after such a long trip but glad you are fitting in a last stop on your way back. Soon you’ll be back to the land of Cadbury’s chocolate, Marmite and Heinz baked beans so its not all bad.

Completely agree with what Laurence says it is hard sometimes to remember that you don’t actually know the person blogging!

Ant Stone September 9, 2010 at 5:01 am

Thanks Claire, but one thing: “…the land of Cadbury’s chocolate, Marmite and Heinz baked beans…”, that’s New Zealand, surely?

In terms of the connection, I feel the same, as the author. It’s drilled into us at Blogging School that we must form a community, which is true, but it’s so much more than just “building a community.”

Not least, because if I were to build something, it would mean I rule it — whereas I see you and all my other readers as 50% of the reason ToA exists to this day.

Claire September 10, 2010 at 1:08 am

Yeah perhaps they are not things you get to miss in NZ but a couple of weeks travelling back and maybe you’ll get a chance to miss them again. They are some of the bestest things about home in my opinion (that and queuing and talking about the weather!) ps – loving the new look at ToA

Ant Stone September 10, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Thanks 🙂 There are a few cracks in the plasterwork which I need to fix, in between packing up what seems like a lifetime of memories here in NZ, and scouting around for ideas on Malaysia…

The thing I’m most looking forward to, is a few pints of good English beer in a good English pub. Ahhhh… what more does a man need? Pork scratchings.

Gourmantic September 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Sorry to hear that. I can sense your attachment to NZ and the connection with family. Remember, just as things go down, they’ll go up eventually.

Nice job on the redesign of the site. It’s like having a new home, but without moving.

Bon voyage and safe travels.

Ant Stone September 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I really have grown attached to life down under, it’s a great region to lay some roots. I’m feeling positive about the long road home though, not least because I get to feast on Malaysian food en route…!

Jeffers September 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Mate, sorry to hear that, I hope Reb is ok? But I’m excited about seeing your greyed haired, red headed self soon. It’s been far too long! On skype now if you fancy a chat?

Love to you and Reb x

P.S. Site looks great, good job.

Ant Stone September 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm

She’s good mate, if not a bit jealous about me going to Malaysia… I earned some good Man Points when I negotiated that!

Damn. I wasn’t going to tell you — I didn’t know you still read this!! I was gonna sneak down to Plymouth and climb through your window. Ah well… looking forward to seeing you too mate. Stick the kettle on.

Keith September 12, 2010 at 2:27 am

Bummer man, but family trumps most things. Sounds like you’re doing it right. Best of luck to you and yours.

Ant Stone September 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm

They sure do, Keith, and thanks for your kind thoughts.

James September 13, 2010 at 3:52 am

Hi Ant,
Sorry to hear the news and find out your stay away has been cut short.
We chatted earlier about jobs in digital PR/blogger outreach (I was at Wunderman at the time) and I defo think you’re well placed for such a role. Hit me with a CV when you’re settled and ready to return to work.
NZ’s loss will be the UK’s gain!

Ant Stone September 13, 2010 at 8:38 am

Thanks James, I absolutely appreciate that. I’ll be in touch as soon as I know more.

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