When our 4th round of IVF ended in November 2018, I knew it was time to close the door on the dream of having children and time to start re-dreaming a new future. I made a promise to myself, that I would make time for the things that I love and that life would be an adventure.
Travel is one of those loves.
Self care looks different to everyone; for some, it might be a bubble bath or a manicure. For me, it’s immersing myself in nature, creating time to be with my thoughts and slowing the pace of life right down.
So, for the last 3 years, I have gone on what I call my ‘annual solo retreat’. 2-3 nights, holidaying on my own, at a destination of my choosing. I do as much or as little as I like, when I like and it is bliss.
The first year I went to Waiheke Island for zip lining, wine tasting and glamping. Last year it was paddle boarding, kayaking and exploring in the Marlborough Sounds.
This year, it was a little cabin in Carrington in the Wairarapa. 3 days of solitude, rest, nature and recharging my batteries.
It’s a grey, rainy day, the first of my solo trips not to be bathed in sunshine, but I am not bothered. I arrive at my accommodation, step out of the car and am greeted with the snorting of 3 ugly / cute kunekune pigs.
My little cabin is idyllic. Set on a hill, surrounded by trees, looking out across the hills. The first thing on my agenda is a cup of tea, which I drink, sitting on the porch, soaking in the stillness, birdsong and the soft pitter-patter of rain on the roof.
The birds are abundant and I enjoy just sitting there watching them flying around. In the space of about 15 minutes I see tui, a hawk, goldfinches, magpies and a bright green parrot.
My afternoon is spent reading a magazine, watching TED talks with cups of tea and chocolate, snuggled up on the sofa beside a warm flickering fire.
Dinner is simple. A ravioli in pasta sauce and fresh bread. This trip is about making space to reflect on the year and delighting in the simple.
It’s starting to get dark, it’s still raining and there is an outdoor bath that I just can’t resist. I fill it and then settle in for a soak. I watch the change in the clouds as night draws near and the birds making their final flight as they find somewhere to rest for the night.
There are no city noises, just the whoosh of wings above me, rain and the gurgling sound of the nearby stream. This is food for the soul.
As it gets darker, the insects and bugs of the night come out. There are large buzzing noises near my ear and a very large silhouetted moth against the fading sky. I don’t have an issue with insects and really, there is nothing here that can hurt me. We don’t have super poisonous critters or dangerous mammals. New Zealand is a pretty safe place.
It’s a shame that the stars aren’t out, but I still leave my bath feeling warm and relaxed, ready to settle in for the night.
I wake in the morning to more rain on the roof, but again, I don’t mind. It’s not going to stop me from doing what I want to do. And besides, who doesn’t love the sound of rain on the roof. It is so soothing. It’s one of my favorite sounds, along with bird song.
I start to get hungry so I decide to leave my warm, cosy bed and venture out to a nearby town called Claireville. I have heard many good things about The Claireville Bakery. It does not disappoint! I am presented with a beautiful selection of fresh breads and pastries and it takes me a really long time to decide. I settle on an apricot danish and also get an almond croissant for tomorrow.
My danish is amazing and I wash it down with a cup of tea while I sit on the porch, watching the rain again. It may be wet, but it’s not cold. There is a nearby flax bush that is attracting the tuis and I watch them feed for a while before picking up my book to read. I will head out later in the afternoon for a walk before the forecast thunder and lightning arrive.
My walk is at the nearby Fensham Reserve. It has stopped raining finally, but the forest is still damp and wet. Forest is still pretty magical when it is like this. There is a large chorus of birds singing. The track is narrow but easy to follow and is surrounded by tall trees. The air is warm and cool, refreshing drops of water drip on me from the canopy above. Halfway into the walk it gets very humid and I reach a part of the track that is mostly underwater. The walk takes me a bit over an hour. I arrive back at the car park with very wet feet, but energised from the nature and fresh air.
Back at my cabin, I spend a couple of hours on the porch again, reading my book and watching the weather. I am waiting for the thunderstorm to arrive. It does, and it is awesome, I hear the deep rumbling noise, rolling across the sky above me. Night closes in and my second day comes to an end.
I wake to chickens this morning and open the skylight windows ever so slightly so I can hear the rain on the roof. This morning I am heading back to Wellington, but I leave feeling refreshed. This weekend has been a soak session. Soaking in nature and recharge my batteries.
The Cabin has been food for the soul.