Ben, where have you been?!

Well it’s been a while since I posted so I intend to catch you up quick! I spent two weeks in Takaka, Golden Bay working for accommodation at Barefoot Backpackers, a cute, cozy hostel in town. I spent most of my time experimenting with raw foods, each day buying the freshest fruits and veggies I could find from the local organic store. I also played quite a bit of guitar as the hostel had a couple I could strum on. Sometimes travellers passing through would give me some pointers and we’d play together. I enjoyed the company of Joneau, Henrietta, and Sarah, who ran the hostel.
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After leaving Takaka I spent a couple of days in Nelson enjoying the Paradiso Hostel’s pool and sauna before heading to the North Island. On the ferry I came across Moritz and Sophia, the young German couple I met at Last Light Lodge. We arrived in Wellington, where I spent another few days exploring the city and guitar shopping! I bit the bullet and walked away with a modestly priced steel string acoustic with which I am quite happy!

From Wellington it was off to Raglan, a small surf town on the North Island’s west coast. I spent a week at Raglan Backpackers (Colleen worked there years back!) also enjoying the hot tub and infrared sauna! I went surfing a few times and although it rained most days I had lots of fun.

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And that brings us to Dharma Gaia, a small mindfulness retreat center on the Coromandel Peninsula. Mostly it is home to Anton and his family who take care of the land, and to Sister Shalom, a nun in the tradition of Tich Naht Hanh. I also had the pleasure of meeting Anton’s teenage son Rowan, and Ben, a brilliant young musician. Together we sat under the full moon singing and feasting on tea and chocolate. Rowan, Ben and I stayed up late into the night playing and singing Led Zeppelin on our guitars and enjoying the pleasure of spiritual friendship. And Cadbury 🙂

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The work here is demanding, but it is a beautiful supportive place where I am encouraged to embrace what is. This is a difficult but richly rewarding practice for me. To give up the idea of being unwell. To know and feel that I am OK.

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