My week away from blogging was not spent in idleness. I spent 8 days in New Zealand, this trip was very productive from the point of view of Paleo, connections and more food for thought for my blog.
New Zealand is a gorgeous country. You get a sense that you are in for something special when you see the majestic mountain ranges sloping into the green water out of the airplane window. Together with Australia it’s one of the few Western countries where you can still drive past cows peacefully grazing on grass of the greenest colour imaginable.
Visiting Christchurch for the first time was a powerful experience for me. It’s a quaint little city (by Sydney standards) still bearing visible scars of the earthquakes which changed the lives of its inhabitants. The walls of beautiful old churches, like the shadows of former life, standing in the midst of piles of bricks behind safety gates. Giant cracks in the middle of city streets partially filled up with concrete. Big signs urging caution on typical office buildings. Huge shipping containers stacked on top of one another at the bottom of the cliff on the side of a busy road protecting from boulders falling from above. All reminding us that we are all at the mercy of the force more powerful than we can imagine. And no, I’m not religious.
Like many other people around the world, I had wondered why do the people stay? 7000 aftershocks later, why would you not pack up your life and start over somewhere else? Where you wouldn’t have to worry about getting a restaurant table under a chandelier?
Maybe because it’s so utterly beautiful. A place where you can go out on a bike ride along the water edge, climb a steep hill to the coffee place up the top and descent to the luscious valley below. Nice. You can Paleo the hell out of this place.
And they seem to be getting on with their life just fine. Good on them, Kiwis. After flogging the Aussies (and the French, and everyone else) at the Rugby World Cup they have even more reasons for some well-deserved NZ pride. Respect.
I didn’t just travel across the ditch to admire the views. One of the goals of the trip was some Paleo networking, catching up with two of the heavyweights of the Antipodean Paleo community: Jamie Scott, a.k.a. That Paleo Guy, and Julianne Taylor from Paleo & Zone Nutrition Blog.
I cannot express what a relief it is to talk to people who understand you, who read the same studies, who get just as frustrated at the limitations of the conventional diet, health and exercise advice. Jamie played a gracious host in Christchurch and showed me around the city, his favourite cafés and cycling routes. We discussed high fat nutrition for athletes, agreed that #contextmatters when it comes to “safe starches”, shared our mutual plans for the Ancestral Health Symposium in 2012.
I met the lovely Julianne in Auckland and over our 3 hour lunch we discussed everything from thyroid health to the challenges facing medical professionals, body image pressure and undiagnosed gluten intolerance.
Auckland, the city of sails (=winds), with its 7 seasons in one day, showed us glimpses of sunshine. The world cup fever has largely subsided however the Kiwis were still happy to remind us, the Aussies, who came out on top. The Auckland part of my trip was closely aligned with fitness industry, especially group fitness, and I will probably talk about my ideas on fitness in another post.
For those who are involved in Paleo/primal lifestyle and education in North America it is probably hard to understand how isolated we can feel on the other side of the globe, with the Internet being our only link to this community. Meeting like-minded people was like a breath of fresh air: no need to moderate your language or be tentative in offering different hypotheses. I came back home feeling recharged and fired up for more learning, sharing and blogging.