Some more things I have observed along the way I would like to share.

Why people in the city are so tense.
A little side observation I had already made in New Zealand but it is confirming more and more now being back in a city is the relation between personal space and the behaviour of people. The amazing experience of openness and hospitality in New Zealand has deeply touched and me also changed my perception and behaviour for good. I have asked myself the question very often what is so different in New Zealand? And why are the Kiwis the way they are?

Besides the fact that it is probably a bit of a cultural and educational thing, the way you are raised and what you grow up with as “normal”. I do have the feeling that hospitality and caring does in general have something to do with the density of population. In the countryside people tend to be more caring and hospitality has a greater value since everyone knows that you very much depend on your neighbours. If there are only two or three cars a day passing by you do rely on them to stop if yours broke down.

But I think on top of this it has something to do with the perception how often someone intrudes our personal space. If your neighbours or the road are so far away that you can’t even see them you are more likely to be relaxed since you don’t have to defend your personal space. In contrast to if you live in a high density area where you constantly hear, see and smell things which interfere with your personal space you tend to protect this space even more (curtains, walls, etc.). You are also likely to constantly be alert to defend your personal space which results in a general strain and with this a limited openness for encounters.

So somehow we have to find a way not having the feeling of being intruded in our personal space the entire time – if I am right…

Enthusiasm is contagious.
I actually forgot to include this into my first learning session – even though it is probably one of the more important things I realised on the trail again. You know how certain things are not new to you but sometimes it takes this one moment to become clear, obvious and tangible? I had that with enthusiasm.

It was the day when we rented bikes to ride from Twizel to Tekapo and we ended up carrying our backpacks instead of getting them transported. Maybe you remember – it was probably one of the worst and most painful days ever. Again: carrying a heavy backpack on your back when riding a bike is one of the worst ideas ever. Don’t do it! 😝

But something fantastic happened that day. About half way we came across another TA SOBO hiker who walked the section in three days. We saw him walking on the flat part and instantly knew he was a TA hiker only because of his looks, backpack and so on. So we stopped. Unfortunately I don’t remember his name but it was a guy from the northern part of Italy. The day was awful hot, dry and very dusty due to the gravel road and open plains. The part he was walking / we were riding the bike was not the most exciting one. Really nothing to be to excited about. BUT – he was just the happiest fellow on earth. He was laughing about things that happened to him this day, the heat, the lack of water and all the things which were actually not the most pleasurable ones. But he took them as they were and just with an absolutely positive spirit. He joked with us and we couldn’t help it – we had to laugh as well.

When he continued after maybe ten or fifteen minutes Breann, Jay and I looked at each other with a big smile on our face and a 180 degree turn in mood. We looked at each other and asked ourselves “What had just happened?”. It was his enthusiasm which was so contagious that even we in our pain and couldn’t help it. It got us. We felt refreshed and full of energy again. He just completely turned us in less than 15 minutes only with his presence and spirit. What an amazing experience.

And if you think about it. Who do you want to be surrounded by? People who are enthusiastic are definitely more fun and pleasurable to be around. Why? Because it is contagious and it is rubbing off. It makes life more enjoyable and also easier. And the great thing about it is: Enthusiasm is contagious! If you are enthusiastic you will infect others and get it back – instantly! It will not make others people’s days but also yours. Try it. Anywhere. In the cafe in the morning. At work. In the bus. Wherever – the more positive energy you spread the more you will get back.

Storytelling and reading books
After reading the Alchemist and Veronica decides to die I realised again how enriching it is to read stories. Why? You do get a completely different perspective, idea or piece of information which you would have not come across in your normal life. It’s a free enlargement of your horizon. Especially reading stories and not books which are full of facts and findings already. Why? Because all of the business books I had picked up in the last years were not bad. But if you think about how much of them you actually remember it is usually not much. It’s just too much of little facts that don’t stick.

But stories are something great. They are a journey full of pictures and emotions who create a lot deeper impact. And since you have to make your own findings they also stick a lot better. I felt the difference when I picked up “The Legacy”, the story of how the All Blacks came back after their worst break down in 2004. The first half of the book was full of quotes and cross references which tried to proof certain things. It all sounded right, but I don’t really remember a lot. The second half again was a lot more concentrated on what had happened, who did what and why told in a storytelling form. And there I was hooked again.

So – in general I have to read more books again! Stories.
And stories are in general a good way to bring messages and information across. Hope I remember…