# 30 Urban Exploration

auckland, new zealand

As I type this on my last morning in Auckland, I realised I still didn’t have the answer I needed. Maybe I already did; I just didn’t like the answer, and hoped I would change my mind.

If I was in my early twenties, my youthful, spontaneous, cheeky twenties, there was a chance I could have booked a flight overseas in six months time and not come back. I could handle just being a nomad for a few months, years even, live and work in a foreign land and start over. But I’m not in my twenties, and I have responsibilities, so at this time, that’s not an option. Still, the idea thrills me, probably wouldn’t resolve much, but it would be a fun, extended working holiday.

The conversations I have had with people have centred on this decision, and the more certain I am that the answer is already there. Begging for me to just say YES! What is it that holds us back from doing things that truly makes us happy? Is it really just fear? Maybe it’s social conditioning - to think of others before ourselves. Or that, it is somehow selfish to put me first. A friend summed it up nicely, “How are you able to feed the masses, when your own cup is empty?”

What is it that feeds my soul? No, that’s not the question.

In relationships there are deal-breakers, and in life there are anchors. Deal-breakers are a set of beliefs that we don’t compromise on. Anchors are what ties us to a situation, what we hold closest to our heart. I don’t know if ‘anchors’ is an actual term - I just used it because it was the word I felt best described how I felt. The more I let go of people, emotions and possessions, I realised there were only TWO anchors left in my life. My family is a given, so I haven’t counted them.

Do I set those two anchors loose, and would I really find happiness when I set them free? That is my question.
— fivefootronna


There’s No Rewind Button in Life

I started working as a full-time graphic designer at the age of 19, and resigned after five years to explore South-East Asia in 2007 for five months. I was engaged two weeks before I left, and was married by the time I was 28. Yes, I came home early, no regrets, but I do see now how different my decisions may have been if I didn’t. It’s a waste of time and hurtful to say I wished the last 11 years didn’t happen, or that I didn’t get married, because in that place in my life, it made me happy.

As a child of the eighties, I grew up listening to tapes. Some days I feel like my life is a favourite radio mix-tape that jammed, all hell broke loose, and now I’m frantically using a pencil to wind it back in. Should I wind it back in or just make up a new mix-tape? But this one had the perfect cuts, my favourite songs, and I knew the playlist inside out. I even made sure I patched it with tape so no one would record over it. This was just mine. My life. My memories.

I loved the sound it made when tapes were on rewind. That high pitched sound, where it became instinct to know how long to hold the button down for before it reached the song you wanted. No digital display, just pure instinct, and trial and error. After awhile though, the film became loose and you have to start over. If you were lucky, you had a double tape-deck so you can transfer your favourites onto the new one. Timing was crucial, because films in tapes only lasted so many playbacks and rewinds until they wore out. Timing is everything.

Rain in the City

Rain in the city, is different to rain in a small town. When it rains in Whakatane, we smile because it brings growth. Rain in the city makes people looked like soaked cats. Not everyone, just the grumpy ones. The rest are just going about their day, hoping it would stop before they have to cross the road.

I love getting lost in the city when I’m exploring on foot.

There’s less than an hour before check-out, and I’m undecided what to do about breakfast. I think I will head out of the city, go exploring again. Maybe I will sit at a cafe and put my body language knowledge to the test and see what their stories are.

Let’s go with stories, but first to find a good cup of coffee.

Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

Ronna Grace Funtelar

A thirtyish storyteller, hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.