new zealand

Keep Your Fears. Share Your Courage.

Keep Your Fears. Share Your Courage.

I blinked twice, was I reading it right? The screen said 91% humidity. A fever can play mind tricks on you, particularly when it comes to convincing you that it’s a good idea to wear a sweatshirt, even when it’s almost 100% humidity. I look down at my gym shorts and realised I was embracing both winter and our tropical summer.

The beads of sweat that rolled down my face, back and legs was somehow soothing, yet gross at the same time (for obvious reasons!). I spent a few hours in bed in and out of the blanket, trying to find that sweet spot of sweating but not overheating from a blanket sauna.

# 31 All The Single Ladies

Exploring the old mining ruins at Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway.

Exploring the old mining ruins at Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway.

When you find yourself single after a long-term relationship, it's easy to fall into the trap of wanting to jump back straight into one. I resisted that urge because, let's face it, I'm just not ready. When you're dating, there are so many unanswered questions that it can drive even the most level headed woman crazy, aka this one. I thought I understood men, but now I second guess myself.

I went to Elemental Potential’s ‘Yes To Love’ workshop on The Body Language of Love and Attraction on Thursday night. It catered for singles, as well as those in existing relationships. Run by my friend, Steph Holloway, it was held at a bar on Fort Street, Auckland called Rich Heart, and was an intimate group of eight women, and one man. Dan, who worked at the bar, floated in and out, but his girlfriend was with us. It was an interesting mix of women, who had their share of stories and woes.

Most of what was covered I already knew, but a refresher was still handy. The most interesting part were the tell-tale signs of deception, and how to spot a player. I also picked up a couple of new dating terms like ghosting and benching. Ghosting is where the other person just cuts off contact completely. Benching is where they have a few people on the go, and will only contact you at their convenience, aka the player.

A common misconception about body language is that it's the physical reaction to your thoughts, when actually it's the emotional response. You can learned to mask it, but if you know what to look for, people tell a whole different story to what comes out of their mouth. It's certainly fascinating to me.

When you're feeling down, let it be

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself today, not sure why, maybe I’m just tired and can’t be bothered with the world. Then it hit me. Her profile popped up on my recommended list. Yes H-E-R. Her old profile had me blocked, so I guess she made a new one, and you can’t block people you aren’t already friends with. I saw it, them together. I could be sad, but I’m not. Relieved, yes. That they’re finally putting it out there. Still, sucks to be single.

Maybe sometime in the future I’ll be ready to date, just not yet. I thought about organising those “Singles With A Cause’ type of events, where singles mingle while volunteering for a charity. Sounds like a cool way to meet genuine, caring people. There’s bound to be less awkward moments, or the need for pointless small talk, and you get to see the good in people. I think I will look into that!

Most days are good, some days I crash. At the end of the day, as long as I’m moving forward, no matter how slow, that’s better than yesterday.

P.S. I'm sure single men, or men in general find woman just as confusing. That fear of rejection is REAL, just try not to be creepy. If you don't know your level of creepy or don't know when a woman is just not into you, find an honest wing man. Nothing feels more like a kick in the ovaries than a guy being creepy who is hitting on you. Word.

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.

# 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.

# 23 Kayaking at Ohiwa Harbour

# 23 Kayaking at Ohiwa Harbour

Do you feel guilty taking time out for yourself when the house is a mess, or you haven't done the washing? I do. It's been a busy few months, and even when I'm home, there's always something else on the task list that I thought was more important than me. Then I started to feel tired all the time, and I knew if I didn't take some time out, I would be burnt out by the middle of the year.

# 11 Moonlight kayaking

Looking back a lot of my big life adventures have been on my own. I have travelled South East Asia and a bit of Europe, but have barely explored my own backyard.

My friend, Julie-Anne and I must have been thinking the same thing, because neither of us have explored Ohiwa Harbour, even though we have lived here most of our lives.

It was a Thursday night adventure - moonlight kayaking at Ohiwa Harbour, out by Kutarere. Kutarere is a small town about 25 minutes out of Whakatane, heading towards Opotiki. Unfortunately it clouded over, so no moonlight, but the darkness meant we could see the phosphorescence in the water. That is one trippy plankton I tell ya!

We went on a guided kayaking tour with Kenny at KG Kayaks, and the kayaks launched just down the hill from his house. As a local, I knew of him, but we had not met formally until that night. Kenny is quite the character, a well known local, always up for a yarn in his unmistakable Scottish accent. I got the feeling that he genuinely loved the water, the harbour and being around people. 

There were some funny moments, like Julie-Anne taking on the mangroves, and the mangroves won. Lucky for us, the tide was high and a bit of persistence got us unstuck. I love the overhanging Pohutukawa, though some Kenny said were the result of erosion on the nearby islands.

After a couple of hours in the water, we got back to a camp fire where hot drinks and Kenny's wife's home baking were waiting for us. It was a real family business, even Kenny's son took our life jackets and paddles. 

Great company, good yarns and another adventure ticked off. What's next?