Done and dusted on the Milford

I'm unemployed.

Sorry for the bluntness, I just needed to get that off my chest.

Oh and before you ask, I don't have a job neatly lined up to step into just as the season finishes up. (Wouldn't that be grand though?)

Skimming back over my past posts, I realise I've been guilty of getting myself into a fluster about the great unknown, consoling myself that everything will be ok, then promptly getting caught up in the imminent future again. Good one Anna.

Now though, in this strange in-between where still I'm basking in the glow of my season on the Milford, I feel (relatively) calm about whatever's next. So rather than question it, I've used this time to reflect on the past six months.

I've walked more than 1,400 kilometres (in circles, but never mind that), met and looked after more than 1,000 people (yep, that's a lot of names to remember) and worked in more than 25 different teams. That has all made for a pretty incredible life experience. And it's been exactly that; a lifestyle rather than a job. My colleagues haven't just been workmates, they have been the ones getting ridiculous with me out on the track, the ones to back me up in difficult or confronting situations and the ones to welcome me home at night.

With this in mind, it occurs to me that perhaps I could make a career out of guiding after all. But what I have learnt in the past six months is bound to come in handy no matter what direction I end up going in. And just what have I learned? Well, being outdoors where I cart around the majority of the stuff I need to get by on my back has definitely helped me refocus on the basics; nature, humans, and challenging oneself.

Connecting with the environment has helped me reconnect with myself. And I don't mean connecting like how we plug into our iPhones. Nature tends to be way more subtle than that. After a while of being in the mountains, it just seeps into your soul. Even if it's not for days at a time, being somewhere that the outside world can't reach you has got to be good for you. Life is hectic. The mountains offer serenity. I figure it's all about a balanced lifestyle.

Being in a people-focused role has been fascinating. Everyone has a story. It just takes a little prompting (or a slower-than-average walk down Mackinnon Pass) for it to come out. And I have found that it is often the most unsuspecting person who makes the most awesome human.

As for challenging oneself, well that might just be my Type A personality coming through. Seriously though, I'd challenged myself academically up until about six months ago. Switching to a completely new type of challenge has been invigorating, terrifying, exhausting and amazing.

So. I'm unemployed. But let me clarify; I'm a whole lot happier than I was this time last year when I was employed.

Anna Watsonqueenstown