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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Se Yorlye Suun

NORFOLK ISLAND | Sunday, 18 May 2014 | Views [1200] | Comments [3]

As I packed my stuff early, I was fighting back tears a bit; I knew that getting on the plane and leaving Norfolk would be extremely difficult. Cleaning the suite as much as possible I washed every dish, gave the kitchen a good wipedown and got rid of all the rubbish. When I called Nicki I asked if we could print a copy of my credit card statement. I don't have a ticket out of New Zealand; I could show my credit card statement if I got hassled at customs. The printer wasn't working but I figured we couldn't waste too much time since it was nearly 10 AM and I couldn't check in online for my flight. Gaelene called just before we left; I wanted to make sure she'd be at the airport because I wanted to give her a hug goodbye. With all my gear in the back I was slightly emotional as we drove toward the airport. Many people check in for their flight and then either stroll into town for a bit or go for a short drive. Michelle, the school headmaster, showed up to give me a hug goodbye and wish me well; that was very thoughtful of her! Cristina, unfortunately couldn't be there since she was at a birthday party for Dave's daughter. Fighting tears, I went to check in but they asked if I had an onward ticket. I explained that Auckland was my final destination but the ticket agent asked "how are you getting back to the States?" And I said "I'm not going back there." Juliette, the head agent put NZ customs on the phone and I explained that I was told in Queenstown that as long as I can demonstrate that I have sufficient funds to buy a ticket, it's not a problem. She said "well, they gave you the wrong information." I explained then that I'm on an extended visit doing filming for a documentary. My heart pounding, I was told that I theoretically should be on a work visa if I'm filming for a documentary. "We're not really concerned about that though, the main thing is that you have to have a ticket out of New Zealand to a country you can enter" she said. It was very difficult for me and I said frantically to Juliette "I have a very important meeting in Auckland in a few days that I cannot miss!" Before coming here I even thought of this: if I ran into this problem I could buy a ticket to New Caledonia or possibly Tokyo (where I'm thinking of spending my 30th). I'd read about the onward ticket dilemma many times and have always thought "there's a way out of it." As I sat there nervous, Nicki shouted me a coffee and a muffin and told me not to worry. Juliette returned, shaking her heading saying that I have to have an onward ticket. She then said she could set me up with a fully refundable ticket to Sydney and that she'll put the refund through tomorrow after I email Nicki. She said she's done it many times for travellers, and Nicki even said "I had dinner with Juliette last night, you're in good hands." The only credit card I have is cut in half; I do that so I don't spend uncontrollably with it yet still have it for making online purchases such as plane tickets. Minutes later, Juliette returned with my boarding pass and a printout of the refundable ticket. The only part that's nonrefundable is a $10 "service fee" attached to the ticket. With all that weight off my chest I sipped my coffee emotionally as I filled out my departure card. The incoming flight was delayed about 15 minutes due to a plane change in Auckland so that gave us enough time for a short drive. We drove to Headstone Point for a photo and then into town quickly so I could get a magnet. Gaelene, Kerry, and Carli were all at the airport but I didn't see Troy and Shari. Gaelene, Kerry, and I got a nice photo here.

Wally then showed up so he could say his goodbyes. Hayden does the baggage screening so he's one of the last people I got to say goodbye to before I got on the plane. I must add that Norfolk has to be one of the only places in the world where the local mechanic is a baggage screener (Hayden), a bank teller works at a cafe (Sarah), and so forth. Norfolk Island has really touched me. Being sponsored by Nicki, a fabulous dinner with Gaelene and Rosco, speaking at the school, meeting Cristina and Teddy, speaking on Norfolk Island Radio, spending time with Dave, being set up with a bicycle by Hayden, and meeting Rachael at the party at Foot Nort (being invited even I wasn't really close with anyone), it's all been a highlight. So much was packed into one week! I never dreamed that a tiny island with a peculiar flag would have such a huge impact on me. It appears it was really meant to happen this way. Initially I had thought of going to Melbourne or Vanuatu yet I found a super-cheap ticket to Norfolk after drinking about four glasses of wine that night. On the plane I was crying; I already really miss everyone! The only other place I've left crying is London. The real highlight of this journey was speaking at the school and making an impact! As I flew over the South Pacific back toward Aotearoa today, I didn't say "goodbye" to Norfolk but instead "se yorlye suun." 



You need to add the pictures I took of your plane taking off, I was there to say goodbye after all, just not in time for a last hug.

  cristina May 21, 2014 9:28 PM


Hi Brud,
Know how you feel. Norfolk is such a special place, and that's because of the people. Most of my family are there, and a part of my heart - as is yours, no doubt. It's so true, love makes the world go around, and you received a heavy dose of it from those on the island. I know you'll be back. Meanwhile, enjoy the memories and photos.

  Mary May 22, 2014 3:03 AM


Heya, you are an special person Chris, and you will always have friends, and a place to stay..no matter how far you travel nor how long you stay away, this Island, my people will always welcome you back!! miss you heaps xxx Racheal.

  Racheal McConnell May 24, 2014 1:56 PM

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