You know the expression “you never get a second chance to make a first impression?” Well, it was raining and miserable when I first got off the ferry from Wellington. By the time I walked to my new “home” for the month, I had convinced myself that I was making a mistake (the hostel is literally a three minute walk away, by the way).
You see, all I knew about you before I got there was how small you are, and the fact that you seem to be a transit point, and not quite a destination.. so I spent my first four days feeling trapped, discouraged by my fruitless job hunt and just lost in general. I saw many backpackers come and move on, and as I watched them leave I felt left behind in a strange way.
You know what I’ve realised about you, Picton? You’re the town where people (sometimes) don’t make it to their intended destinations. By this, I mean there were times I left the hostel to go to specific places, but never made it there because I found myself in conversation with random people. I spent an hour talking to an American gentleman who told me about his travels and his daughters (and how one of em didn’t know what to do post-college *you KNOW how much I related to this*), ended up having coffee with another local, and felt the oddest twinge of homesickness during a walk with a lady and she got concerned that I was traveling in New Zealand alone.
And you know what the locals all said? They said you were “the best place to live.” Now, I admit, I was extremely sceptical when I heard this.. but as I sit here writing this six weeks later, I can see where they’re coming from.
There may not be very many places open past 9pm, and it seems to be near impossible to find an Oreo cookie here, but you make up for it with friendly people, great scenery and a sense of peace and community. You may not be a must-see destination for people who are visiting New Zealand, but I really do wish more people would give you a chance – you really are a place worth visiting.
A friend told me they don’t really miss places after they’ve left – and the more I think about it, the more it kind of makes sense. Towns or cities are made up of building and structures, some nicer than what you’d find in other places. In that sense, Picton.. I won’t miss you per se, but I’ll miss the feeling of comfort and familiarity you’ve given me. Sure, there are many other cities which are more exciting, but I’ll remember you as the first place I’ve considered to be home away from home while I’ve been here. Thankful for the people I’ve met who’ve made my experience here a memorable one.
So, thank you. And until next time..