Embracing Slow Living in New Zealand: A 2023 Journey


Hello again! It’s been a while since I poured my thoughts into words in English. Here I am, typing on my keyboard. As Christmas draws near, let me update you about my life. I’ve been living in New Zealand for two months now, enjoying a slower pace of life and being more present in the moment – the serene countryside of Northland, New Zealand.  

Reflections on 2023: Navigating Life’s Hurdles

A Bumpy Start to 2023

Can I say 2023 is not the best year for me so far? 2023 hasn’t been my year, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Life threw curveballs at me from day one, and it felt like one setback after another. I’d been meaning to return to New Zealand, a place close to my heart, but the past year was like a maze of challenges, a hurdle marathon.

What people didn’t know that I went through, there were moments when giving up seemed like the easiest option. I battled through depressive episodes, grappling with family and personal matters that drained me mentally, emotionally, and physically. The adulting struggle hit hard, and I found myself retreating into a shell, losing interest in things that once brought me joy. I told myself over and over, “You can do it, Elnie. These shall pass.”

Read: Reason To Embrace Your Imperfection

A Journey to Self-Care: From Neglect to Nourishment

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to forget the vessel that carries us—our body. My wake-up call came in Batam, a place that, despite the cozy resort (thanks to the office), left me feeling isolated in Nongsa Village. Stress and sorrow became unwelcome companions, and I coped by neglecting my health. It reached a tipping point when I tipped the scales at 61.6kg, the heaviest I’d ever been.

Realizing the Importance of Self-Care: My Journey to a Healthier Life

At one point in my life, I came to the realization that I had been neglecting my body. Although I was living in a nice resort, Nongsa Village, in Batam, I found myself feeling stressed and unhappy. The area was not lively and there was not much to do. I coped with my feelings by eating frugally, which ultimately led to my heaviest weight of 61.6kg. It was then, during a thorough medical check-up in Thailand, that I learned I was on the verge of being overweight, which could potentially cause heart problems. That was when I decided to leave Batam and move back to Bali to live a healthier lifestyle.

Life back in Bali: A Refreshing Change of Pace

After eight months in Batam (of course back to back Singapore, Johor, and KL for awhile), I finally returned to Bali. For the first time, I am filled with appreciation for the life I have here. I can breathe clean air, access a nearby gym with ease, and swim at the picturesque beach just ten minutes away. I am truly grateful for this life. During my time in Bali, I learned about the art of mindful eating which involved listening to my body’s cues, by prioritised my well-being by going to the gym four days a week, consuming a healthy diet, practicing intermittent fasting, and monitoring my calorie intake. When it’s exhausted, I give it the rest it needs.  

Rediscovering Simple Joys in the Countryside and Embracing Life’s Slow Journey

Living in the countryside turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. Gardening, in particular, which I had never considered before, has become a delightful pastime. My garden now boasts bok choy that I grew from seeds. It took two months to harvest them, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Gardening has become a kind of therapy for me, a relaxing activity that I thoroughly enjoy. I recently harvested the bok choy and used it to make a delicious Capcay vegetable dish. It was incredibly fresh and yummy.

Another activity I’ve taken up again is baking. I hadn’t baked for a while, but when I moved to Auckland, I asked my friend for a portion of her sourdough starter so I could start practicing again. After a year, I managed to make a pretty decent loaf, but I still need to work on my scoring skills. I joined the Facebook group Brad & Butter Sourdough, where the owner of the bakery invited all of the students to reconnect virtually. 

Taking a Step Back and Embracing Life’s Slow Journey

I came to realize that my body’s tiredness was a signal to rest, and I needed to listen to my body. Taking breaks and stepping back when necessary became crucial for me. The hustle culture sets unrealistic standards, and we put too much pressure on ourselves for no reason. I embraced the idea that everyone has their unique journey and pace. There’s no need to compare ourselves to others because life is not a race. We all have our own slow and present journey to enjoy with the people we love and care about. Let’s soak up the simple joys of life.

What’s Your 2023 Story? Let’s Connect.

How has your 2023 been so far? Share your story in the comment box below, and let’s make this a conversation.

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