Dear Mr Freeman,
Please, allow me to skip over beginnings. I’m in Boston now and it’s cold, colder than Wellington though far less windy, and I’ve been just as jetlagged as I was then in that small coastal city. The change from tropic to temperate to San Francisco to this should have been shocking, but perhaps the noticeable lack of falling snow here has softened the blow. Besides, I’ve been wanting for some winter weather these past six and a half years… or is it longer?
Martin, can I call you Martin?, well, I’ll roll with it, we’re all friends here. Martin, I’ve lived mostly in the USA for six years, and now I find it so very difficult to return to New Zealand. I gained my independence in a different world and going back drops me right into my old habits. Still, I am glad to have gone home for this past Christmas, to the place where I first began dreaming of the world.
A small child, on a small farm, in a small country, with a big family, and a big world-view. First a National Geographic writer, then a travel photographer, then an astronaut… but I never thought any of those dreams would come true, they were too big, too vast, too fantastic. And now, now that I really am out in the world, making plans and booking flights, it all feels unreal.
Tell me, Martin, how do you travel and see and feel, and not be overwhelmed? A learning process, I suppose. How do you move without regret? You do not, there will always be something you didn’t do or see. Something you missed out on, or chose to give up.
But there is one thing that lingers, from so long ago, from a trip home to New Zealand for Christmas, from a night in Wellington at a one-man show. Mr Martin Freeman, I was jet-lagged and self-conscious from not having showered, and I came away wishing I had said something other than I did.
I wish I had told you that I liked your hat.