Feeling homesick is horrible. The new place is exciting but it isn’t as good. The food is different, nothing is familiar, and people talk funny. It was like that when I moved to Wisconsin: I missed New Zealand so much! I missed my friends, the beach, rugby games, driving on the left-hand side, even food like Marmite and mince pies. Then I discovered Wisconsin’s intriguing animal-shaped effigy mounds, ancient sites with no known purpose. I imagined these mounds were secret portals to other places and if I found the right one it would whisk me home to New Zealand.
But people say you can never go home. Things change while you are away: new buildings go up, new roads develop, and people move on. So when I wrote Annie’s adventure I thought I might explore this idea, while also drawing on my experience of trail running on forest tracks. I sent Annie back to a time when Moa and Te Hōkioi dominated the wild New Zealand bush. Eventually, I came to love Wisconsin with its red barns, yellow school buses and blue, blue lakes. I loved the sound of my shovel in the snow, cheesy bagels, fall leaves, sledding, and the lovely friends I made there. Perhaps it’s time I looked for a New Zealand portal, so I can pop back for a visit!