I said to one of my daughters whilst we were skiing that I just want to move down here to the Wanaka area. She said ‘why don’t you”. So, I came and built a house. I’d always said to my girls that when they’re eighteen they would leave home, or if they didn’t – I would. So, I did. It sounds mean, but it was said and done with love. Leaving home is real.

My dad was a helicopter pilot and we moved a lot, we lived in Tekapo, Te Kuiti, Raglan, all over the place. For High School I went to boarding school, one school holiday I went home to the wrong house.

I went to Auckland University to study architecture, it took me nine years to graduate because I had adventures along the way; I was a liftie at Cardrona, I learned how to parapont, telemark.

Then I landed in Wellington. I travelled a lot as an exhibition designer, I worked in Korea on the expo back in the nineties, I was the designer, but I loved working with the Korean builders who had no English and the Kiwi sparkies who had come with us. I decided project management was for me.

I worked for the City Council on a massive housing project then I moved back into the corporate world as a regional manager. All of that burnt me out, I dropped into a big hole of depression. And then I was like; to hell with all this.

So, I came down and worked in construction but the segue is into me becoming a somatic sexologist. I wanted to understand how intimacy works, to be a better lover, a better partner. I wondered how do I keep finding myself always wanting to leave? I kept doing the personal work and then wanted to share it, I’m now a certified Somatic Sex Educator.

The real change came at the beginning of Covid, when I was made redundant from the mortgage-paying, project management job. I had utterly no income. It was quite devastating; I couldn’t even get an interview. It undermined my confidence.  All of a sudden I felt old.

That’s when I really launched the business, up till then I was tinkering at the edges. I used the redundancy payment to market the business. I reinvented myself.

I wrote a book on how to survive depression, then I ran out of money and had to rent my house out, I lived in a camping ground. That would have been fun if it was by choice, when it’s not by choice, its shit.

For a while I called myself an intimacy guide, partly because people would say Somatic Sexology – what is that? Have you seen Sex, Love and Goop on Netflix?  That show has helped raise awareness and more people are reaching out for help. Mostly my clients are in New Zealand, some on Zoom, some face to face.

I’m in the middle of a psychology post grad diploma. That is to professionalise the sexology side and be recognised by ACC, so I can help more people with trauma.

Two years later and I’m having to put people off. I’m reaching the tipping point. I’m buying 300 acres and I’ll be building a hut at the top so I can do my Wildself adventures there.

Going into the wild is about finding the primal self. We spend 90% of time from the chin up, reconnecting with our bodies helps with all aspects of our lives, from the bedroom to the boardroom. It’s about giving yourself permission to feel pleasure.

Wildself is about feeling your freedom.

https://www.wildself.nz

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I’m scouting for others who will be prepared to share their stories with me. It doesn’t need to be a career, it can be voluntary work, study, sport or pastimes. Most stories will be affirmative – but not all. Some will be people following long held dreams, others changing careers for economic necessity. Please let me know if you or someone you know might be keen to talk about a substantial shift in their lives.

The series has a working title now “Better Late”.

The stories don’t need to be in New Zealand – this is a world wide trend. Please contact me at pete@petecarter.nz

Pete Carter is the author of This is Us. Due out in June 2020 it will be published by Exisle and tells the story of more than 200 New Zealanders in words and pictures. The book is really a portrait of the nation and how it is made up. Pete wrote Our Dog Benji a children’s book illustrated by his nephew, published by EK in 2017. He is also the author of two books of poetry. He has had magazine articles published and poetry in anthologies. As a photographer he has had two solo exhibitions and work included in group exhibitions in NZ and overseas and has sold work to and been commissioned by corporate clients.

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