PEERS Perspectives is a blog series that offers thoughts and reflections from our staff and community members on mental health, current events, and the ways they affect our lives.

Today’s post is written by Communications Coordinator Joshua Walters

Alex,

Whenever it seems like this country is going to hell, I think of you all the way down in New Zealand, a safe distance away from all that has become a terrible scene in America. You moved at the right time and had the foresight to see that things were going to get ugly. Armed far-right militias abducting people off the street into unmarked cars, hundreds of thousands dead from the pandemic, fires setting the west ablaze making the sky a burnt orange and the air unbreathable. It’s not a great time to be here. 

But whenever I locate the map on purple air, to see if I will be able to breathe today, I look out across the most expanded view of the globe. There are other fires in the world, there are other dictators who will not let go of power, and when it comes to the pandemic that is everywhere. But then I think, where is it good right now? Where is it clean, and fresh and safe? A place with good drinking water, fresh skies, nice beaches. And the greenest of green dots the map has to offer are in islands away from big industry, like New Zealand. I saw it had an AQI of 0. Where you are. Fresh and clean and so far remote it’s not on anyone’s mind. Far enough away where you would really need to make an effort to get there.

Even before our current administration, I made concerted efforts to leave America, for a job, for romance, but it never really worked out. I was never able to make the move. I always had to come back home. But now it looks like the homeland is coming up on impending Civil War. So divided, and so much armed hatred. As a creative personality, all one can do is keep creating. Keep producing, writing, speaking. Which is what you have done, your career moved you out there, you took your family with you, and I bet wherever you see some news about America, your glad you moved when you did. 

By the way→ 

My parents were down there in Feb and early March. They got on a plane back to the states right before they couldn’t anymore. We thought they might get stuck down there, so I gave them your contact. Just in case they didn’t make it home before the planes shut down. They made it back, but now, maybe they wished they hadn’t. Anyway- it’s always good to know someone, especially in paradise.

-Your friend and fellow creator,

J. dubs