Guest New to New Zealand

At any given time on any given day, there are over 10,000 airplanes in the sky look up and you’ll probably see one before you can count to one hundred. Each plane is on a different route to a different place carrying different people people with different purposes for coming or going to wherever their destination may be.

Just under three months ago, I found myself inside one of those 10,000 airplanes. My purpose? To spend a semester studying abroad. I was a first-time solo traveler headed someplace new, but to any ground observer, I was nothing more than a mere speck in the sky. My departure date crept up on me (as important days have a way of doing) and even though I was ready to temporarily bid my friends and family in Canada adieu, I didn’t really know what to expect. My life has been zipped up into a suitcase and stowed away in the undercarriage of the aircraft I was trusting to transport me 11,487 km to Australia and from there, to New Zealand.

As someone who over-thinks everything such as for real money casinos, I asked myself some pretty standard travel questions while on route: what if I miss my connecting flight? What if they lose my luggage? What if I can’t find my way to my apartment from the airport and accidentally wander into an active volcano, or find myself caught in the middle of a sheep stampede? All of those anxieties have long since disappeared because I made my connecting flight, successfully collected my luggage, and I am still alive. Speaking of being alive, life in the Southern Hemisphere is, as the New Zealanders say, sweet as.

I spend most of my time in Auckland, as that’s where I’m studying. It’s a wonderful place to be one third of the entire population lives here, so there’s always something to see and someone new to meet. But I’ve made a conscious effort to get out of the city as much as I can because that’s where the real New Zealand is. If you pull out a thesaurus and look up the word beautiful, New Zealand could be described as every single one of those synonyms, and then some.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen things at that often leave me wondering whether or not I live in a fantasy novel. I’ve climbed mountains, I’ve surfed in the ocean, and I’ve swum in lakes that look like they were painted with watercolor. I’ve seen dolphins and seals in the wild, I’ve hiked paths leading to incredible lookouts, I’ve built my adventurer qualifications by bungee-jumping, caving, sand-boarding, and snorkeling, I’ve made music with strangers, and I’ve seen the sun rise on a very regular basis. But perhaps the most important thing I’ve done since I’ve been here is challenge myself in more ways than one.