Today is the day! I am currently sitting in the Los Angeles airport patiently waiting for my plane to Auckland. I’m getting a little nervous about the flight because the 6 hour flight I took to get to LA felt like forever and my flight to Auckland is 13 hours! Hopefully this plane will be a little nicer and smoother though…. I’ll let you know how it goes later. As sad as I am to miss out on my favorite holiday celebrating America’s freedom, this day could not have come any sooner!
Rather than having a bucket list of things to do in New Zealand, I thought it would be more important to have personal goals that will make a larger, more permanent impact in my life. Here are the top four things that I want to experience most…
1. Independence- My whole life I have been dependent on other people for pretty much anything. When I say the word “independence”, all that runs through my mind is “Oh wait you mean just becoming an adult?” Well sure I can pick up a few adult responsibilities but I’m definitely not ready for the total adult life yet. For example I want to get the whole booking an entire travel plan AND manage to get the best deals thing down on my own. I usually rely on my mom for things like that among many other adult tasks that I really should be able to do on my own by now.
2. Sociability- For those of you who know me well know that I don’t really talk with people I don’t know very well.. maybe it’s the New Yorker in me. How do I ever expect to make connections and new friendships with random people if I don’t even talk to them (or acknowledge their presence at that)? The best way to get a full cultural immersion experience is to just make friends with the locals, especially if they’re known for being friendly and welcoming people like kiwis! I want to be able to walk up to a checkout counter and make someone’s day a little brighter, or get to know the person sitting next to me on a plane, train, bus, etc… you never know what evidence you can find to prove how small of a world it is that we live in!
3. Identity- College is an interesting time… much of the college atmosphere is totally different than what I was used to growing up which causes a lot of confusion in knowing who I am or even who I want to be. While in New Zealand, I want to discover more of myself. I think a lot of it will come from any independence I gain because it will allow me to be away from all the things I knew before and give me a chance to almost start over and find the version of me that I love most.
4. Cultural Awareness- One of my favorite things about traveling is not only learning about other cultures but interacting with them myself. What I’ve noticed over the years is that it is easier to make friends with locals the more I embrace their culture with love. I have read multiple times that kiwis are known to be quite friendly people who openly welcome foreigners to their beautiful land. Maybe if I’m lucky, some of their friendliness with rub off on me (not that I’m a mean person at all).
Most of all, I want to the American who defies all of the negative American stereotypes and show the world that we’re not all what we are perceived to be.
Words cannot describe how excited I am for this incredible journey that lays ahead of me! I am ready for whatever challenges and life-changing experiences New Zealand has to offer!
P.S. Please feel free to subscribe and/or follow my blog as I will capture my most precious moments to share with y’all.