Love Does by Bob Goff
Storyline by Donald Miller
START by Jon Acuff
Read these books, and you will most likely quit your job and buy a one-way ticket to somewhere. Or start waking up at 5am to write a novel. Or start giving away everything you own. You might realize you’ve been stuck. You might start feeling claustrophobic.
It was like an awakening. It was like a dear long lost friend was reaching out a hand to pull me out of the rut I had turned into my comfortable little den, with a recliner and indent of my tush. At 27, I was dangerously approaching a quarter-life crisis, and I am far too old for such. Unless I live to be 108. So I started to jot down plans on napkins. I have always wanted to go an adventure.
I saw the Lord of the Rings movies in 2006. I said, “that place isn’t real.” My friend said, “It’s New Zealand.”
“I will go there.”
So, it took me getting a job as Director of Alumni Relations in the college town I love, to remind me I need to be out adventuring, writing about the quality of the climbing trees in the southern hemisphere, sipping on locally roasted espresso, tasting seafood caught around the corner, and meeting kiwis in the human form. An 8-5 desk job hurt me, physically and emotionally. I am far too young to be feel so damn old. Or something like that.
I applied for a working holiday visa and got accepted to work in exchange for my housing and food while traveling around hobbit country.
I have two bright and beautiful friends, Kasey and Brittany, that are joining the adventure!
While at my favorite downtown bookstore, I saw a waterproof journal in the travel section. I flipped through the pages, figured I needed it, checked the price, then decided I’d write while undercover for free.
I bought a one-way ticket and will arrive in Auckland on September 19th, my 28th birthday, after a 20 hour flight from Tampa.
I bought a powerball ticket (jackpot was $300 million) and realized that my plans wouldn’t even change if I won. Well, I guess I wouldn’t shear sheep or scrub toilets while in NZ.
I was shocked by the electrical plug and I can now cook
organic veggie burgers, Thai green curry, and rice at the perfect texture.
I really am learning a lot here. I was in charge of dinner last night and the kids devoured it, so I call it a success. It is spring here, so it’s time for the cleaning spring demands (I should’ve thought of that before I planned this trip!) I actually quite enjoy it when a kitchen starts off horrid. It’s rewarding to see such progress. It’s pouring rain during my time off, so I am soaking my feet while watching Becoming Jane and drinking green tea. So lovely.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed here but have yet to tell you about:
The hole in the ozone layer over New Zealand is so serious, there are vending machines that sell only sunscreen and are called The Sunscreen Machines.
People don’t tip wait staff here. It felt rude at first, but they get paid more than the American $2.50/hr or whatever, and it’s just not what kiwis do. So sometimes when breakfast out costs $15, I tell myself with the conversion rate and tip, it’s really comparable to breakfast out in the states.
Help exchange and WWOOFING (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) are very popular here and a lot of people we meet either house helpers or know someone who does. It’s such a great way to see the country on a budget.
Turns out the Kmart here is awesome. No, seriously! Kmart is awesome here because it’s like a Target. We were giddy when we walked through. “The quality of the service and products were wow plus,” Brittany said with bright eyes.
Many kiwis end each sentence with “eh?” or “isn’t it?” even when it doesn’t require an answer. This sometimes makes active listening very easy, unless you don’t want to agree with this person, then there is a lot of silence.
There are directional signs in towns that point you not just to streets, but services. This makes wine tastings easy to find.