Hello, and welcome back to the second installment of my blog introduction (part two: THE RECKONING). We got all my personal intro stuff out of the way in my first entry, but this time I thought I’d focus more pointedly on this blog’s purpose and what you should expect from it. Of course, it’s subject to change once I get it off the ground running, but this is the direction I’m hoping to take this blog in.
I’m looking to write entries three times a week on here (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). Basically, this blog will be used to talk about stuff, muse about stuff, and geek out about stuff. Pretty straight forward, right? However, there is one teeny tiny eensey weensey little thing I’m also planning on using this blog for. What thing is it, you ask? Well…
To document my travels in New Zealand.
I’ve known for the last three years that, upon graduating college, I’d like to travel somewhere outside of the United States – I just never knew where. I contemplated returning to Italy, or maybe even the UK, but something about backpacking through parts of Europe didn’t strike me as something I wanted to do on my own. It wasn’t until last December when the idea of traveling to New Zealand came to me. At first I thought I’d just go for a couple weeks and see one of the islands. Then a couple weeks turned into a month, which quickly turned into three months. Then, before I knew it, I was calling my dad at ten o’clock at night to ask if I was crazy in wanting to spend an entire year away in a country I’d never been to before. Lucky for me, I have a pretty stellar dad who encouraged me to pursue my wanderlust.
So here I am. Eleven days away from take off and prepping to leave. It’s a strange feeling, knowing I won’t be back in Portland for probably twelve months; a feeling I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot about once I’m over there. I’ve got my plane ticket, my brand new backpack, and my passport. All that’s really left is the packing part, then I’m all set.
As luck would have it, I won’t be traveling to New Zealand on my own. My good friend Kathleen (seen in the picture below) will be keeping me company. I asked her back in December if she wanted to come with me on my post-college travels, but she turned down my offer. She had just studied abroad in Australia and wasn’t sure she wanted to head back to that part of the world. Then, on January 4th, I got a message from her asking, “So are you still looking for a NZ travel buddy? Because I might know someone interested…” We’ve been geeking out about traveling together ever since. Kathleen’s only going to be with me for the first two months, so she’ll no doubt pop up many a time in my entries.
She’s also one of the few people I figure I can travel with and wont smother in their sleep. So. That’s a plus.
So why did I choose New Zealand?
This is normally the portion of the conversation where people chime in with, “Oh. You’re going because of Lord of the Rings, right?” and give me that not-trying-to-judge-you-but-secretly-judging-you-anyway look.
Actually, no. I’m not going because of Lord of the Rings. New Zealand is a place I’ve wanted to travel to for over ten years now, but never really thought I’d have the chance to visit. It’s so far away and off in its own world almost. When I realized that New Zealand was a travel option, it all just clicked. I knew that was where I wanted to go.
For starters, have you ever seen a picture of New Zealand? It’s breathtaking. Everyone I’ve talked to who’s visited and/or lived in New Zealand has confirmed that it’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Although we’re heading over in winter, I’m so looking forward to the summer spent there and plan on doing a lot of hiking and outdoorsy things (despite the fact I’m one of the least outdoorsy people imaginable).
I also can’t lie, the fact that English is the native tongue was kind of a huge factor. I tend to make an ass of myself when it comes to interacting with people who speak other languages. I once got separated from my family in Rome and had to take the metro by myself, and ended up crying in public because I couldn’t find anyone who spoke English to help me. I figure I’m going to be getting lost at least a couple times in New Zealand and do not care for a repeat of that incident.
Plus it’s been stated time and time and time and, yes, time again that New Zealand is one of the safest places in the world to travel, if not the safest place. Last year it was reported that crime in New Zealand was at an all time low for crying out loud. As someone who’s going to spend the majority of her time traveling by herself, I like those odds. Not to mention I’ve heard how all the Maoris and Kiwis there are extremely friendly to tourists.
And, okay, fine, Peter Jackson’s film adaptions of Tolkien’s work did somewhat factor into my decision. I mean, I don’t think I would have known New Zealand existed when I was eleven if it weren’t for Fellowship of the Ring. Not to mention it was the release of the first Hobbit film in December that made me realize that New Zealand was a travel option, and a great one at that. So while the Rings and Hobbit films may not be the number one factor in my choice of travel, you can bet your ass I will be weeping in front of Bag End at some point in my journey.
The purpose of this blog seems pretty straight forward after listing all of that off. I’m hoping to record, not all, but most of my travels on this blog, in hopefully an entertaining manner. This blog started as an idea for keeping family and friends updated with what I was up to. Also, end game, I’m really hoping to write a book about my first year being graduated from college, focusing heavily on my New Zealand travels. Hopefully this blog will help me in doing so.
But I am hoping this blog lasts me longer than New Zealand. I’d like it to be the blog I write on once I’m back in the States and start focusing on non-travel things. I’m sure there will even be days in New Zealand where I don’t focus much on travels and, instead, rant about this or that.
I’m also going to be doing a little thing called Fan Girl Fridays, where I’ll share lists of geeky things I love/hate and rant about television/movies/books and such. While focusing on my life post-college is grand, I do need a geek-outlet of sorts to ramble. (I may eventually begin to incorporate vlogs into my blogging somewhere down the line, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)
Traveling to New Zealand is, without a doubt, the biggest leap into the dark I’ve ever made. I’ve never done anything so bold. Truth be told, I’m not a brave person. I like my comfort; my sense of routine. As much as I tried to deny it when I was younger, I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m not spontaneous. In that right, I’m very much like a hobbit. I like my home life, my food, and my ale. I like kicking up my big feet and relaxing without a care in the world. The idea of getting up and running off somewhere new is just as much tempting as it is intimidating. It’s something I thought I’d only ever dream about, not pursue. As the days get closer to my flight, the more nervous I become. Change is, after all, a pretty scary thing. However, a while ago someone wrote something to me, and I’ve found myself going back to it time and time again in the last couple weeks:
“You beautiful, beautiful person. Change scares the best of us. I assure you it does. But when faced with the fear of change you must always ask yourself, “Am I going to control this fear, or is this fear going to control me?” Because either way, life will move forward, and change will happen. The only thing you have control over is how you react to it. You are strong. You are genuine. You are creative. And you, my dear, are capable of great things. Don’t let fear of change stop you from living.”
So I’m not going to let fear get the better of me. I’m seizing my atlas, swinging on my pack, and running head on into this adventure. I’m pulling a Bilbo Baggins. I’m doing what’s unexpected of me and taking that leap. I’m going to embrace the change. As Bilbo would say:
I’m going on a adventure.