Greetings once again readers,
Kathleen here, usurping Julia’s blog for another guest entry.
On Sunday, Julia and I fulfilled one of our personal life ambitions — to visit Hobbiton. It was, hands down, one of the most exciting and emotional things we have done on this incredible journey. However, I am going to avoid talking about that particular adventure and leave it to Julia to share with you at a later date. But have a few teaser pictures first!
This entry is a bittersweet farewell to a country that I have so quickly fallen in love with and a reflection on my two short months traveling with Julia.
My initial plan following graduation was pretty typical. Get the diploma, find a job, get an apartment, eventually go to graduate school, blah blah blah. Then I was presented this remarkable opportunity to go to New Zealand. I must admit, the first time Julia suggested I go with her, I said “No, I can’t, I have to find a job” or some crap like that. It was not long before I mentally slapped myself and hopped on the New Zealand bandwagon. I have no idea what would be going on in my life right now if I had not changed my mind but I can say for certain that it would not even come close to comparing with this trip.
Exploring New Zealand has been life changing, yet I find myself struggling to say precisely how I have changed.
I suppose I know some things now about myself that I did not know before. For example, apparently I think jumping out of an airplane is a party from start to finish (seriously, if you haven’t watched the video of Julia and I skydiving, stop reading and watch this). I also know that while I love talking with random strangers in pubs or on tour groups, I clam up a bit around people sharing our hostel rooms. I am really good a repacking my suitcase very quickly. I have no shame about acting like a tourist, especially around anything Middle Earth related (I might have screamed out, “I’m going on an adventure!” during our Hobbiton tour today). I actually can kind of cook, even if I’m making it up as I go along.
These are all little pieces of knowledge, but it’s always surprising to find out something new about yourself.
I certainly feel different than I did two months ago. I have been happier and more content day in and day out during this trip than I have for a while. Each day brought something new and exciting, different people to meet and sights to see. We were always waking up to an adventure. Perhaps that will be one of the things I miss most when I return home, the prospect of a new city every few days and new things to explore, no regular routine or schedule to follow.
Now I don’t want to suggest that I will be sad to return home and see my friends and family, quite the opposite. I am sure that once I arrive, I will be confronted with other exciting prospects and challenges to conquer. I just find myself incredibly reluctant to bid farewell for who knows how long to this beautiful place that has captivated my mind. I feel like I am leaving part of my heart here. Furthermore, I will soon have to say goodbye to Julia.
Let’s move on to the lovely lady herself.
While planning for this trip, I was certain that Julia and I were going to have a great time together. Though we were going to be in very close quarters for an extended period of time, I felt confident that we would travel well as a pair. I completely underestimated us. Julia has mentioned in previous entries regarding how she feels about traveling with me, but I believe I am the lucky one in this situation. It feels like we intrinsically compliment each other, similar in certain ways (like an unending supply of energy about anything Lord of the Ring’s-y or Hobbit-y) and different in others to make a powerhouse traveling unit.
Traveling around with a person like Julia and I have been doing inevitably changes the relationship between the two. For my part, I can only say that I feel we have become closer friends, even more so than we were in high school. We read each other well, know when to offer comfort or space, can sense the other persons mood easily, and can have short conversations with glances. I believe that if I stayed longer with Julia, we could have achieved telepathy. And I trust her, unquestionably and unreservedly.
This trip has not only given me memories and experiences that will be with me for the rest of my life, but it has brought me closer to one of my best friends.
It was Julia who invited me on this extraordinary adventure and allowed me to share such an incredible experience with her. For that gift, I am eternally grateful.
While I am gutted to be leaving NZ and Julia, I know I must. My part of this particular adventure is over and it is time for Julia to shine on her own. And she is going to be fantastic.
You got it!