Wednesday: One is the Loneliest Number…

When I asked Kathleen to come with me to New Zealand back in December, I don’t think I had any clue how well it would all work out. At the time, I knew two things: that I didn’t want to travel alone and that Kathleen was one of three or four friends I wouldn’t want to smother in their sleep after spending far too much time together. This was enough to conclude that she should probably come along with me, hence me extending an invitation after we saw The Hobbit.

Little did I know that we were a travel duo made in heaven. The two of us have balanced each other out beautifully this entire trip. Not to mention we’ve sort of turned into an old married couple. Not only did we reach the point of finishing each other’s sentences, we even began to say the exact same phrases/words at the exact same time with the exact same inflection. It was awesome and creepy all at once.

But just like I didn’t realize how amazingly we’d get on together during travel, I had absolutely no idea how devastating it’d be when the day came that she packed her bags and left this country.


Yesterday was our last full day together, and we attempted to make the most of it.

We touched some booties…


… encountered some local wildlife…


… revisited some old, familiar places…


… climbed around on some old cannons…


… took more crappy jumping pictures…


… frolicked, frolicked, frolicked…



… shared a delicious milkshake…


… and communed with the wildlife yet again.


Yesterday was treated just like any other New Zealand day – as was most of this morning, really, as we wandered around the wharf, bought me some new jeans, and lazed around in the sun – until 4pm this afternoon rolled around. It was then time for Kathleen to head to the airport; the ending of her adventures here.


When we hugged outside the terminal, I began crying. Saying goodbye to Kathleen was like Pippin asking Merry if they’d be back together soon. I then proceeded to break down in tears five minutes later as I stood at my bus stop waiting to go back to the hostel (in front of a group of strangers no less). I had been holding the tears in all day. There were so many emotions racing through me, it was impossible to fight it.

I was so terrified. Correction: I am so terrified. After Kathleen walked through that gate, disappearing from view, I became completely alone. I suddenly went from having one of my closest friends with me to having no one. No one to indecisively banter with about where to have dinner. No one to prod my butt or boobs when I least expected it. No one to sing renditions of “Dynamic Duet” and “Getting Along” with. Let me make it clear that I have never been on my own. Not like this. Never like this. It’s one thing to be staying in your college town while everyone is home for summer, but to be in a different country on your own? That’s another monster entirely.

I keep worrying that I’m going to fuck something up – miss a bus maybe or find myself in a difficult situation with no one to back me up. I wouldn’t put it past myself to sleep through a checkout. But the worst thought of all – what if I don’t make any friends? I’m not the most forward person, after all, so it’s not that hard to imagine. The idea of being alone in a country filled with fascinating people scares me most of all. (This is kind of dumb though, now that I think on it, seeing as I already have made a plethora of friends here. Hell, I’m even talking to one friend, Cheryl, about possibly apartment hunting in Wellington this weekend. Being alone is just such a scary concept for me and I always blow things out of proportion in my mind, so I guess it’s not all too surprising.)

But mostly my public crying had more to do with the fact that I was going to miss my friend.


I’ve written a number of times already about how lucky I am to have had Kathleen as a travel buddy, but let me emphasize it now: I am the luckiest goddamn tourist ever. It just worked from day one. We rarely got cranky with each other, and when we did it usually had to do with outside forces rather than one another. We learned how to make each other laugh and how to not step on toes. We learned about different fandoms, while also discovering fandoms to fall in love with. We just learned so much about ourselves and about each other.

It’s hard to imagine a New Zealand without Kathleen. I’ve had her with me since the plane first touched down, and knowing tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and not ask her about breakfast is just… weird. I suppose I’ll readjust. Slowly at first, but after a couple days it’ll become more natural, being here alone. But for the time being it’s weird. I mean, I spent at least forty-five minutes wandering around Auckland tonight looking for dinner because I’m not used to eating alone here and didn’t know what to do with myself. That’s the point I’m at right now.

Anyway, the point is that I’m so grateful for the time Kathleen and I had together during our travels, and this has been, without a doubt, two of the best months of my life. I know that these next ten months will continue to be the best of my life as well, but I’ll still reflect back on my time with Kathleen as top notch, excellent memories.

But hey, at least I have a potential apartment roommate waiting for me back in the States. (You better not start living with someone else while I’m gone, Kathleen. Don’t make me bring back tools from Gerry’s shed!)

So thank you, Kathleen. My bright knight. My Merry. My Joe Walker. My penguin-loving, children-disliking, beer-drinking, Gollum-imitating friend.


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