A semi-envious “You’re so brave!” is a commonly elicited reaction when I tell people I’m traveling to New Zealand for a year – alone. It’s not hard to imagine that what they really want to say is I’m absolutely batshit insane.
I’m not entirely convinced they’re wrong.
12 months ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be on a 13 hour flight, halfway across the world, on my way to the land of kiwis (people, birds, and fruit) and adventure, but here we are. After deliberating for about a minute 9 months ago, I got it in my head that New Zealand was first on my list of international adventures and set out to make that possible.
In the time between my decision and being seated in my 16F window seat today, I saved over $5,000, spent way too much on backpacking gear, and googled until I was seeing search results in my sleep. During that time, I came up with a (very) rough plan:
I’m going full hippie and buying a van the minute I get into Auckland. New Zealand is approximately the size of Colorado, but has nearly one million fewer people and so largely consists of wilderness and sheep. What I’m is there isn’t a thriving public transportation system.
But that’s okay! Outdoorsy types travel from all over to van it up in NZ, so older vans are converted, loved, and resold to the next generation of backpackers. My hope is to find a decent one for $2,500-$3,000 around Auckland within the first few days after arrival. I’ll be sure to write a post on how successful I actually am.
VAST AMOUNTS OF TIME
A year with no plans – no job, studies, or even people waiting for me – is an intimidating prospect. So what will I do while I’m there? I have a list of places I’d like to visit and things I’d like to do, and that’s about it. For this adventure, wherever I feel like going is where I’ll go, and whatever work comes my way, I’ll take. My visa – a working holiday visa – grants me access to NZ up to the full year, as well as the ability to work for pay.. Again, I’ll let you know how successful my lack of a schedule is. It could easily end with me, crying on the side of the road, not knowing where to go. But probably not.
And that’s the extent of my plan! The best trips are spontaneous anyway, and I hope you’ll join me 😉
P.S. T-minus 13 hours until Auckland.