I love you, Air New Zealand

In order to fly in the U.S., I have to be mentally and physically prepared for a long and grueling day. I have to remember to put all my liquids in 3 oz. containers and then into 1 liter bags; I have to think about what I’m going to wear because I’ll inevitably have to take it all off to go through TSA; I have to pack two week’s worth of clothing into a tiny suitcase in order to avoid paying $25; I have to remember to stretch so that I can stand up and walk off the plane after being crammed into a tiny seat for 5 hours.

It’s exhausting to say the least.

I had hoped that once I got to New Zealand I wouldn’t have to fly again until I was ready to leave. However, last week I had to get from Whangarei to Wellington, and flying was significantly cheaper and shorter than taking a train or bus. Continue reading

Checking Things Off the (Un)Bucket List

I have been in New Zealand for over a month now, which is pretty crazy. It has been quite the month. I moved to a new country, felt homesick, traveled all over the North Island, debated quitting, and met lots of fascinating people. I have not regretted any of it.

In honor of the ups and downs of travel, here are some things I got to check off of my bucket list, and some things I got to check off of my un-bucket list. Continue reading

That Hostel Life

I love hostels. Really, I do. As I write this I’m sitting at a hostel in Tokomaru Bay called Stranded In Paradise. From my spot on the front porch I can see the entire bay and into the Pacific Ocean beyond.

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My view from the deck of Stranded in Paradise

The life of a solo traveler can be hard. You’re alone in a country you don’t really know, and most days you spend traveling. Hostels offer a welcome break from driving and a chance to interact with the hosts and with other guests.

New Zealand hostels are some of the nicest I’ve stayed in. There are two big “brands” here: YHA and BBH. YHA hostels tend to be large and are mostly located in major cities. They are clean, offer decent prices, and feel a bit like college dorm rooms full of concrete and cheap carpets. Continue reading