All You Have To Do Is Say, “Hello.”

“How are you finding traveling alone?” a woman asked me as she plopped her backpack onto a bed next to mine.

I looked up from the book I was reading, surprised by the question.

“It’s been great,” I said.

She looked a little crestfallen.

“The first few weeks can be hard,” I continued. “Especially if you’ve never traveled alone before.”

This seemed to make her feel better and she launched into the story of her trip, telling me that this was her first time traveling alone and that she’d never stayed in hostels.

“I had this idea that while traveling I would make lots of life-long friends,” she said. “But so far I’ve found people unwelcoming.” Continue reading

My Favorite Places on the North Island

One of the most common things I heard while traveling on the North Island was that the South Island was so much better. Having spent two months traveling on the North Island, I must disagree. Yes, the South Island is beautiful, but the North Island has a different kind of charm and some spectacular scenery.screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-9-15-10-pm

Below are my favorite places I visited on the North Island and why. The list starts at the northern tip of the island and works its way south. (Note: This is definitely not a recommend driving route, as looking at the map will show you.) Continue reading

Hiking in Mordor a.k.a. Tongariro National Park

Mordor. The word brings to mind black rocks barren of foliage, a boiling sky, The Eye and Mount Doom. What doesn’t come to mind are aquamarine lakes, bright snow, windswept plains, icy streams, and rocks dyed red with the iron of countless volcanic eruptions. However, these are what greeted me as I explored Tongariro National Park, the place in which Peter Jackson decided to set his Mordor over 15 years ago. Continue reading