Would you take the road to Middle Earth?

Alright! I write to you today with excitement because I just uploaded my video of the Great Ocean Road trip I did with my mates who I met in New Zealand. You can watch that video by clicking the link below:)

I have been itching to post again on the blog, and figured I would tell the story of my first time backpacking a country on my own. Destination: New Zealand.

Back in March, 2019, I flew from Australia to New Zealand by myself to go on a week long journey through the southern Island. Being alone, I felt an immense freedom to do what I wanted, and meet some good people while I was at it. Upon arrival(5am), I was unable to check into my hostel until noon-1pm. It was my first test that was going to dictate how I embraced this new environment, completely alone. I was in an inner battle of letting myself sleep in the common room, or leave my belongings at the front desk and go see what the city of Christchurch had to offer this adventurous, yet seemingly lost traveller. So, what did I do? Well, I slept of course. You can’t be so enthusiastic when you are running on fumes, if I do say so myself.

Quick Nap…like 2 hours quick.

Now that the tiredness seems to be behind me, and I am remembering where I am…I find a ride into the city from someone in the hostel and go on an exploration. I will give you a general review of what my time in Christchurch was like. Here it is.

Lime scooter. Public Library. Spoke to French Canadians. Watched someone play FIFA for 20 minutes. Sat at a chess table, waiting for the right opponent to bet me on a game. Lime scooter. Met an American, respect bro. Found the busses back to the Hostel. Checked in. Bus to City. Lime scooter. Gotta eat something. Walked the wrong way, had to turn around. Nothing I’m not used to. Search for food..annnd. Found it! Managed to eat with the bartenders of the pub, and the owner. Had a nice chat with a guy from Green Bay, Wisconin(Go Brett Favre). My plan is Botanical Gardens, but I meet two Swedes on the street. We grab a couple of brewskis and visit the Gardens. Go back to the hostel and relax and plan the rest of my week.

If I were to give my opinion on Christchurch, I would say it felt like there wasn’t a lot to do and the city just had the big Earthquake not long before that, so there was a lot of construction happening, and I just wanted to move on to Queenstown, because THAT is apparently the place to be. But I am really happy that I didn’t accept the boredom and the being on my own aspect of it, and I went out and created a fun day for myself and met a handful of people by doing that. I gained a lot of confidence in myself by the end of that day.

The lesson being: don’t ever accept a situation or mindset for yourself when in reality you can create your own circumstances through action. I did feel nervous at times, and I can admit that. But I was honest with myself about those thoughts and still aligned myself with the experience I wanted to have, despite the fact. BOOM baby lets go!

Day 2 is Queenstown. Wait, first I need to take a 9 hour bus ride?

The bus departed from the airport, which was a 5 minute walk from my Hostel. By the way, big shoutout to Jucy Snooze hostels! “It’s good” said in the voice of Ace Ventura. On the bus I met my first comrade from China that I had ever met. His name? Well, he said it was Matt but I am sure he was trying to make things a lot easier for me. Thanks Matt.

Anyways, I will skip the amazing bus trip and get to Queenstown. The place where I met some really good friends, and was constantly surrounded by fresh air and beautiful scenery. I checked into the hostel feeling anxious about how it was all going to play out, but was excited about being in such a cool place. Quickly the nerves subsided about an hour in, after meeting a group of people that all shared the same hunger. It was 2 Dutch and 4 swedish folk. So, after uniting the nations, we went to a pretty popular burger spot. The wait actually WAS worth it. We went to the beach to eat our food. I felt like so many colors were blending together to paint the scenery that evening, and it all felt so new.

We enjoyed that beach, talking and laughing until the sun set over the Queenstown mountains. Then we arrived on a new mission, to capture the milky way. This is what my Dutch friend, Mathijs came up with!

All in all, he snapped some pretty awesome pictures. After this day ended, I spent the next day with the two Dutch guys, Milan and Mathijs. We became hostel buddies and I shared a lot of similar interests with them about fitness, creativity, and a love for exploring. We did do a 6 hour hike, which spat you out at the top of a mountain peak overlooking the surrounding area. That was an awesome hike, and here are some pics from the Ben Lomond trail.

My final day in Queenstown started with a 10am tattoo appointment. My first one ever. This was to represent the beginning of all these new experiences, and cement one of the most life-changing times of my life. Check it out!

“Live free. Be brave.”

On day 5, I met my friends in Teanu. Here I saw Milford Sound on a cruise ship, bonding with the people who I shared the bus ride with. Here are some pics from Milford Sound.

I ended this trip in Teanu, and spent the final night in the best way possible. Chatting under the start with a big group from the hostel about everyone’s travels, listening to music, telling jokes, and really settling into the moment. It was the final night in the city for mostly everyone, and although we had only known each other for two days, one day, or only for that one night in some cases…there was an energy which seemed to make us forget about that. It was as if we had all planned to meet up in this city, lifelong friends gathered to make some new memories together. That is the magic of traveling on your own that I could have never even imagined. I started the trip hoping to meet people in each city to hang out with throughout the days, but ended the trip with some lifelong memories and friends to be grateful for.

If there is anything I learned through this experience, it is that everyone is looking to connect with each other, and whatever view you have of the world or society…there is always a life out there for you.

It’s just up to you to go find it….