Around tax season earlier this year I was having a discussion with my wife about our summer plans. As an instructor in public schools, I am without work for a few months at a time and so I have time to try to find more work, work on professional development, or get out of dodge for a bit.
Last summer Alex (the wife) had taken a research trip for her next novel. She took off to New York City and had a blast staying with her friends, going to concerts, and visiting museums. It looked like an amazing time, and you can read about it over on her blog if you're so inclined. So when I mentioned that I would like to take a trip this summer, she was nothing but supportive.
One reason that her trip was so successful and affordable is that she had friends to stay with, so she didn't have to rent a car or get a hotel room. She recommended that I travel somewhere that we know someone, and somewhere that I have never been - so I said "What about New Zealand?" Alex's mom and step-dad have moved to New Zealand a couple of years ago, and have been bugging us about visiting.
Photo by Ian Voce / Unsplash
New Zealand has all sorts of things that I am interested in - a large craft beer and winemaking scene, lots of cultural arts, and some amazing natural beauty. I was sold from the git-go. But I also was quite anxious about leaving my family for so long, and going to the other side of the world by myself.
What would that look like? A husband and father abandoning his family to frollic with hobbits? A man spending a couple thousand dollars on friviolous vacations for himself? I was very conscious about the public image that this would give off, and I expressed this concern pretty regularly to my wife. So much so that when it came time to purchase the ticket, I asked her to do it just to be absolutely sure that this wasn't a trap.
It wasn't. Fortunately Alex doesn't play those kind of head-games, or at least if she does it's some weird kind of long-game.
Plotting a course
With a ticket bought, all that was left to do was read and read. I've been watching lots of travel videos, reading guides and some history, and planning out things that I absolutely do not want to miss. I will be in the country for 2.5 weeks, so I should be able to get around to a few of the major tourist areas.
I will be staying near Wellington most of the time, but I also want to travel up to Rotorua, Auckland, and down to Christchurch and Fiordland. So basically, I'll be travelling coast-to-coast. Luckily it's a small country.
I will be documenting my travels both in a travel journal and in this blog, albeit infrequently. Subscribe to hear about my experiences as I get around to writing about them!