I’m wrapping up week seven of my Aussie/Kiwi adventure and I’ve been keeping a mental list of “firsts” that I’ve experienced so far. Everything from leaving the US to blasting around a dirt racetrack in a right-hand-drive Toyota Celica to hopping on a bus full of complete strangers who would become the best travel mates. It has been an incredible ride with twists and turns that I could have never anticipated.
On Sunday I joined about 25 other backpackers for a tour across the north island of New Zealand. I would begin in Auckland and end in Wellington- a distance of about 400 miles (630 km). The bus was filled with people from Germany, Holland, France, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Scotland, and America (I’ve been the only yank on both busses I’ve joined). It felt a bit like getting on the bus for the first day of school; a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and anticipation. Striking up a conversation is easy as most everyone is social and used to the routine of meeting strangers.