Perseverance is the word of the week. And I am finding quickly through the fiascoes I have encountered that I am more likely to break down and cry, when I have someone to lean on, which I don't have, so as mom would say "buck up!" As I suspected, I am learning my limits, which is part of the reason for traveling alone. I have a goal of seeing how far I can be pushed, both physically and emotionally, and so far, I feel like I am an A+ student of life.
This morning I woke up in a hostel in Paihia, the Bay of Plenty, in Northland. I walked 2 blocks down to the ocean, and watched the waves rush upon the shore as two locals went for a morning swim. Knowing that I am describing what sounds like paradise, let me backtrack and fill you in on the hilarity and calamity of how I finally got here, it will make you dislike me a bit less.
- The "misplacing" of my visa/passport in the mail for 5 days. Thanks for that Fedex, oh, and thanks for being an ethical company that in no way took responsibility for the mishap in any way. But on a non-sarcastic note, and actual heartfelt thank you to Paul and Jose at the NZ embassy for being human beings and going above and beyond what they could have possibly done to help me through.
- That time my grandfather's truck broke down in the middle of an intersection on Vista while running last minute errands just in case my passport showed up the following day, fingers crossed, in time for me to catch my flights. Thank you to the gentleman wearing dirty coveralls, no shirt, showerless and shaveless, as well as the other gentleman, equally dressed to impress, who helped push the truck into the gas station lot, while a gentleman in suit and tie and ostrich boots stared on without offering help of any kind all the while on the phone. Boy did I feel like a jerk, when after stereotyping ostrich boot man, I realized he was on the phone and not aiding me because he had locked himself out of his red sports car, and was on the phone with a locksmith that entire time. Watch out for the Shell station on Vista Ave in Boise, it's a vortex for car issues. Thank you to my sister, for picking me up, even though she was suppose to be studying, and allowing me to slowly slump into her car, and let out a pathetic cry. Also, to my mom and grandpa for dealing with the truck issues. Super heroes all of them.
- That time my phone had issues and I was on the phone for a good long while, through 4 representatives until they figured it out. At this point I decided, the larger forces at hand were telling me to slow down, so I started the process of changing my flights to a later time, letting go of the things I cannot control, and being grateful for having some extra prep time as well as time for friends and family. I used the extra time to visit an Idaho hot springs with friends and family during a meteor shower, under a clear starry sky. I saw 5 shooting stars.
- Monday rolled around and I left my house with 5 minutes to spare to meet mom and my grandparents for the caravan to the airport to begin. Nicki, Chad, Teagan, Julia and Matt also showed up to see me off. All of the above mentioned are reasons why it is so hard for me to leave for so long. My heart is full, I tell you! Full of love for them! Thank you for the stress drops, the candy, the cards, (which made me bawl like a baby person on the plane, thank goodness I was sitting by myself), and the EARPLUGS!!!!
- After making it to San Francisco just fine I got on the plane to Sydney. Enter mechanical issues. Add another hour and a half of sitting in a confined airline seat to the already 15 hour flight. I was seated next to an older couple who wanted absolutely nothing to do with me, until the last 30 minutes of the flight, then they were all of a sudden nice. People are confusing, but I guess that's why I like them so much. Bunch of weirdos.
- I made it to Sydney, but they wouldn't let me into NZ without a return ticket so I had to buy one at the counter. Snag, defeated.
- The plane ride to Auckland was turbulent but fine, and the food was actually really great! Now onto collect my bag...just kidding! It's funny because as I approached the bagwell I knew it wouldn't be there. It wasn't even a "what if" scenario, it was a knowledge that my bag wouldn't be there. Standing there, bagless and laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of my luck I gathered confused looks from nearby passengers. I told the baggage rep that it was official, his country was trying to reject me. But I refuse to listen!!!
- Found a series of hostels as I waited for my bag and I to be reunited. It turns out that took 3 days. Which was fine because I got to see some fun sights in Auckland. Like these sculptures of sunken buildings in the park right outside one hostel I stayed at
- And the Sky Tower ( Auckland's answer to the Space Needle)
Then the great bag reunion of 2013!!!
- And this brings us to present day. As I said, I am now in Paihia. I went on a glorious hike to Haruru Falls which I consider to be a great 8 mile warm up to the days I have ahead.
Tomorrow I catch a bus as far north as the buses run, and hitch hike from there to Cape Reinga. So within the next 48 hours the trek begins.