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Arrival in the Land of the Long Cloud and Why Planning is Good

My first trip over seas was to New Zealand. It was a trip that I had wanted to do for quite a long time. It was where my favorite rugby team was located, it was also where one of my favorite movie trilogies was filmed; Lord Of The Rings. So I decided that this is where I’m going to go for my two weeks of holiday. So I booked a flight from Edmonton, Ab to Auckland International. But I didn’t really do much after that.

 

I researched things to do in New Zealand and places to see, but I wanted the trip to be spontaneous and have no plan; just do things as I please as I go. (I highly recommend travel like this, to a point!) So I went online and rented a campervan. With very little research. All I thought was that “I can go anywhere with that van and the adventure can live on!”

“Well that’s all I need so I’m ready to go”, I thought to myself. So then came the day that I was to leave on my adventure. I had the papers to pick up the campervan, and a little itinerary, basically a list of towns I wanted see and things I wanted to do.

 

Not all those who wander are lost.J. R. R. Tolkien

 

I arrived in New Zealand feeling very proud of myself. After going through customs I was free! I remember as soon as I stepped through the customs doors, it hit me, reality begun to sink in. I have no plan. I’m at the airport and have no idea how to get to Auckland from here, and even when I do, where the hell do I pick up the campervan?  After rummaging through my backpack I found a piece of paper with the address to the where I was to pick up the van, I then decided to hop on a bus (because a lot of people seemed to going on that bus) and took the mystery bus to what I hoped would be the city of Auckland.

 

I decided to get off the bus when it seemed like I was possibly in downtown Auckland. Just a guess but I assure you it was a good guess. Next on my list was to find this campervan place! But then my stomach got the better of me and said you need to relax and eat (I believe this to be my inner hobbit). Then just as fate would have it a lady walked up to me and gave me a coupon for a free breakfast sandwich from Burger King, so I asked where the closest one was and headed to that direction. After a delightful breakfast I was ready to venture off with no maps and no phone to find my van.

 

It didn’t take long to notice I had packed too much. My packs were heavy and wearing the jet lagged me down fast. I wandered aimlessly through the streets of Auckland. I started to panic and ask myself questions like “What the hell am I doing?” “WHY didn’t I plan this better!”. I quickly remembered that this is what I wanted; in the end I wanted stories to share and to tell people of my adventures. So I went to a bus stop and looked at the map of the city and hoped to find the street I was looking for. But I did not find it, so I then wandered more to hopefully find the street not knowing if I was anywhere near it.

 

It had now been about 4 hours since I first got off the bus in downtown Auckland. I was tired, especially due to my over packed bags. I ended up right where I started where I got off the bus from the airport. Exhausted I said “Fine I should go and take a cab to this address.” I walk up to the cab and ask if he could take me to the address of the rental place. The man looks at me and asks “You want me to take you here…”

“Yes, I have no clue where it is and have been looking all morning”, I replied.

The cab driver looks at me like I’m crazy and then says “I’ll take you there if you want but its only four blocks that way….” To my surprise I looked and the driver was pointing down the one road I walked down not 4 blocks, but 2 blocks then turned off for breakfast, and never returned.

“Thank you” I told the driver very happily, “I’ll just walk over”. He smiled and wished me luck.

 

As I walked up the street I realized how close I was the whole time and that it would’ve been nice if I would’ve planned just a bit better (or at all) to find a place that I only found through a very kind taxi driver and dumb luck. This would be only the very beginning of my poor planning; I would be picking up my campervan in a country in which they drive on the left hand side. Something I had only ever seen in movies. How hard could it be to adjust?

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More stories too come,

-Jesse

 

 

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