Two Days in Auckland

So, I’ve safely landed in New Zealand! I landed yesterday at 7am, ready to go. I even slept a whole five hours on the 13 hour flight! Wow (insert small levels of sarcasm here because I’m actually impressed I slept that much.. but also.. that’s not very much)!

As per my previous post on jet lag, I didn’t sleep after landing, we just went out and did things and it worked out great!

We saw the Sky Tower.. 

 
We explored the city center..

We went and got fish & chips takeout and ate it on the beach, Point Chev – apparently, “so kiwi.. ” 

 
We took a stroll on the beach and took crazy adorable photos..

  
And I’m sure we did much more but I’m just so exhausted after 24 hours of flying followed by two days in the sun & heat that I can’t function properly right now.

But that’s okay because it’s all been so incredible so far!

Moving on to today, we first climbed Mount Eden, the tallest natural point in Auckland, that also has a great view of the whole city.. 

   
And then.. THE BEST PART.. we walked the trail at Kitekite Falls to the biggest and most beautiful waterfall I’ve ever seen in my life. It was magnificent! 

 
   
Next, was Piha Beach.. Sprinkled with glittery black sand and filled with the sound of crashing waves, it’s one of New Zealand’s best & also most dangerous spots to surf.. Also it’s just plain gorgeous.. 

   
Finally, we went to Hallertau Brewey and tried some of their beers – which were super delicious. My favorite was #4, black beer.. 

    
  
And now, I need to go to bed because like I said, these past two days have been exhausting, especially with the heat and humidity.

My first two days in New Zealand are over, now bring on the rest!

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One Flight Down, Two More to go: The New Zealand Adventure Has Begun

Well, it’s happening folks! Six months of planning, saving, working and waiting has finally come to a close and I’ve begun my trip to New Zealand! 

 It’s going to be a long next 24 hours but that’s okay, I have my LOTR books ready to go so I will not get bored!! I will not get bored.. I.. Will.. Not.. Get.. Bored..

Okay, so I’m already bored. First layover and it’s already too many. The next 24 hours of my life will be spent on planes and I could not be more thrilled.

*Exhausted.

As tradition goes, my entire family – parents, brother, future sis in law, grandparents and baby cousins/sisters/nieces/daughters (I’m only speaking of two individuals here, in case you didn’t know) – met up at Ihop for breakfast and then drove over to the airport together and they all watched me take off. 

   
We ate lots of food.

We ran around the airport.

I was tired from barely sleeping last night in anticipation for today.

Mom was sad.

That’s how the morning went and it was wonderful – aside from the immediate exhaustion and Mom being sad, of course.

 Now, I’m chillin’ alone in the airport, reading The Fellowship of the Ring and already wanting these next 24 hours to be over but it’s okay.. I’ll just kill the time on MY THIRTEEN HOURS STRAIGHT ACROSS THE OCEAN FLIGHT by watching as many scary movies as I can fit into one nonstop sitting.

Yeah, so the journey has begun.

Now, excuse me while I go eat all the McDonald’s that my wallet can handle.

First Step Toward the Next Adventure

As my waiting time for New Zealand was winding down, I decided to do something crazy and have my first adventure right here at home in the U.S. in preparation for the big adventure.

I decided to dye my hair pastel purple and pink.

Now, this was a huge deal for me. I’d never even dyed my hair in my life until I was about 21 years old. I mean, granted I totally went for it when I finally did dye my hair and went from my natural brunette to an all over Barbie doll blonde. But still, this purple was going to be a huge adventure in itself. 

 ..but I love it! It’s so bright and fairy-like and perfect for the month I’ll be gone.

There we go, first New Zealand adventure done!

It’s Almost New Zealand Time!

Six months ago I downloaded the app, “Countdown,” and set my countdown for the day I leave for New Zealand to be reunited with my other half. Back then it was almost 200 days until the countdown ended but now here we are, mere days until I take off and I can’t believe it’s finally time!

I’ve been planning this trip since the day I returned home from Paris. It’s taken me half a year, three jobs at once, no social life and some sleepless nights but now that it’s time to go I know that it was all worth it. I’ve worked my booty off so much to be able to save up for this trip and it’ll be so fulfilling to finally step off that plane in Auckland and into the arms of my best friend.  

 Now that it’s finally time, I feel like it’s okay for me to talk about how I got here. Once I decided on New Zealand, I started saving immediately. I figured up my budget – for my flight, for all things in New Zealand and for my bills while I’m gone – and knew that I wouldn’t accept anything less and would somehow make it work so that in six months, I’d have this much saved up for when I left. I got three jobs (most days I worked all three in a day) and saved every penny I made.

I made myself a DIY adventure jar that I put all of my loose change in (it actually worked – I’ve saved up almost $200 through that adventure jar alone) and started hanging out with friends mainly just at home in my apartment. It was certainly a tough last six months. Every time anyone would ask me to go out for the night, my response would always be, “Sorry, I don’t have monies.. Wanna come hang out at my place?” It got old pretty quickly but I didn’t mind, I knew what I was working toward. 

 Now look! I made everything I needed for my budget and I’ve saved up $500 more than the goal I set for myself. I am certainly well off on everything we have planned to do in NZ – AND for all of my bills back here in the U.S. Yeah, I saved up enough for a month long trip to New Zealand in six months – in addition to paying all of my living expenses on time that I already have while living on my own. YOU COULD SAY I’M A LITTLE PROUD OF THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT.

It was tough.. And I’m exhausted after everything.. But I did it.

Travel is everything to me so once I set my mind to something and decide on a new place to go – I make it happen. No questions asked. If you work hard for what you love, you can make it happen, too.

NEW ZEALAND HERE I COME!

How to Beat That Jet Lag Once and For All

Everyone knows that jet lag can be such a bummer. It can start your trip off on the wrong foot and impact it entirely. I know firsthand what it’s like to get off that plane and just want to curl up in a ball and sleep for days.

When I first arrived in Paris to start my au pair adventure, I was exhausted. Those ten hours of flying had caught up to me immediately and I stepped off the plane feeling disgusting and in dire need of a nap.
Little did I know that there are some tips and tricks to defeat that sluggishness that causes all of us to want to scream & pass out.

For instance, instead of letting me sleep and catch up on rest, my French family immediately took me home and gave me a tour of their flat, took me to my own apartment to fully unpack & then shower to get cleaned up before we went out to a late lunch together. They kept me going the whole day after I arrived until the evening so that I could get on a regular sleep schedule again. That’s one of the biggest no no’s of jet lag – to try to immediately sleep it off. Sleep will just make everything worse. I made the mistake of letting my best friend sleep all she wanted when she came to visit me for Christmas abroad. She’d end up sleeping until 3pm every day and going to bed early. Sleep is never the answer! We learned that the hard way.

Aside from how I coped with my jet lag my first day in Paris, there are many other tips and tricks to defeat that seemingly inevitable stream of crankiness from flights and this article from The Huffington Post helped me immensely in preparation for my upcoming NZ trip! I learned so much through what The Huff Post had to say on the subject and now I’m getting even more excited for this loooooong flight!

Click here to learn some new ways to battle jet lag!

I’m Back! Just in Time for some New Zealand Updates!

Well, hey there adventurers! I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to post but I’m finally back with many updates for all of you!

First off, it’s almost New Zealand time! I absolutely cannot wait for the adventures lying in wait for me. In just a few short weeks, I’ll be climbing the mountains of Mordor, bungee jumping in Queenstown and whale watching on the ocean – just to name a few things. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough struggle getting ready for this trip to the other side of the world immediately following my move back to the States from Paris but soon these past five months will have been more than worth it.

Now, let me delve into why I’ve been gone for so long. In order to provide myself the funds for this trip, I’ve taken on three (3!!) jobs that I work pretty much every day. I save every penny I make and this past weekend was the first time I’d gone out since moving back and that was only because it was a friend’s birthday. Needless to say, right now I have no social life. But honestly, that’s okay with me because it’s truly hard work getting to travel the way I do so often and right now my whole life centers on exploration.

When I signed a one year lease back here at home, I knew I’d be saving for this huge trip and then another in another six months. I work hard to travel as much and for as long as I do and I love it but I also want to utilize this passion as a career and am currently looking into writing for a travel magazine or blog or such, which is also taking up my time right now.

Basically what I’m saying is that my life has been one heck of a roller coaster ride of work and stress for the past five months and now that it’s almost New Zealand time (finally!), I’m bursting with excitement and anticipation! And this morning I finally had a moment to go out and break in my beautiful new North Face  hiking boots on the trails and I was so insanely happy out in the beautiful snow and nature, surrounded by the chirping of birds and crunch of ice beneath my feet. So naturally, I decided to take a minute to talk with all of you on how things have been going lately. 

 So there you have it – I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long but working three jobs while planning a massive trip is killer – BUT SO WORTH IT.

Next Adventure – To the Adventure Capital of the World

Alright, I think it’s time I addressed my next big trip and gave you guys some details..

Drum roll, please!

My next trip will be.. A month long backpacking trip throughout New Zealand! Words cannot describe the excitement I have for this trip!

How did NZ become my next grand adventure? Easy, my best friend from my time in Paris is from there so that means that not only am I going on one of the grandest adventures of my life but I’m also being reunited with my other half! So, when I say words can’t describe my excitement, I truly mean it.

Not only am I ecstatic at the thought of tackling her with hugs but I’m also ecstatic at all the things we already have planned for our time together; whale watching, bungee jumping, many, many hikes, camping, mountain climbing, Hobitton (!!), thermal springs, the list goes on and on.

New Zealand is known as the adventure capital of the world and I’m so ready for all of the adrenaline junkie shenanigans I’m going to get us into. After a full year in my beautiful city of Paris, I’m thrilled at the thought of this next trip being an outdoorsy one.

And I’m not going to lie, knowing that I’ll get to explore the land of The Lord of the Rings makes me want to cry with happiness. I’ll be like a hobbit exploring the boundaries of Middle Earth.. Looking at you Bilbo and Frodo! Those mountains.. The Shire.. All of it is too much for my eager mind to handle right now!

There you have it, my next grand adventure! And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my trip preparations (reading The Hobbit)!