Monday, November 19, 2012

"Everyone deserves a chance to fly"

I have a confession to make. I'm cheating. My posts from here on out have actually been written a while ago. I'm sitting here writing this in October. I learned how to schedule posts a little while ago, and it's quite handy actually! By the time this post goes live I will have just started my 'Great American Road Trip'.

I've mentioned it briefly before but probably not specifically in detail. In November 2011 I came to America  from New Zealand to work for one year on a J1 work visa. I made the decision in mid-September, and two months later my FH and I had sold all our belongings, moved out of our home and were New York bound.

The last year has been a crazy whirlwind of experiencing life in New York, traveling up and down the East Coast, from Daytona Beach and Orlando in Florida, to Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Niagara Falls, Toronto and Montreal. We went to so many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows I lost count after five months. We had lots of time to explore the galleries, museums, markets and open spaces in the city and we immersed ourselves in the crazy life of the big city. It was a big change from our quiet, somewhat boring life back in New Zealand!

Now, for our time on the road, we're traveling for two months straight (a mission that will most definitely leave us broke and exhausted) across the United States. We're visiting 18 cities - St Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta, Montgomery, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Denver, Vegas, San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, Long Beach, Anaheim (yaya Disneyland), San Diego and then finally LA.

We return back to New Zealand in late January for, at this stage, a year, during which time we'll save as much money as possible and focus on our individual projects. I'll get stuck into finally working solidly on my WIP and my FH plans to make a short film he can try and enter into festivals. I'd also love to learn French!
Following our year back in New Zealand, we have plans to go through Africa for five weeks, check out Egypt and the South of Turkey, stop through Dubai and then move to London. In the long run, London will give us a good chance to travel through Europe on weekends and holidays.

The reason I'm writing all this isn't to inform you of my life plans (well it partly is), but it's more about talking about travel. When I think about this trip I'm about to embark on, I have to admit, I'm a little scared. It's really taking a leap into the unknown. After trips that we've taken for just one week, we've been exhausted, so by the time you read this chances are we'll already be dead on our feet, and we're not even half way through. So that makes me think, why do I do it? Why do I push myself to the limits to do these full on trips to visit new places.

The answer is so easy. The experience outweighs any possible negatives. I've always been a bit of a traveler, and in New Zealand, a right of passage for young New Zealanders is to 'fly the coop' and to experience the world. When I moved to New York I didn't realise quite how much I would get out of the experience. It's made me discover what I like and don't like, it's made me find some dreams, and realise that others weren't really my dreams to begin with, it's made me learn more about myself, discover other cultures, learn about the history of America (which we weren't really taught in New Zealand) and find a true sense of freedom. "The world is your oyster" is not just a corny phrase used to tell someone they can do whatever they want, but when you're traveling, it's so true. There is a huge world out there to explore and not getting out there to check it out means you end up missing out on so much.

I've met a lot of people in America who always say "oh yeah, I've always wanted to go to New Zealand". I say, "well, why don't you?" The excuses vary dramatically but I think they're important to dissect a little.
  • "It's too far" - well yes, that's true, but sometimes that hardest places to get to hold the most beautiful gems. I get that it's a long way, trust me, I get it. But why is that an excuse for missing it completely? If you really want to go there, make the plans to go. Use that vacation time and take three weeks to go and explore somewhere so completely different than your hometown.
  • "I can't afford it" - Save those pennies. It's not easy but ... take for example my sister, who came to visit me last week. She decided back in January to come and visit me in New York for a week and to stop for a week in LA. She is at full time dance school and worked three nights a week in a restaurant in Australia. She managed to save more than enough money to come over here and splurge as much as you could possibly splurge while she was here. We went to Broadway shows every night, we ate at fancy restaurants, we took cabs, and she needed to buy an extra suitcase to get everything she'd purchased over here back home. You can travel on the cheap too - we are! We managed to get right across the USA (transport wise) for $800 each. That's 6 flights and 13 bus trips - not too bad!
  • "What about my job?" - this is the most common one. I met an American the other day who had lived in Australia for a year. She said most of her friends will never leave because everyone is in the mindset that you must go to elementary school then on to middle school and high school and college then straight from college into your internships and jobs.... Then there's no time to travel. Maybe once you retire, you say. Does it happen? 90% of the time, no. and the ten percent that do? I used to work at a tourist attraction in New Zealand when I was a teenager. Many of the retirees (from all over the world) who came through were loving New Zealand. Unfortunately they couldn't make the most of this particularly attraction because a) they were over the age limit of 65 or b) they weren't physically capable which literally meant they were too old to have the agility of the younger tourists who would come through and get a truly amazing experience. I met a couple over here in New York who my FH and I became quite good friends with. They were so desperate to travel. You could see it in their eyes and how they spoke of the experience. It really made me sad to hear they had just recently graduated but really couldn't quit their jobs as they needed to advance up the company. I suggested to them to take a working year in New Zealand or Australia... or somewhere else in the world where they could experience a totally different way of life, then they'd still be working so money wouldn't be an issue, they'd have an extra tidbit on their resume and they'd get an amazing life experience. They really weren't interested even though right after graduation, in my opinion, is a great time to travel, before you're really tied down to a job, while you're still young.
The purpose of this massive long rant (I have said in the past that I'm good at word vomit/long spiels!) is to encourage you all to get out there and see the world. It gives you an entirely new perspective on life, it provides you with so much inspiration for your writing and you get to know the world and the incredible people that populate it. The world is like an art gallery with so many stunning"works of art" to explore.

If crossing the oceans is too much to think about, explore your own country! Check out what the rest of your state or area has to offer, visit a small town near your own which you've never visited before, or go to a nearby (or far away) city. You may find you make the best memories while you're there. So what are you waiting for?! Get out there and explore... enjoy it!

Have you traveled? Where are your favourite places to travel to or go on vacation?


  1. Some of my best memories are from trips that I've taken with my family and now with my husband. Once you start travelling, you constantly get the itch to get out there and see some more. Hubby and I went to Scotland (and a few days in London) in May, and while it was exhausting, it was SO much fun! I can't wait for our next big trip. This is a priority for me, and I think it is for my husband too. :)

    Have a great time on your trip!

    1. I'm so glad to hear you say that. it makes me sad to see so many people not grabbing the chance to travel. I'm the same, I travelled a lot as a kid with my family so got the travel bug long ago. this is pretty much the first time for FH though, its expensive to travel from New Zealand so It's cool to see him seeing the world.

  2. Forgot to mention: Love your post title! Hubby and I saw WICKED in London in May and it was FANTASTIC!! :)

    1. Haha yay so glad someone picked up that reference! I saw it in London a few years ago and in New York a month ago. love it so much