We landed on the emerald-green South Island of New Zealand into sheets of rain. After three flights and twenty plus hours of flying, we had finally made to Christchurch, New Zealand. Middle Earth as it is known in the fictitious, yet sensational Lord of the Rings.
The initial relief and excitement of finally arriving in New Zealand after months and months of planning and anticipation, was instantly flattened like a popped balloon as the all too familiar disappointment and letdown set in. I honestly have no idea why I experience this kind of traveler’s schizophrenia. But it always happens and always on the first day of arrival. Perhaps it is the fact that I typically spend months planning a trip, dreaming about it and getting my emotions all worked up. Then when I finally get to that place I’d been dreaming about forever (in this case, over a year of planning was involved), my emotions collapse. Or else it could be the complete exhaustion and jet lag of traveling across 19 time zones. Seeing the sun set, and set, and rise once more.
It didn’t help that the weather was dreadful. Here we were in the midst of springtime in New Zealand and the weather was equally as bad if not worse than the gray, cold November days we were trying desperately to escape in Minnesota. It was a meager forty degrees farenheit and the rain was unending, bitter and cold. I felt my spirits dwindling down like the pouring rain. But I knew only too well that I couldn’t let poor weather spoil my fun. My husband and I had waited over a year for this trip and we intended to have an unforgettable time.
The gorgeous, green ferns that New Zealand is known for offered symbols of rebirth, beauty and hope.
I had always wanted to go to New Zealand. I grew up in a traveling family and both my parents as well as my grandparents had visited this glorious land. As a teenager, I remember fondly hearing stories and marveling over pictures from my grandparents last big trip together to this mystical place of mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and ferns. My parents had also become seduced by New Zealand’s beauty and charm, and have explored both the North and South Island countless times. Every time they returned I looked at the pictures of this beautiful place and knew that it would have to be on my “list” of travel destinations.
The biggest problem about New Zealand is its distance. It is obviously very far away from Minnesota thus would require a substantial amount of time off work and money to get there. Fortunately, both my husband and I used to travel frequently for work and were able to save enough frequent flyer miles to get there for free and in style. Using 80,000 miles each we were able to reserve our flights over in business class exactly a year in advance. We had no idea how we would manage getting the two weeks time off work (Unfortunately it is not easy to get big chunks of time off work in the US. Most companies frown on it). But we didn’t care. It was a chance to see one of the most spectacular places on earth and we had two free tickets and a lot of enthusiasm to go. We were on a mission to travel as much as possible before starting a family and New Zealand seemed like the perfect place.
Stay tuned…How was Christchurch? You’ll have to wait and see!