Day 1 – Traveling with a Stranger

Hello blog readers!

I am finally back from my 2-week holiday! I will try my best to keep up with 17 days worth of travel in writing format. Really wishing I could have blogged throughout my amazing trip, but spotty wifi made that a little challenging. Plus, I didn’t want to miss out on all the beautiful things New Zealand has to offer! Anyway, let’s talk about Days 0 and 1:

It’s true. I traveled all over the South Island of New Zealand with a stranger. Maybe this sounds odd or maybe even dangerous, but let me clarify who this stranger was and how making the decision to travel with said stranger was one of the best decisions I made on this trip.

Best gelato I've had in Auckland! This here is a Tiramisu made to perfection. What better way to bond with a stranger than with this delectable treat?!
Best gelato I’ve had in Auckland! This here is a Tiramisu made to perfection. What better way to bond with a stranger than with this delectable treat?!

It’s true. We were complete U.S. strangers traveling New Zealand to fulfill our education. Luckily, we are in the same program (organized by our Universities) in which we met through. A few days before departure, we met at an amazing gelato place called Giapo. We both wanted to take advantage of our time here in beautiful New Zealand so we took a chance. Our gelato date was filled with questions to get to know each other and the kinds of things we wanted to do on the trip. I soon discovered that we were two really cool people ready to take on this backpacking / hostel / tramping lifestyle. To end Day 0, we went shopping around (EXPENSIVE to shop in Auckland) for last minute things for our trip. Apparently I am too nice and tried to purchase $1.99 dry shampoo. After paying, I noticed on my receipt said it was $8.99 for a tiny spray bottle of dry shampoo! I asked the counter lady if I could return it because I thought it was $1.99. She then said, “No. Trust me, you’ll really use it.” Dumbfounded, I wasn’t sure if this was customary or what. I just let it go and grumbled to my new stranger friend, Diana (turns out that returns are totally a thing in New Zealand and I was just too nice to argue. Lesson learned!). I felt pretty good about taking the chance to travel the South Island of New Zealand with Diana for 17 days. It only gets better from here!

Day 1 wasn’t too exciting as far as sight-seeing and exploring, but we did have some laughs. We started out meeting in Auckland and flying to Christchurch, New Zealand. Flights are decently cheap throughout New Zealand and with the U.S. Dollar rate against the NZ Dollar, it was a pretty good deal to fly. Since we got there in the evening, we didn’t really explore the town. BUT, we were officially on the South Island!!!

New Zealand just makes so much sense. I am totally amused!
New Zealand just makes so much sense. I am totally amused!

We got into our hostel at the YMCA and lived like queens. This hostel was one of the better ones we stayed at with two beds, private bathroom, television, balcony, and coffee machine. It was a motel-style hostel and we knew in our heads that we wouldn’t be staying in rooms like this everyday. We cherished our queen-status as far as hostels go. When I checked the packets of coffee, teas, and hot chocolate, I couldn’t help myself but bust out laughing! The hot chocolate packet said “Drinking Chocolate”. I have never heard of anything being described as “Drinking Chocolate”. Good laugh to our first night (thank you Diana for not judging me on the first night). Unfortunately, our balcony neighbors didn’t get to have some Drinking Chocolate with us since they were too cool to hang out.

First day was an easy start and it only gets better from there! More later!

Jess

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