Packed Suitcase | Packed Suitcase? Should I change the name to “Packed Backpack”?
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Packed Suitcase? Should I change the name to “Packed Backpack”?

Packed Suitcase? Should I change the name to “Packed Backpack”?

15 days ago: I lost my job
13 days ago: I went to Florida
12 days ago: I bought my plane ticket to New Zealand
8 days ago: I came back from Florida
7 days ago: I bought my backpack
5 days ago: I went to NYC
3 days ago: I came back from NYC
Today: It’s my last day at my job
Tomorrow: I pack my backpack
Friday: I leave for my month-long trip to the land of adventure, glaciers and the Shire!

To say it’s been a whirlwind is an understatement!

Let me back up a second to explain the job situation. While losing my job was indeed disappointing, I’ll admit that I wasn’t taken completely by surprise. In fact, I’ve been preparing for it for months, ever since our company was bought. 

However, it turns out that the proverb “when one door closes, another opens” is true and I am taking this time to follow in the footsteps of many other women who have taken situations like this as an opportunity to get out in the world and explore. (See Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Prey, Love’ as a prime example of empowerment through travel!)

As a result, I finally get to live out a long-brewing dream to travel to New Zealand! It’ll just be me and a backpack as I travel town to town, staying in hostels as I go and checking things off my 55 Places bucket list (see items #1f, 2, 21, 25 and 43).

Here’s a quick rundown on my itinerary…

I fly DC to LA then on to Sydney, Australia for two glorious days trying to take in all of the sights of the city.

Dear Jet Lag,
I know that I will be traveling nearly 24 hours to get to Sydney and that the time difference is pretty crazy. But, I’m a motivated traveler and have a lot to do in just 2 days. So… please find another traveler to bug, k?

After my jaunt to Sydney, I head to my New Zealand starting off point- Auckland!

I plan to slowly work my way down the North Island, exploring the sleeping volcanoes, charming little surfing towns, geysers, caves with glow worms, all the time being surrounded by the sights and landscape of Lord of the Rings. Then, I’ll head down into the South Island to chill out in Queenstown, hike the Milford Track, check out the vineyards around Wanaka and hike on the Franz Josef Glacier before wrapping my trip in Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park.

Why New Zealand? Well, maybe it started with the Globetrekker episode where the host (Zay Harding) battled the elements to hike the 5-day Milford Track, wading in water up to his chest during a torrential downpour while staying in lodges and meeting new friends along the way. Or maybe it was the hours and hours (and hours?) of Lord of the Rings behind the scenes documentaries that I watched as I recovered from a particularly stubborn bout of the flu in 2005. Whatever the reason may be, I’m drawn to New Zealand almost inexplicably. I know it’s where I need to go to begin the next chapter, and while I don’t know what the next step is, I’m hopeful the plan will appear as I backpack my way though New Zealand!

So stay tuned, folks, because we have an adventure ahead of us!

  • Lauren J.
    Posted at 02:57h, 01 April

    Yay! So excited for you Chris… will be living vicariously through your travels… it's a longtime dream of mine to make it to N.Z. too 🙂