Travel, it makes you rich.


travel everywhere

What I learned on this trip:

 

Travel while you are young.

This trip was in thanks to my grandma. A bucket list item she chose to share with the women in her family.

We had a blast; I was in a boot, she was in a wheel chair and together we got priority boarding and front of the line … well, Everywhere. NEXT STOP DISNEY!

I loved every bit of this vacation, but I know grandma was frustrated a lot during our trip and as much as we assured her she was not an inconvenience, you could still see the disappointment in her eyes at time. I got a great workout pushing her around so I was thankful for it all. I am grateful I had this opportunity when I did.  31 has been a terrific year!

Enjoy everything, worry about money later: I’m all about living life in the moment. I spent most of my money on food (and medicine) and a couple gifts while I was away. I didn’t drink any alcohol and I really didn’t go too spend happy on food, it was just pricey. I kept asking myself though; how often am I here? This happened to be my first time, and if I’m lucky, not my last.  I heard about this whole “invest for the future,” stuff, but I’m over here all hippy-like-“the futures never promised! Let’s sell everything and travel everywhere. Money- eh! Who needs it?!” And! Double Chase Points!

Family:

I love my family, but when the going gets tough, you just love each other. The main point of this bit, is this was the best trip and I’m happy I got to experience it with them. How often do 3 generations within one family get to travel together? On top of that, if you make it out alive, how often does that trip still manage to rank number one on your lists of trips you’ve ever taken in your entire life? This one did. You choose your friends, not your family; I’m lucky to have them.

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Food:

The food in New Zealand and Australia was freaking amazing. I was warned that it was “eh.” And gluten free and vegetarian options were sparse to none. I will tell you, every restaurant or cafe we ate at, there were gluten free items and vegetarian options available and the food was IN.CRED.I.BLE…. Unless you’re looking for ketchup (it’s disgusting and the only thing that even sort of resembles ketchup is the color of it). I mean really.  Gratuity and tax are already included, so when you find yourself buying a burger for $25AUS, you are really buying a burger for a solid $25AUS, nothing more, but nothing less- it’s expensive. The dessert is also to die for. Everywhere.

People:

Their pallet has been poisoned when it comes to Americans. I was pleasantly surprised over and over again when I was asked if I was Canadian. I asked them what it was I had said for them to ask and their response was always; “well I thought you were Australian at first sight, but when you spoke I assumed you had to be Canadian, because Americans aren’t that nice.” Way to go, Canadians! Thank you for giving us a good name.

They also believe we are crazy for considering Trump for president.

Their people on the other hand, in both New Zealand and Australia, are the sweetest, most amazingly human beings and they all have these incredibly brilliant accents. I’m in love. Not only are they some of the most naturally beautiful humans, but they are just as wonderful on the inside.  Who in America walks up to a total stranger asking how they are doing or if they need help finding anything in particular or who comes back after riding past us (miles past us) on his bike just to offer to take our photo and to pray on my boot on a bridge in Sydney?  I can’t say enough about the Aussies and the Kiwis we encountered during our two weeks abroad, they just crawled in to my heart and that’s where they shall stay.

Hospitality and the Golden Rule:

Our society has a bad rap because we don’t show concern for others like countries abroad do.  We look out for our people in our circles, but we keep to that.  We go about our business, we keep to ourselves on the daily, our garage doors are kept closed. We don’t connect with our neighbors as our society once had. We have seen a lot of change and the world has noticed it. Every time I travel abroad I try really hard to understand their culture, ask questions and be as nice as I possibly can to the people I come in to contact with.  I already feel like the odds are stacked against me just because I am American. So one person at a time we can start to offer them their own experience, allowing them to create their own opinion, not one based off the TV shows they see or the presidential elections we provide.  Side note, the Bachelor is not available in New Zealand… You can’t even pull it up on the Internet. Australia has their own version, I think it’s really called “the Australian Bachelor.”  They have some fun shows.

Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. The people in these two countries (and every other country I have had the pleasure of visiting) just absolutely blew my mind. They live the golden rule daily, they practice on both people they know and strangers alike. Imagine what life would be like if everyone put forth that level of care and giving mentality.. I am daydreaming about the day I get to go back and experience all of that amazingness again.

Airports:

Their systems are seamless. You walk in to their airports (both countries) and lines simply don’t exist. You get right in!  They are so happy to accommodate you. Remember when flight attendants living the airline lifestyle were considered glamorous and it was a highly sought after career choice? It is that same exact feeling in Australia and New Zealand today. They are always smiling, their uniforms are adorable and neat, they are extra happy to assist passengers on board, they greet you happily and anything they can do to make your flight better, they are on it. They offer Tim Tams and Cookie Time cookies on their flights. Never once did I feel disgusting while flying either Virgin Australia or Air New Zealand. I never felt that immediate urge to shower once I stepped off the plane. I’ll tell you what though, once we arrived in LAX after sitting on a Delta flight for 13 hours, I couldn’t have been more ready for a shower, I sat for 12 hours on Air New Zealand and the feeling was not the same.  There is such a difference. America is so quantity driven, where both Australia and New Zealand are quality, hospitality and efficiency focused.

Live in the moment:

Soak it up. I didn’t eat ice cream while I was away and I tried to avoid dairy throughout the entirety of our trip, but aside from that I was just basking in the glory of what was. If I died tomorrow, I would die the happiest and most fulfilled that I have ever been. The sunshine, the rain, the green, the blue, the palm trees, the hospitality, everything was beyond anything I had ever experienced as a whole and I tried to absorb every moment that I was in, every trip from one buffet to the other, on a rocky ship, Every cookie consumed, every dinner eaten, every snorkel snorkeled, every road trip on the wrong side of the road driven. The beauty, the fresh air, and the delight everywhere, I just cannot put in to words my love for these two countries. It blew my mind.

New Zealand Vs. Australia:

Don’t compare them; don’t disregard one over the other, go visit both countries. I have been told so many times; “Well, we were told not to bother with Australia and so we spent our entire trip in New Zealand. It was beautiful.” Painful.  I just went along with it because I didn’t know any better, but here’s a tip; New Zealand is just a 3.5 hour plane ride away, how often are you that close to Australia? New Zealand is absolutely the most beautiful country I have ever stepped foot in, and I saw a small fraction of it, but I felt that way until I stepped foot in Australia. They were equally as amazing, the people, the beauty, the cities. They were so different, but I fell in love with both of them for different reasons. The big cities and breathtaking beaches of Australia, the hidden valleys and lakes of New Zealand, the blue water and the most beautiful people with accents you will ever will melt your heart in a second of both. If you haven’t considered visiting, you have to bump it up on your list.  If you ask me what my favorite pieces of our trip was, I couldn’t tell you because I loved every bit of every moment for different reasons. The sea life, the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Rain Forest, the history, the beaches, the food, the mountains and hidden, bright blue freshwater lakes, wild deer, giant pigs and sheep, it was all worth it. My only regret was not taking an extra 2 months to experience the rest of both countries and then flying to Fiji and Bora Bora to experience those beautiful Islands too.

 

My sister wanted to add her own bit of advice to this sweet piece so here it is:

The Cookie Time Cookies are based out of New Zealand… they are quite nice, and very popular. Try them!  It’s their claim to fame. The men had beautiful man buns, smiles, and bodies. BODY.

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