So, if you haven’t heard already… I’M FINALLY HOME! Wahoo 🙂
I got home on July 15 which was just in time to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday. I want to thank my Dad for picking me up from the airport and helping me pull it off. It was a great night and I know I gave her the biggest present of her life.
So let’s recap the past few months. I worked as a hostel manager for 3 months in Invercargill where I met so many awesome travelers and had such a wonderful time (plus my own single bed and bathroom). I learned what it takes to run a business and I’m so thankful to my boss Willy for giving me this great opportunity. I’ve truly loved all the jobs that I’ve had while traveling (paid and unpaid) and I’m so blessed to have had these experiences.
I had a few major goals that I wanted to accomplish before leaving New Zealand. I completed 3 out of those 5 goals. While I was traveling around the south island and part of the north island during my last 3 weeks in the country, I was blessed with awesome weather (even in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, which is almost always rainy and windy). I’m proud to say that I avoided getting bit by any sandflies too (an accomplishment in itself as anyone who’s traveled around New Zealand understands).
I visited so many places during that 3 weeks but my biggest moments were in Queenstown and Franz Josef.
It was July 4th and what better way to celebrate America’s birth than jumping out of an airplane at 19,000 feet over Franz Josef glacier. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I completed a 19,000 foot skydive! This skydive is probably the second most beautiful skydive in the world (Mt. Everest would be number 1). The scenery consists of the glaciers, snow capped mountains, and the Tasman sea. The weather was perfect (blue skies, almost no wind). It was unbelievable and absolutely breathtaking!! Plus my instructor was American too 🙂 Amazing experience and after my second skydive I can definitely admit that I’m destined to do this many more times in my life.
Just when you thought that I couldn’t top a fourth of July skydive, is when I jumped off a 44 story high ledge into a canyon. Yes folks, you read that correctly. I bungy jumped in Queenstown (which is where commercial bungy jumping was invented and perfected). It’s called the Nevis High Wire Bungy. This was probably the scariest thing that I’ve done in New Zealand. You plummet 440 feet into a ravine in 8.5 seconds at a speed of roughly 80 miles per hour. Can you say adrenaline rush?! It was awesome 🙂
However, about an hour after I did the bungy jump, I experienced something even better! In the same place in Queenstown, they have something called a canyon swing. You get harnessed in, dangled over the canyon floor, and just when you least expect it, they press the release button and you’re going down. The canyon swing allows you to either drop forwards, backwards, upside down, or with a friend. I chose to do it alone and backwards. The freefall is 230 feet and then you swing almost 1000 feet towards the canyon wall (on the opposite side) at speeds of 75 miles per hour. It was freaking awesome! The drop felt like I was on a rollercoaster and I totally would have done it a second time right afterwards (but it was freezing!).
Of course I got these all on video and I’ve added them to this blog post 😉
This whole trip has been surreal to me. It seems as though I never left but yet everything is unfamiliar. The accents were the first thing to bombard my senses (and yes Long Island people, you do have a strong accent, all of you). I feel like a chapter in my life has closed and it’s a little sad in some ways. I had such a wonderful time in both Australia and New Zealand. It still feels as though I’ve just woken up from a dream.
I took a while to update you on all of this because I’ve been getting everything settled at home and I’ve also been doing my best to overcome my jet lag. It’s a process and I’m getting there. In the Fall, I will resume my studies as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (only 2 semesters left!) and graduate from Stony Brook University May 2016. So excited!
I’m not sure what the future holds for me and if you would have asked me 3 years ago what my life would be like now… I never could have imagined all that I’ve accomplished. I’ve really pushed myself out of my comfort zone with so many things and I am so proud of where I am today. I can tell you one thing though… my traveling adventures are definitely not over yet. I have a feeling that I will be traveling much more in the future. The world has too many amazing places to visit and I intend on using my passport to explore as many of these destinations that I can.
I’m ready for whatever comes my way because I am strong, courageous, and capable of making all my dreams come true. If you can dream it, you can do it 🙂
I want to thank everyone who has supported me along my journey and to all the fantastic people I have met along the way. You all have made this journey worthwhile and I cherish every memory I have gathered so far along this adventure of life. But don’t worry, my adventures are far from over and I will still be updating this blog 😉
As always, I send my love to you all and until next time…