I didn’t use to be such a mover. Once when I was seven years old on a family backpacking trip in Washington, I whined to my dad, “I just wanted to watch some TV!”
Look at me now. In six days I’m headed to what I have heard, and hope, is the most beautiful, nature-focused, adventurer-centric country in the world, New Zealand. I haven’t even started packing and yet I’m jazzed for five months of what the Maori natives call Aotearoa or “the land of the long white cloud.”
The last few months I’ve gathered what seems like a ton of gear. So much gear, in fact, that I am nervous I may end up like these guys from the IFC show, Portlandia.
I’m pretty sure that won’t happen, but I’ve been getting all the necessary travel things like small soap sheets that dissolve into suds when you put them underwater. I got a new waterproof and shockproof camera last week that I am learning how to use. It even has a GPS so I can record the exact location of where I take pictures. I also got, among other things, a giant REI duffel bag and two first aid kits for Christmas.
My travel itinerary to get to Christchurch is a long list of train, plane, and boat legs. I figured out that I’ll be moving for a total of twenty-one hours and 11 minutes over the course of about two days. I’m really not sure how to figure out how long I’ll have without staying in one place for more than about ten hours. I’m still trying to grasp how the time change works and how jetlag is going to affect me. I’ve been trying to explain to my family that the time in New Zealand (the entire country is in one time zone) is about eighteen hours ahead of central time in the U.S. Another way I’ve been thinking about it is that the country is six hours behind central time, but a day ahead. So right now at 5:30 p.m. CDT on January 20th, you can subtract six hours to get 11:30 a.m. in New Zealand on January 21st. Crazy, right?
So anyways, I’ll start off at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport at 3:00 p.m. and land in Los Angeles at 5:00 p.m. pacific time. I have a five hour layover at LAX and then a 14 hour flight to Brisbane, Australia, which will get me there at about 7:00 a.m. their time. After an eleven hour layover at the Brisbane airport, I’ll board a three hour flight to Wellington, where I get in at 12:15 a.m. New Zealand time. There I’ll get some sleep at a hostel, followed up by a three hour ferry trip across the Cook Strait between the North and the South Islands. Finally, I’ll take a five hour train ride from the ferry terminal at Picton to Christchurch, where I’ll arrive a little after 6:00 p.m. Phew!
I’ll most likely blog again before I leave on Saturday. Later gators!
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Robbie Latta and I am a junior studying civil engineering at Purdue University in lovely West Lafayette, Indiana. I am also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity on campus. I like to spend time outside, bike, play hockey when I am home in Minnesota, write, and spend time with my friends. I am coming to New Zealand to explore the Kiwi lifestyle and have some fun!</span></div>