I have been a very bad blogger, but I have a good excuse. On November 4th, I will be setting sail… or boarding a plane… or actually two planes… well, not two planes simultaneously (that would be impossible)… but one plane and then another. The first plane will take me to San Francisco, and the second plane will take me to Auckland, New Zealand. The first flight will be six hours long, and the second flight will be thirteen. My ETA for Auckland is 5:15 AM local time on Monday, November 6th which will feel like 11:15 AM Sunday, November 5th to me, or sometime thereabouts ‘cause the daylight savings time switch will screw me up even more. The toilets will be running backwards, the moon will be upside down, and miles will be called kilometers. I will be leaving the glorious New England autumn behind for the Southern Hemisphere’s early summer.
Why am I subjecting myself to such confusion? I’ll tell you!
(Cue the Alan Menken-style “I Want…” song here)
I have always wanted to study and/or work abroad. My sister Jessi got to spend several months in Germany during her college years, and my sister Gretchen got to study ooids in the Bahamas. Back in my NCSA days, I was accepted to a semester at sea that would have taken me to ten different countries on four continents. I backed out at the last minute since none of my lame-ass film school credits were transferable and there was no way I was going to spend another year in Winston-Salem. Dayna went on the trip. She ate octopus, went on a Safari, and learned how best to use one’s Dong (ask her what that means). Jealousy will drive you mad.
I have been a geography geek even longer than I’ve been a movie geek (1990 Geography Bee Champion of Stapleton Elementary School – look it up!), and that country has more varied landscapes acre for acre than pretty much any other country on Earth. I have an open ended ticket and a yearlong work visa that allows me to take any kind of job I can get. Pretty much every Kiwi I have met has been mellow, funny and welcoming. The whole country seems to be designed with travelers in mind (hostels everywhere). Also, they are making some awesome movies there.
Now, I know some of you are going to make fun of me here. Yes, I saw each of the “Lord of the Rings” movies four times on the big screen (some thirty-eight hours of movie viewing). It is true that I own all three extended editions of the movies on DVD. And the original releases. And the books. And the soundtrack CDs. Yes, I was once mistaken for Sean Astin on a movie set (just to clarify, they asked if I was Rudy, not Sam). Some of you will accuse me of being a dork who wants to go live with the Hobbits. That is simply not the case. What I really want to do is go to the other side of the fucking world while I am still young and free enough to enjoy the experience to its fullest. Hobbits don’t go bungee jumping, jet boating, surfing, or scuba diving. They don’t hook up with sexy Norwegian babes in their hostel’s hot tub. I emphatically deny having any intention to go live with the Hobbits. Hobbits don’t exist. And if they did, I’d rather live the Elves anyway.
The last several weeks have been spent readying myself for the trip – renewing my passport, giving notice at work, getting letters of recommendation, etc. In spite of our love of travel and fresh air, we Morans are not to the wilderness born. We like roofs and beds. Hostel hopping will be a new experience for me. Since I have never lived out of a backpack before, I made a trip to the LL Bean store to get a bunch of travel crap. In my naïveté, I somehow let the creepy sales guy convince me that I needed to spend $39.50 on a headlamp. He assured me that a traditional flashlight would be entirely too cumbersome, and that I would be much better off having a blinding beam emanating from my forehead. If I am to succeed in a foreign land, I need to be less trusting of strangers.
I still have to get rid of my car and see “The Departed” before I go. More updates will come.