It’s weird to think this time last week I was in New Zealand. I mean, I know it’s practically like staying in Australia, but it DOES involve pesky customs and immigration officials and the like. And you might have seen that I was slightly apprehensive about it all as it’d been a looooong time since I’d travelled overseas. Or holidayed anywhere really…
However, after 14 years on Australian soil I finally committed to visiting my bestie who’d moved with her partner to New Zealand seven years ago – which is also how long I’ve been making excuses about not-visiting. Fortunately my friend travelled here a lot (initially) for work and we caught up often, but that’s not been the case for a couple of years.
I had been to NZ before – to the south island – so wasn’t really interested in playing tourist. My visit was really just to catch up with my friend and get some insight into her life there.
And I certainly did that and – though my visit was only for 5 days – I had a wonderful time.
My friend, LJ, and her partner were extremely welcoming – as were their two large dogs. I’ve not been around dogs for ages but found them delightful and they’re incredibly well-trained.
LJ planned outings each day and we visited markets, nearby portside towns and some lovely locations, but also enjoyed some delicious food (both out and at home).
It’s sad to still see so much damage and rebuilding from the earthquakes and it’s a reminder how fragile life can be. Given that NZ recently experienced another earthquake (also felt in Christchurch) I thought I’d be a bit nervous about being there, which wasn’t the case, but I kept wondering how people felt so confident going about their business with the threat looming over them. Although of course until 4-5 years ago, the threat of earthquakes barely figured on their radar.
None of my fears of being frisked by over-zealous customs officials, or interrogated about the motivation for my visit came to fruition. #Naturally
On one level it really was like riding a bike as most of the travel documents were still the same as those I knew off my heart from 15-20 years ago.
However, I was struck by how much of the process is now automated. From getting my ticket and checking my bags through, to passport control where you scan your passport and an image captured to confirm your identity. One barely needs to speak to another human.
Of course my dreams of delightful in flight service (champagne etc) were thwarted as – even though I paid a goodly sum for my tickets – the price didn’t include any food / entertainment or even advance check-in / seat allocation. Of course it was only a 3hr flight and I’d downloaded Bloodline on Netflix so….
The best bit
What I particularly loved – and the point of this post (which is far from a travelogue) – was the time spent with an old and dear friend. When I thought of today’s topic (adjusted from the one set!) and I thought about my holiday, I realised what I loved most about my time away were the moments spent with my friends: walks with the dogs, champagne and pinot noir, chocolate and naff DVDs (Raiders of the Lost Ark I’m looking at you).
But most of all… that sense of being with someone who knows the real you and with whom you can discuss the things really plaguing you (ie. the fact I’m not liking my hair, and similar existential crises) is worth far more than the cost / efforts of getting there.
Are you a fan of travel? Or holidays with friends?
I’m again linking up with Denyse Whelan who’s suggested the topic ‘This time next week’, and I’ve adjusted that slightly. 😉