Christmas With (not so) Strangers

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

On my flight down to New Zealand, a woman asked me about my upcoming travels. I told her about my working holiday visa and how I plan to be abroad for the next seven months. “Oh my gosh! You’re going to spend Christmas with strangers?!” Well, thanks for comforting me, woman. It made me sad for a moment, but not for me, sad for her. I was confident that I would meet some of the most interesting and inspiring people of my life during these next few months, and it made me sad for her that she did not see it the same way. I knew once I got to meet more travelers such as myself, we would be forming very strong and intense bonds, and we would not be “strangers” for long.

I feel that when you are thrown so far out of your comfort zone, you are forced to adapt to new and sometimes uncomfortable situations much quicker than you normally would. For me personally, traveling is the best way to grow as an individual, and I feel that I have made good use of my time in New Zealand as a retreat of sorts to gain some clarity and perspective on life. You do not have the convenience of calling Mommy and Daddy whenever you can’t figure something out. And quite honestly, they probably don’t have all the New Zealand answers for you anyway. I was extremely anxious about traveling as a solo 25 year old American female with no agenda once I arrived, but things tend to fall into place even better when you do not have any plans.

While I miss everyone back home so much and wish I could be in Virginia to rejoice the holidays, I am very happy to be in Queenstown to celebrate with my new Adventure Queenstown Hostel friends. I have been Christmas-ing with Emily, my two Irish roommates Catherine and Laura and Santa Clause Rory from Northern Ireland amongst my other friends in town.

I have and will continue to be safe in my travels, and if anyone wants to come visit me before I leave in June, I would be more than happy to show you around. Merry Christmas, and a very happy new year! Lots of love from the South Island, Steph

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