In no way, shape or form am I an expert traveller. I'm barely well-versed in the art of packing light or on how to save while abroad, not to mention I'm terrible with geography.
But exploring sets fire to my soul - big or small adventures, I love them all. So what I lack in experience... I make up for with passion.
Just 2 weeks ago, Kevin and I jetted off to New Zealand for a fairly last-minute 10 day trip of the South Island. But NZ has been on my mind for a while. A beautiful, mountainous country with long, winding roads and plenty of hiking trails less than 3 hours away by plane? YES please.
Everyone has different ideals for the perfect holiday whether it be food, beaches, shopping, history, culture, nightlife etc - my ideal is being surrounded by nature (even though I do enjoy the other stuff too!). I received some backlash from people who couldn't understand why I wanted to visit NZ so badly. Some argued that Australia and NZ were no different ("It won't feel like a different country") which I shouldn't even have to try and explain - those mountains and lakes speak for themselves. Others protested that it would be a boring choice with no entertainment ("Thailand would be so much better - The food! The nightlife! The hotels!").
I took these remarks to heart and spent a while thinking about and trying to understand why people felt this way - and more importantly, why I feel the way that I do. It was such an ugly feeling to face: when you're so passionately excited for something that everyone looks at with disdain or with all-knowing condescension.
I eventually put it behind me. I knew what I loved and what made my heart swell, even if it went against the grain. Just because the people around me oppose the way I want to live - doesn't mean that everyone does. The beauty of friendship is in finding like-minded souls who just understand. And my friends saved me from staying in a pitiful place.
The quote that has been lingering in my mind and helping me through some things lately is a vague one from either Mother Theresa or Dr. Kent Keith. But the message of both is the same: No matter what you do, say or look like, it'll never be enough for everyone. So just be you, be good and do everything in life you wanted to anyway.
And so I went to New Zealand anyway.