When I was young I used to get sick on every single car, plane, coach, ferry or bus journey, it was fairly inconvenient, I would refuse to chew the horrible raspberry anti-sickness tablets and flushed them down the toilet instead. Since then my travel sickness has improved vastly, but if I don’t take medication it will take me only half an hour to feel sick.
When I arrived into Auckland airport, North Island, New Zealand it was raining, it was Glasgow style raining. I have never hitchhiked in my life, but I stood beside the airport, in the Glasgow style rain, with my thumb stuck upside down (my sister laughed a lot when I told her this story) and I felt really proud.
I got to where I was going (Mount Maunganui I had decided a moment after landing) in the end, by a beautiful sequence of unplanned events. I stayed with a stranger from ‘couchsurfing.com’ and began to feel adventurous.
After two nights by another beautiful sequence of unplanned-ish events I was able to travel with Shannon, an exchange student from Illinois who had biked from New York to San Francisco the previous year, for a week of my trip.
We hitchhiked from Tauranga to Taupo, Taupo to the National Park, the National Park to Taumarunui, Taumarunui to Hamilton, we also climbed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, stayed with various strangers, declined a couple of dodgy hitchhikes and learned lots about a carrot farmer and a single mum and her six kids, one who caught and sold goats for a living…
I visited an old friend from school in Cambridge, caught a ride to Auckland, saw the Island of Waiheke, caught a ride to the very north of the North Island, drove the full length of the 90 mile beach (which is not in fact 90 miles), saw where the Pacific Ocean meet the Tasman Sea, went to the Bay of Islands and ended up sailing for two days, snorkelling and swimming, went back to Auckland expecting to wait the final two days till my flight but ended up on a road trip up to the Coromandel Peninsula, bused back to Auckland and did a minor (not very minor) detour to retrieve my passport.
I stayed each night with a stranger, or a couple of strangers, from ‘couchsurfing.com’, sometimes a friend of a friend, and once a couple who gave us a lift.
Thank you to Dan and his flatmates, Ants and Ryan, Janine, Ray and Robyn, Bob and Lindis, Nic, Clive and Josh, Julien and Gonzalo and the carrot farmer, the freckly traveller, the ginger lady with 6 kids, Ron, Michael, Anna, and Jeff who asked for a picture with us, he didn’t think he’d ever travel, so at least his picture would travel- he said.
The whole month that I was in New Zealand I didn’t feel sick once, I wasn’t sick once, not for illness or motion sickness, I travelled the whole way round in various different cars, the roads were windy, and the trips long. I didn’t take any anti-sickness and I didn’t get sick!?!
Maybe when I hitchhiked I was so glad to be given the ride that I refused to be ill, or maybe it was another beautiful event which occurred by blessing.
I left Australia with a new found faith in God, and I returned from New Zealand with certainty beyond anything I could have hoped for, God is so good.
Michael who I spoke to for an hour after I took this picture
Tongariro w/ Shannon