Today, marks the beginning of another working holiday. At 5:40am local time, I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, after spending nearly 13 hours on an Air New Zealand flight from LAX.
The travel gods must have been looking after me as the flight was nearly full – yet somehow, I was able to secure a window seat with a vacant seat directly next to me. The thirteen hour flight was very manageable with the added luxury of room to sprawl out, decent food to eat, and complementary New Zealand wine which kept on flowing. I arrived in Auckland wide awake, ready to begin my journey.
As I neared the customs declaration booth, the woman in charge looked through my paperwork and noticed I was entering the country on a one year, working holiday, visa. She looked at me, appeared somewhat perplexed, and asked,”Where are all of your bags?”
“I just have the one,” I told her. “I packed light.”
“I’ll say,” she exclaimed, “best of luck here in New Zealand – and kia ora.”
Kia ora is a traditional, Maori greeting which translates to ‘hello,’ or ‘good luck and good health.’ New Zealand has two official languages – English and Maori. The Maori language is very closely related to other Polynesian languages such has Hawaiian. While primarily used in Maori ceremonies, it is also making a comeback into general Kiwi culture.
This Iowa boy is going to live a year nearly 8,000 miles away from the place I call home. I’m excited to experience life in yet another new country, learn about a new culture, and gain a better understanding and appreciation of this world we live in. I’m not sure where this year will take me, but I trust it will be a terrific experience.
For now, I’m off to meet my girlfriend and travel companion who has traveled some 30 hours from Edinburgh. cheers,