New Zealand is a place that most people know something about.
It comes with. some inherent knowledge of the key places and sights even if you haven’t been yet – photos from friends of friends on Facebook, inspiring Instagram travel posts or any number of movies filmed there – Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, being obvious examples. My head was certainly filled with preconceptions of its greatness. So when I told my parents it was on my route I was surprised at the response it elicited.
I think it’s fair to say my parents were a little perturbed about me giving up my well-paid job in the capital to regress into an ‘earth loving, travelling hippie’ – as they saw it. There was no open vocal resistance – after all, it was my savings I was using to fund it, and I think they knew any open discouragement would make me go even faster (I was that kind of stubborn child).
But there was distinctly no encouragement either.
The conversation, over dinner, went like this:
Me: “I’m not happy working in an office until I die. I think I’ll go to Singapore to see Jess…”
Me: “And I would quite like to go to Malaysia.”
Parents: (chewing food more slowly now) “Why don’t you just change company…”
Me: “And Philippines”
Me: “And Australia – with Emma from school, and I can see Colin and Debbie (aunt and uncle).
Dad: “Oh I’ll come for that, I love Australia. I want to see them.”
Me: “Hmmm…well, if you really want…I’m thinking of adding New Zealand to the itinerary too”.
Mum: (Pause) “Why would ANYONE want to go there?”
That one floored me slightly. Of all the places – New Zealand was the problem destination! Malaysia and Philippines arguably are riskier…being less first world, with a higher terrorism threat and English not being their first language. New Zealand is still in the commonwealth – it’s the closest in likeness to the UK I was going to get!
Here are the reasons:
1. It was the other side of the world.
Translation: Was I trying deliberately to be as far away as possible?! (In a word – YES…not to get away from them…but because you simply can’t do it on a two-week vacay, so it’s necessary for a long trip when not working.)
2. It was full of sheep.
Translation: and nothing else. Where is the high culture?
3. Finally, combining these factors mean I was highly likely to “meet a New Zealand sheep farmer, fall in love and never come home”.
Translation: she would never see her (yet to be made) grandkids.
Well, like I said before. Resistance is a bit futile when I’ve decided something. It made me even more determined to pack my woolly jumper and get out there. Hunky rugged new world farmer optional.