My favorite album to listen to when I’m traveling is Swidden by Blackbird Raum.
A huge benefit of living in such a small country is that it encourages you to travel. Not just within the country, but to far away places (which is really everything in my book). Any town you visit that has a grocery store also has a travel agency. In most towns, you will have multiple shops advertising the world. Even on campus, we have a travel agency constantly advertising to students to get out of paradise. Im pretty sure it’s a ploy to get everyone to understand how good they have it here.
The one thing I’ve done here more than anything is travel. Out of the nine or ten weekends I’ve been here, I’ve left Palmerston North at least eight of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love Palmy. But one of the reasons I love it so much is because it’s the perfect place to travel elsewhere. It’s pretty central. And since its a small town it can get repetitive to go see the same bars, the same shops and the same scenery (even though it’s incredibly beautiful).
With all this traveling, I’ve picked up some traveler traits I’ve come to live by and love. Sort of a travel culture.
1. I’ve never appreciated public restrooms more. Even the gross nasty ones where strangers request your presence to partake in unspeakable activities. Not just for peeing though. Also for brushing your teeth, washing your hands or face aka makeshift showers, changing your clothes, etc.
2. Restaurants that fill up your waterbottle are godsends.
3. Free wifi is like gold. Use those 100mb wisely…
4. Hostels are really hit or miss. Just set low expectations and you’ll never be disappointed… Right?
5. Public bean bag chairs. For your convenience.
6. McDonalds is a home base because they supply many of the essentials stated above including public bathrooms, water, free wifi and a bench to sit on while I snack on my kale chips.
7.Soreness is a daily struggle. Sleeping on busses=cramped necks, plus those backpacks that are bigger than you are…
8. Sleeping on busses is a skill. Especially because they smell. Those cloth seats may be comfortable but your nose is paying the price.
9. Petrol. You think it’s expensive in the states? Try NZD $1.85/ liter or roughly US $5.29/ gallon.
10. Forgetting things is a part of life. Let’s talk about some of the things I’ve forgotten: headphones, deodorant (I’m the reason the busses smell), credit card, passport, adaptor for phone charger, clean underwear (cause I’m freeeeeeee, freeee balllliinnn)
Most importantly, one of the most valuable lessons you can learn is to take home with you wherever you go. Because there is no other feeling like going home, taking a hot shower and curling up in bed. I’m happy to report I can do that almost anywhere.