New Zealand: Was It Worth It?

There’s this word I’ve been tossing around for awhile now. Not sure if I picked it up from somewhere, or if it convinced itself to surface from the depths of my mind:


Baffled by this word (and my new dilemma), I did what any typical twenty-something would do:

I Googled it.

Turns out, it really is a word. It’s a noun used to describe ideas that question traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth”.
Which is actually quite ironic, as my trip to New Zealand certainly forged itself down that road.  I found that definition to be fairly accurate, and something that I could easily relate to. However, that wasn’t my definition of it.


Of mist and midnight skies.
Of mist and midnight skies.

I perceived the word to be something a little more idealistic (see what I did there?).
A type of word that could describe the idea of breaking one’s self down, or deconstructing, yourself to get to the basic ideas and fundamentals of what makes you, you.  And I feel like I did that with NZ.

I feel like I needed that.

Deconstructing myself (only to reconstruct myself as the process went on) was euphoric. New Zealand was much more than a “cool trip to the other side of the planet by yourself”. (Or, as my brother liked to call it, my “quarter life crisis”). 
It was a time and place for me to literally break down everything I knew about myself and to let go of ideas and thoughts that weighed me down.  And I mean, really weighed me down.
“Why am I doing this? Why am I doing that? Why are these things that are supposed to make me happy, not happy? How can I change the things in my life around to better suit my happiness? Why am I not on a frequent flyer program? Why are there not Pita Pits around my town at home?”

The entire process was amazing. It was not just a trip (ahem, working holiday) to work and see a beautiful country, but a hiatus from the daily grind of the typical American citizen. It gave me time to think about what really was needed in my life, and what I could actually live without. And I’m not just taking about physical objects, mind you! I was able to wash away these preconceived notions about who I am, how I’m supposed to act, and the idea that I’m supposed to live my life a certain way. It was also a HUGE challenge for me, as a lot of the things that required me to do this trip successfully were uncomfortable mental barriers that I had never crossed before. I pushed myself way outside my comfort zone, and found that I was capable of doing a lot more things than I would have ever imagined.

It’s incredible what the human spirit can do if you set it free.


Where will your sails take you?
Where will your sails take you?

This, my friends, is the section of the blog where


You’re not here to receive a mental lecture from me, are you? You’re here because you want to get to the good stuff. You want to hear about the trials and tribulations of the world’s best backpacking country (challenge, anyone?). And what’s the first main reason that I believe it deserves that title? How about its


New Zealand is considered by most (and now by me) to be one of the, if not the most beautiful country on the planet. Of course, that’s a hugely subjective personal opinion, but you get the idea. Opinion or not, New Zealand’s geographical beauty is matched by very few other countries around the world. And if you’re anything like me, then you know that a country’s appearance can be a huge turning point on where to go. And it wasn’t just its natural beauty that sealed the deal for me. It was also its


NZ’s culture is one of the most laid back, friendliest cultures that you’ll ever have the pleasure of experiencing. The locals were super friendly, my co-workers were supportive, and the tourism employees were some of the most helpful people I’ve ever met. And when you’re traveling a brand new country completely alone, you need that. But, of course, it also helps to know the country’s


It’s one thing to backpack and work in a country that doesn’t speak your language, and another thing to do so in a country that does. And that’s another point that helped make NZ my 1st country to work abroad in. Of course, their accent is a bit of a mix of Aussie and British (to me at least), but it’s still very understandable. Of course, with English being the national language, it brings different people from different cultures all around the world to New Zealand. So, very similar (or dissimilar) to the United States, you essentially have a smelting pot of all these cultures, on a tiny country island, coexisting with each other peacefully.  It’s incredible.


A turning point
A turning point.

But, if you’ve been reading this blog post, or have been following my website since the start of the trip, you’re probably thinking to yourself “My God, this place sounds perfect! His trip sounds perfect!”
And that’s where I’m going to stop you. Because as awesome as the trip was, it did have its ups and downs, as any other holiday would have.

And this, my friends, is the section of the blog where

And I mean, real ugly. There wasn’t a single bad incident I wrote about during my stint down there, which probably convinced some of you that no bad incidents happened at all. And I hate to be the one to break the ice, but that idea is simply not true. In fact, let me give you some sound advice for your next trip abroad. Try not to land in the city with a bad case of


Because it sucks! There’s nothing worse than arriving in a foreign city that you’ve never been to before, and seeing the entire city spin like it’s freaking Delirium from Kings Island. You get super nauseated and sick, and you can’t do anything besides attempt to sleep. And even then, trying to sleep won’t help because the damn lights on the ceiling make an infinite sign, which gets visually carved into the insides of your eye lids. And WHO THE HELL LEFT THE LIGHT ON ANYWAYS? Oh that’s right, it’s 3 in the afternoon, and I’m jet-lagged beyond all of hell and back. So much for my first 2 days in Kiwi land. Thanks Vertigo! But luckily, it was just a short stint of it. It could have been much worse… like that time in Nelson I got some


I am not fucking kidding folks. This was the real deal, and it was BRUTAL. I don’t even know where I got this stuff from! At the time, I was working for a bed and breakfast outside of Nelson, and was mainly doing yard work. I was doing everything from mowing the lawn, to cutting down trees, and trimming hedge bushes. At some point, I brushed up against some plant from Venus (or something) and for the next 4 weeks my body was GONE. And to be clear, it was NOT poison ivy, as poison ivy does not exist in New Zealand. So what ever it was, it was obviously something my skin had never come in contact with before, and it wreaked some major havoc. Don’t want to spend the next few weeks in bed or walking around like a zombie? Don’t touch this stuff.
In fact, “don’t touch me” is what I ended up saying to a


Nelson had some beef with me or something, because this incident also happened in the same town as the last incident. Anywho, this construction worker (who had been working on pouring concrete for a side walk) hastily walked in front of me right before I crossed this 1-way pedestrian bridge over a river. About half way over the river, he puts both arms out onto the railings, and turns around to face me. By doing this, he essentially blocked me from continuing any further. In a low voice that was almost unrecognizable, he said
“Look kid, gimme your money”
(Let’s be honest, I was laughing inside like a troll when he said that. Cue “Trololololol”)
Of course, in the moment, I wasn’t laughing. Because this dude was being dead serious. You could smell alcohol, drugs, and what I’m assuming was bodily fluids on this guy. I replied
“I don’t have any money, sorry man” while I quietly clenched both fists inside of my hoodie’s pocket.
After bickering back and forth for a minute or two (and anxiously awaiting my very first ever fist fight) I convinced the guy that I didn’t have any money on me (true) and that I wasn’t American, I was British (not true….for the most part). After I got a harsher tone to my voice, he backed off, apologized, and went the other direction.
Situation diffused.

Of course, there were a few other incidents that occurred during my trip, but those 3 were the main ones. Besides, there’s no need to make this blog any longer than it ought to be! It’s already long enough (twss) and it’s time to call this one in.

So……..was New Zealand worth it? In my very humble opinion, the answer is an incredibly resounding


From the experiences I had, to the friends I made (Pommie!) I would say this trip was beyond a success. If you’ve always had the desire to travel, but never got around to it, it’s time to make your desire a goal. Set aside some time, save up some money (even if it takes awhile!) and go some place that you would love to visit.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone!

Who knows what you might find out there.
It might be you, wondering what took you so long to find yourself.


Limbo between the islands.
Limbo between the islands.

As always, stay frosty!

– Phantom Out.


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