The End of an Incredible Journey (for now)-Alison Gutsche
Looking back at my pictures really showed me that what I saw was so much more amazing than anything I could have caught in any of the thousands of pictures I took. I tried describing the greatness that was White Island and how scared I was when exploring the Waitomo Caves, but I didn't give any of it justice. The good thing about this is that I know how incredible of a country New Zealand is. It really opened my eyes to a whole new world. I had traveled before but never really saw things like volcanoes and hot water beaches. I had seen crazy geological features before like the Grand Canyon and many other things in the western United States and Canada, but none of things affected me like the New Zealand landscape did. While I did sleep on the bus sometimes, I tried to stay awake as much as possible to take it all in. I felt as though I saw things on New Zealand, which is such a small country that cannot be seen on countries as big as the United States. I also know now that I did more things on the first week in New Zealand that the majority of people have done in their entire lives, and that makes me truly happy that I had this experience.
While New Zealand was a beautiful country, it also forced me to get over some of my fears in life. I would never really say I am a person who is scared of heights, but jumping off that bungee platform was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But if I hadn't jumped off that platform, I would have definitely have regretted it, and I didn't want to leave New Zealand with any regrets of not trying things. Also, hiking up and down the loose rocks on the Tongariro crossing was quite a feat, but I don't think I've been happier about completing something in my life. Crossing every corner of the crossing and seeing a different environment was incredible. Another thing that tested me was climbing through the whole in the caves to get to the waterfall. While the waterfall was worth, the whole climb through the tunnel I didn't believe it was, but I am glad I forced myself onward.
In comparing New Zealand to Delaware and other journeys I have taken, New Zealand is definitely number one on my list. Not one time was I homesick throughout the entire trip. I learned more about myself on this trip than I had in all my years of school and other travels and that is how I know it was more than worth it. I know that one day, hopefully within three years, I will be returning to New Zealand, whether it is to do research, or to continue schooling, or to just try out another life. I felt too connected to the country that not returning just isn't an option.
All in all, this experience helped me grow as a person more than I ever would have imagined. I made an amazing group of friends that I wouldn't have traded for any of my friends at home. Coming here not knowing anyone really helped me make friends that I may not have if I already knew people. Overall, I wouldn't have changed anything except for the fact that I wish I brought some Tim Tams home.