Where it all began…
Since I started this blog to supplement my STA World Traveller Intern application, I guess I should start by explaining where my insatiable craving for travel comes from. A love of travel tends to be accumulative; the more you do it, the more you want to do more! But I can pinpoint the very experience that lead to my wanderlust and ultimately changed my life forever.
In 2002 the Sparks family moved to New Zealand. It was a drastic move I had never expected to happen, but am so glad it did. As a shy fourteen year old I was dreading the thought of leaving my comfort zone. I was perfectly happy with our life in south Wales and saw no reason to up and go to some strange country (a country pretty much as far away from home as humanly possible might I add) that I knew nothing about.
We stayed for a year. Long story, but home ties proved too strong for my parents. I, however, having initially been reluctant, was torn at the thought of leaving all that I’d discovered. Luckily, New Zealand was not over for me…
I can’t sum up the year that changed my life in a blogpost, whilst attempting to retain your attention. But I’ll try to give you the key elements:
1) The people. are. mental. In a good way. The best way possible. They don’t take life too seriously. Or at all seriously for that matter. Laid back, approachable and positive, the people have a real sense of community, a strong national spirit, mainly due to the country’s young age I suppose. These people are interested in building their culture, and by golly the kiwis I have met and grown to love are among the most creative, witty, talented people I have ever met.
2) The landscape. Even those who think appreciating the beauty of nature is only for oldies cannot deny the jawdropping views these islands have to offer. The diversity is incredible – you could go dolphin spotting and skiing in one day if you wanted to. The air is the freshest I’ve ever breathed and the countryside retains that sacred, magical feel that seems to have been lost elsewhere; one of the reasons NZ was a perfect location for The Lord of the Rings.