In mid-2006, I decided that I wanted to use up some of my long-accrued vacation, and started planning a 5 week trip to New Zealand. I’d wanted to go to New Zealand for a couple of years, after having seen photos of the country from my friend Josh’s ’round the world trip.
Typically, for me, planning a trip involves booking transportation, getting a rough idea of what I want to do, and figuring things out when I get there, a tendency which annoys some of those close to me to no end. I didn’t want New Zealand to be any different, so I booked airfare and investigated my in-country transportation options pretty carefully. I finally settled on renting a campervan, so that I’d be able to set my own pace for exploring the country. That settled, I booked the only activity I really had to book in advance, a hut ticket for the Milford Track, which is reputed to be the “finest walk in the world.” That settled, I geared up for the trip, buying lots of photography and hiking gear, and prepared myself for my first vacation outside of North America. (more…)