Alyssa in New Zealand: Three days before departure

When it comes to traveling across the globe, you really can’t afford to forget to bring anything. I run through a mental checklist at least five times each day. Yet, I still have this gut feeling that I’m inevitably going to leave something behind (which is usually the case).

Everything that I plan on bringing with me is currently laid out on my bedroom floor. Or at least…I think it’s everything.

I’ve traveled many times before. Packing is practically a second nature to me.  However, I’ve had to take on a slightly new approach to packing when it comes to preparing to live across the world for the next five months, which is something I have definitely never done before. I find myself taking out extra clothes that I don’t necessarily need and consolidating all my essentials in unusual ways. In some way, it’s been stressful. Not stressful to do, but stressful to think about. How am I supposed to fit five months worth of living into three pieces of luggage? How is that a reasonable thing to pull off?

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Working on getting five months into just three suitcases

I have always enjoyed traveling far away from home. Leaving Boston has never been hard, for I know what it’s like to be away from home. I’ve ventured out to Spain, France, Italy, Vietnam and Ireland. Homesickness is not a feeling that I come across often.  As my departure gets closer, I don’t think leaving home is going to be difficult for me this Sunday either, which is when I leave for New Zealand. So no, I was not exaggerating when I said that I would be traveling across the globe. I’ve traveled far, but I’ve never traveled this far before. Soon enough, I will be arriving in Dunedin and ready to study for a semester at the University of Otago.

Being primarily a biology major on the pre-P.A. track (and a journalism major as well), my choices were limited when I was choosing where to study abroad. I was almost afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find a program suitable enough to help me fulfill my major requirements. However, when I came across an institution that offered appropriate science classes for me to take in New Zealand, everything seemed to fall into place.

While abroad, I plan on taking courses that include evolution, microbiology and music (for my Visual Arts requirement at Richmond). Now that I will be able to take biology courses and not fall behind in the major going into my junior year, there are other priorities that I have in mind as well…

My bucket list for New Zealand continues to grow longer and longer. I keep finding more and more things to add to it. Much of it consists of a lot of traveling, exploring and adventure. Glow worms, hiking, glaciers, volcanoes and the Adventure Capital of the World lie ahead in my future. I can only hope that I have enough time to do it all. Luckily, I will be living with a Kiwi host (a New Zealand student studying at University of Otago) throughout my stay, so she will be able to give me extra tips and pointers (my other three roommates are from Australia, Norway and Hungary). Keep in mind that my bucket list is not restricted to New Zealand, for I plan on making my way to Australia and Fiji as well.

After six weeks of working hard and preparation at home, it would be an understatement to say that I am eager and anxious to leave. I almost find it hard to believe that this is actually happening. This entire experience already seems so surreal and yet, this is only the beginning.

On Sunday, I will fly from Boston to my first destination, San Francisco. From there, I will fly for thirteen hours and eventually land in the north island of New Zealand in Auckland for my second layover. Finally, I will fly to the south island to Dunedin, where I will arrive at on July 2. Maybe then the fear and nervousness will hit me…but I highly doubt that.

As I prepare to depart the U.S., I am promising myself to take advantage of my time on the other side of the world. This is my chance to see everything that takes my breath away. Explore the wonders of the country.

If something is left behind in Boston, I’ll find a way to get by.  Forgetting something should be the least of my concerns. In fact, the only thing I should be focused on is making it over there so that I can finally begin my adventure.

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