Up until 2009 I had traveled a lot, but it was confined to places all over the United States and Canada, with a little time in Mexico. All of this changed that year when I headed abroad for the first time. In fact I was headed to the other side of the world and New Zealand for an extended period of time.
Upon arriving at Auckland Airport I immediately started noticing not just the big differences compared to home in the states, but the small. During that trip and my subsequent time in New Zealand here are some of the things that I have learned:
- Gotta make sure to look to the right first before crossing the street.
- Hitchhiking is common a way to get around and a pretty safe one. Picked one up, helping them get from A to B, with a lot of great conversation in-between.
- To do the above, had to experience driving on the other side of the road. That was the biggest transition.
- I’m not walking into a convenience store to grab some drinks and snacks, but a dairy.
- Speaking of dairies, them along with gas stations and in every other place it seems you will find a display case of meat pies ready for consumption. The steak and cheese yum!
- You want to wash that pie down with a V Energy Drink a.k.a. fuel for more road tripping. Why don’t they carry those outside of NZ and Australia haha?! 🙂 🙂
- When getting a different kind of fuel, Burger Fuel, the fries you are getting are Kumara, not sweet potato.
- I’m not grabbing a beer at the restaurant/bar, but a pint. To this day even at home when I want a beer I find myself asking for a pint.
- When at the restaurant/bar there is no tipping, you don’t give payment to the waiter and there is no seating available at the bar.
- Continuing on with the food, it’s frites not fries. Oh and can I have some aioli with those! What’s ketchup? People call it tomato sauce.
- When I visit I am not on a vacation, but on holiday.
- Here a sheep, there a sheep, everywhere a sheep sheep.
- It’s rugby, rugby, rugby over here. I quickly got drawn in to the All Blacks National rugby union team. Was very excited when they won the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London.
- The further south you go the colder it gets.
- It’s January and the sun is out until after 9 pm.
- I quickly Learned not to not close your eyes when road tripping, the terrain changes fast. We’re in the rain forest, wait the mountains, wait the prairie, wait I see a glacier.
- It is really as pretty and magical as Lord of the Rings depicts it to be. You never know what lies straight ahead.
- I discovered for myself what all the chatter was about involving the Queenstown Fergburger. Delicious.
- Roundabouts you are starting to see here-and-there in the states, in New Zealand they are just a way of life.
- I’ve already said it a couple of times in this post, people refer to the US as “The States”.
- Stay at hostel, not a hotel. Who knows who you’ll meet, where they will be from and what kinds of great memories you will make.
- Most importantly, everyone is so friendly. I don’t recall ever having a bad interaction with anyone.
It was great learning about, experiencing and seeing the differences between home and somewhere outside North America. I look forward to uncovering more in New Zealand and beyond.
Have you ever been to New Zealand? If so, what are some of the differences you noticed from home?