A Dangerous Business Discovers Hobbiton, New Zealand.
For our Wandering Wednesday guest posts we ask a fellow travel blogger to highlight one place (city or entire country) that has been one of the most memorable for them. It can be a fond type of memorable, or “my hair caught on fire, I contracted rabies, and my luggage was stolen”- type of memorable. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re taking it all.
For today’s Wandering Wednesday, we’re featuring Amanda from A Dangerous Business. Amanda is just an ordinary, small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a “normal life” of school, friends, and family with an unquenchable lust for travel. She’s always looking for that next chance to get swept away in the next adventure, be it around the globe or around the corner. This love of travel and search for adventure has lead her to travel as often and as far as possible, chronicling her journey on her travel blog, A Dangerous Business.
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First things first, Why do you travel?
Travelling was never really a big deal for my family when I was younger. Sure, we did yearly vacations to Florida and Virginia and even to the Bahamas once. But going beyond those comfortable borders never really even occurred to me until I hit high school and began to get interested in the wider world.
I got my first passport when I was 18, and began travelling as often as possible soon after. Since then, I’ve taken advantage of every opportunity possible to travel, from the U.S. to Canada to Ireland to China to New Zealand, and other places in between.
I travel because it’s something I’m passionate about. I travel to meet new people, experience new cultures, and to force myself out of my comfort zone. I feel like travel allows you to truly get to know yourself – and it’s been great getting to know my over the past seven years.
What brought you to New Zealand?
In short: because I’m a bit of a geek. In high school, I became obsessed with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and through it, New Zealand. I would watch those movies and literally get chills dreaming about seeing that scenery in person. So I made a promise to myself that I would go to Hobbiton and “Middle Earth” after I graduated high school, and I began saving my money immediately. Two years later, I was there.
What was your most memorable experience (good or bad) from your time in New Zealand?
You’re asking me to choose just ONE? Impossible.
Trekking on a glacier. Bungee jumping (3 times!). Horseback riding on a beach. Watching the New Zealand rugby team beat the Australians live. Road tripping through the South Island. Seeing rare takahe birds on Kapiti Island. Climbing inside hobbit holes in Hobbiton. Walking up the steepest street in the world. Cruising through a misty Doubtful Sound. … I could go on and on.
Any advice for travelers headed to New Zealand?
New Zealand is a small country, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that there’s not much to do there! The country is incredibly diverse in its scenery, and friendly in its people.
The one tip I give people when they’re headed to New Zealand (other than to not be too stingy with their budgets) is to be sure to include Wellington in their itinerary. I fell in love with NZ’s capital while living there, but many travelers discount it as a political capital and skip over it in favor of other destinations. But Wellington is absolutely worth a visit! The city is hip, vibrant, and in a really great location (though it’s nicknamed “Windy Welly” for good reason). It’s definitely worth a couple days of your time.
How did your experiences in New Zealand change you as a person and how you feel about travel?
New Zealand changed me in ways that I think I’m still discovering. Living there for nearly five months taught me so much about myself and the way I want to approach my life. New Zealanders have a wonderfully refreshing attitude towards life that’s quite a bit different from the way I was brought up in the U.S. The “no worries” attitude that permeates NZ society definitely got under my skin, and I think I’m actually a better, more grounded person today because of it. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true!
New Zealand also turned me into a bit of an adrenaline junkie with all of its adventure sports, and I think that often carries over into my other travels, making me a little less afraid of straying from the path or going solo if need be.
Studying abroad in general really made me more of a self-dependent and confident person, which I know without a doubt has helped shape me into the independent traveler I am today.
Okay, last question. Where are you headed next and why?
2012 is going to be “the travel year” for me. I’m not a full-time nomad like many other travel bloggers, but I want to be as mobile as possible this year. I already kicked off the year with a trip to Canada, and I’ll be following that up with a trip to Iceland in March, and then a month in Eastern Europe in July, followed by a couple weeks in the UK in August.
I’ve set a goal for myself to travel SOME where every month this year, even if it’s only an hour away from home. I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to go really far to have an adventure, so I’m hoping to take my own travel advice this year.
Do you or someone you know have a memorable experience from your travels? Want to be featured on one of our Wandering Wednesday posts? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org