After the most whirlwind month of my life, I’ve finally made it home. It’s honestly somewhat difficult to absorb everything that’s happened, including that I’m back in Alabama. When I got off the flight and saw my parents, it was a wonderful feeling; however, after traveling for almost 24 hours, everything was a little bit fuzzy and I was mostly just ready to go to bed. Now that I’ve gotten turned back around, I’ve really started to miss New Zealand. It might be strange to miss a place I visited for such a short period of time, but nonetheless I think that I will always carry a part of New Zealand with me.

This trip has changed me. Not completely, of course, but something is definitely different than when I first stepped off the plane in Auckland. I’ve learned a great deal about myself: how I socialize with people, what I do and don’t like in a roommate, how to balance social and alone time. These things you can’t help but learn when staying in close quarters with the same people for a month. On the other hand, I also grew personally, out of choice. I talked to more people than I ever have before, I’ve become more sure of myself, and I’m less afraid to relax and be myself around others.

The light coming through the mountains at Milford Sound. My last day in New Zealand.

There have been a few things that I’ve had to re-adjust to now that I’m back home. Mostly just the small things, but they do still throw me off sometimes; things like how you have to order water at restaurants instead of having it sitting out in a pitcher, driving again (on the correct side of the road), not being able to get an L&P soda whenever I want, etc. I’ve also had to get used to Americans again, in a general sense. People tend to be much louder and more outspoken here, as well as having slightly different expectations, but I’m sure that in time I’ll re-adjust.

I can’t describe how incredible this experience has been. Getting to explore a country on the other side of the world with twenty complete strangers isn’t something I think I’ll ever get to do again, but if I were given the chance, I would take it in a heartbeat.


Take risks, get uncomfortable, and go find your adventure.

On a boat riding through Milford Sound!