Today I wanted to talk about the part of travel that people don’t like to talk about. The part where you travel somewhere and you just don’t like it that much.
I traveled to New Zealand last September and it’s taken me this long to finally admit my real feelings about it. I’ve heard amazing things about New Zealand my entire life. Every person I know that’s ever travelled there raves about it and claims they can’t wait to go back. The bar was set high, but from the moment I arrived, I thought, this is it? And while I kept waiting for my feelings to change, to see that one thing that made me just “get it”, I didn’t. I left feeling very underwhelmed.
Now, that’s not to say I didn’t have a great time there. I wouldn’t trade my vacation or experiences for anything. I mean when else do you get to travel in a motor-home with your in-laws? That in itself was an amazing adventure.
Rolling down a huge hill in an inflatable zorb ball is definitely something I will never forget.
And I went WAY outside my comfort zone and had the
thrill scare of my life when I bungee jumped.
So why did New Zealand leave me feeling disappointed?
I’m fortunate enough to live in Canada where I am surrounded by beautiful scenery. So while New Zealand had some stunning scenery, most of it except that of the Geothermal area of Rotorua, wasn’t very unique to me.
Similarly, the culture wasn’t unique. New Zealand culture is very similar to North American culture. The language is the same, stores look the same and aside from driving on the left-hand side of the road and the accents, it felt very much like home. For some people, this would mean they would love New Zealand. It makes for easy travelling. But I suppose I crave more. I love walking down cobblestone streets, seeing historic buildings or monuments older than I can possibly comprehend and hearing foreign language all around me. I love being immersed in a foreign culture and New Zealand lacked that.
The truth of travelling is not every place you go will be your favourite. Just because someone tells you it’s the best place doesn’t mean you will love it. We all travel for different reasons, have different expectations and like to see different things.
There’s a lot in New Zealand I didn’t get to see and I would go back, but with my expectations lowered. Who knows, maybe with that mindset I might end up loving the country.