So in my Forbes interview, (did I mention my Forbes interview?) I talked about how one of the benefits of traveling alone is that there's nobody to judge you for holing up in a hotel room and watching TV for 48 hours.
That actually happened.
On the South Island of New Zealand, I was staying with friends of friends of friends of friends (I told you, don't be afraid to invite yourself!) When I suggested to my host Kiri that she join me as I rented a car and toured the South Island, she lamented that she couldn't make it but instead gave me her car, a cooler, a woolen hat, a map, a 9-day itinerary and sent me off to see the Island by myself.
I drove and drove and toured ancient breweries and floated down fjords and hiked icy glaciers and rode the famous Queenstown Luge and by the time I made it up to a little city named Dunedin I was a little exhausted.
|Learning the proper pour, Montieth's Brewery, Greymouth|
|On the chairlift on the way up to Luge, Queenstown|
|Hiking the glacier, Franz Joseph/Fox|
|Dinosaur Egg Boulders, Moeraki|
In Dunedin, Kiri hooked me up with two nights in a free hotel room courtesy of her employer. I was excited because I had been staying in hostel dorm rooms with sometimes stinky and snore-y girls and boys from places like England and Israel -- in fact it had been two months since I had spent a night alone. I was totally ready for a little privacy.
I could never have been prepared for the scene as I turned the key and opened the door to my room. White crisp linens. Down duvet. Flat screen TV. Cable. PRIVATE BATHROOM. Fridge. Microwave. Coffee.
As I put my backpack down, I said out loud, "I will not leave this room until it's time to check out." And I didn't. (Fortunately I had the cooler with food.) I watched TV. I blogged. I checked Facebook. I took hours-long luxurious showers using every free product on the sink, shaved my legs and then checked Facebook again, in case anything happened. I napped. I Skyped all four of my sisters and my mom. It was delicious.
Yes, I missed the Albatross. (Dunedin is one of the only places in the world where the Albatross can be seen from mainland.) Oh yah. And I didn't care. Instead, I googled Albatross* and looked at photos of them in my underwear as I deep-conditioned my hair for an hour wrapped in a hot wet towel.
|The scene of the crime.|
*According to http://www.albatross.org.nz/:
The latest Lonely Planet publication 1000 Ultimate Sights features the Royal Albatross Centre alongside the Taj Mahal and Grand Canyon. They say of us: Here at one of New Zealand's hottest attractions the draw card is the birdlife. Taiaroa Head is the site of the world's only mainland royal albatross breeding ground, where you can observe the spectacle of the albatrosses with wingspans of up to 3m coming in to land like a succession of 747s.