After spending more than 24 hours straight bouncing between airplanes and airports it felt good to finally step out into the New Zealand air. Even though a full day of traveling was rough, I am still a firm believer that the first day of any trip is the best one. There is something special about stepping off that plane and being somewhere that you’ve never been. It’s liberating. I love walking around unfamiliar places and talking to strangers because those are the things that are strangely comfortable to me.
Everything is new on the first day of a trip and that’s why it is so exciting. The one thing I had planned for today was to take pictures of a mural on a wall. That was it. The rest of the day was open. After we found the first wall we rounded a corner and discovered more. In just a few hours of wandering, we found a massive park with rugby and cricket fields. We found the New Zealand War Memorial Museum. We found a boutique market full of local small businesses. We found a lot of street art.
The reason I like the first day of travel, (especially when unplanned,) is because it is the one day where you can see the place you’re visiting like those who grew up there. You learn from what you experience instead of what you have heard or what you have read. It is extremely gratifying to discover things by happy accident rather than feeling like you need to see certain sites by the time the sun goes down. I live my life by the seat of my pants and that’s reflected in the way I travel. It opens me up to all kinds of experiences and helps ensure that I have a good time. I don’t like to make plans because they keep me from seizing opportunity. Opportunities like finding hole in the wall restaurants. Opportunities like finding public parks you didn’t know existed. Opportunities like singing karaoke at a night market, (which just might be aired on Maori TV).
Opportunities are why I travel and today was full of opportunities. Though I am tired and sweaty and confused about the day and time, I will sleep soundly knowing that today was a productive day. While I have a lot that I need to do here over the next few weeks, I know I will discover this country through my experiences each day.