In November 2009, I embarked on my first real solo travel experience when I landed in New Zealand, and honestly, I didn't know what to expect. Hiking and "adventures" I guess.
In a strange way, arriving in a place on the other side of the world felt like, for the first time, I had the entire world at my fingertips. Not knowing where to start as all of these bright new opportunities came my way, I just let them navigate me on my journey. A million choices, all at once, and I just dove in.
Just over three years later, and I still haven't processed all that I've experienced since then. Amazing stories that I've almost forgotten about, and haven't told anyone, appear fresh in my mind now and then. Photos I've shot live in my library until I manage to make my way through them. When I see them, I'm taken back to that time and place, like I'm right there once again.
Coming back to New Zealand with our "Travel With A Local" project wasn't like my first time there. Instead of feeling excitement, mystery and wonder, it was like watching a movie from your childhood again. Not quite as magical as my memories reminded me.
Because there can only be one first time.