New Zealand fields and green hills from above

On December 3rd, 2013, I stepped onto a plane, sat down with a sigh, and took one last good look at my hometown in New Zealand. I was not going to be back for a very long time, even longer than I was anticipating. But in that moment, the full realisation of a life overseas had not hit me. I had no bloody idea what that next year and a half would hold, nor how much I would change.

I was headed for France, via Colorado and the house of my brother's best friend. The next year would be spent studying in both France and Scotland, and if I had anything to do with it, I was damn-well going to make sure I spent all of my spare time in galleries and cathedrals. No new friends for me, thank you. 

Well, that plan did not turn out quite the way I was hoping...

Instead, things turned out to be a whole lot better!

Here is a small extract of my thoughts after leaving New Zealand:

I feel kind of like I am stepping out into a great unknown, pushed by some force that has gotten a lot stronger as the time to leave came closer. That feeling of impatience and excitement about travelling is also confused by another feeling, which goes a bit like this...

”what the bloody heck am I doing??!”

But I think that some of the biggest adventures require a person to leave their comfort zone and place their trust into the hands of the fates. So when I rushed out of the front door, having just finished packing a year’s worth of stuff, my feelings were what you might describe as “panicky-enthusiastic.”

A person displaying such a condition can be identified by their symptoms of sudden-onset rapid breathing requiring a paper bag, lulls of silent contemplation, and outbursts of excited babble. If you think you have this condition, do not fear, it eases over time.

No truly, it does. I can say that although I might have had a severe case of “panicky-enthusiastic,” which definitely worsened on the first few nights of being away from home, my symptoms have pretty much subsided now that I am feeling more grounded in my new surroundings.
— little 21 year old Zoe