A Tale of Two Sunburns

So this is it. I’ve been in Auckland for five whole days now, though it seems like longer. I’m going to cut right to the chase and say that solo traveling is hard. It’s lonely, and sometimes it really sucks. That being said, sometimes it’s amazing, but it’s really hard. Apologies for any grammatical errors in this, I’m really tired! 

Flashback to the day I departed. I packed all my belongings up and headed to the airport. I elected to say goodbye to my parents on the arrivals curb and head into the terminal alone. I know that sounds aloof, but honestly it was better that way. A short goodbye and then I immediately went in and had a million other things to focus on before I could even start to feel nervous. My flights all went well. A little delayed but nothing too bad. San Francisco airport sucks. At least the international terminal does. Nothing good to eat or do. As my dad said, when I take over the world I’ll be able to fix that. Remarkably I slept through most of the flight to New Zealand and thus have not suffered from jet lag. I’ve always been pretty good at adapting to time differences, but even I was shocked at this. I haven’t had a single restless night since I’ve been here, touch wood. 

The next stage of my journey was arrival to Auckland. I checked into my hostel, left my bags, found a Starbucks with wifi, and promptly burst into tears. Spoiler alert: it would not be the first time I cried in that Starbucks. I’m going to save you all my sob story about how I’m lonely and depressed and feel lost. You can ask my parents because I texted them a lot about it. Frankly those messages are heartbreaking, and a little (lot) pathetic. Shout out to you mum and dad for putting up with me! I spent most of my first day shamelessly crying because I couldn’t believe what I’d done. I don’t know if this initial culture shock and depression ruined Auckland for me, or if Auckland is just a crap city. I think it’s a combination of the two. Who decided that all the good bars and restaurants should be outside the centre city!? I mean there are some really good parts, but those are mostly outside the city. Go figure. Moving on to hostels. I’m a princess I know. I hate hostels. To be fair the one I spent my first two lonely nights in was very big and had very few solo travelers. I felt isolated and alone and had no private space. My next three nights in the city have been spent in AirBnBs much to my expense. 

Here’s a quick run down of my days so far with some photos:

Day one

  • Cry 
  • Pick my self up as per my mother’s request and walk around
  • Cry
  • Sit in a park
  • Cry
  • Get on a ferry as per my mother’s request and go to Devonport the “seaside Victorian town”
  • Realize Devonport is  not Victorian
  • Cry
  • Eat McDonalds for dinner because I felt like I would run out of money
  • Cry
  • Try to interview with a potential host family and find out Starbucks wifi cannot handle Skype calls
  • Cry
  • Sleep

Day two

  • BUNAC Work New Zealand orientation
  • Get a bank card and account
  • Get  a New Zealand phone plan
  • Feel pretty badass
  • Eat Dominos for dinner because irrational money fears 
  • Loose my precious Camel Back water bottle at the harbour 
  • Cry
  • Sleep

Day three

  • Hike to a waterfall and LEARN HOW TO SURF
  • Find out contact lenses do not like salt water
  • Find out surfing is hard but fun
  • Get really badly sunburnt
  • Go to Aucklands amazing Maritime Museum (10/10 recommend)
  • Interview with a host family
  • Miss home and cry

Day four

  • Interview with a host family
  • Skype home to my family 💗
  • Cry a little 
  • Go to the excellent Auckland Museum
  • Wander a nice park 
  • Walk two miles home
  • Cry because I can’t decide between two families if either of them makes an offer

Day five

  • Get an offer from both families and constantly berate my parents about who I should choose.
  • Choose a family
  • Go on a ferry to Waiheke Island
  • Hike a lot
  • Get sunburnt again
  • Book a beach trip for the next eight days 
  • Write this blog post

I’m writing this post on an iPad and I can’t make the pictures work so check out my Facebook or VSCO for my favourite ones. Part of the reason I felt so lost was because I didn’t have a job sorted yet. I felt like I was bouncing along with no end goal or purpose on a course set for self destruction.  But, oh happy day, I got a job today! I’ll be working for a family with two sons aged 2 and 5. I found the family through Au Pair Link and I have my orientation for that on the 26-7th and begin work after that. The family lives on a dairy farm in between two small towns and 45min from Hamilton, a large city. I’ll be with this family for six months and then onto other globetrotting I go.

This post is a nice little catch up for all of you on what I’ve been up to, and though it may be funny, it doesn’t show the whole story. I opted for humor in describing my loneliness because I don’t feel so bad anymore. Had you asked me a few days ago it would be a different story. I was ready to go home then. Now I’m excited for the next adventure, 8 days in the Bay of Islands! 


3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Sunburns

  1. I absolutely positively respect your brutal honesty here Charlotte. Too many of us paint happy happy pictures of our lives and that is just wrong. You need to feel the lows (and you have had them!) to feel the HIGHS! The thing is not just you … but we need to feel your lows so that we can celebrate properly along with you when you achieve awesome days and wonderful experiences -because we know your big picture. It pains me to read your pain but you have gained a cheerleader in me, and I hope all the best for you Charlotte and look forward to your next post.
    Love, Julie


  2. Charlotte you are a star! If only Anabel and you were in the same school year she would have loved to have been your travel companion. Its really brave to launch out there alone. Anabel didn’t want to do it alone, and so stayed and worked in France instead. This blog is an excellent idea and you can roller coaster all the emotions again when you read it back at the end of the year. Slap that sun cream on, and enjoy the view. After six months with a two year old – who knows – you may be looking at that isolation and loneliness as heaven! I hope they are lovely children and that you have lots of fun with them. I expect you to be able to milk three cows at the same time while standing on one hand by the time you get home!! Keep writing! Keep smiling! Much love Mirandaxx


  3. Seems like you are adjusting well to your first big solo trip – seriously. If you felt no qualms or regrets it would either show profound denial, abject lying to yourself/your readers, or a complete lack of empathy (a quality that extends to the self as much as others). Take it from your friend-doctor – lady, you’re doing fine.


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