The Aussie adventure travel chick that helped me with my application, booked my flight and all that jazz was also a pool of advice since she’s done the live/work/travel thing everywhere or so it seems to me. Some of it was really good advice regarding apartment hunting, kiwi boys, and local lingo but the piece of advice that stuck with me was to make fast friends with total strangers on internet – okay, possibly a slight exaggeration as I think her exact words may have been to check out the forums and connect with SWAP on facebook as it would be good to know some other Canadians heading abroad too.
Anyway, like a good little girl I did as I was told. About a month ago, I posted a message that essentially screamed, “I’m heading to NZ alone – please be my friend!” Amazingly, I wasn’t ridiculed to the point of retracting my message or even worse – totally ignored. To my amazement, people responded and new messages keep popping up all the time saying – “I’m going alone too…how long are you going for…where are you staying…did you get a job yet…what are your travel plans…we could meet up for a drink or travel together for a bit”.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think this whole thing is so weird that it borders on the ridiculous. I mean here I am, chatting away with total strangers about the little details of what I want to do and yet all I really needed to know about any of them was that they’re heading to New Zealand around the same time before I opened up. At this point, we’ve all managed to share the same canned answers about why New Zealand and what we’re looking to get out of it. In that sense its like online dating but hunting for friends instead.
Unlike the whole online dating scene though, I’m actually interested in meeting up with the people I’ve been chatting with. Pesky question rattling around in my head – I wonder what will happen. Will we end up being a posse of starter friends until we can branch out and meet other like-minded folks or will we end up becoming NZ travel mates and meet up with each other every time we find ourselves in the same town or will we meet up in Auckland when we land, have a drink and that’ll be that. I think the outcome will be different for each person I’m chatting with but it should all add a lot of colour to the journey I have ahead of me.