Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adventures in a Fantasy World

As with my last two Blog4NZ posts, I have been brainstorming lists of items I can present in order to advertise New Zealand and encourage visitors to stop by. There are heaps of lists I could come up with: top 10 items I’m glad I brought with me, top 10 recommendations that I didn’t do, top 10 pictures I’ve taken in NZ, my top 10 most thrilling NZ adventures, the top 10 items remaining on my to-do list, the top 10 NZ hostels that felt like home, my top 10 favorite Kiwi sayings, or even the top 10 foods I’ve tried in NZ. Believe me, the lists go on!

The problem is that these are things so many others are doing. I joined the Blog4NZ movement because I have been blogging for NZ since day one. Every picture or adventure story I come up with could contribute to the ever-growing pile of “go to NZ!” literature. And if you’ve been following my blog, I always have more stories to tell! I have been diligently checking the Blog4NZ facebook page and am beyond impressed by the response from the world over the last few days. Try googling “Blog4NZ” and see how many results there are. That stamp didn’t exist a few weeks ago! People who visited NZ 30 years ago are contributing to tell others why it’s a great vacation spot. Some travelers who have always had an eye on NZ (but have not yet been) have taken the opportunity to tell others why they want to go. I’ve even talked to someone I met here in November who said they were already trying to come back again this year! 

Why, you might ask, is NZ so special? It’s hard to pinpoint such an answer! I have already mentioned my favorite places and the reasons I chose to come here. I have told stories of adventure and frustration and family and laughter and happiness. I have published heaps of pictures on my blog (though if anyone knows me, there are eleventy-seven billion more that I’ve taken), but as much as you might enjoy or appreciate them, I don’t think they will ever mean as much to anyone besides myself. This is my adventure. My year spent abroad. My “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” And no, I’m not trying to brag or sound selfish. The point is that as much as I write and post and share, no matter how good (or poor) my storytelling may be, it will never be your experience. 

I think the whole concept of Blog4NZ is that nobody can ever tell you exactly what it’s like to see, taste, smell, or explore NZ. Sure, we can try! We can talk your ear off all day about the stunning scenery, friendly people, adrenaline activities, and amazing experiences. But it doesn’t really matter. Our pictures might make you jealous, our stories excite you, our descriptions make you want to be here, but you will never really know what NZ is like unless you experience it for yourself! 

So, in order to summarize the general feeling I’ve gotten from the Blog4NZ posts I’ve read… Quit imaging NZ as a far off fantasy world (though it might resemble one). Dig out your camera, pack your sun hat, book your skydive, come on down and see for yourself!



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