Looking Back

Monthly Update: April and May 2017

Two months have come and gone, and I have written not a single thing for Transformed Thru Travel. Not that it hasn’t been on my mind. As always, I have a long list of post ideas and updates to write. I just haven’t felt the drive to get the words out there. I’m slowly coming around, you’ll read more on that further down.

To be honest, I do have little pangs of missing New Zealand every now and then when I see friend’s pictures or Snaps. As much as I enjoyed the adventure, I love the familiarity and routine of being home. I’m here just in time for the electricity of the Cape Cod summer, which took long enough to get here! It was a long, cold, wet spring.

Here’s what I got up to in April and May.

Places Visited

New Zealand: Queenstown, Auckland, Matamata, Waitomo, Huntly, West Harbour

United States: Los Angeles and Boston airports, Cape Cod


hobbiton movie set tour new zealand

Inside the Party Marquee at the Hobbiton Movie Set. Matamata, New Zealand.

1. Drinking a beer at the Green Dragon Inn. And having lunch at the Party Marquee. If you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit movies, you HAVE to visit this place. The Green Dragon Inn is a working pub at the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Some tours include a buffet lunch at the Party Marquee, which mine did! You eat in a tent just like the one from Bilbo’s birthday party. I was so engrossed in conversation with other guests on the tour that I only snapped a few pictures. None of which include the beer.

If you’re going to visit, you might as well spring for the deluxe tour with lunch included! I scored a cheap ticket using BookMe.co.nz.

2. Surprising MacKenzie. That’s my Goddaughter, for those who don’t know, and she is the cutest little angel baby in the entire world. I missed her SO MUCH while I was away. When I decided to come back home, her parents and I decided not to tell her and surprise her instead. The day came for the big reveal and her first reaction was disbelief. I think I sort of scared her a little. But, after a few seconds, and getting some reassurance from her parents, she breathed a big sigh of relief and gave the biggest, longest hug ever.

3. Buying a new car. Certain circumstances forced me to need a new car when I arrived home. I can’t even be mad, though, because it was way overdue. Poor Beyonce, my old, brown 1995 Subaru Legacy wagon that I bought for $300, was barely keeping her shit together. It only took a couple weeks for Oscar, my new green 2000 Subaru Outback, and I to find each other. I can tell that he and I are going to have many adventures together. RIP Beyonce.

See highlights from January, February, and March. 

Challenges & Self-Care

travel in new zealand

Sunset and a cider overlooking Auckland City Center on my final night. West Harbour, New Zealand

During my final days in New Zealand, way back in early April, which seems like forever ago, I stayed with a friend from home who is now living there. The fast-paced, two-week journey from Christchurch to Auckland with so many stops and activities in between wore me out. So, to relax and prepare myself for what I knew would be a grueling journey back home, I pretty much just loafed around their house in West Harbour. Not much exploring was done in those final days.

I did go on a couple walks to soak in the view of Auckland City Center across the harbor. Movies were watched and roasted take away dinners were tried. I took my time re-packing my luggage, which doubled in size once I picked up my suitcase full of winter items from being in storage. Lucy, the cutest Jack Russell Terrier I’ve ever met, “helped” me pack all the extra souvenirs and chocolates I had accumulated.

It was nice just being with friends and relaxing after a couple weeks of hostel dorms. My friend even cooked me dinner, which I appreciated more than I probably let her know.

It took about 36 hours total, with very little sleep, to get from the airport in Auckland to Cape Cod. I left Saturday afternoon and, crossing the International Dateline, arrived in Los Angeles early Saturday morning. It quite literally was the longest Saturday of my life because, on top of experiencing most of the day twice, my flight to Boston was delayed. So, on top of the 8-hour layover, 4-5 hours was added to my waiting time and caused a domino effect of plan changing and more waiting.

I really regretted binge watching those 5 movies (not really, they were good movies) on the 13-hour Auckland-LA flight. I was just too excited to sleep, and they were serving such delicious food!

RELATED: Things to Know About New Zealand: A Guide to the Practical and Quirky

things to do in auckland new zealand

View of the Auckland Sky Tower from below. Auckland, New Zealand. Featured on Instagram.

When I finally arrived back on the Cape, I crashed HARD. Acclimating to the new time zone was difficult. It took a couple weeks for the 4 am bowls of cereal to end. What made the transition easier was knowing I had the freedom to let myself slowly get used to the new time zone. I timed my trip home just so and had enough money in the bank so that I didn’t need to immediately start working.

Once I did start working, I set my schedule to reflect the realization that I need limited time working with other people. In order to have healthy, fulfilling relationships and social life, I need the majority of my time to be spent alone. I limited myself to just 4 waitressing shifts a week, compared to the 8 shifts I did last year.

The rest of my time is spent doing social media management for the restaurant and content and social media management for The Budget-Minded Traveler. Alone, sometimes at a coffee shop, but mostly just in the comfort of home. Once I get used to this new work schedule, I’ll be able to focus more energy on my own online world!

What I Read in April and May

In two whole months, I have read nothing but online news articles and blog posts. Can you believe it!? Actually, I really can! I spend so much time in front of my computer writing, editing, and reading, that doing more reading is the last thing I want to do to unwind.

I won’t say much about my personal opinions of the state of US politics (I’ll save that for my private Facebook page), but here are two resources that I’ve been using to keep myself up to date.

The first is a daily email list of top news articles from WTF Just Happened Today. The second is the weekly Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience by Jennifer Hofmann. Check them out if you’re interested.

More Next Month

June has already been action packed with waiting tables and all the social media management. Plus taking the proper time to care for myself, like taking a midday dip in the pool or cooking a delicious Blue Apron meal. I finally feel like I’m getting a good grasp on an actual schedule and will incorporate more writing for my own blog soon!

Read Other Monthly Updates


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