I knew that the summer of 2014 was the hardest summer of my life because of the paragliding accident I had, and on top of that, with a very honorable act of my then-boyfriend, he left me alone in the country “because we were not married” during the recovery period. Until the summer of 2019. The summer of 2019 pushed me pretty hard, apart from the heartache. What happened, dear reader? Right after I learned I had a moderate risk of cancer, I learned that I was laid off along with half the office. I couldn’t say get well this time.
First, I went to Istanbul in June and had a small operation, and upon my return, I immediately started getting the necessary vaccinations. Since I took the necessary precautions regarding my health, there was not much left to do until the control in November. We started negotiations with the company with my dear lawyer, whom I hired for the first time in my life. Due to the slowness of recruitment and the scarcity of job postings in the summer, the difficult process has also begun. The hardest part, of course, was the uncertainty.
I have not canceled any of my previously planned trips. I saw my travels in Puglia and Russia as opportunities to breathe, even though my brain was preoccupied with uncertainty in the background. I got up every morning and went to Scandinavian Embassy, my favorite cafe, where I both socialized with the employees and made regular job applications. In the difficult 3-4 months period, everyone working in the cafe now knew what day and what meeting I had. This routine was also important to keep my energy levels high.
Going through an uncertain period without work and at the same time keeping morale high for job interviews was very challenging. I did a lot of things just to keep busy. The most interesting of these was working at the pancake stand at Albert Cuyp Markt. Thankfully, Ali gave a generous hourly wage and free pancakes. The payment was love. Despite my colorful personality and energy, my hopes were at their lowest in August when I got a job offer and they wanted me to start in October. According to the termination agreement, although I did not go to work, I was appearing to be working until October on paper and receiving my salary.
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Long story short, I had a month of paid leave and an end to uncertainty. After the bad period, I decided to use this opportunity in New Zealand, one of the countries I was most curious about, as far as I could go. One month was enough for New Zealand, less for Australia. By the way, having a Dutch passport didn’t bother me with visa bureaucracy and it was very effective in this quick decision.
There wasn’t much time to plan this time. For some reason, I always had the impression that New Zealand was to be traveled by car. I googled “public transport in New Zealand” and came across a trip option just for me. There are bus companies with routes that cover all of New Zealand. They work with the logic of hop on – hop off. They provide a one-night accommodation guarantee on the first night at the destination, discounts on paid events, and ease of logistics.
The first company I came across was Kiwi Experience. (From people I met in New Zealand, I learned that there is also a Stray company. Stray is a bit more expensive and the age group is generally higher. I don’t quite agree with this, because the people in the group are random people and there may be people you (may or may not) like in both companies. It’s all a matter of luck. Dear Reader, if you are going, I wrote these two companies in your mind below.) My search came to an end after I liked the routes, prices and maps of Kiwi Experience.
I bought The Whole Kit Caboodle pass from Kiwi Experience as it is on sale and is the most comprehensive route. I visited the places pictured on the right outside of Milford Sound (due to weather opposition), the Deep South (as the departure schedule intersects with arrival in Queenstown) and Kaikoura. Since September is not a busy season in terms of tourism, the buses were half full and there were many places to stay. Therefore, I have benefited greatly from the flexibility of the pass.
In this article, I will not describe each place on the map one by one, I will only talk about the must-see places. You can imagine the North Island as one big Hobbitland. There is a landscape with tiny green hills and sheep on them. In the far north, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the British made a deceptive deal with the Maoris of New Zealand, is a must-visit place to understand New Zealand and its history.
In this museum, I learned that Lady Diana was the first woman to board one of the long war boats made by the Maoris from kauri wood. According to the Maori people, warfare was man’s work. One of the beauties of New Zealand is that it is adorned with the beliefs and legends of the Maori people. They believed that the souls of the dead departed from Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of the island. New Zealand’s famous Dutch explorer Abel Tasman named another cape very close to this spot after his wife: Cape Maria van Diemen. Think about it, Dear Reader, how many days did it take for the man to discover the island in the 1600s, and how long it took to give his wife’s name and come to the Netherlands to report this gift. It must be patience.