Arrival and First Few Days in New Zealand

“Sorry! You were probably going to use this seat to lie down on.”

A lady addressed me as she was taking the seat on the other end of the middle part where I was sitting. She moved from the row behind me to sit in mine. On her row all of the three seats were occupied, while on mine there was more room, two seats were left.

“No! It’s okay. You can sit there.” I assured her.

The lady had grey hair and looked European. She was traveling alone, just like me.

Because I was so excited about the media provided on this airline I started to have a conversation with her only after about sixteen hours of flying, at the very end. I had noticed though that she had been reading a novel that was written in Dutch, my second language. So I was curious about her circumstances.

She told me she just came back from Holland where she had paid her mom a visit as she does every year. Now she was heading home, her house being just outside of Auckland.

I also found out that she had moved to New Zealand together with her husband when she was about thirty-five years old.

I asked her as we were heading toward customs, “How do you feel about having moved here? Do you perhaps regret that decision?”

“Not at all!” She answered. “The only downside is perhaps missing family, and the twenty-three hours on the plane, but I absolutely love living here.”

I nodded in apprehension. We wished each other well, shook hands and waved each other goodbye, going our own way.

After my arrival I took the shuttle bus to the hostel where I would be staying at for a few nights. On that bus I met Tom, a German who was slightly younger than I was. He said he was in the middle of a world trip and just flew over from Chili over the Pacific. We had a nice little chat before I had to get out of the bus.

I guess Auckland is like any other Metropolis. Therefor I do not find it very interesting. Still I had to stay for orientation and to apply for work.

I checked in at the Base Hostel for three nights, where I shared a room with the eighteen year old Melany, who was from Germany and who managed to spend the whole day in bed. My other roommate was the twenty four year old Alexander, who was very tall. He came from Utah, but was not a Latter Day Saint.

After orientation I applied for I think ten massage therapy positions which were scattered all over the country, both on the North and the South Island. Also I made an appointment with the organic farmer I had contacted when I was still in Belgium. I could volunteer at their farm for a week or so, starting the next week on Monday. This was perfect as I was awaiting and expecting some employers to respond to my message.

The next day I went south, looking forward to be at the farm, far away from the hustling and bustling city. I would be back though, to meet Pati, my niece, who moved from the Philippines to Auckland a few years ago.

Packing for New Zealand

In the picture below you can see the bags which I will use for my one year work and travel trip. The big blue one can go on my back and the other one on my chest. Talking about a Leonard L. Sandwich.

Victor, a fellow couch surfer whom I hosted a week ago, advised me to walk around a minute or two while carrying my bags as if I would already be traveling (the same procedure when you are trying on new shoes). I must say, I have tried it and the bags felt really easy to carry and not that heavy at all.

In the big blue one I have neatly placed all my clothes and my bath supplies, plus some of my electronics in the side pockets. My sleeping bag, my (note)books, my documents, my airplane ticket, and my money related things, they can all go in the smaller, grey bag.

To make sure I had everything I used the checklist on, a handy website to help travellers check off everything that they need.


The child in me says, “I am going to New Zealand for a year and I am bringing with me”


  • five pairs of socks
  • underwear for seven days
  • walking shoes
  • one pair of Sunday shoes
  • one white shirt (for Sundays)
  • four ties
  • one suit
  • white fisherman’s pants
  • brown fisherman’s pants
  • one white fisherman’s shirt
  • two pants
  • two t-shirts
  • nike shorts (for sports and swimming)
  • three shirts
  • pajama’s
  • two towels

On my trip I will need to do laundry of course, since I am bringing clothes of which most I will have worn after a week. But, that is a concern for later, isn’t it?

Bath supplies:

  • a toothbrush
  • homeopathic toothpaste
  • a shaving machine + adaptor
  • moisturizer
  • nail clippers
  • self made perfume of essential oils
  • olive oil (conditioner)

Eating & drinking:

  • cutlery
  • snacks
  • a bottle of water


  • a sleeping bag
  • a sleeping mask


  • Iphone
  • Ipad
  • charger + wire
  • earphones
  • electric converters

I decided to leave my digital camera at home and use the camera in my I phone 6 instead. So whenever I feel like capturing a memory in a canvas format I just get my I phone out of my pocket and “click”. I am not setting out to win the award of best landscape photographer anyway.


  • work and travel visa
  • international passport
  • temporary driver’s license
  • copy of my travel insurance (digital)


  • cash
  • wallet
  • credit cards/debet cards
  • show money to pass through immigration


  • airline ticket


  • two notebooks (one for morning papers and one for other notes or exercises)
  • some souvenirs from Bruges I can give to my hosts
  • a novel (The Songs of You and Me)

Yep, that is all. I think I got everything. Let me evaluate this list later.