After "Why are you doing this?", the second most common question I get about this 'trip' is "Where are you going?". At this point I have planned the first couple of months, but that wasn't the original plan. The original plan was to literally get on a plane to New Zealand and start wandering around, hiking and exploring the country. Because obviously I believe the world is just one giant playground I can explore whenever I want. Then I did the sensible thing and started talking to REAL adults and googling the shit out of everything. I learned you could only stay 3 months in New Zealand without a Visa and they wanted proof you were leaving the country aka a return ticket/ticket out of the country. Even better, all the hikes I wanted to do had a limited number of campsite/huts along the route and once they are booked up that's it, there are no more. By the time I figured this out, one hike I wanted to do was already booked full. So with that I locked myself in my apartment for 4 days straight and booked two months worth of accommodations, transport, hikes, activities, etc. I could at this point give you a guided tour of New Zealand with my eyes closed. I would not recommend this method however, as it literally drove me insane and I didn't see another human for 4 days.
Why New Zealand? It's safe, it's easy to get around without a car, it's beautiful. Most importantly, in January it won't be the dead of winter there. Fun fact, there are no predators in New Zealand. Unlike the Rockies where I was hiking last summer, where a Grizzly came and poked around our campsite (disregard that statement Mom), New Zealand apparently has a ground parrot that can be a jerk, sheep who may eat my tent and that's about it. Bottom line, nothing there is going to kill me (except the Great White sharks I recently found out about, there goes my beach days). Although a co-worker did suggest I carry pepper spray in case someone tries to push me off a cliff. Which would be funny to see, because my damned pack is so big, I bet they couldn't budge me.
My travels will generally be centered around one of two things at any time: physical activity or spending time with loved ones. I find in times of great mental stress I like to push myself to my physical and mental limits, that is, when I can get out of bed. I'm not really sure why. Maybe to prove to myself that hey, if I can hike 120+ km in the Rockies in a week, I can keep on living. Maybe to take my mind off what's bothering me and instead focus on how I am going to keep walking when I feel like I am physically going to die. Maybe because I am just crazy. When I'm not dragging my absurdly large backpack along a trail, I will be enjoying some serious time with loved ones because my family is spread out and hard to pin down at times!
The plan as it stands is to hike roughly 250km in New Zealand over two months and spend another month there doing something or other. Am I seriously doing this alone you ask? Sure am. I'm not worried about travelling alone, I still believe most people in this world have good hearts. Also, I have always been an introvert at heart, I enjoy my alone time. I enjoy it even more while wandering around outside, singing to myself and talking to the animals (no, they don't talk back to me...yet). After that, I will probably move onto Australia (anyone have a couch?), maybe go somewhere tropical, maybe Hawaii if I have time. Come back to North America and hang out with various family members on the West Coast, eating all their food while regaling them with tales of my ground parrot encounters. Back in Ontario for the months of June/July to see my family and friends here and eat all of their food as well. Then...who knows! After all the traveling is done (which maybe it won't ever end...someone pay me to do this please!) I plan to settle down in Vancouver and start fresh.