Ready or Not

Some people may find the idea of travelling half way around the world quite daunting… and I’d agree with them. I’m going into this trip willingly accepting the fact that I’ll be spending so much time in a plane on the way there that I’ll virtually lose an entire day *farewell to May 24th: the one I never got to live. Despite all that however, all I can think of is how much adventure I have waiting for me on the other side of the equator.

Here I am, not- so- patiently waiting in this cushy seat at the Los Angeles airport as ready as I’ll ever be to board a flight to my dream destination, NEW ZEALAND!
(*** shoutout to the best parents in the world for putting up with my constant nagging and letting me do this).

It took me a longgg time trying to figure out what program I wanted to even apply for, and in the end I decided that one just wasn’t enough! So I’ll be spending 3 and a half weeks in New Zealand’s South Island and then hopping a flight to Australia to start a 5 week- long trip there. New Zealand’s program is offered through UF so I’ll be going with other Gators and studying “Sustaining Humans and the Environment.” Australia’s program is though the Education Abroad Network so it will include students from all over and is titled “Australian Wildlife, Conservation, and People.” I chose these programs because I’m an outdoorsy girl and both itineraries include a lot of travel time within each country as well as time spent hiking, exploring, swimming, etc. Who would want to pack up and move to the South Pacific but never actually leave their dorm room?

Afterwards, I’m lucky enough to have my family come join me in Australia for another 10 days before heading back to America together. Yes, I’m extremely blessed I don’t know how this is happening. Just letting you know that it’s still so surreal. I’m sitting here waiting for my flight and it still hasn’t clicked in my sad brain that my dream trip is really truly going to start in just a few hours.

After months of planning and organizing, I have finally reached the day where it will all pay off. *ROUND OF APPLAUSE PLEASE* I’m determined to make this summer down under not only a rad vacation but also a great learning experience. This trip, I vow to spend more time outdoors hiking and exploring new places (wearing the same five shirts for 3 months straight) than worrying about the hours of my life dedicated to the library, incoming texts, or when my next meal will be and if dessert is included. I pledge to hike up to Fox Glacier and down to Hooker Valley, explore the magnitude of Milford Sound, scourer the Blue Mountains, swim in the Great Barrier Reef, and trek the expanse of The Outback, all in the search for true adventure – something I love to dream about too often back at home.

Fun fact: Christchurch is supposed to be in the 40’s when I arrive (yes people I know it’s weird but it’s winter there right now). By the time you read this, just imagine how delightfully happy I am standing on the other side of the world with 3 months of pure adventure ahead of me. I’m comin’ for you New Zealand, are you ready for me?

-Layne

P.S. Here’s a picture of my beautiful sunrise view leaving the Florida coast this morning.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132720548@N07/shares/14FfQ2

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