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The New Zealand Bucket List

Written by  March 15, 2013

The ultimate study abroad excursions in New Zealand.

With my departure date rapidly approaching my nerves are slowly creeping up on me. Having never stepped off of North American soil, the thought of the big day is leaving my making me experience same range of emotions as a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert—I am as excited as I am nervous.

The purpose of this trip is not only to earn credits towards my degree and to visit a new country—it’s also to see and do as many new things as I can in the short time frame I have. I don’t know when and if I will ever go back to New Zealand following this trip, so I’ve created a bucket list of all of the things I would like to see and do in my four months abroad. I vow to complete each and every thing on this list and I intend to write about them as I cross them off. The current list is as follows:

Bungee Jump

Let’s start the list with one of the crazier items. Imagine standing on a tiny ledge strapped in by a single elastic cord. Your heart is beating as you work up the courage to jump. The wind is whipping on your face and your life flashes before your eyes. You lift your leg up, as you are about to step off the ledge. You then turn around and walk right off of the bridge and head straight back to the hotel. Here you sit, watching television in the safe confines of your room and wallow in the realization that you just passed up a chance to really feel the raw sense of aliveness your life lacks and you are overcome with regret.

This will not, I repeat not be me. As insane as it is, bungee jumping is something that I have wanted to do my whole life and no matter what goes through my head standing on that ledge, I am going to jump—whether I like it or not.

Fun Fact: The first permanent commercial bungee jump was stationed in Queenstown, NZ by AJ Hackett. It would almost be rude to not to do it.

Stand-up Comedy

Auckland seems to have a thriving comedic community. While doing some research I realized that there is no shortage of comedy bars, festivals and stand-up routines by an array of amateurs and professionals every night of the week. I have always dreamt of doing a stand-up routine. I think I have the whole standing-up portion figured out. If I could just write some jokes about my travels and get myself on that stage I think it would be a rush like nothing I have ever experienced.

This would be the perfect place to try it. Worst-case scenario: I completely bomb and get booed off stage and leave the city shortly after, likely never seeing those who witnessed me go down in flames ever again. Best-case scenario: I nail it, leaving the audience in pain from laughing so hard and I get a boost in confidence along with some experience under the belt. This is the more ideal scenario.

Zorbing

This one is simple. You get inside of a large plastic orb and you are rolled down a large hill. If I were to make the laws, one would not simply be able to decline such a fun activity. This also explains why I do not make the laws.

Be that as it may, I feel like I have been confined to a computer lab for too long from the previous semester and I would like to release my inner thrill seeker and get my adrenaline fix.

Rugby

There is no question that I am a huge sports fan. I play hockey at school and then I work at a hockey camp all summer. The sports stations are always jam-packed with hockey, baseball, football, basketball and the occasional soccer. I am bombarded with the same sports day in and day out.

However it is very rare to turn on the television in Canada and see a rugby match being broadcast. The sport is a major part of the New Zealand culture, which I am trying to experience as fully as possible. Since I won’t be able to watch what I am used to, this is the perfect opportunity to get involved in a new sport. Maybe I will even try playing it?

Lord of the Rings Film Sets

Whenever I mention New Zealand, someone always finds a way to work Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit somewhere into the conversation. It is no secret that much of the beautiful landscapes and sets from these films are located in the country where I will soon reside. It would be a shame to go all the way across the world and not visit the site of some of my favorite movies as a child.

As the great philosopher Puff Daddy once said, “I don’t believe in fear—I live my life without regrets.” I know it is difficult to accept the wisdom of a man who has changed his name more times than you can count on one hand, but I like the simplicity of the quote. Courage and initiative are two qualities I need to harness for the next couple of months if I wish to complete everything on the aforementioned list. I will not stand for mediocrity and lethargy because the last thing I want in life is to be on my deathbed muttering to my children “I wish I jumped off of that platform,” or “I wish I told my jokes to those beautiful strangers,” or “I wish I could have seen the Shire.”

I’m sure the list will grow exponentially once I actually arrive, but for the meantime these five activities should keep me pre-occupied along with my schoolwork. I would love to hear suggestions for things to see or do and I also look forward to documenting my adventures while abroad. I hope you will continue to follow along because whether I exceed expectations or go down in a blaze of glory, it should be entertaining nonetheless.

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Eric Forrest

Eric Forrest studies Multimedia and Communications at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He jetted to the other side of the world to study Film Television and Media Studies at The University of Auckland in New Zealand. Ever wonder what it’s like to study with “Kiwis”? Follow Eric’s adventures!

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