I just returned to Malibu from way down under—the South Island of New Zealand to be exact. Now I understand that those of you who read my column “Stuck in Malibu” might be justifiably confused. The premise of the column was simple--I was so thrilled to live here in paradise, I saw no reason to travel.
I hope you are not thinking “liar, liar, pants on fire.” Please give me some benefit of the doubt. The truth is my wanderlust just overpowered my comfort zone. And consistency has never been my strong suit.
For those of you who have not been to New Zealand---GO! It is not a place to enjoy manmade beauty, so if you are into churches and museums, you can skip New Zealand. You probably don’t want to go there if you are allergic to wool, since 60 to 70 million sheep (I wonder who is counting) graze its pastures.
But if you like breathtaking natural beauty such as glaciers and alpine lakes, New Zealand is as good as it gets. I’m not sure there is a more beautiful country on Earth. There is an activity for every outdoor enthusiast. You can kayak with dolphins, take a helicopter onto a glacier, rock climb, jet boat, cruise the fiords, or hike endless trails.
Everything is topsy-turvy down under. You drive on the left, pass on the right, winter in July, head North for warmer weather, and they don’t even share the same day with us. I left LA on a Monday night and arrived in New Zealand Wednesday morning. I still can’t figure out what happened to Tuesday. If this weren’t confusing enough, I left New Zealand on a Saturday and arrived in the States on Friday night. My brother-in-law Paul said he would take two Friday nights for a Tuesday any time. Paul is a wise man.
It’s not cheap getting to New Zealand, and there’s the rub. I refused to buy a first class ticket, which I figured would cost twice the cost of my first car or my college tuition for three years. (Yes, I know, I was born before Edison invented electricity.) I crunched up in my coach seat and resembled Houdini after they tied him up in a straight jacket for one of his escapist tricks. I managed to sleep a few hours, but the trip was worth it.
So, if you are saving for your daughter’s wedding, “fuhgeddaboudit” as we say in Jersey. Tell the little girl to elope and go to New Zealand.