It’s 4:00 am and I keep going over my checklist of things to pack. Waking up in the middle of the night is never fun, especially when you’re worrying you will forget something for your trip. Got my camera, toothbrush, sneakers.. what else am I forgetting? If I forget something I can always buy it there right? Am I the only one who doesn’t know anyone on this trip? Stop worrying and go back to sleep! These were my thoughts the night before I left for New Zealand. I was so nervous I couldn’t even be excited. If I could go back to that night, I would tell myself to get a good night sleep and to relax because you are about to embark to one of the most spectacular places in the world.

Now getting to the most spectacular place in the world was not as easy as I expected. The travel time from Long Island, New York to Christchurch, New Zealand was approximately thirty-five hours. This includes twenty-one hours on three different flights and fourteen hours spent in airports. I met Maddy at the airport waiting for our first flight. I couldn’t be anymore grateful I automatically made such a lovely friend. We spent the next twenty-four hours together and I couldn’t have found a better travel buddy to ease my nerves. Flying from Los Angeles, California to Auckland, New Zealand is a fourteen-hour plane ride. Although there were screaming children, and my TV was broken, I was extremely lucky to sleep for almost 8 hours. Waking up from a lady kicking my seat just made me more anxious to arrive at my final destination. We all arrived in Christchurch on January 4th at 12pm with black circles under our eyes. We were all exhausted. With the hopes of not becoming jetlagged, we took a short tour of the Island we have the opportunity to spend our abroad experience on. When exploring the Island for the first time, I didn’t even remember I had just traveled across the world to come here. Anybody can say the mountains are magnificent and that’s what kept me awake..but it wasn’t. The smiling faces around me became my coffee for the day. I wanted to stay up all night and get to know all the people I will be spending the next month with. This was when all my nerves settled in. I knew I was surrounded by a great bunch of kids.

Today I spent thirty-five hours traveling across the world. Today I went to three different airports and flew on three different planes. Today I am starting a journey of a lifetime that I will never forget.

Marissa Murgolo