My First Holiday Alone: New Zealand!

Guess what! This time next week I will be in New Zealand! It’s been a bit of a mixed bag of emotions booking this holiday: I’m very excited, but also very anxious as it is the first holiday that I’ve ever done alone (technically, I will be in a group but still, I have to get there alone and I don’t know anyone). I really like to throw myself in the deep end with these things. I could have just gone to Cardiff for the weekend and worked my way up but no, other side of the world it is. I’ll be sharing posts when I get back about my time there but I thought I would share how I got to this point before I go as it’s a bit of a short story in itself. I’d also love some last minute travel tips if you have any to share.

A couple of years ago, when the pandemic was in full swing, I binge watched the Lord of the Rings movies with my then-partner and I was completely blown away by how beautiful they still looked, greatly in part due to their setting in New Zealand. I’d also heard a lot of good things about the country and always felt like it was somewhere that I would enjoy visiting. After a bit of research we agreed that we would go and I began looking at itineraries, travel advice, the best time of year to go etc. I was very excited. As New Zealand was being very sensible about lockdown I bought an extra week of holiday from work for the coming year so that I could book it as soon as they opened their doors again. The plan was that we would hire a campervan and drive around both islands. However, once the discussion of putting money into the trip became a reality, my ex backtracked saying that they didn’t realise I’d meant for the year coming (despite discussing buying the extra holiday together), they thought I had meant in two years time, which I simply didn’t believe as this seemed to happen whenever we made plans to go anywhere. You can’t force someone to go on an expensive, long vacation with you though. I was very disappointed but I never let go of the idea of the trip.

Fast forward about a year, I had bought a house with this now-ex, we’d moved in and had been in our house for about 10 months when we broke up (that’s a story for another time). I left and moved in with friends and he had to buy me out of the house. Suddenly, for the first time in a long time I was in a position where I had no big responsibilities, I wasn’t tied to anyone, and I had money. The opportunity was too good to waste and as soon as the house money came through I put some aside some for a trip to New Zealand. The added bonus of it representing a big middle finger to my ex was pretty nice too.

With opportunity however also came the need for action, and this is where I started to chicken out. I don’t usually do things spontaneously and I have never been on holiday anywhere by myself before, let alone to the other side of the world. I tried to convince a couple of people to come with me but it’s a huge amount of money and a long time to be away so I didn’t want to push too hard. Knowing myself well, and therefore knowing that this would happen, my past self had intentionally told a lot of people about my plans to force my future self to do it. I knew that people would ask about the trip. The longer time went on without me making any progress, the less people would believe that I was actually going to go. Eventually, I would reach a point where I would rather buy my flight tickets than face having to admit that I got scared and decided not to go. It may be an unorthodox and self-manipulative way of doing it, but it worked.

My intention had been to keep my original plan and do the campervan trip by myself, but I weighed up the pros and cons of travelling alone vs in an organised tour group and in the end general safety and having everything organised for me won out against shyness and personal space. I booked a two week tour through Kiwi Experience where we will visit both the North and South islands in a group of 18. It is now a week before my trip and unfortunately Kiwi Experience haven’t done a lot to quell my anxiety. Firstly, there was a problem with my trip planner where I was unable to book my extra activities (such as Hobbiton, or whale watching) for a long time. Secondly, I thought that there would be a bit more contact than just an initial confirmation email, maybe a list of what to pack or a ‘just two weeks to go!’ note. I eventually had to phone them to see what was going on and they fixed my planner issue and didn’t seem fazed when I mentioned I had only received the confirmation, they seemed a bit confused as to why I was nervous but maybe I’m just too high-strung for New Zealanders.

My main concerns are primarily around the other people on the trip and being around them for so long. I can be very sociable and enjoy spending time with people but after a while I need to re-charge my social batteries and be alone for a while. I’ve also never stayed in a hostel with shared accommodation before but I know a lot of people (generally my more outgoing friends) that have done so and are incredibly nonchalant about it, so I’m sure it’s fine. I think my worst case scenario will be that I get there and I will be with a large group of outgoing, energetic 18 year olds, but it should be a mixed bag of people.

I’ll definitely follow this post up with details about my trip so keep an eye out for that in the future! In the mean time though my blog will be quiet for the next few weeks while I’m away.

If you have ever been to New Zealand what were your favourite parts? Have you got any travel tips? I love trying new food when I’m abroad, what’s something I should definitely eat while I’m there? If you also get a little anxious around people but you have travelled, how did you deal with it?

Some pics for illustrative purposes from my last trip to Barcelona:

Video Game Vacation Spots

Dragons Tea Party Travel Agency here! It’s summer holiday time and I have selected a wonderful selection of game-based vacation spots that will appeal to everyone! Take a look, see what takes your fancy. Are you here for a lazy, sunny holiday or an activity packed fitness getaway? We’ve got it all…

The Rook Islands – Far Cry 3

Rook Island_Far Cry 3

You wanted some sky diving, scuba diving, beach time and a lavish hotel? We’ll do you one better. A truly back to nature experience: hike across the island, see lots of rare and exotic animals, hunt and kill them to make a range of bags and clothing. Become a local hero showing the natives how it’s done as you liberate their homes from scary pirates (no previous fighting experience necessary). Fancy a souvenir? How about a tattoo documenting your adventures and achievements throughout your time on the island? Perfect for the adventurous adult seeking escape and excitement.

Alola – Pokémon Sun and Moon

Image result for alola pokemon

Whether you want to chill out and relax in a beautiful resort or ‘find yourself’ while backpacking and island hopping, Alola is the place for you. Boasting four beautiful islands, each with varying environments and terrain, you can easily find somewhere that ticks all your boxes. Beautiful weather and islands aside, nowhere has souvenirs quite like Alola: catch a local Pokémon, take some pictures with it, enjoy the local delicacy (Malasada) with it, and of course, teach it to fight mercilessly. Thanks to the miracle of Stockholm Syndrome (though the locals call it “friendship”) it will grow to like you eventually.

Banoi – Dead Island

Dead Island - Definitive Edition_20190801193806

The perfect escape for a fitness fanatic, this resort has it all: cardio, weapon training, rationed food… Enjoy some therapeutic mediation as you take in the gorgeous scenery while unleashing any pent up anger you may have on the island’s endless supply of zombies. Perhaps you fancy a break from all that running and hitting, take some time to get creative with an eco-friendly arts and crafts workshop creating exotic weaponry from litter found around the island. This intense but fun routine guarantees that you will leave a dress size smaller than when you arrived.

Fun fact: you burn more calories running from zombies than running around the park at home!

Dead Island - Definitive Edition_20190801194449

Winterhold – Skyrim

Perhaps you are tired of the sun and would like a winter break. We can help you with that too. Winterhold offers one of the finest un-pisted ski resorts in video game history, the numerous chalets you can break into and kill the owners of really add to the skiing vibe. Watch as the local blacksmiths craft fine, handmade skis out of dragon bone especially for you, no messing about with ski lifts, just remember to bring your trusty  gravity defying horse and journey to the highest peaks. From there enjoy the slopes all the way back to the village, or go off piste and discover some ancient ruins. Once you’ve had enough return to your stolen chalet, steal a sweet roll, and put your feet up in front of the fire. Ahhh…

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

You want to go back to nature but don’t want anything scary, it needs to be active but zombies and pirates aren’t quite your thing… How about Animal Crossing Island? Here we take glamping very seriously and the name of this game is friendship… True friendship… Promise!

As everybody knows, the mutated animals of Animal Crossing Island were part of the nuclear disaster of 2001. Developing humanoid bodies and speech but retaining some animal features they were ridiculed and bullied by most of society, to allow them a fresh start they were moved to a beautiful island so that they could develop their own, peaceful community but some people still travel there to try and fit in with the idyllic lifestyle these mutants have created. While the mutants are peaceful creatures they are also incredibly unforgiving of the human race and slyly appoint the visitors ‘Camp Manager’ upon arrival but really they’re just blissfully ignorant slaves used to create entertainment, fetch them food, and use their own resources to build luxurious campsites that the mutants can lounge around in, napping, chatting, and playing all day while the humans run around catering to their every need, sometimes they just make up errands for the hell of it.

All this so that you can feel like you have friends. You are free to leave whenever you want to of course, but do you really want to make that dog-person cry? You just got matching outfits and now you’re leaving? You monster.

So you got me to catch you fish KNOWING that you couldn’t do anything with them…

Maybe some of them do become your real friends, I for one really don’t mind when friends refuse to come to my house because I haven’t built that merry-go-round they asked me to make yet. Better get cracking and gather up those materials!


Cocoon – Final Fantasy XIII

You’ll never find somewhere quite like Cocoon, this futuristic paradise is a continent hanging over the land of Gran Pulse. The whole continent is hollowed out with its residents living inside its shell in harmony, protected from the dangerous land below. Marvel at the incredible technological advancements that the land has to offer and explore the huge variety of cities; Beach town Bodhum has a spectacular annual fireworks display, the ‘capital of entertainment’ Nautilus is a giant fairground famous for its’ tame Chocobos, and of course there’s Palumpolum where you can shop to your hearts content… There is no end to the fun here, almost anything is possible.

Please note: They’re not too friendly with outsiders, take care no one finds out you’re not local and you’ll be able to avoid being purged. Should your presence be discovered Dragon’s Tea Party Travel Agency will deny all knowledge of you and we take no responsibility should you be intercepted to or from your destination. We also recommend that all trips to Cocoon are taken sooner rather than later as this reduces the risk of your soul being farmed for sacrificial purposes. Travel insurance is not provided.


There you go, the finest video game destinations we have to offer! Which vacation spot would you visit? Are there any games you’d like to visit on holiday?