Letter to a Friend Going to New Zealand

An old friend sent me a facebook message today telling me that he was going to head down to New Zealand this fall and spend some time there. He was wondering if I had any advice. I feel like anyone planning on doing any traveling this Spring could find this useful: "Hey Nate nice to hear from you. Boy are you really in for something now. Although you will find you're own way, I can give you a few tips. First of all, pack LIGHT. I ended up ditching a ton of stuff after a few weeks in NZ. One pair of pants and 1 pair of shorts will do fine. Seriously, don't take anything extra. A light pack is the most important commodity. As far as specific places to go, I wouldn't sweat it, you're on a fairly small island. You will most likely visit the same places more than once, which reminds me of the main point. The greatest discovery in New Zealand is in the people, not the places. Traveling light also means your means of travel should also be light. I would stay away from cars or tourist buses, enclosing yourself in a metal cage will subtract from your experience in New Zealand. You have to be willing to let the wind blow you around. That is when you will truly discover the land and come away with the most. Sorry if I sound preachy, but its true. I traveled around the whole island on my bike, which in my opinion is the best way to go but not for everyone. Be as frugal as possible. Spending less money means less time until you have to start working again. Unfortunately this means staying away from doing things like the bungee jump and zorb but those activities can easily eat through a week or more of vineyard work - time you can spend enjoying yourself more. You WILL learn to cook. I know everything I know now about cooking because of New Zealand. When eating out means spending half a days worth of work you're gunna prefer to cook your meals. If you don't already learn some recipes now. You are amazing with people so you are going to have a great time. Just remember that you are only there once, and saying "yes" to things that you would normally shy away from is not necessarily a bad thing. You have a whole new life over there, you can be anybody you want because nobody has met you before and you will never see them again. Most of all, its the best place to really learn to be yourself. As far as practical things - Vineyard work is the way to go. Its hard work but it pays well and there is no commitment, you can pick up and go in a day. The best place for work by far in Blenhiem - right at the northern tip of the south island. Work aplenty and cheap accommodation to match. The towns surrounding Christchurch (I saw Wiz there!) are also really good. I could really go on forever, you have no idea what New Zealand means to me. Please keep in touch while you are there, I can't wait to live through you. If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer. Happy for you, Austin." I've been thinking of writing a memoir of my travels in New Zealand, maybe in weekly or bi-weekly installments, but it will be a lot of work and I don't know if I'm up to it at the moment with school and all. Maybe during the summer when I'm in Nicaragua? Who knows.