This morning I checked off one more task on my to-do list, one that I deemed rather important: Arranging my seating arrangements for my upcoming flight. If I had waited until checking in at the airport, I would have no doubt been sitting in the middle seat of the middle isle, likely stuffed between two screaming children or two large men, one of whom I’m sure would unknowingly fall asleep on my shoulder. (I’ve actually had this happen before, and the man had an uncomfortably coarse afro). I called my airline (Air New Zealand, mostly because it was the cheapest) to see if I could choose my seating arrangements for my 9-hour flight from Honolulu to Auckland. (I was able to pick my seat for my initial flight from Portland to Honolulu when I booked the ticket online). Indeed, I was able to secure a seat next to a window and NOT in the nose-bleed section of the plane. During the three minute conversation I had with the very helpful and very cheery flight coordinator, I had to have her repeat herself or explain the terminology in three different circumstances. Personally, I’ve never been the biggest phone person, as I am easily distracted and usually need to ask what someone said regardless if they’re Kiwi or my own parents. The coordinator and I had a grand old time talking with one another, one of great amusement and chuckles on both our ends. One of the things had more to do with flight options verses accents, but her accent and speed of which she spoke definitely added to the confusion “Now Mary, would you like a combination or (insert several other words which I didn’t quite copy)?
I paused, trying to reason what that might imply. “What’s a combination?” I asked.
“Ah yeah, Mary. A hotel, car or other service.
“No thankyou, that won’t be necessary.”
“Ah, excellent Mary. Good for you.”

I have to say, I’m very excited to travel in New Zealand and I’m sure our difference in accents won’t be much trouble at all. I have a few Australian and New Zealand friends already, so I’m accustomed to—and envious of—such a friendly, energetic tone.


  1. I’m 76 yrs. young and will be getting a vicarious thrill reading of your upcoming adventure. I’ll be rooting for you all the way. This summer past I read the book Wild and at Elk Lake Lodge met two and gave a ride to town to one PCT hiker. Now I am very enthusiastic about following you the length of N. Z.. Bon Voyage!!


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