New Zealand is not at the world´s end (by Kerstin Rall from Berlin, Germany)

Kerstin - Berlin, Germany
Entered on March 29, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, place

After I had graduated from university I decided to travel to New Zealand for six weeks. Actually at this time, New Zealand meant the world´s end for me, because if you look at an European map of the world New Zealand is almost the farthest place you ever could imagine to go to – 19.000 km away from good old Germany. It was my first self-organized trip as a backpacker and I felt like a small girl alone in the big, wide world. Today after several travels abroad, the world has became much smaller for me.

That´s why I believe that traveling makes the world smaller.

I was 25 when I decided to stop going on package holidays and to discover strange countries rather by myself. During the trip through New Zealand I met many interesting and open-minded people from all over the world and exchanged experiences and views with them.

But one special event is still in my memory and I am even surprised nowadays, every time I tell this story. In a hostel in Auckland I met a boy from somewhere in Germany. We did a lot of things together and spent many nights full of talking, but never exchanged neither our addresses nor our telephone numbers. So we lost sight of each other at the moment I left Auckland. One year later I enjoyed a huge festival in the middle of Germany for the first time. Suddenly while I had standing in front of a bar, I felt that somebody was watching me. I was very confused when the man started to say these words to me: ‘Martin…Auckland…New Zealand’. I could not believe my eyes, but it was true. The boy I met on the other side of the world was standing right in front of me in a crowd with not less than 20,000 people. It is a small world!

Also two years ago, when a girlfriend of mine left Germany for an internship in Canada, first of all I was very sad, but half a year later I visited her in Vancouver and we rented a car and went around British Columbia to the Rocky Mountains. It was really amazing. I was very surprised how good she looked and how happy she was. Last autumn in November we met each other again in New York as it was the most natural thing in the world to meet up anywhere in the world. It is just so easy to hop on a plane and a few hours later you are on the opposite side of the world. So meanwhile I am very glad about her decision, to stay in Canada for now, because she has really blossomed.

Nowadays it is quite normal for me to travel in other countries without being worried about the natives, their culture, places to stay, how to travel in the country and such things.

Everywhere in the world people are mostly friendly, helpful and open-minded if you are friendly and interested in them. So that´s why the world doesn´t seem that big for me any longer. I really believe that traveling brings people closer together.