February 12. A long drive to Queenstown is what we have to look forward to today. I had to take a hot tub after I woke up this morning because my muscles were still sore. I couldn’t muster up the energy to go for a run so I was forced to have breakfast and pack. At the moment, I’m waiting for everyone to wake up to get on the road. I’m betting that today won’t be nearly as exciting as yesterday, but I want to address a question that readers have frequently asked.
I haven’t described my group thoroughly enough, nor my relationship with them, which is crucial knowledge for all you readers. So we’ll start with the guy I met first, Andrew. I traveled with him from LAX and I immediately got the impression of a smart, hilarious gentleman. He spits out jokes like quick draw McGraw, but in a subtle, serious manner that leaves you wondering if you should laugh or not. I’ve learned by now to almost never take him seriously. He never makes jokes about you, however, but always at the expense of himself, which makes me respect him more. He’s a nice guy who I talk to frequently and is one of my closer friends on this trip.
David (we call him Steran) is another of my close friends on this trip. He parties hard, but is one of the nicest guys on this trip. He always makes the effort to include me when they party, even though I can’t drink. He never judges anyone and cracking Family Guy jokes is our favorite past time. Steran and another guy, Brian, were in Australia last month together. Brian is a sport crazy guy. He knows everything about any sport. He is full of testosterone and definitely gets rambunctious sometimes. He does, however, treat everyone fairly and is a great conversationalist. Olivia was with Steran and Brian on their last trip, but she sticks mainly with her other two friends, Claire and Ariana. Olivia is a Cali-girl. She does have an attitude, but for the most part is kind and friendly. She’s another great conversationalist and has a million stories. I haven’t gotten to know much about Claire or Ariana because they attach themselves to Olivia. Even on our long road trips they separate themselves. Ariana, Claire, Olivia, and Elise drive in the car, while the rest of our group follows them in the van. It is somewhat like a high school clique scenario, but I’m not fussed. Our van group is already too much fun.
So the other David, who we actually call David, is another great addition to our group. He gets a little cocky and has a sarcastic humor, but is always ready to whip out a story about any subject. I’m not sure if they are all true, but he seems to know and have a story about everything. He has a passion for music and is our D.J. for the trip. He never plays the same song twice, yet every song he plays is a good one. He has also signed up for the China trip with me.
Ben is the oldest on our trip. 21 and in college, he acts like a wise old man, teaching us lessons in life. He seems to yearn for appraisal because he always buys people lunch and drinks or is the first person to loan you money. He’s also the cheerleader in our group, always making sure everyone is happy. He listens to whatever problems you have and either fixes them or erases them from your mind with a few good jokes.
There are two other girls in our “van group.” Jade, who arrived with Olivia, is a down-to-earth girl with one of the nicest personalities. She’s the person that makes everyone feel good. She always compliments you and spreads herself around the group. Even if you have a terrible joke that nobody laughs at, she laughs just to make you not feel like an idiot. Caitie is the last girl in our group. She finds guy humor hilarious and almost never hangs out with the other girls (except for Jade). She has a quiet, subtle humor that I can’t help smiling at, no matter the joke. She’s another great conversationalist, and it’s always good to get a break from the guys and talk with her for a bit.
Elise and Erik are great leaders. Erik is a wilderness guy, loves adventure, and meeting new people. He enjoys culture and has been to almost every country. He’s not much of a conversationalist, but when you can get him to talk, he rambles on about every experience he had in some part of the world. He keeps the group in line and makes sure the others don’t blackout from partying too much. Elise is another story. She has a sarcastic humor, with a slight attitude, but it’s all in good fun. She loves to party with the others, yet she doesn’t party too hard. She loves her job and doesn’t let anything come between it and her. I don’t know if she loves culture as much as she just loves traveling and being around younger people, but she does love the experiences.
So I hope this clears up any confusion in my writing, but if it doesn’t please comment and I’ll be happy to answer any more inquiries. We are almost ready to go now, and yet again I don’t have Wi-Fi, but I’ll post this as soon as I do.
From left to right: Steran, Jade, Claire, Olivia, Ariana, David (on tree), Me, Andrew, Caitie, Elise. Bottom: Ben and Brian