On Friday I'm going to the opposite side of the world. Well not the exact opposite, but pretty close. At 10:00 pm my plane will be taking off the runway of the Los Angeles airport, and around 12 hours later arrive in Auckland, New Zealand population 992,000. A little bit of a switch from the small town of Cumberland, Maine. I have to admit it might take me a moment or two to adjust, but I think I can handle it.
Ever since I first saw Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, I fell in love. Not only with Tolkien's heroic tale of the Fellowship, but with Middle Earth as Jackson portrayed it. I found myself wanting to climb the cliffs of Caradhras and ride of over the plains of Edoras. Even the harsh and rugged rock cliffs of Emyn Muil tempted my interest. Eight years after I first saw The Fellowship of the Ring, I get my chance to explore the geography of Middle Earth.
Unlike the characters of Tolkien's tale, I will not be accompanied by two men, four hobbits, one dwarf, a wizard, and an elf, to my great disappointment. Instead I am traveling with a group of students from all over the country who like me share an interest in the 21st century Middle Earth. I guess I can settle for a group of students instead of the Fellowship, although having Viggo Mortensen along side me wouldn't have been so bad.
I'm going to be living in Christchurch, the South Island's largest city with a population of around 309,000, and studying at the University of Canterbury working on fulfilling my Anthropology and English major. I'm taking four classes, mostly about Maoiri culture, and I plan to spend the rest of my time taking day and weekend trips around the country seeing as much of Middle Earth, I mean, New Zealand as possible. This trip really is a dream come true, and I can't wait to tell you all about the wonderful experiences I'm going to have.
"You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”