The following is a guest post by Kevin Hutchens and part of the #Blog4NZ awareness.

It was almost a year ago that I had to say goodbye to New Zealand and continue on my journey around the planet — but not before I vowed to come back again, sooner than later. 

I had spent the first three decades of my life living in Washington, DC and decided it was time for a change. 

I have been fortunate enough to have many travel experiences in my lifetime but this journey was going to be my most ambitious yet: to circumnavigate the planet!

Although I was excited about all of the countries I was going to visit on this trip, I was most looking forward to New Zealand.  Something, which I couldn’t quite identify, had me longing to visit this country and I was not disappointed when I arrived.  My only regret was that I was limited to a short four weeks in which I was going to attempt to do “everything” New Zealand has to offer!  I did manage to do a good bit of it before having to move on but some things just fell off my itinerary, which is why I am back there now.
I am an outdoors person, I love lakes and mountains and hiking and adventure sports.  New Zealand combines this with the friendliest people I have come across in my travels.  Kiwis are laid back and always helpful, which throws you off a bit, especially if you come from a hectic place like DC.  Everyone you meet is willing to do whatever they can to help you enjoy this incredible place they get to call home, now I hope to make it my new home.

Although the earthquakes in Christchurch have devastated the city, the way the Kiwis pull together to get through tragedy is what makes you appreciate their approach to life.  I am a different (better) person here just by being around them and I much enjoy my simpler and calmer life here compared to the USA.  The expatriate community here is wonderful as well.  So many people arrive from all over the world and, after experiencing the culture here, decide to make it their new home as well.

For those of you who want to visit New Zealand, all I can say is DO IT; you will not regret the experiences you have here!  The scenery is as beautiful from 15,000 feet at 200 km/h on your first skydive in Taupo (or one of the other 100 places you can throw yourself out of an airplane) as it is from sea level along the stunning coast line or deep in the forest whilst on any one of multiple multi-day treks such as the Able Tasman National Park or the Tongariro Crossing (home of the famous Mt. Doom from “The Lord of the Rings”).

With the support of travel bloggers around the world, Blog4NZ selected these past three days to highlight just how incredible this country is.  There are numerous stories of excitement and adventure in middle-earth floating around the blogsphere right now.  If I haven’t been able to convince you how much fun you will have, maybe one of the many others who are sharing their experiences here will.
Please visit the Blog4NZ Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/blog4nz for more stories from other authors and feel free to drop by my blog at: http://kevinandearth.com for more posts and photos from the land of the Kiwis.

Kevin Hutchens was born and raised in the Washington DC area and works in IT consulting which has allowed him a flexible lifestyle which he spends traveling.  After circumnavigating the planet on a six month journey last year, he has decided to return to his favorite country, New Zealand, and make that is new home until wanderlust pulls his elsewhere.  Kevin enjoys photography, especially panoramas and will be launching a new website to showcase his work.  Please visit KevinAndEarth.com to read about the latest adventure he has gotten himself into (like earning a skydiving license in Taupo).



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