Palmerston North, New Zealand

I've shared several blog posts about my travels around the United States, from Chicago to Omaha to Dallas, but this trip took me a just a little bit further around the world. I spent a total of about 18 hours on four different airplanes and 11 hours sitting in four airports to get to our final destination (that's 29 total hours of travel for those of you playing along at home). This was a trip I hadn't taken in six years, since my family moved from Wollongong, Australia back to the United States. I was 13 the last time I was in this part of the world and I've already seen that I've changed a lot more than the landscape has.

New Zealand is interesting because so much of the country is very green and not as industrialized as the United States. You can also drive for an hour and go through three different towns, whereas I drive the same time length to get downtown from where I live in Saint Louis. The country itself has about the same amount of land as the United Kingdom but 1/4 of the people. There's quite a few cultural differences as well, but they are lots of little things and lots of food-related things.

One of the first stops on my trip to New Zealand this summer was my hometown of Palmerston North. With a population of about 84,000 people, it's actually one of the bigger cities on the North Island. It's is also known for the windmills that overlook the town.We drove past the house my parents lived in when I was born, the one I grew up in and other places, which I have a very selective memory of, that were part of my childhood. The biggest and most modern part of the city is The Square, which is surrounded by cafes and shops. We also drove up to the wind farm and checked out the Manawatu River.

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