Big OE: on your own two feet
I went on my big OE to prove to myself I could do anything.
When you fly to England and then have to find a place to live, even if it is dossing on someone's floor for a few weeks, it's a full-on experience.
There is no family to catch you, and if you have hardships you have to sort them out yourself. It's about standing on your own two feet and proving you can do it.
I started out on my OE doing the usual; France, Spain for the running of the bulls, Barcelona, to hunting for Roman amphitheatre and ruins throughout Italy and Greece.
I loved experiencing the stunning coast and sailing around Turkey, playing backgammon well into the night, before taking in the magic of inland with Pamukkale, Olympus and so many another mind-blowing ruins from all the empires that are long gone.
We then made a mad dash to get up to the beerfest while still taking in the Austrian alps and winter Olympic venues, and of course getting a reality hit at Dachau concentration camp.
There is just so much to do. You have to stay and keep adding countries to your list.
The reality is that just once isn't enough, you always get back or sit down and chat with other travellers and wish you had time to take in more sites.
The people, food and drink, everyone sees something different, even within our van of four taking notes every day, it was amazing how different we each saw the world.
The big OE makes you realise that you can achieve anything you want, that the world is out there and waiting for you.
We are so lucky in New Zealand, with determination we can be anything or nothing.
The world really is just waiting for us to join in.