SIDE NOTE: REGARDING HITCH-HIKERS

Funny side story. On our drive out of Whitianga, we pulled over for a quick photo-op. A young man was hopping out of a RV across the street, backpack and random boxed cakes in tow, when he noticed us pulled to the side of the road. Jess decided to start some friendly banter with him, asking if he was hungry (referring to the cakes). I think she was caught off guard when instead of replying back to the comment, he asked if he could hop in. Completely flustered, the only response she could come up with was "Sorry, we can't. We have to pick up our moms?". The inflection in her own voice was a dead give-away that she was lying. I could not control my perplexed expression as I watched her completely lose her cool in this situation. It was really comical. I enjoyed poking fun at her inability to improvise, but it brought up a really good conversation...

What do you say when you know you are fully capable of helping someone, but for some reason are resisting? Do you have to explain yourself?

Hitch-hiking is such a big part of the culture and way of life in New Zealand. It works in this country! People are fundamentally trusting, and willing to help a stranger always. It is wonderful! From what we gather, everyone benefits. The person catching a ride is getting from point A to point B, and the driver often welcomes the company of a stranger on their long journey. It's a way to get to know one another.  It's really a shame that as Americans, and as women, we have been hard-wired to approach these kinds of situations from a place of suspicion and distrust. Just another reason New Zealand has been such a breath of fresh air for these two travelers! Maybe we will be more inclined to help the next hitch-hiker. Unfortunately for that guy, he looked a little too stinky to be picking up for a long drive , and the cakes were just too confusing.