“When are we?”

By Liz (Sarah) Fischer
This item appears on page 26 of the August 2020 issue.

This month’s winner is LIZ (SARAH) FISCHER of Tarpon Springs, Florida:

In 2010 my husband and I did a 3-week self-drive trip through New Zealand. Armed with a good map and “Dora the Explorer,” as we affectionately called our first portable GPS, we set off to see this beautiful country. We didn’t realize that relying strictly on the GPS is not a good idea. You should also always refer to a good map.

Our first small incident with Dora was on the North Island. We were driving south from Rotorua to Wellington when suddenly we were directed to take a hard right turn. The road narrowed and we went through a farmer’s herd of cows.

As we continued down the road for a short distance, I saw where we were on the map. Dora was taking us to a very small coastal road. I’m sure the views were beautiful, but we weren’t sure the road would be paved, so back we went through the cows.

When the farmer saw us, he asked, “Where are you trying to go?” With his direction, we returned to the main road down to Wellington. We could just see him shaking his head. “Silly tourists!”

But our most memorable moment with Dora took place on the South Island. We were trying to get to Fiordland through very mountainous terrain. Steep rock walls were on both sides of the narrow road. The GPS signal was very weak and wavering.

Dora asked, “Are we in a tunnel?”

My husband replied, “No.”

Shortly, she asked, “Are we in a building?”

Again, “No.”

Then a question we couldn’t believe: “Is it still March 8, 2010?” We both burst out laughing!

We are now on Dora III and have driven through many mountainous areas, but we’ve never again been asked any such questions. To this day, we still laugh about our experiences with Dora in New Zealand.


Tell us about the funniest thing that happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the United States.) There are no restrictions on length. ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Include your full mailing address. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged.