BOOK EXCERPT: '2020: A Year So Wild I Had to Write a Book About It'


The last time I spoke to you guys in a column, the day was May 15. It's now December 1 at the time I'm writing this (well, now editing this), which means it's been nearly seven months since I've delivered you a published piece.

As I told you in a piece back in early May, I was embarking on a world journey across the Pacific Ocean from New Zealand to the United States of America. At the time, I was living in New Zealand with my fiancée, daughter and three step-children, and me, my fiancée, daughter and my youngest step-daughter decided to take a trip to the States to visit my family.

When we got to the United States, the plan (with the exception of visiting my family in Pennsylvania) was to visit cities such as Los Angeles, New York City and Miami, this while the kids stayed with my mom.

However, what originally was planned as a regular vacation ended up turning into multiple things: A statement against the government and COVID-19 power grabbing, a witnessing of Black Lives Matter protests and looting, and quite honestly, smoking some really good (legal) marijuana in California – and this also includes me eventually getting my medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania. And that's just to name a few.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of my journey and what life has been like for me the past seven months, I just want to mention that I'm back in America for a substantial amount of time, something that we'll get to a little later in this piece. With that being said, you can expect me to be active once again since I'm officially done with my world travel, and staying in the USA for a while.

UPDATE: I ended up staying in the United States permanently, this because of two reasons: 1. New Zealand ended up rejecting my request to get through their COVID-19 closed borders. And 2. As a result of that, Crystal (my fiancée) and the kids ended up moving over here to America. So at the end of the day, it all worked out for me, plus more.

Stay tuned for the usual columns and news articles here on The Powell Times, nothing has changed there, but there are a few changes you can expect from me and my website. My old radio show/podcast 'The Andrew Powell Show' will be making a return in podcast form, and will be doing so in a "Ep. 001, Ep. 002, Ep. 003, etc." format that centers around into politics, news and culture – and we’ll be dabbling a little into sports as well. Crystal is into the weekly college and NFL picks, who by the way will be my co-host on the podcast.

Speaking of politics, news and culture (and a little bit of sports), emphasis on politics, The Powell Times will also be centered more around those three. Everything on this website from me and the news staff will have a political connection, from the main stage in Washington D.C. all the way to the football field in the NFL, and even on the Hollywood big screen. Welcome to The Powell Times. You could say it has a similar formula as that of a Breitbart.

There's a few reasons for this: 1. The COVID-19 pandemic and Marxist Black Lives Matter may have left me permanently politically charged. 2. I want to be involved in something "essential" and in a realm that won't get wiped out by a virus. 3. It was heading in that direction anyways. And 4. Simply put, politics is cooler than sports, and there’s a lot more power and wealth here, though I still like sports and may have to keep it as a side-gig – we’ll see.

In other news, you can also expect a book from me sometime soon, but I'll keep that information limited for the time being due to still being in the very beginning stages of that entire process. I'll keep you posted on that.

Anyways, let's go ahead and get to all of these flights. And there were a ton of them.


Things got started off as normal with the planning process in regards to booking international flight tickets from New Zealand to the United States, domestic tickets to each Los Angeles, New York City and Miami, all of that jazz. We got all of that done in early February, about a month before the hoopla surrounding the coronavirus, and planned the trip for late May.

Me and my fiancée even bought clothes and other things that we needed for the trip. Everything was good, everything was sweet, everything was planned. We were going on a journey to the United States of America.

And then, it happened.

The World Health Organization (WHO) would declare the novel coronavirus a global pandemic, and as we all know, everything would go into absolute chaos. As for us in New Zealand, the country would shut down the borders completely to foreigners, and the only ones who were allowed were citizens and permanent residents.

With the WHO's declaration, New Zealand's overreaction, the media scaring the hell out of everybody and fearing the unknown, we originally ended up cancelling the trip to America. And it wasn't just because of all of that either: Air New Zealand, the island nation's only airline, were cancelling flights and complete routes left and right.

It was just too chaotic, and we had decided to stay home. The end.


As the facts came out – for example: COVID-19 having a massively low death rate and not being dangerous at all, for starters – me and my fiancée developed an attitude of defiance.

An attitude that we weren't going to be told what to do, especially not by any government, and especially when a government already had you on complete lockdown for a whole month. Remember, New Zealand had one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, we had to deal with that. That's what largely built up the mindset of defiance. And on top of that, we just wanted a vacation. We needed a getaway.

We were completely locked down by New Zealand for an entire month.

We weren't going to be scared by the press either, an entity who we had found out had been lying to us throughout this whole experience – or should I say, verified even more what we had already known and verified even more the media being a bunch of scumbags.

We were going to America, and that's what we did.

Our bags were packed, and we were gone.

"Goodbye, New Zealand. Hello, freedom."

FILE PHOTO: An Air New Zealand Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 takes off from Auckland Airport in New Zealand, September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Nigel Marple/File Photo

Before we get to the motherland, a lot of people have wondered why I moved to New Zealand and how it was like living there, as well as how life was away from the United States of America – the greatest country in the world that has left all of us Americans spoiled.

Back in 2017, I was running a small conservative news outlet, and you might remember it, called Powell Media. As the Editor-in-Chief and focusing on constantly getting content out, I needed to recruit a team of writers to be able to pump out original news articles. That's how I ended up meeting my now-fiancée, Crystal.

For a while, however, everything was innocent between us two and we worked together on Powell Media, along with a few other staff members. As time went along, that's when we started developing feelings for each other. It went from working together, to talking about politics together, to discussing right-wing issues together, to eventually leading into personal conservations.

Her intellect, her beauty, how much I loved hanging out with her, I admit I fell in love.

As my feelings grew, and her feelings grew, I finally popped the first question of "will you be my girlfriend?"

She would obviously say yes.

Now as you know, I live in the United States and she lives in New Zealand, so we knew that we were going to have to maintain a long distance relationship. And not just any long distance relationship, one that is international – literally half across the entire world, across all of the Pacific Ocean. However, we loved each other strong, and we were determined to make it happen.

We went a solid amount of months before we actually got together, just spending time together on the phone and video calling each other on Facebook. Eventually though, in 2018 at the time of the last midterm election cycle, I would go over to New Zealand to visit my then-girlfriend. And oh man, it was magical.

Crystal and I hit it off great, and literally the entire two weeks was a magical experience with a woman I love. Now, you might be asking yourself: Why did you have to go to New Zealand? Why couldn't she come over to the United States?

Well, she actually has three kids from a previous marriage, so out of respect towards her and the kids, we thought it would be best for me to travel to her to be able to take our relationship to the next level. And I personally didn't mind. Not only did I get to see my girlfriend and meet her kids (especially Rizzo, I'll get to her momentarily), but I also got to experience intense air travel and a new culture in the island nation of New Zealand.

via Wikipedia:

New Zealand (Māori: Aotearoa[aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It comprises two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and around 600 smaller islands, covering a total area of 268,021 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the islands of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. The country's varied topography and sharp mountain peaks, including the Southern Alps, owe much to tectonic uplift and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, and its most populous city is Auckland.
A developed country, New Zealand ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, government transparency, and economic freedom. The service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, and agriculture; international tourism is a significant source of revenue. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister, currently Jacinda Ardern. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general, currently Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica.

A few months later after my two-week visit with Crystal and the kids, I would go back for another visit, this time for a total of six weeks. It was another opportunity to personally hang out with them and build on our relationship in person. Mission accomplished.

But here was the biggest thing accomplished from that trip: Crystal and I ended up getting pregnant with Georgia (my now 11-month-old daughter), taking our relationship to an even higher level. But don't get me wrong, it was no accident. My baby girl was completely planned.

When I got back to the United States from that trip, that's when we started to shift gears and planned on me moving over and becoming a family – no more visits, it was time to take another step to making Crystal and I completely official as a relationship.

I got back from the second visit to New Zealand in May of 2019, and I ended up making the move over with Crystal and the kids in October, so it was five months that we were separated before I finally started living over there. I hate that I had to leave my pregnant girlfriend for that long, but we didn't really have a choice because of immigration.

When I made my return to the island nation in October to reunite with Crystal and the kids, my daughter Georgia was due to be born two months later in December, which was fantastic timing to get back before her birth – a solid two months to enjoy each other before the baby, plan for the baby and make sure that we had everything that we needed.

The first family experience that I had was Halloween, but wh