Sunday, December 19, 2010


I’m back home, safe and sound. Along the way I  saw heaps of amazing places, learned a decent amount about the country, and built up a pretty good personal connection to what was once a completely foreign place.

What was I doing over there? Mostly WWOOFing (essentially working for accommodation). After staying with the Bergers (family from earlier blog post) I did some landscaping odd jobs at a native bird and wildlife sanctuary, and then some similar work a quaint 16 house Quaker settlement. As these stays were finishing up, there seemed to be a good chance that I could get a 3-month government job in Wellington, and the Dickie family generously put me up when I went down there to interview. Unfortunately though, the job didn't work out, so after the interview process I went down to the South Island to see the famouse fiords and to WWOOF one more time at a surf school on the southern coast.

My humble home for about two weeks (on a good weather day!)

These past 3 months have had their ups and downs, but the surf school was certainly a fantastic finish. Despite the fact that living in a caravan wasn’t always a dream, there were some truly amazing moments there. Daily life often included things like seeing a small bunch of dolphins jump across the water just a few feet away, or seeing a pair of graceful but intimidating sea lions dart around just under my feet, coming up every few seconds to poke their head out and maybe let out a wide mouthed bark.

It included things like walking through the fossilized remains of a 180 million year old forest to go penguin watching,

Catching some waves in a bay that you’re only sharing with two or three other people,

(Technically the tide isn't right for surfing here, but a nice picture of the bay)
And sitting on the edge of the bay at night at night with a fellow WWOOFer, enjoying some flamenco style guitar and interesting company.

It was a great place to have gotten the chance to live in, however briefly.

Wildlife Sanctuary


Curio Bay Surf School

(More details in the album captions)



Mini-lessons learned from the trip:

1) You can boil water about twice as fast if you first boil it in an electric water kettle. Whether you’re pre-heating water for soup, pasta or tea, it works really well. It's also much more energy efficient.

2) Red lentils are just as cheap, just as quick to cook, and easier to pack than pasta (especially if you count the sauce). Plus they're full of protein! I'm not sure why the vast majority of backpackers seem to eat pasta almost exclusively.

3) Lifelong vegan? Don't think I could do it. "Weekday vegetarian?" Perhaps. Many of the hosts in the WWOOF network are vegetarian, and after being forced to eat this way for a while it doesn't seem so bad.

P.P.S: Thanks!

Thanks so much to everyone in NZ who helped me get by in what was sometimes a strange and scary place. Thanks very much also to everyone who kept in touch back home, and to all you guys for reading! It's made a big difference to me to be able to share these experiences to some degree, and I hope the posts have been fun to read too.

Looking forward to seein' ya'll!

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