It’s Time to Roll Out

March 2009

So things have changed a bit since the last time I wrote. Tessa moved out and went back to Hamilton where she goes to school. She was my partner in crime, or as the running joke went she was my little protégé. I’m not sure I should have a protégé but she always joked that she was becoming just like me (doubt that’s a good thing), at the end we even started saying the same things and choosing almost identical outfits. I think that’s bound to happen to a certain extent when you spend so much time with someone. Well maybe it’s just narcissism missing my reflection, but the house is much quieter and less entertaining than it was with my mini-me. Before Tessa left however, we managed to squeeze in a few more adventures.IMG_0174

As our workplace is right on the water, a highly satisfying way of amusing ourselves when things get slow around the office is to gawk like randy schoolboys at the shirtless men who dock their boats on the wharf. Tessa and I developed a special fondness for the boys who work on the overnight boat called The Rock. Every day we would look forward to watching those beautiful creatures with their sculpted bods, bronzed skin and flowing golden locks rock up to the wharf. All summer we said we had to go on the boat, and finally right before Tessa was leaving we did just that. The trip starts at 5 pm one day and you get back at 3pm the next. “The Climax”, a long banana shaped boat used by the Rock to transport people and supplies back and forth from the big boat to the wharf, finally came in to get Tessa and I and our friend Dom. Throughout the course of the 22 hours, we fished, shot at fake birds off the back of the boat, went night kayaking in the phosphorescence (it’s a form of algae that glow, imagine a bunch of lightning bugs were fluttering around in the water at night), played pool on board, went night swimming, played music in the moonlight, had a BBQ, stopped at Motorua Island, went day kayaking, had a picnic, and, oh, yes, how could I forget? Fell in love. Now don’t get too excited, not real love, just “wow you are really dreamy” kind of love. There are four Rock boys and I fell in “you are dreamy” love with two of them. I’m pretty sure they loved me too. Yup. About 87% percent sure. Maybe even 92%, I don’t know I don’t have a calculator.  The One of them, Chris, is tan with curly blonde hair and he looks as though he should be dancing around barefoot playing the loon for the Duke of Chestershire. Or something…IMG_0181

Here’s the cincher though, the fourth Rock boy turned out to be the hot Chilean DJ from my hostel in Auckland when I first arrived in New Zealand. It is amazing how small this country really is. His English has improved, but unfortunately my Spanish remains just as appalling as ever.

So blah blah blah some other stuff has happened and it was neat. Now that were all caught up, I’ll move on to present day. I have three weeks left in Paihia and then my contract with this job is up and I will start traveling again and move south for the winter. Remember though, contrary to what we are used to, south is further away from the equator so I am actually heading to the south island to hopefully work on the ski fields. Thousands of people apply for a handful of jobs on the ski fields every season so they are super competitive to get, but here’s hoping! Otherwise I will try to get a job doing something exciting again, like working for AJ Hackett bungee or one of the heaps of extreme adventure activities on offer. Who knows though, I havn’t even been to the south island yet. It’s so hard to know where I’ll want to live before I even go to each city, but because the south island is not as populated as the north island it is much harder to find places to work down there. Unless I just get a random job at a restaurant or something, I most likely won’t start a job until the winter season starts in June, so I am looking at two months of unemployment.

Seeing as how I definitely have not saved enough cash this summer to live and travel for two months without an income, I signed up to be a WWOOFer. WWOOFing stands for willing workers on organic farms. All the farms are different, some have chickens and cows and want you to be a farm hand, and some have recording studios or meditation centers and want you to tend to their herb gardens and help with their yogic retreats. I’m going to focus on the latter type, obviously. I have a book listing all the different farms, so basically I will just call around to the farms in an area before I arrive to see if they need help and then stay with them for a bit, learning about organic farming practices, and getting a truly unique and authentic kiwi experience while being housed and fed. I’m sure that will provide for some interesting stories. Do you remember when I first started traveling with the Germans in their campervan and I stayed in an ant-infested hut in Piha where I learned a drinking game involving hammers, nails, and a giant tree stump? (I wrote about it in maybe the third blog I think?) Well, that place was also an organic farm and the guys I met there were WWOOFing. I assume I’ll be having many more randomly awesome experiences of that nature soon.

I have had a great time in New Zealand so far, but I can’t wait to get out of Paihia and start traveling again. Everyone says the north island pales in comparison to the south island, so I can’t wait to see it. I am also so excited to be a traveler again, when everything is so new and fresh and exciting. I suppose that is a funny thing to say, as I am in New Zealand and all. I’m not a traveler here in Paihia though, I live here. That was the goal– to really feel like I lived in a foreign country for once and wasn’t just visiting it, but like a true gypsy, I’m itching to move on to fresh pastures. As the summer season is pretty much done, the Excitor hasn’t been running as much, so getting up for work at 6 every morning to sit around the office is getting old. I have made some great friends here, many of whom are also heading south for the winter, but I am so ready to get to a new town with new people and fresh experiences waiting. IMG_0313

As I’m working on planning my travels, I also have to change my flight home, as I couldn’t book the return a full year out. This process has forced me to consider my post New Zealand plans, which is a daunting task. Here is what I’m thinking as of right now. My visa for NZ is up in October, at which point I will travel to Fiji or Samoa, and then get a work visa for Australia. Everyone says you need a few months at least in Australia, and it’s a shame not to go there when I’m so close, so I will clearly have to work there to manage that. Then I will have to return home around March or April of 2010 for my brother’s wedding. After that I will either return to Australia to finish out the visa (I think it’s a year visa) and then move to South America, or just move to South America after the wedding. I’ll stay in South America for at least a year as well (although I’m not sure about the visa process there) because I desperately want to be fluent in Spanish. South America is definitely happening, I’m just not sure about if/how/or when I’ll fit Australia into the mix. Before Maurits, my friend from Holland who I met earlier in the summer, left Paihia, we laid on the beach watching the stars on his last night. Together we saw seven, mark it SEVEN, shooting stars. We took turns making wishes on them (gag I know), and his last one was that in a year we would go to South America together. If the wishing power of SEVEN shooting stars means anything then adios amigos, estoy viviendo en Argentina!

(Note: upon editing this now that I am back in Pittsburgh I am aware that this plan is a bit out-of-date, but I left it in here bc its interesting to see my thought process along the way. I obviously should never try to plan anything more than a few months ahead, as you will see how things change as you read on.)