Promised Land

I’ve been in Wellington for quite some time. After hostel hopping, I found a sort of home base at a hostel called Trek Global. It’s a hostel smack in the middle of the CBD filled with other long term travelers. A lot of the people here are great, I have made a couple friends. I watch anime with this English-Indian dude named Jake and talk about the current state of the union with another English guy named Harry who can’t seem to control how fast he speaks sometimes.

When I first arrived in New Zealand I had the hardest time understanding everyone when they spoke. Everyone seemed to have an accent other than North American. I still have trouble understanding people but I think I have the most trouble with Kiwis. They tend to  speak really low and I haven’t quite figured out the Kiwi or Aussie lingo other than “sweet as”. A kiwi named Blake, who is also staying here at Trek, does exactly this.

I was looking for work for a while until I decided I was going to try demolition work. Due to the earthquake that occurred a few months ago, there a ton of agencies who are willing to take on anyone who walks in the door. Of course, eight hours of moving rubble around is no easy task. I am a skinny man so it didn’t take long for this to take its toll on me. I was sore for the entire week. I am hoping to complete an entire week this coming week as a sort of challenge to myself. Unfortunately, the money isn’t very great. Minimum wage runs at about $15.25 in Kiwi money which runs to about $11 in American. I am looking for other work while I am doing this. Hopefully I find something that doesn’t leave my body broken.

Many other travelers talk of Australia. In Australia, the wages are supposed to be higher. The minimum wage runs to about $17 in Aussie money but most gigs tend to pay higher than that. I am curious about what contributes to that. None-the-less, many travelers describe Australia as a sort of promised land for people preparing their next trip. Even visiting Australia itself is easy. Most things to see are right there on the east coast and it is a pretty straight shot north from Melbourne to Cairns. It really makes me want to wrap up New Zealand and head over there ASAP. I want to stock up on cash and visit a few Asian countries before I go back home. Korea, Japan, or some of the South East Asian countries are on that list of potential countries to see.

Hmm.. What else, what else…

In complete honesty, I am growing bored of Wellington. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice city but I miss the days when I was seeing a new town or location every couple days. Waking up early, hopping on a bus and finding that next destination makes traveling so much more thrilling. I am determined to just hoard enough money to leave the city and head south. Being able to compare Auckland and Wellington to some of the smaller towns has made me appreciate the countryside. I am just not sure I am finding what I am looking for here. I’m not sure I even know what that is.

Currently listening to: Hands like Houses – No Parallel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9XnrOad6mM

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“Sensible Swiss”

I was sitting in the hostel lounge recently reading Daniel Mitchell’s (Cato Institute) blog. Daniel Mitchell has become my go to guy when it comes to international economics. He doesn’t only talk about the things that have to happen but what is likely to happen and under what circumstances. He is a realist in that sense. It’s fun to hear libertarian scholars talk about the ideal conditions for prosperity but I find more worth while to hear about solutions in the situation at hand.

Of course, That is all besides the point. In his New Year’s Eve post titled “The Best and Worst News of 2016”, he used to term “Sensible Swiss” which he apparently first used back in June when Switzerland voted against Universal Basic Income in referendum. This is not the first time I’ve heard this praise for the Swiss by libertarians. The Foundation for Economic Education posted an article in 2015 titled “9 reasons Libertarians should love Switzerland” which points out that Switzerland is the fourth freest economy in the world. Libertarians tend to have this idea that the average Swiss citizen is smarter in regards to economics than the global average person. I had never met anyone from Switzerland before, at least not until New Year’s Eve in Wellington.

It was early on NYE. A group of us were sitting around the Kitchen talking about whatever came to mind. Since traveling, I’ve noticed politics and culture is a common topic. I sat next to a young blond woman and asked her where she was from (I have developed a problem that I ask people where they are from before asking their name) and we began a conversation about home. From Miami to Cuban food then finally Cuba itself. I immediately explained the event of Castro’s death from the perspective of the Cuban and South Floridian community and I received the response that I least expected. She told me how suspicious she was of the narrative she got from the media. The media was very sympathetic of Castro and his legacy. She was the first to point out the atrocities of the Castro regime to me. I was so pleased to hear that no everyone overseas was so ignorant of Communist Cuba.

Unfortunately, this is only me analyzing the judgment of one Swiss girl. Maybe they are as “Sensible” as Daniel and other libertarians make them seem.

 

 

Auckland, New Zealand

It was a 13 hour flight from Los Angeles to New Zealand. Other than some small turbulence, it was a pretty smooth flight. I barely got any sleep(just as usual) and I arrived extremely exhausted having to figure out how to make my way from Auckland Airport to the central business district where our hostel was located. It took a little bit of time but we managed to find it.

One thing I realized while walking through Auckland was the smell. It reminded me of Taipei. It was the restaurants. Auckland was filled with Chinese, Japanese, and Thai restaurants that smell far more authentic than the Chinese restaurants from home. Auckland has a huge population of people from various Asian countries. Just from what I can hear and from looking at all the signs it seems the majority is from either Taiwan or China. Reminds me of the Spanish billboards at home.

Of course, other than the extremely noticeable large demographic minority, Auckland is a very diverse city which makes it incredibly charming to walk down the street. So many different languages are spoken by so many different kinds people and there is variety of different food options at every corner. Our first meal was from a Korean Pancake restaurant called Pancake #1. It was literally just a Pancake cooked with meat, chicken, or potatoes inside but, I had never had something like that before and it was delicious.

We ran a couple of errands after checking into the hostel but soon enough, our exhaustion caught up with us. We knocked out for about 3-4 hours but, when we finally woke up,we decided it was time to grab some beers and discuss what’s happening next after our short time here in Auckland. A couple of beers turned into a long night at both Ding Dong Lounge and this Karaoke Bar that I can’t remember the name of for the life of me. Aid and I sang “Call me Maybe” and Mariah Carey’s Christmas song. The crowd was easily entertained and we found ourselves back on stage with some new friends who we managed to convince to sing their own favorite songs for the crowd.

What a night.

As someone from the hostel told me, “If you want to get over your jet lag just get wasted.”

PS: Auckland, if 60 degree evenings is your idea of summer… well screw you.

 

I was nervous but now…

I want to leave already. I’m growing incredibly restless. This Thanksgiving week started fine but it looks like it’s taking a turn for the worst. Luckily I head back home tomorrow. I get to spend the last few days with some good friends, drink, and sushi. That’s what I am looking forward to the most.

I’m looking forward to time away from my family for bit. I will finally be more than a couple hours away from them and with no overseas phone service I might finally have a small taste of what it will be like to be on my own.

Oh yeah!

Fidel Castro died today.


If anyone has the source for this pic feel free to send it to me so I can give credit.

Inner Anxiety

As the travel day gets closer, I start having all these second thoughts. I am trying to ignore them but, it’s difficult. I had similar feelings prior to leaving for basic training in 2011. Of course my feelings back then were more similar to fear than they are to uneasiness. I constantly think about whether this is the right decision or if I am setting myself up for failure. Perhaps I’m leaving something behind in the process of trying to shut out external noise.

I saw a young woman whom I used to go to school with. I wasn’t necessarily friends with her but she was recognizable. I’m not even sure I’ve ever had a conversation with her before. She was just someone I’d been in the same room with at a club meeting or something. She’s 21 years old and just won an election into the Florida House of Representatives. The article was about how she was starting orientation along with the other 65 new representatives. She made history being the youngest person ever elected to the House.

I find it incredibly impressive that someone as young as her could make such an accomplishment. Of course, this thought leads to me thinking about myself. Here I am, 25 years old and still trying to find my place in the world. Why isn’t that me? Why don’t I have something to be proud of yet? Some say that this thought process is healthy. They say that as long as I am not content with my current situation then I will always be finding a way to make it better. If that was true then why am I running away from life for a year?
This is all pessimistic and even cringeworthy, but I know that this is just something I go through before embarking on a new path of this size. Now that I think of it, I am pretty sure I had similar feelings on a smaller scale when I was moving to Orlando for the first time. New isn’t always easy. It’s always hard. However, you never know what’s on the other side unless you force yourself through it.

Good job! Way to talk myself out of that one.

Looking Back

I’ve started my final week of work. I’ve been in the Air Force reserves for almost six years and this vital chapter of my life is about to come to a close.

Joining the military was one of the hardest things that I had ever done. Basic training felt long, repetitive, and, to this day, is the largest mental weight I have ever carried in my entire life. Many people have joined prior to me and completed it but, I didn’t exactly have much faith in myself when I took my oath. I considered myself sheltered, coddled, childish. I was 19 years old and was caught up in this endless routine that I absolutely knew needed to change. Joining the military seemed like a full proof way to make it happen.

It doesn’t exactly matter what I think about the military itself. The military is a character builder. It won’t change a bad person into a good person but, it can change a lazy person and give them a little bit of a work ethic. It can give someone a new view on life, especially someone who feels that there is not path for them. I believe the military did that for me and more. It helped develop my social skills. Being surrounded by the same people you went to high school does nothing for you. I’ve met people and established a relationship with people all over the United States. As I moved up in the ranks and earned more responsibility, I learned to communicate with people of different status. Now, I haven’t perfected these new skills by any means but, I feel it in myself that I have come a long way.

When I first decided I wanted to do go to New Zealand for a year, I looked at it as another way to force myself out of my comfort zone. I will be over a thousand miles away from home so it won’t be easy to just turn back. I will have removed the easy connection to the comfort of my friends and family back home. I will be in a different culture than back home, surrounded by people who are doing the same thing as I am. It will be a learning experience. Not just to further strengthen my social skills but it will be a chance to hear the ideas and thoughts of people who live outside my home country. New Zealand is a popular backpacking country. People from all over the world come to enjoy the visual master piece which is New Zealand. It’s small and easy to get across so many of the travelers also happen to be novices to the trade.

This is what I look forward to. My views as an American may conflict with those around the world. American values are not the same New Zealand values, European values, or Asian values. At this point, I believe I have views that will never be changed but I am open to them being challenged. That scares me, but it also excites me. I plan to record every bit of it.

Trump Dynasty

It’s been a long boring week back at the Homestead Air Base clinic that I’ve been working at. I just sold my car so I could have some extra money for this trip of a lifetime that I am about to embark on. I will be going to New Zealand for one year.

There is something far more great going on today. The presidential election has spills over to the early morning. While leaving the movie theater with my friend Adrian, I take out my phone to check the results. I’ve kept my phone in my pocket to keep my anxiety down. This has literally been the craziest election year in recent history with two incredibly disliked candidates. A mentally handicapped person and the devil of corruption have spent the past year fighting for the highest office of the land. America seems to have chosen Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.

Absolutely shocking! No one in the media and none of the polls had predicted it. It is an American Brexit. Stocks plummeted and people protested outside of the White House. I feel incredibly uneasy. Though, I’ve spent the past months criticizing Clinton on her corruption and history as failed Secretary of State, I wasn’t exactly a fan of Trump either. He is unprincipled, not conservative, and can barely make a coherent sentence. However, I need to come to terms with this.

The week or so prior to election day was spent digging through Clinton e-mails, watching campaign members resign in response to them, reading opinion pieces about the Clinton conspiracy, and basically solidifying my discontent with Hillary Clinton. Even though I was supporting third party candidate Gary Johnson, I was really starting to believe that Trump was the only one that could put an end to the Clinton dynasty.

Regardless, Donald Trump is now President Trump. He’ll stay that way for at least the next four years. I don’t believe he made his wealth on his own and, at the very least; he surrounded himself with successful people who helped make him what he is today. If he does the same as President then I don’t think America has much to be concerned about.
I am not leaving the country because I fear the result of a Trump presidency. In fact, I think it will rather entertaining the view it from the outside, surrounded by people who have been watching the United States from the outside its borders their whole lives.