Hindsight is 20/20

I have enjoyed New Zealand.My favorite part was when I was on the Kiwi bus jumping from location to location meeting all kinds of new people and doing all kinds of new activities. I had conquered so much of the country in such a little amount of time and I had fun doing it. Yeah, I felt a little rushed at times but, at the same time, it felt like an adventure. I wouldn’t give back that time for the world.

Wellington was fun too, it was just different. The goal was to live long term and it was time to buckle down and find work. It just wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Finding a hostel with a good atmosphere took time but I achieved that. Trek Global made meeting people incredibly easy. If my time in Taipei didn’t teach me this then it was definitely Trek that taught me that there was no other way to travel abroad than via hostel. The social factor completely transforms the experience. It can literally turn a trip from visually entertaining to physically entertaining. What does that even mean? Most people(maybe only Americans) travel to new destinations with no intent of meeting new people. If it happens then fine but if it doesn’t then so be it. However, meeting fellow travelers can amplify your vacation ten folds and now I wouldn’t recommend traveling any other way.

Of course, there is a trade off to this experience and it is specifically felt when traveling for long term. That is privacy. You cannot necessarily own things when you are abroad like this. It takes up unnecessary space and it is outside of your budget when your sole purpose of work is to fund your next trip. You trade material for experiences at 100 percent. You must basically live out of a backpack or suitcase which can get old fast. There is almost a constant pressure to be social, which can be exhausting if you’re someone like me who finds it difficult to pull myself in and out of this mood. I have felt all of this and I often struggle with deciding whether this trade off is for me. Everyone is different and I have witnessed some people thrive with this lifestyle.

What is it about me? My time in New Zealand has been a learning experience and has made me realize(just as the title states) that hindsight is 20/20. I keep thinking back about how I could have conquered both Islands of New Zealand in a month or so days and left to Australia with plenty of money to spare. There nothing that can be done about it but it drives me nuts just thinking about. There was a large portion of my time in Wellington where I’ve had too much time to think. Thinking about what I am doing here, what I’ve thought I always wanted, and what I really want to do next.

I always thought I wanted self sufficiency and stability. I told myself that for years and I suddenly threw that away for a life of constant instability. Maybe it was a bad move on my part but I had told myself for months prior that I needed to do something different for a change. I did it and what I discovered is that I love traveling and seeing new parts of the world but I also like stability. Most of all, I like independence.

I think I know what to do.

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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

Traveling bummers

It’s been about a month and a half since I have arrived in New Zealand. It’s been great(I promise) but, there are a few things that I have learned about New Zealand and traveling since I got here.

The Bar Questionnaire

This is probably the most important one. The problem is not exactly the bars themselves but the rules that exist around going out and drinking. It’s honestly a minor issue but I does irritate me a little. There is a law in New Zealand that doesn’t allow businesses to sell you alcohol if you are drunk are even think you are drunk. Whenever you go to enter a bar the bouncer always talks to you. “How are you this evening?” and depending on how you answer it he will follow up with “How much have you been drinking tonight?” as if you were getting pulled over for a DUI. If they are uncomfortable about your condition they may deny you entry into the bar or club. If you come how got into the bar, the bartender will just serve endless amounts of water no matter what drink you try to order.

I witnessed the worst of this a couple weeks back. There was a group of us who decided to bar hope down Courtney Place. Among us what this Dutch who had an absolute terrible accent when he spoke English. At our second bar, the bouncer continued to grill him thinking he was drunk until the rest of us had to explain that he wasn’t blasted out of his mind to the point that he can’t talk. He’s just Dutch.

The Same Introductions

When you arrive at a new hostel there are always new people to meet which means that introductions are frequent. Maybe a little too frequent.

Go ahead and picture this. You enter your new room of four or six at the new hostel.You throw your bag on the bed. If you haven’t said hello to your roommates yet then they have absolutely said it to you. Now you are automatically caught in one of those frequent introductions.

“Hey, how’s it going?”
“Where are you from?”
“When did you get to New Zealand?”
“How long are you traveling for?”

You cannot escape it.

Short live friendships

As you go from city to city and hostel to hostel, you come across so many different people. Some of these people you may find absolutely awesome after you spend a night out or even a couple of days with them. However, when i comes to traveling, not everyone is always on the same page. Some people have less flexible itinerary’s than others. Some have a goal of looking for work in specific location and others have a short amount of time to travel.

Over the holidays I met a group of some of the coolest people. We drank together in the hostel lounge and hit bars multiple nights a week. But, when the holidays ended, it was time for them to continue traveling and it was time for me to start looking for a job so that I could continue travel. This wasn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. You absolutely enjoy these awesome people and your time with them but having to day goodbye so often can be a tad bit… well, emotionally exhausting.

Every coffee shop is exactly the same!

This drives me nuts. The only reason this bothers me so much is because someone bragged to me about how great the coffee in New Zealand is when I first got here. Honestly, it’s a little overrated. There is no variety. It’s as if every coffee shop owner got together and agreed on a universal coffee menu.

Short Black
Long Black
Flat White
Americano
Cappuccino
Hot Chocolate

Holy crap guys, try to spice it up a bit. People like to rag on Starbucks back in the United States, but at least they give a constantly changing menu. I can happily treat myself with that White chocolate macho peppermint cappuccino frappe grande. Hell yes.

Also, anyone who says North America doesn’t have any decent coffee has never been to South Florida.
If you are looking to travel do not let any of this keep you from doing so. I have had a blast so far and I don’t regret it a bit. Even in the things you like most people tend to find something to complain about.This is just some of them.

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.