Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I have been on my own again after our group all went different places. I am on the east coast and just celebrated Xmas with a few friend from the hostel in Tauranga. Did some snorkeling in Tolaga Bay. Noe I start a new job tomorrow morning and the Rhythm and Vines Festival. I am just working for a ticket, but 18 hours of easy work over three days will save me over $300.
Its tough to use the Internet now because When I was in Hastings doing vineyard work for Corban winery my laptop burned out. Trying to get it warrantied over here is not easy.
I plan to work in the squash Fields next month or so. I here it good money. I need to work a lot just to be able to stay here at this point. My USA bills still need to get paid. So no traveling or adventure for a while. Just another immigrant laborer. I hope NYE is fun. Merry Chistmas

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Great Walk

The last week or so has full of outdoor adventures, camping, drinking rain water, swimming with jelly fish, and easily the hardest hike of my life.
Five of us that met in Tauranga set out to go on a road trip and camp in the east part of the northern island. My paint job on my van was not yet finished due to poor weather on the days leading up to the trip. On the first day I saw a paint ball park on the side of the road so we stopped for a game. Only three of us played so it was everyman for him self. Super fun, we were all glad we stopped. That night we drove to a remote part of the coast and asked some people if we could camp on their waterfront cliff overlooking blue tide pools. They said it was fine to camp there. I was so happy to be out in this grass field with a million dollar view that I didn't even notice the mosquitoes. We went down to the water before dinner to have a look. I ended up swimming in the clear calm sea water. It was a little cold, but invigorating. Like most NZ waters, there were jelly fish floating around in there, so I had to watch where I swam.
That night I left the camper van door open till it was time to sleep. It was full of mosquitoes that relentlessly buzzed around me drinking my blood all night. I didn't sleep at all. I estimate about 60 bites that night.
The next day we went to the east cape and hiked up to the light house. It was a 45 minute hike up to the top. We were trying to get ready for the Great Walk around Lake Waikairemoana. A 4 day hike through forest, jungle, up mountains, through mud and rain.
That night we found a freedom camping ground in Gisborn county. Nice place on the beach that I will return to for Christmas. Not too many bugs there but I stayed up scratching all night. In the morning we packed up and went to Cook's Cove, a blue water lagoon with 1 meter deep water that was very nice for swimming. This is where capt. Cook first landed and discovered NZ. Later that night we tried to take a short cut through the mountains to the starting point of our great walk and ended up camping in a cow pasture.
The morning we were to start the walk was a little scary because no one had ever done anything this big. I had only done one or two day hikes. This was 46 k through rugged bush. I was the biggest and most experienced so I volunteered to carry more of the community supplies like canned foods and pots and pans. I think it must have been about an 80 pound pack when I started. Nobody knew if there was water along the trail, so we carried a lot. We started the trek which became quite steep within the first 2 minutes. We laughed a the ridiculousness of what we were trying to do. It seemed near impossible to hike for 5 hours carrying this weight. The first hiker we saw told us there was water at the huts. This was good news because we could dump some water, but bad news because most of our food had water in it, like soups and chili instead of pasta and rice. We had packed way too heavy for the journey. Laura had even packed beer and wine. We struggled on up and up and up. When there was a small down hill it was always followed by a bigger up hill. The views were quite stunning but hard to appreciate because we didn't know how far till we reach the hut. This climb was physically harder than any thing I have done including a 24 hour 200 mile snowmobile race through the bitter cold Yukon and the 13 mile that doubled (6 mi.) my longest run prior to it. Pushing through the pain we ascended 1150 meters to the top to find the hut. It had some benches for eating and stainless counters for cooking, and a sink that was pure rain water off the roof. The other campers their said it was ok to drink so we used it for everything without boiling it. It actually tasted pretty good. They also told us that the next few days of hiking would be easier. We were at the highest point. Relieved to be sitting down inside a shelter and alive, we eagerly drank all the wine and beer to "save weight" for the next hikes. The hut had 40 bunks divided into two rooms, there were skylights and candles for light, and a wood stove for heat.
The next day was mostly down hill, easier on my muscles but harder on my joints. We made it down to the hut at lake level in 4 1/2 hours. We had a swim in the lake to wash off. It had been 4 or 5 days since a shower, just ocean bathing. We slept early because we knew that we had a 19 k hike the next day. It turned out to be fairly level staying close to the lake. The last day didn't scare us too much after all we had done the last few days anything seemed in our reach. Just 9k we joked about running back. Our packs were much lighter after eating almost everything we had brought. AT the very end, just before the car, I stopped on a foot bridge and thought back over adversity I had intentionally engaged my in and over. I learned a lot about serious hiking of coarse but also about my own spirit and energy. I think people need to get back to the roots what it is to be an animal on this planet from time to time, remind ourselves of our weaknesses and to highlight our strengths.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

For the last few days I have been design a graphic for my Kiwivan. I Started by penning it on sanded paint and glass with a sharpie. Then taped it off and started spraying, but it started to sprinkle a little, so I went to a closed liquer store with a very big drive through carport. I knew I would probably get asked to leave by a cop or someone else, but time is short until I leave Tauranga. I don't know how much time or space I'll have to do it on the road. But I got the section done before someone said "move along now". I have a lot more to do on it but now today the sun is shining but its windy. Good art shouldn't be rush anyway. I want it to look good. I am sure it will increase the selling value also.
Thursday I am checking out of Ducks Nuts and going on a one month trip around the north Island with 4 others. One German girl who I scuba dived with, two Taiwanese girls from the hostel, and one Chinese dude who is my same age. We are all going on a 4 day hike around a lake south east of here. Its $25 a night to stay in huts that are out there in the bush and by reservation only, I don't really think theres much more than a sink with running water and a bunch of stinky tired hikers. But I am the most experienced hiker of the group and I have never hiked with only a back pack more than one night. So we thought for our first big hike we should stay under a roof, not have to carry or set up a tent.
I am not too sure of the route yet but I'll be in Gisborne for Christmas and New Years. I changed plans from another festival in the south because of the distance, and I'll be picking Sean up in Auckland in Feb. So I think after that we can go south.
I lost my wallet in the jungle a couple of weeks ago. But I just got a call from the police station saying some dogs found it. Its still got everything in it and the cop who called here is bringing it down to me tomorrow. Things are looking good.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On vacation from my "vacation"

I spent the last week or so out on the city of Tauranga and Mt Manganui. I have been city camping. I saved some money by not staying at the hostel. But there is no work in town right now so I've just been hiking running climbing, and chilling out at the beach. There one mountain in town, so everyone climbs it. It takes about 30 minutes of pretty steep trail climbing. Nice views from up there. I just cook and have meals right out of the back of my van. Pasta, eggs, potatoes, canned foods, beer, box wine, whatever. I drew a picture on the back side of my van. I think it looks okay but needs more. I will continue to work on this project when ever I have time. I also put a roof rack on it so I can get a bike. There are so many trails to ride over here. The weather is good. Warm most days, but it also rains most days. The sun is a real killer though. You can't get tan here. Just burned by the high levels of ultra violet light.
I am moving back into the hostel later today. I plan to stay there one week until starting my next episode of miadering migration. This time I am going with Clemmins again from the northland trip last month, and Laura, another German from the hostel, and two Taiwanese girls named Helen and Lynn. We are going to Taupo, the biggest lake in NZ, then to Gisborne for christmas. Anything else in between. I am not really coordinating this trip so I am just going to go with it. I came here to do some new stuff. I think we are going to Scuba down a river the bungy jumpers dunk their heads into. That should be cool.
I am going to a New Years festival for world peace in Nelson. This is a five day campout celebration with many live bands and DJs. This is down on the south Island, so I will take a boat ride across the straight.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Moved out of the Duck's Nuts

Some pictures of the ducks nuts hostel. It is 3 or 4 houses that are holding 30 or more travelers at a time. I moved out to camp out in town for a week. I am trying to save some money, because in a couple of weeks I am getting back on the road. I will try to work a lot until then. But the farm job is done so I am just at the bar for now. I think we are going to Taupo to scuba dive then go to some vineyards to pick grapes down south. Its up in the air, but I'm glad to get going again. I am righting this blog from the street outside a mortuary that has an unsecured wifi network. I guess thats the life of a cyber bum.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Its a jungle out there.

My scuba trip got postponed. I had some time off so I decided to camping. I went out to NZ forest, what I call jungle. Vines climbing up tall trees with big leaves all trying to get a piece sun light. There was an old dirt road that went over the mountains. It was just a narrow incision into the dense canopy of rich vegetation, barely wide enough for the modified jeeps that might brave it. Pocked with mud holes and ruts from the 4x4s that amazingly traversed it. I walked out for hours down trails that left little view beyond 20 feet. The jungle was too dense to get off the trail most of the time, but when streams would cross the road at sharp corners, you could move around more freely because the water had keep this area clear of too many plants. It green up there. Water cut down through the rocks cover in a green moss. Every thing was, green all over every tree, living or dead. I did not encounter another person for four hours. When I got back to my car, guy pulled up and told me he was part of a search crew looking for a lost hiker who had been missing a couple of days. Its not likely they will find him. If he went anywhere off on of the 20 or so roads, its pointless looking.
I cooked some cous cous as a meal with my gas grill. I think Im ready for a longer trek. They have some here that are up to five days. You just pay 10 bucks a night to sleep in a hut with running water that are scattered through the wilderness.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Working in NZ

There is a before and after of my living quarters. Its getting better. I am comfortable.

I took some time off to take this SCUBA class. Its better than I thought it would be. Swimming deep below the surface feels so cool. All of my natural urges are to swim up and get air but I can't. I have to understand my equipment and rely on it. Its gets better this weekend I have 4 scheduled dives in the Bay of Plenty.
I work nights at Da Beir Haus, same time as the classes. So I got another job in some peoples farm. Its easy work, and theres noone even around. I just put on my head phones and work, pruning hundreds of bushes. I make my own hours, get iced coffee from Diane the owner, and make 50% more than at the bar. The weather is getting quite nice. Nice day for a cold beer. Awwwwweee, thats nice .

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I compiled some photos into a quick video. It is very rough but I didnt have too much time to polish it. I will make more video as it becomes necessary. Click on the link to view it.

I got my first check today. I have been working for 2 weeks now. Its not much, but I am glad to get it. Its directly deposited into my Bank Of New Zealand account so when I move on, I won't have to worry about my last check. The weather is supposed to be getting warmer here. I think in a couple of weeks it will be. There is a big hole in the Ozone down here so the sun feels a bit intense at times. I have been good aboat sunblock. Last week on Labour Day the Hostel had a BBQ. 30 people there and I was the only American, and the only one drinking beer. Thought it was strange, but the food was good. Later that night I spun fire Poi for the first time.(Fireballs on chains) It was a little scary at first but I found my rhythm. Its louder and warmer than I thought it would be.
The pic is not actually me but you can see what it looks like.
I am starting a wek long SCUBA certification program next week. Its recognized in every Country in the world. So I am looking forward to that.
The hostel owners Gordon and Sue gave me some blankets and a foam mattress for my van. Its so much better in there now. I built a removable frame out of wood from pallets I found. I have storage underneath and a double bed on top. Now I just want to paint it. This is going to be a big task.

Monday, October 27, 2008

American to Kiwi ; Translator

dude ; mate
party foul; taxi!
fries ; chips
chips; crisps
cookies ; biscuts
local ; kiwi
call ; ring
thanks ; cheers
hostel ; backpackers
college ; uni
dank ; sweet ass
highway ; motorway
hike ; tramp
pants ; trousers
shady ; dodgy
bloke ; guy
cooler ; chilly bin
flip flops ; jandals
toilet ; loo
tourists ; loopies
drunk ; pissed
shopping cart ; trolly

Warning; Do not travel to NZ with out this translator. The locals will not know what the hell you're talking about.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Idling at The Bay of Plenty

Living here at a travelers halfway house has been interesting. I don't know if I would always want to stay at one of these places. It is a whole lot easier than just sleeping in a car or camping on a beach somewhere. I have a place to shower, cook, and clean, power my laptop and even watch some movies. Its nice to have people to talk to, but with 35 people here you have to share space. I am thinking about how I want to spend my time here. Is working in a restaurant/ nightclub for 13 bucks an hour how I want to spend the summer, maybe it is. Nice weather, beaches in every direction, all the college kids come down here for the summer. I think I would rather be doing something with sports, kite boarding, kayaking or something. We will see in the next couple of weeks how things go. This weekend is labour day. An excuse for Kiwis to get drunk. Going to be busy here in town. i am working 2 12 hour days in a row. Everyone else at the hostel is going on a trip around North island, for three days. Im kind of pissed, but I need to earn some money for a while. Free beer is nice too.
I have been told its illegal to sleep in your car anywhere in town because they don't want backpackers shitting in the bushes. (I've done it.) But I got a gym membership today with a shower available 24 hours a day. They just give you a key and you can go in any time you want. Its small with old equipment but it will be like Rocky 4 when he trains with hay bails and rocks in Russia, then kicks Dolf's ass. Anyway I could camp and use that shower and power outlets.
Yes life is very different here, I make much less and things cost about %50 more. I went from suburban middle class to poor. I welcome the challenge as long as can grow stronger from the whole experience. I want to do something new everyday. I want to do something that scares me everyday. I have been practicing with my poi. There is a German girl who has been showing me how to do some tricks. hopefully I will have some skills when I come back next summer, I can step up to fire poi.
There is one muontain in here in town. it is not to big, they let sheep run all around it. I decided to climb it. It was good to get out on a sunny day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chillin at Duck"s Nuts

I found a job in a bar down on The Strand, a trendy strip of bars and clubs for people to have a drink after work or a late night drum and bass party. I am bartending at De Bier Huas, a restaurant and bar. A little over min wage with no tips. But Its good to be earning something after being out of work for a month.
I am staying in a hostel with %80 germans so communicating is difficult. I am making my van more home like and functional as well. Added curtains and storage compartments. Tonight I am going see a local nz dnb artist. My kiwi friend from SD, Ethan called me today and said he was moving back to Auckland next week, and might have a place to stay and a job in music production with he and his mates, A bunch of local DJs.
I have gone running a few times this week, trying to fight off the softening effects of the kiwi diet. Processed white breads and aioli, cheese, and, shwag ass partical meats. I am going to a gym tomorrow. I will wait to see where I am in two weeks before comiting to a month there. I really want to produce music and play it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty :
I had a chance to by a 4x4 van for $2000, but the guy seemed kind of shady so I passed. Then I thought I should have bought it because they are selling for twice that. The guy had another van for sale. A 94 toyota previa. I bought it for 2300 bucks. The hostels in Auckland cost $26 bucks a night, so if I sleep in a van for a year I'll be way ahead, plus I can sell it for something when I leave.
So now I was in my van with no place to go or even park in aucland. All parking costs money. I got a text from Clemins saying they went to the bay of plenty to get farm jobs, and there was a job for me if I wanted it. It didn't take 10 seconds to reply. "Yes." I point my van south and turned up the radio. 4 hours later I was there in town but didn't know where they were. I parked and got ready for bed, started to read when he texted that he could not stay at the hostel. No visitors past 10pm. He needed to stay with me and he would bring beer. I said no problem. We went to meet Julia and her German friend at the Nazi hostel. There were cameras everywhere, this guy came out and started lecturing us about having breakfast with them. He was very rude. So all of us left, The girls checked out and lost the job opportunity in the process. But they heard about Duck's Nuts hostel across town. They were $120 a week. And I could park my van and use their kitchen and showers and tvs and Playstation for a discounted rate.This place is very home feeling. And they also had Kiwi work, It was raining so work wouldn't start until four days from now. It is pruning kiwi fruit. There can be only 8 kiwi buds per vine so they will all grow big enough to sell internationally. 12 hour days @ $12hour (Min Wage) about $8.25/H USD. None for me, thanks! With my visa, I can only work 35 hours a week max. I am going down the ritzy strip of bars I saw last night by the the bay. The lady that works at Ducks Nuts said with my experience I could get a job no problem making above average wages.

Monday, October 13, 2008

First pics up here from the Northland

CamperVan part 2

After the the trippy cow pasture forests, we were driving even further north to the cape when I noticed a sign for sand board rentals. We had passed up some other adventure type sports because of the cost. But I was not going to pass this up. I pulled into a front yard of the house with the sign on the side on the hi way. It seems every one in NZ is trying to cash in on the tourists' dollar. I opened a sliding glass door and looked into someone messy kitchen. "hello. Are you open" Some 70 year lady came out and tried to charge me $20 for a two hour rental. I talked her down to ten dollars for what I knew as a body board made for riding ocean waves. We drove another twenty minutes though hills and forest until over next hill through some trees we saw massive mountains of sand much bigger than any of us expected. It must have taken 10000 years for the sand to pile up this high. We parked at the bottom with a few other tourist campers, took off our shoes and ran to the top of the first level. Out of breath we decided to walk up the rest of the way. We took turns riding the slick board down the steeps. I did some front and back flips off of a cornus at the top. We got sand in every part of our clothing and bodys. There was a small creek that cut through the inland side that prevented the dunes from progressing any furthur into the forest. Any sand that blew into the shallow water was just carried back to the Tasmanian Sea. I grabbed my board shorts and ran through the warm water like a kid playing in sprinklers on a summer day. This was the half way point in our trip and the high point of our road trip for me.
We drove a an hour further even though we were low on gas through dirt roads and hills to get to Cape Regina. An impressive site for any part of the world. 300 meters up on a Cliff with a lighthouse and a $10 million view. You could see The Pacific Ocean and Tasmanian Sea crashing together with green and blue waters meeting up and white water beating relentlessly into the jagged rocks below. You got a very safe feeling being that high up, you could see the violent waters but couldn't hear it.
On the way back back I was driving conservative so we didn't run out of gas. It would have been kind of fun to have to hitch hike to get some petrol but we thought we should at least try to get to the "last Gas" station we saw a ways back. We finally came down the last hill and then pulled into the station, after sitting a moment a girl came out and said they were out of gas and didn't know when they would get more. We thought we were screwed but they went in back and thankfully found two gallons. We bought it. We camped on the beach again that night. We saw some other campers parked there so we assumed that it would be cool. There something very satisfying about waking up next to water. Maybe its the life giving properties, but people tend to agree that water and sunlight almost anywhere is a beautiful sight.
Friday we hiked up a trail that had been built up with wood stairs and bridges to help less athletic people navigate through the forests over the rivers and fern gully's. It was an impressive area that lie on private property we all the way to the top to a look out point. On our way out we walked passed the "Honesty Box" where we were supposed to pay $10 each for the walk. The owner showed up right then and called us out on it. We were not by any means rich but, We felt very stupid for trying to save money. We sat in silence for the next portion of the drive. I suppose you learn from things like that and try not to make mistakes like that in the future.
We then went down to the Largest trees in NZ. They were in a very dense jungle that had miadering, elevated wooden tracks built through it to keep visitors from disrupting the ecosystem. These trees were enormous. They were 20 meters around, looked kind of like LOTR talking trees but fatter.
Saturday was pretty chill. we drove down a peninsula and back, another beautiful beach ect.On the way to camp we saw a sign that said Mt Auckland hiking, so I drove up the hill and parked. Started hiking down a grassy road with at forest of pine on a steep hill about 40 meters to the right. I walked to the fence and looked down into a dark scary forest and immediately thought we must go in there. So we jumped the fence and went down the steep into the dark unknown. We needed walking sticks just to get down. The ground was so covered in dead plant matter it was soft and spongy. We came out the bottom and looked up another hill but grassy, it was a cow pasture. We had wanted to get closer to some "wildlife" so I started up the grassy hill toward two large cows. As approached, they stood ground and stared me down like I had never seen a cow do. Then I saw a calf behind one of them. I decided I was close enough. Snapped a few pics and then left. We went around the hill side further away from them and toward some sheep that did just the opposite of the cows. They made a bunch of noise and moved away from us. So I gave chase but trying to move through a swampy area of pasture I made some wrong steps and fell in deep mud up to my knees. Panicking, I tried to run out and left my shoes buried in the mud, then had to go dig them out. Funny shit, but I was covered. I decided to was my cloths off in a creek near by so I wouldn't get the camper and my other cloths all messy.
We went to camp down about 30 minutes from Auckland since the van was due back at 2pm the next morning. We found a beach but it had no camping signs every where. There was a holiday park that wanted $13 per person to park the van there. The only thing we wanted was a shower, so I parked the van down the street and in the dark of night walked in and used the hot shower. $.50 for 5 minutes, more than I needed. It felt so god to be clean. That was the first real shower other than streams and creeks for about 5 days. We end up looking for a spot to park the van for an hour before i drove into a field and parked. We drank a six pack of Grolsh and had eggs and toast in the moon light using the gas cooker like a camp fire to sit around and stay warm. When we woke up I realized we were on a carrot farm, there were Chinese men working the fields and a tractor spraying some stuff. They were all looking at us like they had never seen hippies camping in a carrot field before. Weird, so we left.
We cleaned and returned the van with the hopes we would only be a the city for one more day until we could find jobs out in the country side. The city just wasn't anything like the NZ we had just experienced. Too many people and cars and no scenery.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Campervan to the North pt. 1

Back to Auckland after a five day adventure with two nice young Germans. I rented a camper van that would hold three, hoping that I could find some people within less than a day to fill the seats and share the cost of the expedition as well as keep me company. I was very fortunate to have the company of Clemens and Julia. They were very open minded about where we would go and what we would see. I thought because I am here for a year and starting near the top of the north island, I would go check out the north first so that I could go south after that and see the other 90% of the country.
The after noon I picked up the campervan, which just a 1989 Toyota mini van with a double bed a back, it was raining pretty hard. They drive on the wrong side of the road here and the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car as well. It was a very scary process getting out of Auckland, its a lot like down town San Diego, which still messes me up driving down there. Once we on the motorway out of town headed north the rain and wind really started coming down hard. I thought this must be normal for NZ because it was my only time here. But we we all still amazed how beautiful it all was. Lush rolling green hills of fertile land full of friendly sheep and cattle. The plants seem to flourish in the wet climate. I thought in my next life I want to be a NZ sheep until I remembered the delicious lambbuger I had for lunch.
The first day we drove a hundred kilometers. The time we saw tropical beach I pulled over to take pics. It was raining but we joyishly ran out on the wet sand to celebrate our arrival to natural NZ that we had seen in the picture books that had attracted us here in the first place.
Germans get there drivers license when they turn 18,Clemens 21 and julias 19, so I had quite a bit more experience than either of them. So I was the only driver for the 6 day trip. We continued up the east coast til I found a small patch of grass over looking a bay with the oil refinery in the distance. Not what you would think of when you think of NZ landscape, but it had its own beauty from a distance.
Sleeping on a double bed with two others is a little tight but tolerable. When you split the cost three ways, It is actually cheaper than a hostel with 7 or ten other people in the room. With a beer of two, I went right to sleep. But I found that sleeping farthest from the door I had to pee out the window in the middle of the night. After the first night with my new friends, I felt good. Glad to be out of the hostel, out of the city, have a direction I lacked the first couple of days in my new counrty, and glad to have some company. In morning we saw sun, it looked so nice shining down on the water below and it felt even better.
On our way to the northern most point of the island, Cape Regina, We stopped at a hiking trail I saw on the map. We had to drive down a long dirt dirt road with 100 kph limit to get there. We crossed a 150 meter foot bridge over a small gulf, then walked into very healthy forest of pines and ferns. We walked through fields and jungles untill we fished the loop and arrived back at our car.
Then we drove up to the Bay of Islands, an upscale beach town with plenty of water sports and bars to spend your tourist dollars on. We went to a liquor store to get some beers, the took them across the street to drink them on the sunny beach. We sat there a couple of ours and cooked some spaghetti. It was very nice to not have an agenda. A very free feeling; we could go anywhere, do anything we wanted. We decided to cross the land over to the west coast, about an hours drive. We found 90 mile beach, it didn't say no driving, but the rental shop said we would get suck in the sand, so we just walked out there to take some pics. Its a long beach that stretches up north to disappear in the distance. It was longer than anyone could possibly see. It was getting cold and We couldn't camp there so we started back to the motorway. I noticed an empty field next to a lake so I pulled in. There were no "no camping" signs, so we figured it was fine to. We gathered some wood to start a fire right on the grass. Another hippie van from the same company drove by and we signaled them to come over. They were a sweetish couple looking for a place to sleep to. I invited them to have dinner and drinks with us around the fire. Can't remember their names but they were very nice. They were on a world airline pass that costs $5000 and last for 39 months. They had saved for three years and were now in their 4th month of a one year world tour. They had been to central and south America, and Australia. Next they are going to Figi then Asia. I was very interesting seeing people from all over the world here in NZ, they all speak English and one or two other languages. It really humbles me and highlights America's arrogance and egocentricity. We have a long way to go.
The next morning we started north again. We didn't get 3 miles before something caught my eye and I made an abrupt stop. There was a closed gate, but it went into a curious looking forest. There were pines and eucalyptus together, which I had never seen. I led my wary over the fence onto what was obviously private land. We walked deeper into the dark shaded forest passed very fresh cow patties scattered around. I was just waiting for a farmer with a shotgun to come riding up on a horse and tell us what we already new. We should leave, but I was just so cool in there. I led them up a hill and down into an opening that looked kind of like an animated golf coarse but in was trimmed by cows. When we got there I saw trees in the distance I had never seen before. It looked like A hidden level on Super Mario Brothers 2. I took a few pics then, satisfied that I had done what I came to do, we left with out incident.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Second day

Oct 6 Monday
After a day in Auckland I am realizing that everything is costing more than expected. I decided to do something other than sitting in a hostel where I share a room with 7 others. It feels like sitting idol at a poker table letting the blinds widdle away at your chip stack. I am going to bet, raise, fold, anything accept resting idol. Today I made a reservation to take a camper van on a road trip. Its small, like a 1980s Toyota mini-van thats been converted to sleep 3 with a cooking range and water tank. For $55 (NZ) a day Thats like $40 USD, I am trying to get some like minded travelers to join me camping up at the northern most point of this country. The Indian and pacific oceans meet and you can actually see a clearly defined color difference. It has been kind of rainy so Im hoping my camping trip isn't too wet.

Inspired by Chris McCandless' impromptu adventure and the movie made about it "Into The Wild".I left jumped into a pretty wild adventure hoping to do as well as he did for the first couple of years ,but I am having to fight off intruding thoughts of a bad decision or at least poor planing. I imagined myself just tramping around this land with no money and no problems that I could not work through. I saw myself as a very unique individual on a quest for self enlightenment. But sitting at this backpacker hostel with several hundred others doing the same thing as I am just humbles me. I think I need to go back to roots. I think I want to go work and live on a farm or vineyard. Work hard and get some money saved up.

There is a festival called The Gathering over the new years weekend. Its been going on for years. Good hearted people and electronic music on a giant camp ground at the north end of the south island.Kind of like burning man. This party is a must on my list. I will have some friends coming out around that time. So it will be a refreshing breath of American comfort. Someone told me before I left that when you travel for long periods of time on your own, you get progressively lonelier until about three months and then its fine. You accept it as normal and just live day to day. 90 days would put me at the start of 09

First day here

Sunday oct, 5.

I feel kind of aimless. I don't know if I should stay in Auckland or continue moving through this metropolitan area. I sent a few emails out to local bars about getting a job. Things cost more than I thought they might. But I want to make a list of things to do while I'm here. I can't really afford to go to a bar to drink unless maybe I worked there. I want to party, but I will have to wait a bit to get a routine down before I can do too much of that. I want to Go to a three day rave party for new years. Besides that I want to sky dive (AFF), bungie jump from a high bridge or tower, zorb, rock climb jet boat, snowboard, white water rafting and boarding, black water rafting, spelunking, snorkeling, wind surf, kite board, get laid, jet boat, dj at a club,hike some long ass trails, spend a week out in the wild alone. I want to attend classes, learn as many trades as I can. I am not a tourist, I am a student of the world. I want certificates to carry with me where ever I go next.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 1, Oct. 3 2008

Its finally here. The day I have been preparing for all year. I have reduced my worldly possesions to a backpack, a hiking pack, and a duffle bag. Most of the bulk of it is cloths. I may rerget bringing so much clothing. I have a new laptop with wifi, and a cell phone that works in NZ but charges roaming, so I don't imagine I will be making a lot of calls.
I dont know a single person in the counrty I am moving to. Nor do I have a place to stay or a job. I have $1900 USD in the bank so I can live cheap for a while durring the first few weeks of meeting people and finding out good place to sleep, eat, and work. But these are not the reasons I've come to this new land. I work, eat, and sleep in So Cal.
I am here for the challenge of adventures and uncovering the myseries that loom inside us all. I want reach ahead myself and pull me closer to my limitless potetial which I've realized will never happen living a mudane existence in the shallow bubble of San Diego. I have loved it there for years, but as I grow older, my thirst for knowlege and new experience grows too. We will see if my journey actually falls in line with my intention, or just turns out to be an extended vacation.