Current Location: Auckland, Aotearoa
Where to begin when it all comes to an end? The list would be too long to name everyone to thanks who I’ve met and has helped me along the way here in New Zealand, which isn’t to say that I’m not thankful for I truly am to everyone. The people I’ve met have made this trip for me without doubt. While New Zealand is naturally quite beautiful the people make it a magical place to be. I’ve done so much this trip that trying to list it all would be quite the arduous task which I’ll not bore anyone with, suffice to say that it wouldn’t have been possible without the wwoofing hosts.
Someone found this webpage using the search term “is wwoofing a good idea?” I would have to answer with an emphatic yes. I have had nothing but good experiences and good times with the people that have opened their houses and lives to me. I wrote once about making yourself at home in a strangers house, an idea I still find wonderful. Living the life of a hosteler you are somewhat removed from the true kiwi experience while the life of a wwoofer you are immersed in the kiwi way of life, if you let yourself go.
A sometimes added benefit of wwoofing is getting to really meet other travellers. I’ve spoken to some people about the transientness of hosteling, always having the same conversation over and over again with each new roommate it sometimes gets tiring. While wwoofing really allows you a false sense of permanence which allows you to really get to know your fellow wwoofer. Without wwoofing I would never have met Alex, Anne, Jack, and Elizabeth for which my life would be poorer.
I think I love New Zealand, it wouldn’t take much to get me to move here. I find it very difficult to say goodbye, more so than when I left Hawai’i. Probably because I knew that I would return there soon, if the future holds New Zealand for me I can’t say. I’ve already considered coming back on a tourist visa but only half-heatedly just to soothe my mind. Doing New Zealand by bicycle was my way of doing this uniquely which is what scares me about SE. Asia which I take on the title of backpacker. I read an article about backpacking recently about how nothing is unique anymore, it’s like legions of lemmings all armed with their lonely planet guide books all doing the same things, staying in the same places. Where is the sense of adventure that existed 40 years ago? I left my lonely planet guide book back in Christchurch in favor of getting lost where possible and the chance to ask random people for advice when I needed it instead of relying on a book.
I’ve done over 8000km in New Zealand. My bicycle computer broke around Wellington, the second time around, and I couldn’t be bothered to fix it. I know what my average speed is so I know how long each days cycle ride should be which is good enough for me. Most people are gobsmacked when I tell them how far I’ve ridden or what I’ve managed to accomplish in New Zealand. To which I reply that what I’ve done is nothing special and there is no reason they can’t do the same thing. It’s something I truly believe at this point, it only takes the will to finish something, the body will follow where the mind goes. I’m not sure anyone believes me when I tell them this but anyone can do this, it’s that simple.
Wwoofing has me thinking a lot about the intersections in life and where the road takes you. Superman posed the question “2 years ago, did you have any idea you would have been doing something like that right now?” In all honesty I would have to answer no to that question, I had no clue what my last 18 months would have held for me. I’ve tried to stick to the philosophy that I take any opportunity that presents itself to me and I think it really has done me well. I’ve enjoyed staying at wwoofing gigs for an average of 3 weeks each place, it gives us the opportunity to really get to know one another, which is good and bad as it makes leaving all the harder each time.
I leave with a list of random things regarding New Zealand.
Favorite Cities in New Zealand:
- Big City: Christchurch
- Mid Size: Rotorua
- Little: I’ve liked most of the little towns but I’d have to say that Pongaroa was the most charming. Good people abound in the small towns
Favorite Place: Up until a month ago it was the Coromandel Peninsula but my time in the Bay of Islands was simply amazing.
Favorite Camping: Fantail Bay, Coromandel Peninsula. Incredible place.
Things I Won’t Miss:
- Sandflies: good riddance to them
- Magpies: attacked twice, Damn birds.
Most Unusual Item I’ve Seen a Backpacker Carry: A compound bow, by a hunter crazy canuck.
Favorite Hostel: Purple Cow, Wanaka. Immaculately run and a great view.
Favorite Stretch to Ride: Caitlins, South Island.
To sum up New Zealand, “Sweet as, bro”
edit: last batch of pictures added for New Zealand.