Friday, February 11, 2011

Life in Motueka (and adventures that ensued)

I met the “Organic Breadman lady” at the Nelson Saturday market and once people had dispersed she packed up the trailer and toted me (and all of my life possessions) back to her place in Motueka. Claire and her family were away on a weekend camping trip, but she had snuck away for the day to run the Breadman stall and drop me back home. She showed me my campervan (see “Happiness” post for pictures) and I settled in for the night. In addition to the campervan, there are three sleep outs on the property that hosted: an old Kiwi guy, a French couple, and another couple that was American and German. There was also one German girl in a tent next to my campervan. We all shared a kitchen toilet/shower area attached to the main house, but had our separate little areas on the property that were divided by lots of beautiful vegetation and some creative fencing.

Some travelers hanging out around two of the sleep-outs.

I introduced myself to the other tenants and then worked out plans for a ride up to Paynes Ford for some Sunday climbing. There was a possibility of heading up that evening, but I didn’t have a tent to camp in and wound up finding a ride with some others for the next morning instead. This worked out perfectly because I was pretty excited to put my clothes in drawers and get to sleep in my own bed, in my own space - with a locking door and everything!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine [Composed 28 January 2011]

Today I experienced laughter yoga. It wasn’t the super specific, intense, focused, Ashtanga Yoga like the last random class I attended; it was free and inviting and ridiculous and fun.

I walked into town (about an hour away) yesterday with the main intention of treating myself to a soy chai latte (I may have a slight addiction, but it had been about a week since my last one). I decided to patronage the organic shop that caters to vegans and vegetarians, since I was certain they would have soy milk for me (though I do find it much more common in NZ than I ever did in the states). While I was enjoying my latte (and a nice piece of vegan chocolate) I noticed a sign on the door for Laughter Yoga. I immediately remembered the club that was established at Ithaca College while I was there, but I never had the time to attend any of their sessions. I later discovered another sign that mentioned Laughter Yoga met right there on Friday mornings, so I decided I would make it a point to attend. Only later that evening did I realize it was Thursday and I would be going the next day, but no matter, I wanted to attend!

I rode my host’s bike into town so I didn’t have to leave quite so early and arrived about 15 minutes before the group was meant to meet. I decided this was a bit too early and walked around the block before going in. There was a middle-aged lady there with a girl I assume to be around 8. We exchanged hellos, and then sat awkwardly waiting until another middle-aged woman arrived. Awkward pleasantries were again addressed, then, we waited. Apparently the instructor was in the store across the way and hadn’t noticed us come in. The first lady retrieved her and the session began.

A Picture Story... My Birthday Abroad!

Louise and I returned to Nelson on the 16th and we spent a few days trying (once again) to figure out plans for what was next. We headed to the library to use their free wireless and were surprised to find heaps of people lined up, waiting to get in when the library opened! I was intrigued as you would probably not encounter this in the states, but then we realized they were all lining up to put their name in for a computer slot!

It was too nice of a day to spend indoors, so we took a walk to a local swimming hole and encountered a good ‘ole California Redwood along the way! Yes, I realize Pennsylvania is a long way from California, but it still gave me a bit of nostalgia for home!

We tried to go climbing but apparently had the gym hours wrong (school was not back in session yet) so ended up on a long walk with Lou’s friend who had met up with us.

A Picture Story... Nelson Lakes National Park

Around the time I moved hostels and was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my traveling self, I heard from Louise. She was in a similar place – needing a friend and some inspiration – and she was on her way to Nelson! We spent a day catching up and discussing possibilities for our next adventures, then decided to head down to Nelson Lakes National Park for a long weekend before she continued up to the North Island for some traveling. We hoped some time away would allow us to collect our thoughts and revitalize our passion for traveling.

We initially planned to do the Travers-Sabine Circuit (a 4-7 day tramp) from St. Arnaud, but decided there was not enough time before Lou wanted to head north. We instead planned a route that would include a day with a bit of alpine climbing/scrambling up to one of the peaks (either Mt. Hopeless or Mt. Cupola), a visit to one of the more popular (and supposedly beautiful) spots next to Lake Angelus, and a return route that included a long walk along Robert Ridge. We were advised to be cautious about the weather in terms of what day we were on the ridge, because Sunday was expected to produce gale force winds which would knock us off out feet.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Few Traveling Stressors

When we arrived at the airport in Auckland, we had to be there in time for my family’s international flight back to the states. This meant I was hours early for a domestic flight and, if you remember my security check from my flight down to Christchurch you will know how unnecessary that is. I checked in right away and noticed an earlier flight to Nelson; there happened to be space on it, so I changed my flight so that I would arrive in Nelson almost before I was meant to leave Auckland!

When I got the flight squared away and checked my baggage, naturally, I went to the gate to wait for my flight. It was somewhere around that time that I realized how unprepared I was to continue my journey. I had not arranged a place for me to stay that night, nor had I even scheduled a ride from the airport. I didn’t even know what was next – Working in Nelson? WWOOFing? Getting back on the Flying Kiwi tour? The only thing certain was that I would, indeed, get back on the Flying Kiwi tour, but that I would have to book that ahead of time and it most certainly wouldn’t be a last minute arrangement during peak season!

I hurriedly called a few backpackers (hostels) in Nelson, including some that I had been to before and remembered me well, but there was no space for that night! In the middle of dialing yet another number, I realized my flight had been called so I had to board the plane. I tried my best to put it out of my mind until I landed, but of course I spent the next hour on the plane thinking about where I was not going to stay that night (and how I would find a place that would take me, or what I would do If I couldn’t). My friendly Nelson couchsurfer friends would probably have been willing to help, but they were on holiday in Australia. I didn’t have a tent I could put up anywhere, and I began to wonder if I would end up like the girl I saw up at the Centre of NZ one night – sitting on a bench with a sleeping bag and a bottle of wine.