Here are some bits and pieces to fill in the gaps in our life here:
- Campsites and backpackers often have an assortment of free books for guests (left by fellow travellers). So far, one book (at most) would make the cut but recently one campsite had a gold mine of classics, which kept me up all night.
- We love libraries. In fact we wonder why we hardly used this service before we got here. It’s a dream place for readers like us. Apart from books, they have several years back editions of all the big magazines, newspapers and free internet. Clara is mid way through a book she has wanted to read for ages, reading a chapter or two in every town we are in.
- Yes we smell good. Although we talk a lot about showers it is more about the pleasure of it than for hygiene. Next time you have a hot shower, enjoy the moment; it is pure luxury! I will save expounding on the joy of a hot bath for later!
- I am slowly tiring of wearing the same clothes. I have two identical pair of shorts that I love for their comfort but feel weary putting them on each day. And when I see myself wearing that light grey t-shirt in a pic, I instantly want to hit the “delete” button. Clara, on the other hand, likes the simplicity and monotony of her ‘uniform’ (although I have to confess that I am also tiring of that).
- We behave like governments as we are running a budget deficit. Expenses are currently 10% above budget but we have no intention to issue debt 🙂 Austerity measures are being drawn up with the support of Germany.
- We lost weight (not that we had a lot to lose!) and the waistbelt of the backpack is millimeters from reaching its minimum level, which is a concern as it supports most of the pack weight and saves my back. With such a flat tummy I could start doing sit ups to firm it up and offer a six pack to Clara for Xmas but hey, we can’t afford to buy another backpack!
- As you probably gathered, bakeries are one of our favorite places to hang around (just a few minutes a day). Depending on our craving, we try to find the right balance between sweetness, butteriness, crispiness, fruitiness, chocolateness, weight and price. What we can’t find though is a decent baguette (that we could cover with good cheese or simply butter). As far as we know, the art of bread baking hasn’t reached NZ yet and for anyone interested in starting a business, there is a clear hole in the food industry.
- We succeeded in restraining ourselves to one flat white coffee a day when in town. A major step as coffees account for a big chunk of our total expenses and we are not ready to give them up even if we are running a budget deficit. Life’s too short for cheap coffee. Talking of coffee, NZ has great cafes and you can find some in unexpected places. The cafe where we are now enjoying our morning flat whites has six (I repeat, six) bean grinders to meet customers tastes (decaf, sweet & mellow, balanced & fresh, smooth & balanced, full of flavour and dark & strong). We are obviously both fueling our engines with the dark & strong breed. The cafe also has a “bored” room for corporate meetings!
- Driving in NZ is AWE-SOME! If you plan a visit to NZ make sure you rent a car, for the stunning landscape (beware to keep your eyes on the road) but most importantly for its winding, well maintained and quasi empty roads that make the driving experience exceptional. PS Padraig if you wonder where your taxes go it’s on road maintenance (every 10km there are road works).
- We eat well; plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Hold on, you might be thinking “but what about the kilos of baked stuff you are feeding yourselves?”. Well, they fall in the happy food category and we heard this is good for the soul. Give it a try 🙂
- We sleep well; stressless night without corporate nightmares. We miss our back pain free mattress we had in HK though. The good news is that our inflatable mattresses are more comfortable than most backpackers’ mattresses, which is a good incentive to send us back in the bush. Thermorest neoair all seasons is a no brainer if you are looking for a comfy camping experience. More generally, we love our outdoor equipment. They make the camping and hiking experience very enjoyable. Investing in good gear pays off.
- We haven’t had beers for more than two months. Shame on us in a coutry where drinking beer is a national pastime! We do treat ourselves to wine though.
- People tend to give us a secondlook in our hiking clothes while in town. Go figure. We do miss wearing jeans and cotton t-shirts.
- I just can’t get rid of my hairdo. The NZ wind and the home-cut hair style (we borrowed a scissors in a backpackers and cut our hair) are not helping my situation. Clara’s straight hair is coping well with the NZ weather.
- Taking color pictures is very different to my normal black and white mode, and more difficult than i expected. The learning is enjoyable though and the libraries provide lots of resources.
- There are so many natural wonders in NZ that we exhausted ourselves in a race to see everything from sunrise to sunset. In the last week, we sometimes didn’t even “bother” to pop by a recommended site. A break was needed to recharge the batteries and get mind blown again.
Overall, we are adapting well to our hobo lifestyle and we are not (yet) ready to trade it for a secure and stable corporate life.