October 2016
  • Day87

    Tongariro Alpine Crossing Trek

    December 29, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 1 °C

    So we have been planning an epic hike since the trip began, however it hasn't been in the cards up until now and the stars weren't lining up with all of the other coffee drinking and flying around everywhere. Finally a justification and purpose for lugging around my 10+ lbs hiking boots for 3 months at the bottom of my pack. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is ranked as one of the best day hikes in New Zealand which is easily accomplished in 6.5 - 8.5 hours. We tramped just over 20km in just over 6 hours off the couch(car). Ekkk. It starts off as a gradual climb, mounting to a steep windy summit then switchbacks all the way down to the parking lot. Winds were forecasted for 65km/hr so I figured "hey what a great opportunity to wear shorts today" lol. The hike sits in the Tongariro National Park owned by a local Maori group and much of the Lord of the Rings movies was actually filmed here also. There was absolutely no wildlife along the way as it turned out this is an active volcanic site. We kept each other laughing along the way, I got grumpy for a while then cheered up towards the end. Beth took a huge block of chocolate and a litre of orange juice on top of our standard lunch which I found quite hilarious.Read more

  • Day87

    Lake Taupo, Skydive

    December 29, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    Next stop: Lake Taupo, for some skydiving from 15,000 feet. We were fed oxygen after climbing through 8,000 feet as the air here is piercingly thin. We lucked out with weather but the air was very cold at higher altitudes. It was my second jump so I kind of knew what to expect; Beth on the other hand had never jumped before but remained quite stoic throughout. I think I was more nervous that her actually. The plane ride up was pretty straight forward... but as soon as they opened the door at altitude, gusty wind perforated the small tin turboprop where about 20 of us sat, all facing the rear of the aircraft. I was second to last out the door, and Beth was last. I gave her one last high five and thumbs up, and out I went with my tandem pro master. I let out a magnificent war cry and the first 5 seconds were absolute bliss... for me, I released all attachments in this life including my body and was just a form of awareness experiencing the magnificent pull of gravity to the fullest, becoming one with the atmosphere and bonding with the earth. Then as my war cry ran out of gas, I realized that the air was frighteningly cold and was deeply interrogating my lungs and sinuses. The lack of atmosphere here made breathing a little rough for a time as back home it's quite easy to breathe while free falling. About 60 seconds of free falling flashed over in what seemed like 10 seconds, and before I knew it, the chute was open. Landed softly and even had the chance to wave mid-air to Beth on the way down. Beautiful day and such a beautiful country. Next stop: some shitty hostel before our next big adventure.Read more

  • Day86

    Tepuia Cultural Centre, Waiotapu Park

    December 28, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Rotorua blasted us with heavy wind tossing our tent around like soggy xiao long bao so we made a power move in the middle of the night and slept in the car. Which was actually quite comfortable yet slightly cramped being unable to fully sit up without smashing my head into the ceiling(which happened multiple times). The ducks woke us up quaking and waddling around the campsite looking for handouts very pleasantly, but by he shore lurked these black swans that looked like they were not to be messed with.
    We went to a local Maori cultural centre to explore the traditional arts, history, and attend a Haka ceremony which was amazingly spine chilling. It was so raw and fierce, so primal and welcoming all at once. Truly a special experience. Afterwards we got some more coffee, high fived the chief and explored another National Park.
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  • Day85

    Lake Rotorua Campsite

    December 27, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Camping along the way, from Cape Reinga we stopped over in Paihia, which is by the Bay of Islands on the north east coast (in relation to Auckland, which is only about a 3.5 hour drive away). It has been very windy the last few days so luckily we invested in duct tape which has kept our tent together amongst other things. New Zealand has been the most beautiful country I have been to yet, filled with campsites that back home would be four star hotels with the facilities they offer.
    Yesterday we checked into an Airbnb place in West Harbour, Auckland, exhausted and adrenally high from all of the delicious coffee we picked up along the way. Our host welcomed us with arms open, and fed us an amazing dinner and drinks as we walked into a Irish/Kiwi/Chilean party of 10 or so locals. All of us of course say "thirty three and a third" very differently than each other, laughingly as such. We ate venison, lamb and side dishes of carbs, then started with the drinking games and I taught them flip cup which was a throwback for me as I learned it from Joel years ago. The punishment was a shot of tequila which starts off rough but smoothes itself out after a few. So we lucked out big time with this one and made a wonderful friend also.
    We then loaded up with more snacks, stocked full of delicious coffee, spending most of today sorting an itinerary as Rotorua will be our home base for the next few days or so.
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  • Day81

    Cape Reinga, New Zealand

    December 23, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌬 18 °C

    Today we took a wonderful windy twisty drive through the North coast of New Zealand after a 3am windy rainstorm almost ripped apart our tent last night. One of the coolest things I've seen is two massive bodies of ocean meeting just of the coast. If you look closely you can see the line of colour change marking the "meeting point." Vancouver is 11,222 km away!!

    "The meeting point

    Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Rēinga) marks the separation of the Tasman Sea to the west from the Pacific Ocean. For Māori, the turbulent waters are where the male sea Te Moana Tapokokopoko a Tāwhaki meets the female sea Te Tai o Whitirela.

    The whirlpools where the currents clash are like those that dance in the wake of a waka (canoe). They represent the coming together of the male and female - and the creation of life."
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  • Day80

    Sunnyvale, Auckland

    December 22, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    So about a month ago while checking in for our flight in India, after having our boarding passes issued and bags taken away with the appropriate bag tags, we were told "oh by the way you need a return ticket out of Bali in order to prove to immigration that you plan on leaving, otherwise you will not be let in(the 30 day or less visa is actually free)! So we sat frantically looking at flights and at the superficial level we booked some really good flights.....However the time came to depart Denpasar in order to proceed to Auckland via Sydney, along with it a harsh reality of not getting any sleep for 1 whole night and having to stay up for 2 days straight. A 6 hour flight leaving at 10:30pm sounds good right? No problem I'll just sleep for like 5 hours and be fine right? No that didn't happen at all. A large part of the reason was the fact that we spent all day in Bali heat drenched in sweat and were unable to shower before our flight, along with all of the bright lights and excitement of flying. The gate for our delayed flight was literally changed 3 times and had even the security confused as to what was happening. We arrived in Sydney at our Bali time 4am, and it was 7am Sydney local time with the beaming sun gleaming away without a trace of clouds in the sky. We then had a 4 hour layover in Sydney.....which turned into a 7 hour layover, again this flight also changed gates twice. We then finally arrived at 7pm local Auckland time and then took an uber to our airbnb place. Extreme excitement alongside exhaustion was very conflicting for me but wow what an experience that I will never forget. We finally took a long shower and slept for 13 hours straight. Waking up recovered the next day went to pickup our transportation/home for the next 4.5 weeks. A 2010 Toyota Prius! Turning our chins up at everyone who wasn't driving a hybrid vehicle we went dancing and prancing along searching for some brunch at a local cafe...and spent 44$ for two coffees and two entrees! Yikes! Eyebrows furrowed we immediately took out our pad and paper and revised our budget for the next 2 months. The Canadian dollar and the New Zealand dollar are almost on par with each other however the minimum wage here is much higher, as is gas too being anywhere from 1.80-2$ a litre. Our plan is to drive around the North and South Islands camping mostly in a tent with some stop overs in Auckland visiting some friends. So far the locals we have met here are so amazingly friendly and laid back it's incredible.Read more

  • Day74

    Our morning commute

    December 16, 2016 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Here are some shots of our morning commute. Beautiful lush scenery, coconut trees, ducks flapping around, and during the day Mosquitos carrying dengue fever. Gotta take the good with the bad I guess. Our 115cc Honda scoopy scooter zips around these these narrow twisties begrudgingly unless the throttle is wide open. Riding almost everyday has given me quite the forearm workout from all of the braking down the hills here too. Scooters are a lot of funRead more

  • Day71

    Dompak House, Ubud

    December 13, 2016 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    This past week there has been a regular torrential down pour of rain that starts anytime in the afternoon and runs pretty much up until night time. We have settled in to our pet friendly hostel room and I've somehow become equanimous with the smell of cat poop. Even though it's in kitty litter this little kitten is an absolute shit storm. Like a giant never ending toothpaste bottle that's being slowly squeezed, the poop river runs deep. Luckily Beth's cordially volunteered for the admin involving the cat but I find myself fussing over her here and there as well. The Ashtanga sequence is befriending me more and more and I am truly enjoying sharing this with Beth and working within my own shallow limits of mobility. The plasticity of the body over time is a remarkable thing. Over time everything you do or don't do creates a functional boundary and quality of movement. Certain muscles disengage, become lazy, over compensate and become hyper toned, thus creating who you are today. So many of my clients have asked me why is their body like that and how is it creating pain, looking for a quick fix with treatment. So from now on my answer is just to do Ashtanga and you will figure it out yourself along the way.
    There are plenty of other beginners in the class so I don't feel behind or noob sensitive. We have done some day trips here and there but have spent most of the time chilling and planning the next couple of months as next week we move on to New Zealand. The Balinese "island" lifestyle is quite infectious which means that the high point of the day is drinking a cup of our favourite butter coffee or coconut latte with cashew nut milk. I know right, I have turned into a coffee snob ahaha.
    In certain areas of Bali there are literally more temples (over 20,000) than people so wherever you go you will pass by numerous statues and structures peppered in between shops and schools. Most of the heavily regarded tourist attractions are governed by a mobs of locals all standing at the entrances demanding entrance fees and payment for the alleged "guides." Apparently in some areas including the Besakih temple the locals have been very aggressive to foreigners who show up and don't want to pay and the situation has gotten pretty uncomfortable so the foreigners left. Even at some beaches the locals walk up and down interrupting you demanding that you go to their shop, in which we laugh off politely. So we have steered clear of those areas and we are both ready to move on. I am getting tired of fending off the taxi drivers who constantly hound me wherever I go as it has begun to wear on me. I think these are all symptoms of being somewhere for too long, but on the plus side it has engendered a hunger to go out and explore again.
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  • Day65

    Clear Cafe, Ubud

    December 7, 2016 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    "Do sharks complain about Monday? No. they're up early, biting stuff, chasing shit, being scary - reminding everyone they're a freaking shark." Please excuse the cursing but this little quib I read gave me laughter and a strong determination to not go into things half steppingly. Sometimes Beth will suggest to do stuff that I don't really want to do but I don't have any good excuse not to do, so I rattle along nattering away in my head about how I should have said something but now it was too late(like a month long yoga immersion course). But the effects that Ashtanga has on my body outweigh my internal resistance. Every time I practice the series a huge list of faces (mostly my clients) flicker through my mind of who would all massively benefit from this daily practice. In the East yoga is prescribed as actual cures to diseases and certain conditions. In the West corporations have turned it into a fad in which people all wearing 100$ + pairs of leggings ignorantly huddle into a room and sing OMM together with their hands clasped together over their hearts and once finishing the opening mantra go back to being mean to each other. I have learned a lot in life by people watching and observing consciousness on all levels. For example some of my friends who are so hellbent on buying a house right now, saying it's the perfect time to get into the market as a first time buyer. I'm no expert but being housepoor doesn't make sense to me, but to each their own. We stick ourselves into these modes or levels of thinking and nothing can deter such strong affirmations, not even logic or reason. I then examine myself to see where and how I fit in and maybe that's why I'm so awkward. Beth gets me though and she truly is my best friend through and through. I'm so lucky to have met her and have her in my life and this blog post is a sneak up sonnet to the love of my life. She is the most upbeat, consistently optimistic person I have ever met and she makes me want to be a better person every day. I am truly grateful to her and eternally smitten. Love you Bethany.Read more