October 2016
  • Day119

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    January 30, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Our plan to serve a 10 day Vipassana course abruptly changed on day zero of the course. A stark realization hit: that our skills of self sovereignty have not been engendered in the slightest. We went from absolute freedom and togetherness, constantly exploring and waking up somewhere new with another destination or mission at hand, to a strictly regimented timetable of tasks to accomplish and rules to follow, including Sila (which means morality and the according precepts of practicing noble speech, not harming others, eating vegetarian, not sleeping on luxurious beds and wearing appropriate clothes that respect the curvatures of the body). Going from one extreme to the other without creating some mental space and preparedness is like hopping on a plane somewhere not having packed anything at all. We lacked the foresight to predict such a collision of ideals, and it hit us like a brick wall as soon as we got there.
    Once leaving the centre, we sought to drastically rearrange our plans and question everything. We spent a week back in our favourite place, Mount Maunganui, at an Airbnb place that was very much owned by an awkward 12 year old cat who shed her fur as if she had leprosy. Spent most of our days going to the gym, getting coffee, and traversing the never-ending beach in flip flops. During the week, we both concluded that it was time for us to head home. We had exhausted ourselves financially and mentally. Finally having the chance to stay in one place for a while slowed things down enough for us to miss home. We set out so many life affirmations over the course of this trip about how we want to be more balanced in work/life and practice the things we want to practice when we get back. We felt the itch of Vancouver consume us.
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  • Day109

    Skytower, Downtown Auckland

    January 20, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    Spent a few days exploring the maze of Auckland. Seemed like the streets just run into each other without notice. Just zoom into the map and you will see what I mean! Lol. Caught up with friends and met some cool Airbnb hosts. Standard hustle and bustle here and I got honked at for the first time since we have been here because I wasn't attentive to the light going green. Maybe I am adopting the "island" lifestyle too much. And of course we went back to One Tree Hill to hug some trees and hang off of them while having another deep life talk fuelled by amazing NZ coffee.Read more

  • Day105

    Papamoa Beach

    January 16, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    After some heavy days driving up from the south coast, we reached Papamoa Beach near Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty. We checked into a nice Airbnb, resuming a normal schedule of copious wifi and multiple showers a day. Ahh so much to be grateful for! The weather here is 20-30 degrees Celsius and absolutely beautiful. The incredible beaches are just outside of a mid sized city that buzzes lightly with moderate density, comfortably sprawling outwards in acres of untouched land. Of all of the places in NZ we have visited, this would be a place to move to and call home one day. We went to pickup a MicroSD card from a local store here and had a nice chat with one of the female employees. She was a little bit older but not yet a pensioner, proudly a Kiwi. We got to talking about travelling and where we were from etc. and the fact that we have been in Bali came up. Her tone changed quickly to a fearful note saying that she would never go there after there were bombings in 2002 and 2005. The conversation ended shortly after that, but me being on holidays and full of great coffee took on an endeavour to investigate this fear-based outlook on life to see if it was valid. Beth helped me google some statistics about terrorism and terrorist attacks, and the numbers are absolutely astounding. One article we found was titled 'you are more likely to be fatally crushed by your own furniture than die in a terrorist attack' ....seriously. I don't really watch the news, I read online articles and try to stay out of mainstream propaganda programming as I find that it makes me generally think negatively about the world and is mostly fear based. So below I have copied and pasted some interesting numbers to put things in perspective. Feel free to google this also, it's quite interesting.

    In 2011, 8 Americans died in terrorist attacks worldwide. In that same year 29 people died after being struck by lightning.

    Regarding being killed by a terrorist (based on numbers from USA) you are:

    35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease
    33,842 times more likely to die from cancer
    5,882 times more likely to die from medical error
    1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident
    9 times more likely to be killed by a police officer

    For comparison: According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, only 80 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks from 2004-2013; 36 of those were killed in attacks that occurred in the USA

    From the CDC: from 2001-2013, 406,496 people died by firearms on US soil (incl. homicide, accident, and suicide)
    From US State Department: from 2001-2013, 350 people citizens were killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism

    The Fatal Numbers:
    * The odds of being the victim of a shark attack are 1 in 11.5 million worldwide. Although there are 65 annual shark attacks each year, only a handful are fatal. Compared to this, a person is 3 times more likely to drown and 30 times more likely to be hit by lightning.
    * Compared to being killed by a dog, the likelihood of which is 1 in 18 million, a person is twice as likely to win the lottery and 5 times as likely to be struck by lightning.
    * 1 in 8 men and 1 in 24 women over the age of 40 will die from a sudden heart attack, while 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women will die from cancer.
    * Worldwide, 1 in about 2,050 people will die each year from unclean water, which carries numerous, life-threatening diseases. Each year, more people die from a lack of clean water than from wars.
    * The chances of being killed in a terrorist attack are about 1 in 20 million. A person is as likely to be killed by his or her own furniture, and more likely to die in a car accident, drown in a bathtub, or in a building fire than from a terrorist attack.
    * The chances a person will be killed by an asteroid are 1 in 200,000, which is much higher than the odds of being killed by hail, which is 1 in 734,400,000.
    * Each year, 1 out of 100,000 people die in a skydiving accident, which is 17 times lower than the risk of dying in a car accident.
    * The odds of dying in a severe storm are 1 in 68,388. A person is more likely to die slipping in his or her bathtub, which occurs at a rate of 1 in 11,469.
    * A person’s chances of dying in an elevator are 1 in 10,440,000. Due to successful elevator brake systems, an elevator has plunged only once—in the Empire State Building in 1945.
    * The lifetime probability of dying in a car accident is 1 in 100, which is 200 times higher than the probability of dying in a plane crash.
    * While 1 out of 5 people fear the possibility of being murdered, the odds that a person will be murdered in any given year are about 1 in 18,690. According to the FBI, violent crime is now at a near-historic low.
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  • Day102

    The Hobbiton Movie Set

    January 13, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Yes we did it! They have walking tours every 10-15 minutes every hour costing 79$ each. We were shoved into a bus with 20 or so other fellow movie nerds and shuffled around the set for about an hour and a half. All taking turns taking pictures in front of the infamous Bilbo Baggins residence. It's a relatively small area but the hilly landscape adds levels for the path to seem bigger than it is. Wow what an undertaking building this movie set this was. Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were both filmed here and it was really cool to see. The director did a lot of neat tricks to make the hobbits seem small relative to other humans rather than using CGI with a greenscreen. The director flew around and selected this landscape which happened to be owned by a farmer who got rich overnight for doing nothing. Then they called in the military to build roads and shut down the airspace in a 5 km radius so that there wouldn't be any planes mucking up the footage. The second time around they decided to film here the director and farmer made a deal to rebuild the set and run tours, netting 20,000$ a day we estimate.Read more

  • Day100

    Christchurch, NZ

    January 11, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Christchurch has been described to us by locals as being a doughnut city. The past Earthquakes have shattered a lot of infrastructure, that remain to be built or repaired. Rubble sits everywhere intermixed with brand new huge construction sites. It's a bizarre feeling to walk around in the core downtown and see carnage stricken buildings in shambles right next to preppy commercial shops with hip music blasting inside. The culture feels lost here along with people's hope to rebuild. Red tape and the paper pushers behind it all seem to not really care about the damage looking to move on to new things. A lot of condemned buildings have been invaded by graffiti artists that have smashed windows defacing them. On another note they have opened up the city to huge murals for artists to leave inspiring displays on buildings.
    We have been staying at a nice Airbnb with a great host on the outskirts of the city. Slowing things down for a few days has been really nice for us and not having to get up, pack then drive for the day to the next destination. We took a quick trip out to Akaroa for a nice walk and grabbed a coffee along the way, of course!
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  • Day97

    The Deep South of New Zealand

    January 8, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    We finally reached Invercargill from Te Anau just in time to take some pictures before we got blown around by rain chilled wind. A short jaunt South to Bluff completed our North to South journey of the entire country of New Zealand! A short turn around with an overnight here followed by a long 8 hour drive up to Christchurch, where we will be staying for the next few days. We stopped and saw this little guy taking a nap along the way!Read more

  • Day95

    Milford sound

    January 6, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Today we signed up for a Jucy boat cruise in Milford Sound. It was absolutely pouring buckets but it turned out to be a good thing having lots of waterfalls to drive into...literally the captain drove the boat under at least 3 waterfalls. We got soaked and then soaked some more. Fiords reaching up to the sky on all sides, we were like bees buzzing around the boat taking videos and photos. Hypothermic but loving every moment.Read more

  • Day94

    Te Anau via Franz Joseph Glacier

    January 5, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    On our way south to Te Anau we properly skipped Queenstown. The price of accommodation there is absolutely ridiculous with the busy season in full effect. Every campsite/holiday park that we have stayed in has been fully booked, drunk with a slur of families, pensioners and other young couples from other countries, all transients shuffling in opposite directions, sometimes sharing snippets of solid intel about what to do and see versus not. Along the way we stopped off at Frank Joseph glacier and walked a short trail to the mouth. We have a cruise planned in Milford sound tomorrow morning.

    This country is absolute magnificence. You no longer even bat an eyelid at massive mountains carved by glaciers, rolling hill filled thousands of sheep grazing and running in their awkward fashion, and waterfalls and rapids carving through neighbouring rock shelves, moving the soil so effortlessly. Glaciers arise from nowhere, trees consume all sight of mountainsides, rising and falling with the earth. Roads that swoop in and out of valleys twist endlessly with ease. Everywhere you look is a postcard. You are the postcard. Just like Beth finishing off her authentic New Zealand mince pie: picture perfect.
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  • Day92

    Abel Tasman, National Park

    January 3, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    Once arrived in Nelson, we headed out for a 11km day hike through Abel Tasman National Park. It included a short shuttle jaunting a few beach access points away, hiking for the return portion. It all sounds like we are really busy but mostly our days are filled with deep life talks fuelled by caffeine, followed by numerous stops at washrooms along the way preceding the battle for the rest of the day to regain hydration. Tonight we are living the caravan life in Hokitika with full working kitchen and double bed. An 80$ splurge from a typical 40$ a night tenting at a place with clean facilities.Read more

  • Day92

    Wellington, New Zealand

    January 3, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    After a couple of full days of excitement we put our heads down with some heavier days filled with singing and dancing in our hybrid immersed in the world of various snacks. I made Beth stay up until midnight on New Years drinking a cheap bottle of wine and watching Netflix(which is a rare treat out here with the wifi).
    The South Island is a lot larger than the North one, with the busy season in full effect here, so we have tried to dodge the masses. A short layover in Wellington having gusty winds averaging 40+ knots all day, watching birds struggling to stand up straight and the tin can we call home being blown all over the road haphazardly. It was eerily similar to Vancouver, the buildings, traffic, the stores, we felt like we were home all of over again with a deja vu type feeling. All except the falsely inflamed ego of real estate followed by most people constantly moaning about the weather. They have really figured traffic out here having little or no lights in their intersections, rather single or double lane roundabouts making traffic flow more smoothly making travelling so much more efficient. The boat ride to Picton was riddled with swells and rain, making our heads bob up and down with the slightest nausea (or rather, massively terrible nausea for Beth).
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