Eric Durland

Joined October 2015
  • Day37

    Traveling The North!

    November 24, 2015 in New Zealand

    The crew left Pahi with one last summit of Lion Rock before starting our long adventure to the opposite side of the island - crammed into our little clown car; quite fitting actually for this group of clowns!

    We drove until Whangarei and decided it was a cool place to stop. We hit some sweet glow worm caves and gazed in wonder at the glowing feces!

    After we hopped on couchsurfing to find a free place to stay. We found Stu, an incredibly welcoming gentleman who was already hosting four other backpackers. The entire crew helped cook up a mean dinner consisting of sausage, venison, loads of veggies and much more! And of course beer, beer, more beer, schnapps, wine, etc. made its way to the table. The group was made up of a smorgasbord of culture consisting of France, Germany, Denmark, Holland, and the US.

    In the morning we continued north but our hangovers proved limiting. We landed ourselves at a camp in Bay of Islands and relaxed for the remainder of the day. We took a swim in the ocean and played some card games.

    That morning we were hit by the most gnarly thunderstorm.. It was so awesome!! Some of the loudest thunder I've ever heard lighting the sky over the tent that Stu lent to us.

    Once on the road we explored the town and headed towards the opposite coast. In the middle we found some sweet hot springs that we kicked back and relaxed in before reaching the west coast and shooting back south in order to catch our flight on the 23rd.
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  • Day1

    Pahi!

    October 19, 2015 in New Zealand

    Landed at Auckland International airport at 07:45 where I grabbed a shuttle to my rental, SnapCar, where I first experienced the well known Kiwi hospitality! The gentlemam povided a free GPS which was loads of comfort... Note: Nothing about driving on the left side of the road and right side of the car feels right.. At all!

    It was quite the experience to say the least! We routinely would hit the windshield wipers with our left hand though the blinker is with the right. Quite the giggle each time it happens!

    Afte4 attaining the car, met up with friends Longbo and Kasper at Kaspers flat in the heart of Auckland. The exchange was nothing less than hugs, smiles and heart-felt welcomes at our first in person face to face encounter.

    Kasper, 24, from Denmark just finished a semester of grad school in Auckland. After his 2.5 month adventure down-under he will write his thesis back in Denmark and plans to enter into the business world. What a guy! One who radiates happiness and positive energy with a strong caring and helpful nature towards others.

    Longbo, 24, much could be said the same. Born in China, he possesses quite the beautiful soul with a strong urge for postive human connection. Even though he does not have much confidence in his english (which none of us quite agree with..), he strives to throw himself out of his comfort zones in search of the full learning experience of travel/adventure. So much kudos to him, and anyone at that, willing to enter such a huge culture-shock of an environment change. It is a huge motivator to me to learn a language and do the same. What language/country I am not sure yet. I am quite envious already of Eric Longbo.

    After our meet-and-great we ventured back to the airport where we met with Tessa and Sanne, two awesome young ladies from the Netherlands! These two have already been travelling for a month and flew in from Indonesia. They absolutely loved it over there despite the intense heat and said they could easily have stayed another month and still only have scratched the surfice of their explorations over there. They are both extremely kind and gentle souls. Incredibly positive and full of love and friendship!

    After hugs and hellos we hit the road and began our month long adventure! Our first mission - should we choose to accept, fitting 5 + bags in the mini-cooper sized rental. Eh, who am I kidding, it was a piece of cake! The cars breaks didn't so much like it though. The extremely beautiful and scenic, though curvy and hilly roads, gave them a run for their money with all of the weight! The roads are quite exciting!

    After an hour or so of driving, we arrived at Te Piha, a black sand beach. Quite astonishing despite the poor weather. We saw a cliff out reaching towards the sky in the middle of the beach and felt obligated to climb it! The girls took a relaxing beach stroll as we began our ascent. The summit proved well worth it! - with astonishing views of the ocean, the beach, and the volcanicly-molded island!

    After a quick decent we regrouped and wandered to a cute café just off the beach. Kasper and I had a local beer and the girls had some killer macchiato's! We were quickly able to to find an Air BNB, a sweet little cottage up the road with 1 queen bed, 3 twins, kitchen, stereo, fireplace and beautiful location on a gentle stream in a preserved forest region.

    The girls cooked up a mean dinner for us that we indulged in around a candle lit table. Pasta, with a homemade tomatoe sauce with heaps of awesome veggies and some ground beef. It was truly an awesome first meal!

    We closed our night with a few more beers and great talks huddled around the warm fire listening to sweet and gentle tunes provided by the girls.

    Very culturally enlightening chats already!

    -DreamWeaver
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