Monthly Archives: February 2012

First Day of “Van camping”

Last Oktoberfest in Germany I was standing in line alone at 6am waiting for my friends to arrive. Directly behind me I hear the voice of an American fella that had come to celebrate these festivities… Universe has it, this is the day I meet Alex. After a day at the tents and with no phone communication, we set up a meeting point for the next day with zero plans. A rental car, a map and the two of us head out of Munich.  Below are just a few of the hundreds of photos we took on that random day in Europe:
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Out of Portland Oregon, Alex is a true born man of the mountain on his own trek around the world.  Back in Munich I had mentioned the idea of making my way to New Zealand but not having exact dates I didn’t know if our paths would cross again. We played the “wouldn’t it be cool if…” game and through consistent emails we stayed in touch… 4 months later he’s on his way in a 1994 van (with eyelashes) to Wellington New Zealand to pick me up. Let the adventures of this new chapter begin!

Stocking up for the road trip at a local market.
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Das Van – “Claous”
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Adorable little town outside of the tiny town I was volunteering in.
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Saw a hill top and found a view… and it’s only been an hour.
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Hmmm, where to sleep tonight? This looks good!
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Packed up dinner and walked down to this awesome rocky beach to eat during the sunset. If it looks like I’m cold… I am! It’s been the coldest summer they’ve seen here in years.
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Anybody else see the one that looks like seared tuna?
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If you know me well, you know I love stones… Which clearly explains my reason for making a rock angel!
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Making small fun of my ginger “candy”. He had chocolate.
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What a cool setting.
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Categories: Accommodations, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Quick picture post about the Johnsonville

Below are just random photos from my 48 hours in Johnsonville. I’m on the road right now, driving the South Island and have much to share… Soon enough my friends,cheers to adventure!

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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Categories: Accommodations, Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

Art for the healing

My volunteering here felt more like a jewelry making holiday! I put in my hours of work and received accommodations, a lovely meal and somehow left with new handmade jewelry and 2 blown glass pieces, that I made!

Daniel and Gabrielle are a husband and wife duo that host travelers like me. I felt right at home when Dan (a rugby player recovering from injury) inviting me for a workout, personal thanks for the sore arms and tight core! Gabrielle entered the room with a huge smile that never left her bright face. These two are a great balance for each other and by example showed me another wonderful sight of genuine love.

My volunteering here was in Gabrielle’s workshop. Beads are created along with jewelry making kits and taken to the hospital for patients to use, for what I believe is an excellent sort of therapy.

Specifically at the children’s institute, each time a child gets a “treatment” they receive one of Gabrielles handmade glass beads (ranging from animal figures to fruit and flowers). Then at the completion of their battle, they have an entire journey necklace as a positive memory on their success! Simply magical.

I have several pictures to share, but I’m off to catch the Ferry to the South island of New Zealand!

As usual I have no idea when wifi will be available, so I’ll catch ya when I can!

Still smiling, Erika

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Soup- her- bowl!

SUPERBOWL!

Of course I’m going to find a local place that will show the game! I enjoy the local flare just as much as reconnecting with my “home peeps”. Here at Four Kings Bar they had all screens turned on the game and the place was surprisingly packed of kiwi NFL fans, sweet! I met up with one of Reginas friends Matt and he then met another friendly American named April.
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1st quarter: Matt and April… Both from Kansas.
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2nd quarter: Checkin out the scene, loving the environment!
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Half time: Meeting new friends (and two more hair clients!)
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I introduced these two guys (Darling Pete and “Sweet as” Matt) long lost twins?
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3rd quarter: Peek-a-boo!
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4th quarter: Budweiser girls and the kiwi fan club. They were tempted by the “duck face” in which I encouraged a new trend… The Fish Face.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Quick fashion chat.
I went with long shorts and a plain white tank. Layered some color and added a scarf… Fun, easy and comfy!
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Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Wellington House

I was introduced to this amazing girl named Regina through mutual friends back in the states (thank you Freya and Adam!). She has a unique way of encouraging you to be who you are at all times with the most sincere energy of kindness. She smiles with her eyes and has a strong yet calm sense about her. Our conversations could easily go into the night due to, what I feel, was a natural connection.

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My temporary place of residence in Wellington ended up to be an adorable home overlooking the city. This enchanting place has a walk that leads up to a cozy home at the top of the hill. The path of over 150 steps and several stairs is decorated with flowers and herbs from lavender and mint to thyme and rosemary. Trekking to the front door seems to stimulate all the scenses and eases the mind…  honestly it’s thereputic. You complete the walk full of fresh new air, slightly sweaty and even more thankful to see Reginas sweet face!

None of the pictures below are repeated steps… This is when you don’t want to forget something in the car!
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The view from her living room.
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Here we are out to dinner with some friends. The cute girl with us ended up being my next hair client on the road! Thank you Cat, I truly enjoyed our conversations and it was so nice to here similar views on that wonderful title of “partners”. Congrats to you and yours! 

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Classic foot shot! (girls being girls)
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This was still a part of the sevens celebration.
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Found a lounge… With a bath tub!
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Had dinner at Duke Carvells followed by what appears to be street-dancing-karate combo with her friends! Personal thanks to this crew for their open arms, fun chats and all of the great suggestions for my journey south!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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Walking the streets of Wellington

Lost in a new city… Check!

I absolutely enjoy this location. It has the energy of a college town with the feel of a major city. Wandering through the alleys leads me to believe this place was developed by underground artists with an abundunce of creative juices spilling into the streets. This post is just random shots taken throughout my walks in town.

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I spent an hour in here just reading labels of new stuff I had never seen. Yes, this is fun to me!
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What… An Irish pub? Shocking! (referring to a previous post in which proving there is an Irish Bar in every country so far).
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This is one of the main corner crossroads… Fun colors.
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Tempting
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Categories: Art, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Sevens Tournament!

I happened to land in Melbourne during the Australian Open and was in Sydney for Australia day… wouldn’t you know I arrive in Wellington for “The Sevens Tournament”. I got some of my photos from the following website. Check it out! www.sevens.co.nz/Wellington .
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Regina, the amazing girl I’m staying with (I’ll detail that later) got me a ticket through a friend and casually says “Oh by the way, everyone dresses up in full costume to watch the games”. I had that morning to pull something off (on a travelers budget mind you).

Black outfit came from my backpack.
Bright undergarment was my bathing suit.
I already had the jewelry.
Cat ears and a bow tie- $3
Colorful hair accessories- $2.50
Watching over 12 different countries battle on a rugby field… Priceless!
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SOME OF THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL AGES.

The parade reminded me of Mardi GRAS in New Orleans mixed with a high school homecoming for “big kids”.
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The costumes!
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Found a Raiders fan!
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Awh… so sweet.
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Awh… So ummm, yeh.
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One of my favorites.
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No comment…
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I saw this “cheering squad” for the USA so I walked the stadium all the way down to the field and with enthusiasm I introduced myself. Please take note of the look on the short haired girl.
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None of them were American, Ha! All is fun either way!
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The crowds and the game!
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Savage
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Fun to see this sign on the way out.
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Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Meow… But why?

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Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Polls, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Bunk bed comedy in Sydney

A quick pit stop in Sydney before my flight out to New Zealand. Just to give you another idea of the wide range of hostles out there, this one is called “Wake up!” 
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Its most definitely on the larger scale with several floors, a bar, a cafe, kitchen, movie chill room and a roof top club.

Front desk and the Internet cafe.
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“Chill out” movie room with bean bags for chairs.
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Breakfast isn’t included and the kitchen is only open from 6a-10p which is a bummer for an early riser that has to catch a flight. This panorama is of the kitchen to the sitting/ eating area.
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This time I was in a 6 person coed room. I was greeted by an adorable couple from Finland that informed me of the other mates… 2 partiers and a snorer. Awesome. By the time I arrived I was only going to be there an entire 12 hours, so a shower and bed is all I needed. It worked.

The only interruption I got was the “kid” on the top bunk that decided he wanted to chat on my return from the ladies room at 3am. It took a whopping 30 seconds from start to finish and went something like this:

Scene is him hanging his head upside down from the top bunk as i crawled into the bottom bunk. All to be said in a loud whisper:

Him: “Well hello there.”
Me: “Hi.”
Him: “Where are you from?”
Me: “The States.”
Him: “Care for some snuggles?” (yup, he used those words)
Me: “So kind, but no thank you.”
Him: “How old are you love?”
Me: “29.”
Him: “21?” (excited)
Me: “Twenty NINE.” (emphasise on the 9)
Him: “Twenty NINE?!…. Oh.”
Awkward pause
Him: “So, you wanna cuddle?”
Me: “Good night.” (as I literally pulled the sheet over my head)

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Life in the trees of Woonona

Due to the lack of wifi in Woonona (which looking back, was exactly how it was supposed to be) I’ll do an entire post summing up the experience.

I took the next train to Woonona, a small town outside of Sydney.  “Small” meaning when I told some locals where I was going they just gave me the one brow lift and slight head head tilt. This made me even more excited to check out such a place!
When I arrived, I was greeted with a smile and a hug. Ben, his wife Sarah and there two energetic kids Zoe and Tom have welcomed me into there lives for the next 4 days. This is a volunteer program in which I get to offer my time and energy helping them with whatever they need and in exchange, I receive accommodations and all meals. Sounds pretty cool right? It is!! If you’re interested, here is the link to check it out: www.helpx.net

My room aka “Tree Cabin”
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Let’s start with meeting this magical family: 
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Ben- Caring husband and father. He is the first to rise and greets the water on a surf board with, what I can imagine, a huge deep breath followed by a grateful smile… Totally appreciating what nature has allowed him to be a part of at that given minute. 

Words that come to mind when i think of him: Science, nature, balanced, intelligent, respectful and trustworthy.

Below is him packing up for Sarah’s birthday breakfast by the beach.
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Sarah- Nurturing wife and mother. Her comforting presence has this unexplainable warmth that both relaxes and rejuvenates your energy. I can only imagine the glow she must exude when she’s expressing herself through artwork.

Words that come to mind: Vibrant, creative, green, joyful, artistic and genuine.

Here’s a picture of her sincere smile while tending to the banana trees.
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Zoe- Witty young lady, sister and daughter. Her infectious giggle lights the room and is usually accompanied by a  by a question, comment or opinion that forces thought within your own mind. Smart beyond her years, this lovely girl was a breath of fresh air and a beautiful example of, what I believe, healthy youth should be.

Words that come to mind: Rainbow, brilliant, happy, bright, deep and honest.

Below is a picture of her with some friends (she’s in the middle).
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Tom: Entertaining boy, brother and son.  This character has enough energy to bottle up and spread around the world. His big heart is open and always ready for snuggles. With never a dull moment he’s catching, climbing, talking, laughing or bouncing his way around. What a great additional splash of color he brings to this family.

Words that come to mind: Enthusiastic, love bug, monkey, curious and  passionate.

This is where I found him during a game of hide and seek.
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During my stay our goal was to clear out a space to build a super clubhouse for the back property. This including weeding, bamboo chopping, and carefully encouraging some creatures to “move along” and find a new residence. With gloves, gum boots (rubber boots) and a sun hat, time in the  dirt passed with great company and wonderful conversation. (see previous post for “daily routine”)

Here are some work pics… Haha, if you really want to call it “work”!
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I got to hang dry my laundry!
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Me and Zoe with some of her friends.
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This is the flower that hung down from the banana trees.
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Food was gathered locally, prepped with care and always enjoyed outside. Either sitting on the porch, at the table next to the garden or from a basket on the beach… We were always under the sky… So simple yet extremely enchanting.
This was the usual dining room (along with Sarah’s new bike!)
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After dinner, why not head to the water for a quick family sunset swim?
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This was my last morning with the family and what a delightful one it was. Sarah got a surprise bike for her birthday that she rode to the beach and met us for a wonderful breakfast before the school day started. Yes, let me say that again: this family got up, made time to pack a picnic, ride to the beach and thoroughly enjoy each others company over breakfast then go back home, pack lunches and then continue on with the rest of their day.  I keep hopeful thoughts that if I ever choose to have a family, we make priceless time this special.
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If anyone has children.. I’m sure you fully understand this pic.
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Handstand contest!
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..and who else but spiderman taking you to the train staion.. Love it!
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A personal thanks again to this kindhearted family that taught me so much in such a short amount of time. Your hospitality and open arms was much appreciated and will be payed forward. Cheers till next time!

Categories: Accommodations, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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