Boots, Bliss, and Cow Poo

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“…If you do follow your bliss and put yourself on the kind of track that has been there waiting for you all the while, waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss and they open the doors to you. I say follow your bliss and don’t be afraid and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Of all of my adventures and misadventures in New Zealand perhaps my strangest is my 1.25 day stint as a dairy farmer. Two 4 am shifts, three milkings of 650 cows each, and god only knows how much cow poo. Now, most folks might have been put off by the prospect of working long before dawn and wading around in cow excrement all day. Not me. Continue reading

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Takaka – Where Backpackers Unpack

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20141209_152739After some extremely difficult bicycle treks, frightening weather conditions, and farming adventures I find myself in Takaka, a tiny town in Golden Bay. Just the name Golden Bay sounds like somewhere you’d like to settle in. Seep right into the white sand beaches like butter on a heap of mashed potatoes. Takaka is found near the west coast of New Zealand’s south island. It is about 105 km from Nelson. You have to go up and over the massive Takaka hill. I took the bus on the rainy and cold day of my arrival and I am extremely grateful now to be writing about the loveliness of Takaka instead of a harrowing trip on the wet, winding highway over the hill.
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When Saying Goodbye is Nearly Impossible

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Bike loaded to ride the west coast

Bike loaded to ride the west coast

My second attempt to leave Raglan, New Zealand was in the pouring rain. I decided to bicycle 44 km on Highway 23 to Hamilton to stay with a friend while I reconfigured my route for the next few weeks. A small, skeptical crowd gathered in front of the backpacker’s hostel, smoking hand rolled cigarettes and watching me load up my touring bike. I’m pretty sure bets were placed on whether I would actually leave this time. Continue reading

Why I Quit My Travel Plans

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Longing for one more day in Whitianga

Longing for one more day in Whitianga

The morning of my most difficult ride so far on my New Zealand bicycle tour began with a pancake breakfast in the sun-soaked kitchen of my hosts. Their household was lit up with excitement over their five year old boy’s birthday party which included a pirate pinata and imminent stomach aches brought on by a chocolate king fish-shaped cake slathered in more chocolate and peppered with candies (or lollies as the Kiwis say.) I was already feeling sick with dread over my impending ride across the Coromandel Peninsula from Whitianga to Coromandel town. Continue reading