Going down under in New Zealand

Moment of awesome

(You might see this picture upside down – that’s probably because I’m down under! Apologies for any neck pains that result from looking at this image.)

Seasonal sickness. If you are reading this from the Northern Hemisphere you know what I’m talking about. That slightly depressed, low-energy feeling. All you want is have soup and watch Gilmore Girls all day under the comfort of a thick blanket. Every winter, I’m one of the first victims of winter depression going through this cycle – although I swap Gilmore Girls for endless repetitions of ‘Planet Earth’. This year, I decided to change things up. Partially due to the fact that I was forced out of the US (read week 10), but mostly motivated by subzero temperatures in Canada, I decided to head down under. In an effort to squeeze everything out of my travel budget, I bought the cheapest ticket available: a 45-hour flight from Vancouver to Auckland. After a grueling journey I have arrived in paradise! I have headed out to Opoutere and met up with a family friend. This picture was taken at a local beach that we had to ourselves that lent itself to a great game of ultimate. IT WAS AWESOME!

Read more about this week’s adventures. Read More

Earth porn

View on summer house in Opoutere, NZ.

Wharekawa Harbour at 5:45AM

One day in Taipei

Food for the hungry soul

Documentary: Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

This is one of my favorite documentaries of all times! It depicts the story of Jiro, a Japanese Sushi chef who has perfected the art of making sushi. His restaurant, in a Tokyo metro station, sets the stage for his apprentices to learn how to make 3-Michelin-star sushi. Only after 10 years are they allowed to make rice! The documentary is a dive into Japanese perfection with lots of great scenes that provide a glimpse into Japanese culture.

A word of wisdom

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Dash for cash

We have all been there: you get up to pay for your groceries. You swipe your card and, in alarming fashion, the machine the machine tells you, “INSUFFICIENT FUNDS”. A surging feeling of shame bestows you. It’s the end of the month and you realize that those beers you ordered at the bar the day you received your salary seemed like a good idea at the time, but have come back to bite you. Now you’re in the precarious situation where you have to decide which groceries are essentials and which can go (flour, eggs, milk stay; overpriced chocolate-covered almonds go). I’m sure for some of you this seems all too familiar – for me it definitely does! I used to always keep some cash stashed in my piggy bank to buy milk, eggs, and flour to make pancakes at the end of the month; just in case.

One day, about a month after graduating from Business School (ironically), I found myself completely broke. I had spent all my money on a Euro trip, my piggy bank had been collecting dust for some time, and my job only started a few weeks later. What do to? I had heard about this thing called ‘dumpster diving’. Divers jump into dumpsters and fish out food that is still good, but doesn’t meet certain restaurant/store standards. As the balance of my bank account had tanked, my survival instinct surged. I went to the local farmer’s market in Amsterdam around closing time to try my luck. As I was walking around, I noticed a lot of vendors were throwing away food that still seemed good to me. I went up to one of them, pointed to a stack of pineapples, and asked if I could take it. Surprisingly, he was happy to give it to me. Apparently, he rather give the food to me than throw it away. An idea was born! I went down to the market every day to pick up this amazing food, totally free!

Desperation, once again, bred ingenuity. This new trick ended up being a lot more fun that anticipated! Every day, I would find more food than I could possible carry. My diet became a lot more diverse and healthy – mind you, fruits and veggies deteriorate quick in summer. I’d make healthy fruit shakes in the morning, salads in the afternoon, and veggie soup at night. And all this for a total cost of nothing!

In the succeeding months, I found it hard to continue this new trick due to the demands of my new corporate lifestyle. On Saturdays, however, I would head out to the market to see what I can find. I enjoyed the variety of food I picked up, I felt good about the fact that some of this food was ‘saved’, and unexpectedly there was even a social element to it. The above picture shows me and two Czech girls I randomly stumbled into with the result of the day’s harvest. You should try it for yourself sometime – get over the ‘shame’ and enjoy the free food. Happy saving!

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4 thoughts on “Going down under in New Zealand

  1. Wenxuan

    I really enjoyed reading your blog Vincent, and it is quite interesting to see Taiwan from a western perspective. I hope next time you would have the chance to explore more Aisa,especially Mainland China so that you might understand why we insist that there is only one China.

    1. admin

      Thank you for your message Vince! Taiwan was a good first taste of Asia, but I agree that I should explore more. China has been added to the list!

  2. Lenus

    Hi Vincent,
    Though I already knew about your courageous decision to quit your ‘safe’ job and to make a trip around the world, I did not know about your travelblog, until your Mom told me.
    To-day I read about your experiences and enjoyed it very much. I do think that after your return you’ll never be the same again. You meet all kind of people and have to deal with unforseen things all the time, and that will make you a different, probably/hopefully, stronger/richer person. And it seems to me that you ‘have the gift of writing’, it’s very pleasant to read.
    In a lot of ways, especially how you cope with difficulties, I dare say, that you’ve got that skill from your Dad. Your Dad and I went together through quite some difficult situations, but just like you, he dealt with them in a determined way.
    Enjoy your trip!!

    1. admin

      Hi Lenus,
      Thank for this kind and touching message. I’m sure the apple didn’t fall far from the tree and I’d love to hear some more stories about the trips you took together with him. The trip has been very rich and I’ve met a lot of amazing people already. I’m curious what the next few months are going to bring. Thank you for joining the mailing list, I take it as a huge compliment. Feel free to leave comments on other posts as well 🙂
      Talk soon!

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