Moment of awesome
Ever heard about this Dutch guy, who prepared a Mexican Fiesta in New Zealand satisfying the hunger of some Australians? Nothing beats introducing people to new cultures, even if they are not your own. Seven weeks in San Francisco have made me crave Mexican food more than I could ever imagine. After spotting a cart on the side of the road that sold organic avocados I couldn’t help but get two bags. I could just see myself scooping my nachos in a mountain of guac, licking the bowl clean as to not waste a single calorie of the green gold. For days I closely watched the avocados ripe, waiting for the perfect moment to whack them open. When finally, on Friday 13 January 2017, Opoutere witnessed a Mexican fiesta that made the people go loco! The celebration was kicked of by a family picture featuring one perfectly executed set of bunny ears. As the Spanish would say, we were living the vida loca! IT WAS AWESOME!
Read more about this week’s adventures. Read More
This week, during my stay in Opoutere on the East Coast of New Zealand’s Northern Island, the landscape lend itself perfectly for some time lapse videos. The obvious subject for the video was the tides that came in and out of the bay. After a few attempts from the yeti, I decided to raise my game – literally. One of my new friends told me the view from the hill was stunning. I had to see it for myself. Just before dusk I went up for an after-dinner hike up the hill. I was amazed by what I saw from up there. Not only did the summit offer a great view on the beach, I was captivated looking down the bay. The backdrop on the mountains only added to this magical moment. I noticed one tree on top that had a perfectly clear view on the bay, unobstructed by branches or leaves from other trees. Like a well-trained monkey, I climbed up to take it all in. The view was so amazing I decided there and then I was going to make a full-day time lapse of the bay from there. The next morning, I set my alarm for 5:15am to climb up the hill and prepare my camera for what was to be my longest time lapse video so far. In order to keep the batteries charged, I had to climb up every 2-3 hours over the course of the day. I ended up burning 3000 calories just climbing up the hill and subsequent tree 6 times that day – all the while wearing a big floppy hat! Sunburns and skin cancer are a real thread here (due to the absence of the o-zone skin cancer is actually a major cause of death in NZ and Australia).
Despite requests from local residents not to promote this place (an effort to preserve the tranquility) I feel obligated to share the beauty of this corner of the world. People in Opoutere fill their days floating and canoeing in the bay, visiting remote beaches, and enjoying hot lava streams at Hot Beach. People are very environmentally conscious and ‘The Red Cart’ provides an opportunity to purchase organically grown piccalilli, relish, and jam. I think I will never feel as close as being on the set of a Woody Allen movie as this place makes me feel. I love the serenity of the nature and the friendliness of the people inhabiting the short stretch of houses that constitutes Opoutere. I was lucky to find this lovely cabin to be my bedroom during my stay – truly Henry David Thoreau style!
I’m writing this post from a hostel in Auckland I will be staying the next two days as I prepare for my flight to Christchurch. I will be traveling on the South Island for 3-4 weeks before heading back up to Auckland until roughly the end of March. I’m sure the pictures and videos will just get more stunning as time passes by. I’m planning to create a 20-30 minute video of New Zealand, so stay tuned to reap the fruits of my work.
Sunrise over Opoutere bay.
Food for the hungry soul
Super interesting and hysterical read on why we care so much about others’ opinions, how to stop caring about it, and finding your Authentic voice. The authors or this blog (“Wait, but why“) dig into everyday problems and shine light on worldly issues. I love this site and if you like my site, I’m sure you will too.
A word of wisdom
“Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.“
– Larry Page (one of Google’s founders)
Dash for cash – Bank charges
You have been reading this website for some time and you are a good little saver. High five! As a reward for your newly adopted money-saving habits, here is a good little life hack to save some cash right now: waiving your bank charges.
Most people think there is no way you can negotiate your bank charges. For a long time I thought similarly, until I stumbled upon Ramit Sethi. He mentioned that with one easy call you can waive bank charges, credit card fees, or even negotiate credit card debt. I thought I’d give it a try and here I was 5 minutes later enjoying my free lunch! I’m not paying any bank charges this year.
How did I do it?
The script you use for this is pretty simple. It goes as follows:
“Hi, how are you? My name is Vince and I have been a loyal customer of your bank for a few years now. The other day I stumbled upon an ad of another bank that offers to waive one year of bank charges. I’ve been with you [your current bank] for a few years now and really enjoy the relationship. However, times are tough and I would hate to leave for a simple money issue. I was wondering if you could waive my bank charges for this year?”
Let’s analyze this script. First, I mention I have been a loyal customer for a few years (which is true). I haven’t had any debt and have a good payment record. All in all, I’m a good customer for the bank. They don’t want to let me go. Next, I mention that I would like to stay with my current bank but that the bank charges might be a reason for me to do my banking elsewhere. Remember: times are tough (and they are!). I then mention that I would hate to go for a simple money issue, indicating I don’t really want to leave. Finally, I ask if the person on the other side of the line can help me. Who doesn’t want to help, right? It’s important to formulate this question well. Avoid making it a yes or no question, as the answer will often be ‘no’.
When I called up my bank with this script, I was surprised how easy it was to get my bank charges refunded. They simply said, “ok, we will deposit your bank charges for the year right now”. A few minutes later, I had 40 EUR deposited in my bank account. Quickest money I ever made. Why would a bank be so easy about this? It’s because they want to keep you as a customer. Acquiring new customers costs them hundreds, if not thousands, bucks per customer. Do you think they will let you leave for a mere 40 EUR? (If you’re having trouble answering this rhetorical question, the answer is ‘no’).
Sweet, I love me some free lunches. Can I get more?
Loving the abundance mindset! I’m sure there are customer service reps that are not as easy as the one I ambushed. Don’t let this demotivate you. Just try again with one of his/her colleagues later that day. If that still doesn’t work, try a few days later. Eventually you will manage to get your money that will inspire you to lower your insurance payments, gym membership, and all sorts of other services you are overpaying for. There you have it, your stairway to penny-pinching heaven. HAPPY SAVING!