Reflection week in Christchurch

Moment of awesome

YES! I’m a car owner once again. While figuring out transportation for the next few weeks on the South Island I quickly realized that buying a car was the cheapest option. Luckily, two friends of mine from the Netherlands fly in soon, so we can even split the costs (hello, little money saver!). I spent a considerable amount of time looking up used cars. My first test drive was with a Taiwanese girl who had bought the car last week, and immediately realized she had to sell it. Intrigued by her decision-making I asked why she was looking to sell. She mentioned she is going to Auckland to stay with a friend, who has a room the two of them could stay at for free. When I asked when she’s looking to go, she said she hadn’t booked her ticket yet – only when she sold the car could she buy her ticket. Now, I wasn’t going to lecture this girl on financial management, but I did find this somewhat peculiar. The next day, I had a test drive with James, the fine sir in the picture above. The car had always been in the family, low milage, and velvet seats (ow yeah!). Basically the only thing missing were dice dangling down from the rear view mirror. This Saturday, we handled registration and I gave him the money. I enjoyed James’ trust when I handed the money – he didn’t even count it, even after I suggested he should. Voila, I’m the new owner of a 1988 Honda Accord! IT WAS AWESOME!

Read more about this week’s adventures and my ‘moment of clarity’. Read More


Earth porn

A series of timelapse videos of Opoutere bay on the North Island’s Coromandel peninsula.


Food for the hungry soul

Pictures: Official  White House Photographer Pete Souza Reveals His Favorite Photos of Obama.

After an inaugural dance that made the new President’s wife as uncomfortable as the rest of the world, it’s official – the world and the US is entering a new phase that raises fear and concerns in many people. But what an amazing President proceeded the current one! I love this series of photos as it shows the human side of Obama. Great work by Pete Souza!


A word of wisdom

“A candle loses none of its light by lighting another.”

– Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi – a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, and theologian.


Dollar dash – Sweating money

Free range eggs, vintage clothing, kale salads. Whether you like it or not, some aspect of the yuppie lifestyle has entered your life. Hipster as it all may be, it does raise awareness about making the world more sustainable and a renewed focus on taking care of our bodies. It has brought new attention to sports. Amongst the popular ‘new’ sports are bouldering, roller derby, and it’s just a matter of time before speed walking makes its way into main stream. The former two sports require a membership or some form of payment. I’ve paid for gym memberships and day passes for cool bouldering places (YEAH Mission Cliffs, SF!). However, it doesn’t always make sense when you’re living on a shoestring budget. There are ways to save some money and remain in tiptop summer shape. Here are my recommendations:

Hiking: One of my new favorite activities is hiking. Even in most urban areas, there are cool hikes within a one-hour drive. A simple Google search will give you plenty of options – even city hikes are fun! If you decide to get serious about hiking (especially multi-day hikes), I would advice purchasing some hiking boots. True, they are a bit pricy, but they should last you for years so you should make your money back.

Running: Although I personally hate running (no game element; super slow; plain boring) it is a cheap way to do cardio. Moreover, it’s fun exploring the area while you’re out burning off the fat of your latest double cheeseburger – animal style of course. One pair of running shoes will set you free!

Elastic strap: They are cheap, light, you can do the workout wherever and whenever, and it allows you to do all sorts of cool exercises without having to go to the gym (see the video I posted in week 2 of my travel).

Yoga: I know what you’re thinking, “don’t yoga studios charge heaps for letting you in?”. I often to get in for free doing one-time trial. As effective as that it on the road, it’s not your go-to for daily life. Most self-respecting cities have free yoga schools, or a school that is donation-based (i.e. free or very low price). Teachers are either new or try out new routines. From my experience, the level of expertise is at these places is surprisingly high.

Cycling: It does require a piece of gear – a bike! You can go bananas and spend 2,000 US$ on a bike. However, you can purchase a decent bike for a fraction of that. I’m Dutch so I’m totally biased about bikes, but I absolutely love them! It’s one of the healthiest sports out there (because there is very little stress on the knees and ankles), you can explore the area (more than when you go running, bleh!), and you can decide to do it by yourself or with others. Especially when you’re on the road, cycling is such a great way to see places you otherwise wouldn’t. And don’t get me started on why biking is so much better in the city!

Gym: If the weather sucks and you just have one of those days you don’t want to return home soaking like a wet dog, the gym is always there when you need it. Just like yoga, I try to see if I can get in for a free trial or just pay for a day pass. However, if you don’t feel like leaving the comfortable confinement of your house, there are more workout Youtube videos available than is good for you. Pick a rad BBB, ab attack, or ’15 minutes in hell’ and get your sweats in.

Ultimate Frisbee: Maybe a weird one to find in this list, but as an avid Ultimate player this is a little life hack I want to share. Most cities have a Frisbee club and membership is usually quite cheap. Tournaments are optional but compared to any other sport or weekend trip, you can have a weekend of fun for a fraction of the costs. All you need is a disc (10US$), a shirt, shorts, and a pair of cleats (80US$). You’ll find that the community is very open and inviting. When abroad it’s my go-to for making friends and joining the local crowd.

Do you have any other tips, recommendations, or suggestions for free/cheap sports? Don’t hesitate and share your tips below!

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2 thoughts on “Reflection week in Christchurch

  1. Lenus

    It seems to me that you made some important decisions and that’s o.k.
    At a certain point during intensive traveling you just have to make up your mind
    But, being so close to Australia, I have to tell that Lieneke and I were very much imoressed with that unique continent, she even tried to convince to emigrate.
    If I was you and if it’s possibke, I would teserve some time to go there.
    Great country to travel atound for backpackers, overwhelming flora and fauna and very relaxed people. Highlyvrecommended.
    I do enjoy your stories!

    Safe travel and enjoy!

    1. admin

      Thanks for the great compliment and the tip! I’ll have to see how money goes, but Australia is definitely on the list!

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