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
As you all know by now, I’ve been a member of the Ultimate community for quite some time now. I love the sport, but, moreover, I love the people. Once again during this travel, one of my best friends hooked me up with a place to stay. Every time I step foot in the house of an ultimate player, I feel right at home. For those who play, you’ll know the first sign of an Ultimate player living in the house is being greeted by a wall of discs when you walk in. This house is no different. The day I arrived I was invited to practice. In any corner of the world, you end up running into people you’ve met at a random tournament or who swung by on a world travel. How great is it to run into long time friends you’ve met on the other side of the world? The community in Christchurch is not as big as in other cities I’ve been, but it struck me as very active and tight. They have practice 3-4 times per week, and at least two socials a week. Saturday night was pizza night, Friday we had a BBQ, but the real highlight was our trip to Mega Air. It’s essentially a hall full of trampolines and it was awesome (except for the muscle in my neck that I tore, but let’s ignore that for now). I feel very fortunate that I was immediately included into the group. I should really get that frisbee tattoo soon (mom, I’m kidding).
Christchurch is quite an interesting city. Buildings are very low and spread out, because of the abundance of land around here. The city’s area surface is, therefore, quite big, but it doesn’t feel like a city to me. Not helping in its appeal, are the large portions of the city that are still in ruins after the 2011 earthquake. Most of downtown is under construction and roads are closed off. I did find some cool coffee places however. My favorite was the Lemon Tree Coffee shop, run by a Chinese family. The interior consisted solely of French coffee pots and Dutch coffee grinders. Very interesting decor!
This week I had a lot of downtime. In between trying to get set up for the coming weeks and looking for a car, I had a lot of time for reflection. On the one hand it’s challenging to be confronted with yourself, but on the other it’s good to resolve internal conflicts. My thoughts were sparked by the realization that my money is starting to dwindle and that my travels cannot last forever. When I set out for this trip, I had not determined an end date, neither did I set myself up with a job at the end of the ride. At the time, this felt like the right choice; it allowed for the freedom to explore and discover unrestrictedly. However, what I’ve noticed now is that my current format is too free for my liking. I called two friends of mine and my mother, all of whom always provide great advice. To my surprise, two of them had similar advice: to list all the things I want in life and all the things I don’t want. I sat in Hagley Park and took more than two hours to list absolutely everything that came up in my mind. I found out the source of some stress was a lack of stability. Constantly moving from one place to another, meeting new people, being in new environments, and not knowing when I will have money coming in again takes a considerable amount of mental effort. Now that I have composed this list, I feel more empowered to work on what I want to change in my life. I’m looking forward to getting back to work again and being productive. It was a very comforting exercise. I felt very relaxed and peaceful at the end of it.
My plans for the next few weeks: 1 February two friends of mine are flying into Christchurch and we will explore the South Island together for a while. I will then stay in Auckland for a few weeks until the end of March. I’m seriously considering going back to Amsterdam after my stay in NZ, with possibly one stop in the Philippines for a frisbee tournament. I’m still in touch with the Dutch Consulate in San Francisco. A job is opening up there soon and I think I have a good chance to get the position as I have met the people in the office this past December. Depending on the job description I will seriously consider taking that opportunity. If this does not take any concrete forms before April, however, I think I will head back to Amsterdam and find myself a job and a nice apartment. I can’t wait to get to work again and do something productive. I guess that’s part of my ambitious nature 🙂
A series of timelapse videos of Opoutere bay on the North Island’s Coromandel peninsula.
Food for the hungry soul
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!