Moment of awesome
There are a few things in the world that feel like magic. One of them is meeting a friend on the other side of the world. Something about meeting people out of the normal context makes your hair stand up. This week, I was roaming the streets of Auckland with my friend Libby. She couchsurfed with me a few years ago in Amsterdam and I noticed she’s currently in Auckland. We met up and it was like we never lost touch. It was great to hear her stories and to have a friend in the city I’ll be calling home for a few weeks. We strolled down the harbor where we read in a pop-up library, had a great view on the city, and had some ice cream. IT WAS AWESOME!
Read more to find out about life in Auckland and sleeping inside a vulcano. Read More
I’ve slept in some weird places in my life. Sharing a hostel room with nine people in eight beds, joined by cockroaches on the ceiling. Or that one time I had to sleep on a park bench after my date kicked me out (ask me about this story next time we are in a bar). This week was another new: sleeping inside a vulcano. Rest assured, the vulcano has been inactive for millennia, but it’s still something I can cross off my bucket list. The vulcano was rather the Bank Peninsula, about a one-hour drive from Christchurch. The town of Akaroa is the main town on the peninsula and has a French feel to it, as the French had initially settled here in the last 19th century. It was quite a spectacular surrounding as the hills surround the city and the bay. The rolling clouds make for a very scenic experience – see the ‘earth porn’ section below.
Tuesday I flew to Auckland, by far the biggest city in New Zealand. Life here is pretty amazing. Surface-wise, it’s one of the largest cities in the world, although the population is only 1.4 million. Biking around the city (hey, I’m still Dutch!) is a bit challenging because of the hills, but it does provide a nice scenery. The people in the city strike me as very active (you can even see it on the boxes of ‘Weet Bix‘ – the local breakfast go-to. It’s like a piece of cardboard that magically transforms into a delicious treat when soaked with milk). There are sports fields everywhere and all people seem to talk about are their running, rowing, or cricket adventures. I quite like the vibe! I’m staying with my former babysitter, whom I now help to look after her children. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to stay in this place for some time and work on the transition from backpacking to normal life.
I fill my days with working out, playing frisbee, and preparing for my move back to Amsterdam. I’m working on getting Google Adwords certified, I’ve been roaming around for jobs as a product manager for tech startups, and I want to finish my book about my vagabonding lifestyle last year before I return to Europe. All in all, I’m very happy to be here and to be working on something substantial again.
Skies above Akaroa (off the coast of Christchurch)
Local news – Kiwi’s morning bath in danger
In the US people are concerned (and rightfully so) about the future now that the new President is in place, the Middle East has not gotten any saver since I left for my trip, and there is a fair chance an extreme right-wing anti-immigration political party might win the elections in my home country. But don’t think New Zealand does not have problems of its own.
After statistics showed that more than 60% of the country’s rivers and streams are not suitable for swimming, the government has announced that by 2025 90% of the rivers and streams ought to be swimmable. It sounds like a good initiative, but as environmental groups have pointed out the government has redefined the term ‘swimmable’ to allow for twice the about of e coli bacteria that currently defines swimmable. This is actually quite a serious concern, as the Kiwis might not be able to do this for their morning bath:
A word of wisdom
“You laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at you, because you’re all the same”
Diederik Alers – Long time friend and self-taught entrepreneur.
Dash for cash