Techniques for Long Term Travel

Tanner and I get at least 1 Facebook message per week telling us that our travels are inspirational, wanting to know how exactly we’ve been able to do it for so long. When I first started to receive these messages, I was really excited that people were getting into the traveling spirit! But over time, these messages have become a bit of a burden, with both of us sitting down to write out thoughtful responses and recommendations based on the person, often to never hear from that person again. It can be a bit disheartening! So, to combat this problem, we have created a list of how to travel. Mostly these are things we’ve done, or have looked into ourselves.

If you’re looking to travel longer than just a few months but are not sure how you will be able to save enough money to support yourself for that long, consider one of these long-term travel options.

The vineyard Tanner and I worked at in NZ on our working holiday visa.

The vineyard Tanner and I worked at in NZ on our working holiday visa.

Work and Holiday/ Working Holiday Visas

This type of visa allows you to gain access to a country for 1 year, work at a company there for 6 months and travel around. It’s a great way to experience a country! Most require you be under 30 years of age, so if you’re getting close then hurry up and apply! Here is a good link for a list of countries that offer this type of visa. http://global-goose.com/wingtips/working-holiday-visas-countries/

Some ex-pat teachers with students celebrating Christmas in Vietnam. Don't worry though, the students are not drinking!

Some ex-pat teachers with students celebrating Christmas in Vietnam. Don’t worry though, the students are not drinking!

Teach English Abroad

Get TEFL/TESOL/CELTA/TRINITY certified (depends on what country you want to teach in as to which certification is best). This is the number one way to travel and get paid in another country.  Seriously, I did my TEFL online in a hotel room over looking the beach, applied for a job in Saigon over the weekend, and was signing a contract with a company all within the same week. Not only that, most companies that hire English teachers in China will actually pay for your flight there and accommodation. Also most countries will apply for your work permit/visa for you and even pay the fees for it if you sign a 6 month or 1 year contract. The world has a massive appetite for the international language of English and native speakers should consider themselves lucky and extremely marketable.

Volunteer

There is plenty of volunteer opportunities abroad if you do the research. Be careful not to get roped into paying an exorbitant fee up front to join one of these projects though, but you can easily pay around $100 – $200 to a program and you can live in a community with a host family or other volunteers and help teach English, build clean water facilities and so on. I particularly like Dragonfly Thailand for English teaching. http://www.thai-dragonfly.com/

WOOFING or HelpEx

While Woofing and HelpEx doesn’t make you money, they do help you gain a significant cultural experience. WOOFING connects people who want to live and learn on organic farms with people who are looking for volunteer help. The hosts then offer food, accommodations and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles in return for your volunteer service with them. You can woof your way around many countries with just a small travel budget saved up. HelpEx is much the same but offers a variety of projects and experiences.

http://wwoofinternational.org/ and http://www.helpx.net/ should get you started.

Peace Corps

If you want to travel and be immersed in a culture for a period of time, Peace Corps might be for you. But be fair warned, the application process can take a significant amount of time, so don’t give up your day job just yet. Peace Corps tackles challenges such as climate change, pandemic disease, food security, and gender equality and empowerment. If you want to influence real change in the world, seriously consider joining this organization. http://www.peacecorps.gov/today/

 

Still worried about money in the meantime? Consider traveling on a SERIOUS budget. There are plenty of ways to cut costs along the way.

Lauren, Tanner, and first kiwi CS host Bill having a drink outside Swashbucklers in Auckland.

Lauren, Tanner, and first kiwi CS host Bill having a drink outside Swashbucklers in Auckland.

CouchSurf

Set up your www.couchsurfing.org profile and start surfing! Try to set up a couch in the city you’re heading at least 1 week in advance. This is a great way to learn about how other people live. Obviously be wary of strange profiles and any bad references that people may have, but if you have good street smarts then this is a viable option to get you a place to sleep for a few nights in almost any city. Often, CS hosts will offer to show you around their city and meet their friends as well, think about how cool it is to have a group of friends in cities all over the world!

RideShare

There are multiple ride share websites, in Australia and the UK you can find a lot on www.gumtree.com (similar to Craigslist in the US but much better monitored) and you can split a ride in a vehicle with a few different people to cut costs on gas, plus you make friends along the way!

Lissy and I on a blustery day at Port Macquerie!

Share expenses with other travelers

Want to drive from Sydney to Alice Springs, Australia? Well, that is about a 2776 km drive that nobody wants to do by themselves, let alone pay for the gas! So, meet a small group of friends at a hostel and then book a campervan together! It’s easy to split the cost of the vehicle and gas, plus you can sleep in the van (comes with a bed and some companies offer the kitchen sink!) so you can save costs on accommodation as well.

The outside of our home for 6 weeks.

The outside of our home for 6 weeks.

Camping or Holiday Parks

This option is obviously not for everyone and some countries have different laws regarding it, but camping is a great and cheap option for accommodation in many countries. You can often camp for free or for less than $5 a night if you have a tent and for a bit more money you can have amenities like hot showers and a kitchen.

Work any and all odd jobs

Worried about how to pay for the hostel you’re staying at? Ask if you can clean the kitchen, change the linens, or work at reception. See someone pulling a heavy cart down the road? Offer them help for the day. There is always work to be done and money to be made if you go out and look for it!

 

I think the best advice here when it comes to how to travel is to pick one way you’re interested in, research it and then go for it. You learn so much along the way when you talk to other travelers and then you can alter your plan accordingly, just as we have.  You will make plenty of mistakes along the way but you will make up for it by meeting so many people that help you.  So, if you haven’t made your resolution for 2014, now is a good time to just GO for it!

Ancient Ayutthaya

Once we left Bangkok, we headed north to the historic city of Ayutthaya, which was founded in 1350 and was the second capitol of the Siamese Kingdom.  This city is surrounded by 3 rivers and had become one of the world’s largest urban areas from the 14th to 18th centuries.

Currently, it is now an archaeological ruin comprised of prang, or reliquary towers and large Buddhist monasteries.

We took a seemingly ancient boat on the river for 2 hours to tour the city and make stops at various temples, Buddha statues, and ruins.

Bang Bang Bangkok!

Guess what? Tanner have reunited for the Asian part of our adventure! Thought you might like to hear that 🙂

Anyway, when I arrived in Bangkok it was very very hot, about 33 C or 91 F and very high humidity.  Tanner and I decided to walk to Kao San Road which is a famous street in Bangkok with street vendors selling clothing, electronics, manicures, massages, hair braiding and dreading, and even fake IDs and certificates!  It is the backpackers dream.  We spent just a few days in Bangkok and and while it’s quite a nice place, it’s a bit touristy now and not quite as dangerous as Hangover II let’s you believe.

Since then, we have picked up a couple of friends to continue north with so I will update the blog shortly on our adventures!

Cheers 🙂

Gypsy Soul

As I sit here on the eve of my 24th year, I am forced to contemplate the purpose of my existence. I use the word forced, because the past few weeks I have been pushing it aside in hopes that the nagging feeling of my unknown purpose would somehow disappear.

The uncertainty that I feel hasn’t always been apparent. In fact, at times I have wholeheartedly believed I understand life and the world. Albeit the majority of my cockiness stemmed from some misunderstood teenaged confidence.  Yet, looking back at some of these implications makes me honestly wonder how I even made it out alive.  At 18, I believed that I would go to college and my degree would be the key to unlocking any and all success that I felt I deserved. Isn’t that a privileged thought at it’s finest? Or, maybe just the unadulterated view of the American dream.

And yet after completing that goal, it became clear that it wasn’t the true answer and I began to question whether the path I had created was even a pathway at all or just a blind direction I had chosen to follow.   My frustration in finding an answer to this question created a wild animal inside of me.  This animal is what some would call anxiety, but I call it my gift.  My gift to create and write and think and fight for truth.

I used to allow my gift to hold me down. At times letting its unbearable pull force me to submission but as this time has challenged me, so has my gift. But it was that pull along with the loss of the person closest to me that made me break the path.

I set out on this journey to find something, anything that would explain who I am and how I fit in with the cosmos.  9 months and 10,000 miles have passed me now and I still have no clear concept of what that is and yet I know I have to keep searching.

I am a traveler and a seeker of truth. My mind is full, but it is not yet whole. I am a gypsy soul.

**Belated birthday self-reflection piece written the night before my 24th birthday.
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A Little Straya for ya!

Okay, so just to fill in the few followers we have, I want to let you know that Tanner and I have decided to travel separately for awhile so the posts might come from the both of us at random times. That’s twice the adventure for you to follow!

I’ve been having a great time in Australia and have worked for 3 different places now doing a variety of things. Currently, I am on a little road trip from Brisbane down to Melbourne and I wanted to show you a little of the fun we’ve been having along with a couple other great photos from the trip.  Stay tuned for more short but sweet posts like this and also a longer one I’m working on about a really great group of friends and a very strange social experiment I participated in in Brisbane.  

Until next time, 

Lauren 

Work Around the World on a Working Holiday

On the Interislander ferry looking onto the South Island.

On the Interislander ferry looking onto the South Island, NZ.

Without question, the number one thing that will keep people from living out their dream of long-term travel is money; money and people’s concept of how much you need before you even think about going to these strange places you read about in magazines. Now, there are countless ways one can stretch their dollar to make it last. There are numerous ways to get free accommodation, free food, free transport, and the list goes on. Realistically, until they start charging for air there will be travelers out there with no bank accounts and no reason to get one. However, it turns out the incentives of commerce has led to some pretty amazing experiences around the planet.

On the ferry to the South Island.

On the ferry to the South Island.

To travel the way you probably want to travel means you’ll need to get your hands on some cash. The problem is that despite trading in much of your free time for a paycheck and only buying the special for lunch, your bank statement still reads like a cruel joke. What is the answer? Get rid of all your bills as well as the job you keep to feed those bills. Then fly somewhere else in the world, anywhere else in the world and live on a fraction of the cost you were previously accustomed. Work at a job that won’t necessarily build your resume but will build your spirit, all while saving money for the next leg of your journey.

Tanner eating grapes at the vineyard!

Tanner eating grapes at the vineyard!

When you approach a job search with the experience in mind and not your career path, the prospects become tremendously more exciting. Ever thought about working in the outback? If you’re a recent college grad the chances are you’d make more money chasing kangaroos around than you’re making right now. Ever thought about working on a fishing charter? In the jungle? Getting paid to go white water rafting all day? The possibilities are endless. We thought it’d be interesting to work in a vineyard. So, we did. We worked for Mud House Winery on New Zealand’s South Island for 6 weeks. We had an amazing time learning a new trade in a new place while gaining new friends and making nearly $4,000 in the process.

Lauren taking a breather during second set.

Lauren taking a breather during second set.

After a phone call with Swiss-born winemaker, Jean Luc who confirmed our employment, we were off on a long but beautiful drive to the South Island. Three days later we made the small town of Leithfield Beach our home, and it was a good one. Our lives were simplified and time slowed to the pace of the rising sun we watched each morning crescendo a vista that we’ll never forget. Our caravan wasn’t much, but was all we needed. Just to have a familiar place to wake up can go a long way. Lauren’s strolls through the nearby woods would bring fresh flowers as well as other decorative items to provide that homely touch and my elbow-grease kept the spider webs away. Holiday Parks are extremely popular in NZ to the campers and outdoorsman (which is just about everyone in the country) but this particular one was not. It was also the off-season and the weekdays gave us almost entirely free reign to the showers, kitchen, and beach; clothing for the post-work swim was definitely optional. We spent our evenings with the waves of the Pacific crashing down on us as we soaked up the seclusion.

The outside of our home for 6 weeks.

The outside of our home for 6 weeks.

We didn't have much, but we were happy in our caravan!

We didn’t have much, but we were happy in our caravan!

The days at the vineyard were hot and the conversations plenty with an eclectic collection of travelers making for a wide range of dialogue and a never-ending supply of jokes. There was such a feeling of camaraderie and these were comrades we were grateful to have.

Lauren and Alice at the gorge for Alice's birthday.

Lauren and Alice at the gorge for Alice’s birthday.

Jules and Tanner

Jules and Tanner

Jules and Alice were from the UK and had the wit and confidence that came from being 3 years on the road. Christian was German with a heart of gold and a work ethic unmatched. Intentional or not, Seung made us laugh on a daily basis from his polite but intensely curious nature with all things that are not Korean. Storm and Kaiser were the local boys who seemed to never have a care in the world and their laughter became the soundtrack to the vineyard. Chris was a local man in his 40s who espoused his conspiracy theories to whoever would listen.  Although his most interesting story was one of himself and the millions of dollars of inheritance he squandered which lead him to work at the Mudhouse. Everyone had a story and we learned them all while creating our own.

Seung telling us all a story that we can't quite believe!

Seung telling us all a story that we couldn’t quite believe!

I know that everything wasn’t as perfect as it seems in my mind. It was hard work. I’m sure some of the tasks seemed mundane at the time and there was no doubt some stresses I’ve neglected to speak of. It’s funny how that happens with stories from the road. Everything becomes a bit brighter and crisper, or as dark as a cold night. The weather is always perfect or catastrophic. The good times are always great, the bad times become stories of how you heroically overcame them, and the mundane gets tossed aside. But that’s the way it should be. The romantic spirit of traveling will always swell your memories to their true potential. I make no apologies for that and I think that’s why I do what I do. With all the clatter of life you’ve got to hold on to the rhythm you find. It is what keeps you going. It is your narrative, your never-ending opus, for only you to fully create and interpret. Create your stories with passion, reflect on them with the same, and the world is truly yours.

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Traveling with an Unlikely Traveler

Charlie, Lauren and I atop the Sky Tower

Charlie, Lauren and I on top of the Sky Tower

There is one thing that I can guarantee will happen when you travel and that is that you will meet other travelers. You won’t always be the one telling stories at the dinner table and I can assure you that their stories will often be grander. You’re bound to meet the German who speaks 6 languages, has been on the road far longer than you doing far more important things and has been doing them at the age of 18. This can be annoying. However, pettiness is something you quickly overcome on the road and you will find that some of these people will shape your life in profound ways and there will be certain joint paths you will never forget.

Tanner and Charlie having a drink together

Tanner and Charlie having a drink together

The recent adventurer to cross my way was a man of whom I share much history with as well as a hometown. Jason Ziebell (aka Charlie) is one of my oldest friends and it really came to no surprise when he announced a rendezvous in New Zealand as soon as we got settled. Since High School we’ve lived with some distance between us but a trip to my parent’s farm has become synonymous with a stop at his house and a few drinks have always kept us caught up on each other’s lives. Then of course is our annual pilgrimage to the desert to find a little trouble in Vegas. When it comes down to it our relationship isn’t too complicated I suppose, he has his faults and I have mine but we’ve always found common ground and have become staples in each other’s lives.

I’ve never really considered Charlie to be much of an adventurer. With his even-keeled, soft spoken nature he’s always seemed to exude our hometown, the same Midwest small town he currently resides. Perhaps I need to reexamine the idea of adventurer, and maybe our old friendship has blinded me a bit. For lack of a better analogy; you can’t see the forest for the trees.

An article was recently written in the Hubbard paper featuring Charlie’s trip to New Zealand. That coupled with the blog we keep has forced me to look at Charlie beyond our friendship. I began to think of his time with us in NZ. I began to think of the path he took to get there. I was immediately brought back to the last night. Even though we had squeezed every last second out of each day since Charlie arrived, it wasn’t enough for him. Long after everyone else had called it a night Charlie and I were sitting poolside reminiscing of the days of our youth, when we were both different people. Then Charlie did something he rarely does; he talked about his handicap. We talk about a lot of things when we get together but that’s never one of them. It seems to be something we both have put behind us. But on this particular occasion he brought the conversation right to the beginning.  It was the moment of the CAT scan that had been taken after a concussion received at early morning football practice, which revealed a brain aneurism that could kill him in an instant.

We were young and about the only thing on our minds at the time was cracking the lineup on a state championship caliber football team. I’m not sure how you make that monumental transition in mindset. Charlie did it seamlessly. Despite being explained the inherit risk in such an invasive surgery he opted to go through with the operation just a few days later. I don’t think I’ve been able to even begin to grasp what a difficult decision that would have been to make until now.

Tanner and Charlie in front of One Tree Hill in Auckland, NZ the morning he arrived.

It could be easy to say that Charlie just came to NZ for 9 days. That alone is no great feat, it’s been done before. But that’s not really the journey. Charlie’s journey started with his decision to have brain surgery, going through all the steps thus far in his recovery. Constantly having to relearn basic functions. He’s done all this without one shred of pity for himself, without complaint, without fear. So much so that I’ve forgotten his struggles. I’m only reminded when others set expectations for him far lower than they should. He’s overcome such great obstacles. I challenge him far more than I do most people and it still isn’t usually enough.

Charlie snorkeling for the first time.

Charlie snorkeling for the first time.

I wasn’t surprised when he flew 14 hours for a visit. I didn’t hesitate to schedule snorkeling around Goat Island. Despite being his first time seeing the ocean and the fact that half his body works improperly, I could hardly get him to leave the water.

Charlie and Tanner in the water at Goat Island marina!

He was the first one on the boat for our deep sea fishing expedition and did everything he could to land a keeper. Couchsurfing with a complete stranger was no problem. And he didn’t even mind entering the hotel separately from Lauren and I since we were only suppose to have two in the room. However, I will admit when we took a tour of Auckland’s infamous Sky Tower I was a bit surprised that Charlie decided to bungee jump off of it. But that’s Charlie, any trouble we find ourselves in he simply shrugs off with a smile on his face. I think that’s why we get along so well. But just because his attitude doesn’t show his struggles doesn’t mean they’re not there. I get that better now. I’m inspired because of it and think of Charlie a bit differently. I think the greatest sign that one possesses a traveler’s spirit is in the way they embrace the unknown, by simply stepping forward as soon as there is a step to take. Charlie’s taken many steps both large and small. I’m proud to call him a traveler and proud to call him my friend.

Charlie just after he bungee jumped off of the Sky Tower!

Charlie just after he bungee jumped off of the Sky Tower!

Cheers!

Tanner and Lauren

Burnt out at KiwiBurn

 

Our intentions of roughing it in the NZ wilderness were spoiled a bit in the onset of our adventure by more than generous hosts. Bill had helped us tremendously with a range of issues (buying a car, setting up a bank account, applying for tax id, etc.) and even introduced us to his amazing friends. Just a week into the trip and we found ourselves exploring islands out on the yacht of the owners of Bed Bath and Beyond. I guess they liked us ok because after buying us all the seafood and wine we could put in our stomachs, we were invited to their penthouse for cocktails and conversation. A few homemade margaritas, later we were talking music and even giving Caterwaulla airtime to an enthralled audience. The night ended with hugs, an open invitation to a vacation home in Queenstown and talk of walking the Tangariro Trek together. It was a warm introduction to say the least but becoming socialites of Auckland was not the goal of the double yatra. It was time to get a little dirty.

Tanner and Lauren on the yacht, not quite Titanic style!

Tanner and Lauren on the yacht, not quite Titanic style!

Some of you (especially our more free loving, hippie friends) have heard of an annual coming together in Nevada called Burning Man.  The purpose of the event is to have a gathering of peoples who create a community for one week’s time and at the end of it all, disperse with no waste or trace left behind.  KiwiBurn is New Zealand’s attempt at that same idea and is the longest running of the international Burning Man gatherings at a respectable 10 years.

To back up a bit, Tanner and I couch surfed at the amazing home of Cherry who fed us home cooked meals, gave us warm beds to sleep, and kept us company with her lively conversation.  At her home, another group of couch surfers were there whom we got along with and they told us about KiwiBurn.  Specifically, Noah is a fire twirler and all around fire dancing extraordinaire.  He even gave us a surprise performance in Cherry’s back yard once the sun had set!  We were really impressed and up for an adventure, so we decided to tag along with them.

Noah, Chris, Lauren, Cherry, Kaylie, and Tanner before heading out to Kiwiburn

Noah, Chris, Lauren, Cherry, Kaylie, and Tanner before heading out to Kiwiburn

The next day, we got up at the bright and early time of noon and headed out for the hour and a half journey to the event, which took us closer to 6 hours as we stopped multiple times to purchase 5 days worth of food and water.

Once we arrived, we were greeted by a joyous “Welcome home!” from a lovely girl adorned with flowers in her hair and then a few spankings from the intoxicated guy at the opening tent.  Once we reached in the special fishbowl and grabbed a sticker pointing out our “sexual dysfunction” we were on our way to choose a campsite, which would be our home for the next week.

Some painted ladies!
The next 5 days made for a plethora of new experiences, awkward moments, showing off with fire, drinking chai tea, and working on our tans which we now have going in full force.  We camped by an adorable French couple who we ate with a few times and talked about the differences between France and the US.  It’s funny how when you are immersed in a certain culture, you start to think others outside of that are strange and foreign, when in actuality they have many of the same structural issues and social concerns as you do.  That, and it’s a lot of fun to joke about all the dirty, naked hippies with a thickly accented, slightly tipsy French girl.

 

Lounging around in the hammock during the afternoon.

Lounging around in the hammock during the afternoon.

Reading and enjoying the sunshine!

Reading and enjoying the sunshine!

The last night we were there was the event of the Burning of the Man.  A designer and his team had worked on building the Man for the whole week until the day of when the local fire department said he would have to be moved a few hundred meters to a different location as to not endanger catching any trees on fire (this has been a particularly hot and dry summer for NZ and this was a fair warning).  Upon moving the Man, Tanner and I were walking down from our campsite, just in time to see the Man being held up by its head from a crane and then breaking at the neck and crashing to the ground.  All around us were sounds of shock and awe, yells, and gasps.  It was kind of an amazing scene.  People were visibly upset, but the team rallied together and put the Man on life support, reviving him enough to continue with the big burn that night.

 

After the man fell down.

After the man fell down.

As the man burned!

As the man burned.

As always we’re a little behind in the blog so I can promise you much action in the next one! Feel free to drop us a line sometime and keep following our adventure!

Cheers,

Tanner and Lauren

Surfing with Strangers

Traveling doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it does no good to navigate the world as a fly on the wall, you must interact, you must adapt, you bring the best of your knowledge to customs and cultures that are foreign to your social compass as you’re humbled by trivial follies and contemplate the discord of conflicting beliefs; but in the end it’s the commonality between great distances that remind you of why you’re halfway around the world with a pack on your back and a few bucks in your pocket. Good people can be found around every corner on this vast planet we all share and to find them can be truly inspiring.

Couchsurfing.org is something I’ve raved about since I first joined the social networking site before my 10-month motorcycle trip around America, and something I continue to rave about and use today. CS is a nonprofit organization with the goal of better connecting the world through cultural exchanges. With a profile complete with pictures of how good looking and fun you are and a bio that complements said pictures, the traveler will send a surfing request to other members who, according to their profile, are willing to host. The potential host will look over how appealing your mini life story sounds, read your hopefully glowing references, (mutual references are exchanged after every experience to keep the creeps away and can’t be taken off your profile) check-in with their extraverted side to see if they feel like being social, and reply with an acceptance of the request or a nice excuse as to why they won’t be able to take you in on that particular occasion. Once arrangements have been made, there is no expectation on either side besides common courtesy and a roof over the traveler’s head for a night or two. I’ve stayed in college dorms with kids as broke as me and I’ve been in a Victorian mansion with an entrepreneur who showed me the good life. With over 5 million surfers in every country in the world the experiences can be as diverse as you want to make it.

Now, judging by past experiences of explaining this organization I’m imagining half of you with rolled eyes, entertained by the thought but skeptical in reality because you’re not a long-hair, freeloading hippie. Don’t feel bad. I’ve heard it all before.  The thought of staying on a stranger’s couch would bring a cringe to most people’s face. I know for a fact my mom would rather sleep with the cows than under the roof of someone who doesn’t share the same blood.  Is it difficult sometimes? Yes. Can it be awkward? Most definitely.  When the only route to the bathroom is through the master bedroom and that Indian food forces you to take that brave walk in the middle of the night, things can get real weird. You get over those moments, though. You learn to not sweat the small stuff. The more you put yourself in awkward situations of self-reliance and force yourself to take those brave walks, even in the context of social matters small in nature, the stronger you grow as a person and the more you open yourself up to the possibilities that are presented to you in the future.

I’ve been fortunate enough to surf with some great hosts, many of whom I keep in contact with to this day, and our experience thus far in New Zealand has been no exception. Upon our arrival in Auckland, New Zealand by way of Fiji on Air Pacific, Bill, a silver haired man with a Hawaiian shirt and a smile, who was eager to help us with the luggage and show us to his car, greeted Lauren and me.  We were quick with questions but Bill was even quicker with responses and seemed excited to help us begin our Kiwi journey. When we got to his house we couldn’t help but smile at what we thought was a little bit of paradise, a modern looking two bedroom with plenty of color, art that caught the eye, and a full wine rack stretching the length of a wall. Then Bill explained how he had to go back to work but insisted that we make ourselves at home and eat and drink whatever we please. We were pleased to say the least. Bill turned out to not only be generous with his home and possessions but with his wealth of NZ knowledge as well. We soon realized why he was hosting; the road was once his home as well. Highlighting the map he had given us was highlighting memories of the rebellious youth of an old surfer. You could see the adventure in his eyes as he talked of coastline with such specificity and grandeur. With every bottle of wine we finished the waves grew bigger and the Q and A more animated as the cool breeze flew in through the open French Doors. The sense of adventure was in the air and the weight of the moment in which we were living became fully realized.

Lauren, Tanner, and first kiwi CS host Bill having a drink outside Swashbucklers in Auckland.

Lauren, Tanner, and first kiwi CS host Bill having a drink outside Swashbucklers in Auckland.

It’s amazing how fast things happen when you’re traveling. We aimed at one 500 word blog a week and I find myself at 838 with having just covered the first day in Auckland. However, I thought it was important to give you a sense of what Couchsurfing is since it’ll be a big part of how we travel around the world on such a small budget. Part two of this blog will get more into the rest of our stay with Bill as well as our other 5 star host, Cheery. Then there is the madness of the Kiwiburn festival that we stumbled upon, hostels, hidden caves, Lauren’s new toy, and so much more! Keep following our journey and feel free to drop us a line with any questions, comments, or just to say hey!

Cheers!

Tanner and Lauren