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I hope, you all had a lovely week! I’m still here stuck in work, having to deal with cows, slapping their dirty tails into my face, while I milk them! One day, they’re gonna knock me out, cause they’re not gentle, that’s for sure! 😛
I think, I also start to get an arthrose in my hands and fingers slowly, but I’ll survive. Only about a month to go! Writing is definitely a good way, to keep me entertained. Little update on my book: I’m getting there! I’ll work on it every single day, during my breaks 😉
Well, I’ve recently been asked for advise on how to make friends, while travelling. So I thought, I’ll share my oponion to everyone. Might be useful for the one or the other.
The best advise, that I can give you, is not to actively look for friends. Don’t stress out, trying to meet people. Enjoy your time, it will happen all by itself! During my travels, I’ve experienced, that I met the most people by coincidence. Well, actually, that’s how I met 90% of my travel buddies, since I’m not the most social person. Ironically, I often end up meeting the best people, when things go wrong and I do not even want to socialize. What can I say: Expect the unexpected!
Furthermore, you need to get over stereotypes! You shouldn’t expect to be able to find a lot of friends, if you’re picky! Tattooes don’t mean, the person is a criminal and glasses don’t mean, that you can’t have fun with that person. Give everybody a chance and I promise, you won’t regret it!
The best place to meet other travellers is in a hostel, obviously. You don’t even have to go to the hostel’s bar or something, just talk to your roomies! I have the strong feeling, that the odds always put likeminded people in the same room 😉
If you’re like me and you want to stay away from other backpackers, meeting the locals instead, I can recommend AirBnb or Couchsurfing. Two great apps, that the majority should know. Its an awesome way to get in touch with the locals, who can often tell you their secret spots and recommendations. The best part about it is, that Couchsurfing is completely free!
In general, you should just do what you love! Go hiking, go sightseeing, relax by the river etc. I’ve experinced, that you’re more likely to meet people, that could turn into friends for life, if you do what you love! You don’t have to go into clubs and parties to meet new people! There is hope for people like me, who get really uncomfortable really quickly! 😉
So, in conclusion you can see, that it’s best not to worry too much! Focus on other important things instead and you will meet the most amazing people. It will happen. Just give it some time! Don’t waste your valuable travel – time!
*** This is at no point meant to be an “attention – seeker”. This is of therapeutic value! ***
If I can reach out to someone, even if it’s just one person, the reason for making this public is fulfilled!
This is an extremely different post from what you’re used to, but since I’m experiencing pretty high levels of anxiety at the moment, I thought this might be both, therapeutic for me and a support to others going through the same, knowing they’re not alone!
Before I started my travels I’ve been an emotional mess! I was very unsatisfied and more depressed than anxious. However, there were situations over and over again that gave me a feeling of anxiety. Going out into a public place was like hell, my home was my “safety spot”, changes freaked me out, I kept overthinking and got irritated really easily. If someone was mad at me, it wouldn’t get out of my mind for an extremely long period, making me feel highly unconfident. I barely had any friends, mainly, because people, who don’t go through similar things don’t understand, why I sometimes just needed to be alone or why I never went out to party with others or to meet up with friends. Life just got very hard for me. At some point, the feeling of depression got so bad, that I decided to make the scariest and best decision of my life: I started my travels! This was the hardest step I could ever make and trust me, it felt like I just made the decision to die. I already explained in one of my other blog posts, why I chose to travel. Read it here, if you’ve missed it:
This was the only reason that kept me going! Like in trance, I wanted to finish what I started. Yes, in the beginning, I honestly saw this more as a challenge, that needed to be passed, than as a life-changing experience!
Everything was pretty scary in the beginning and I only had little money. Thus, I made the decision to find a job as an aupair. Mainly, because it gave me a lot of security being in one place for a longer time! Unfortunately, the job gave me a hard time and I had the feeling of being a disappointment to my employer, who was clearly unhappy with me too. Things just didn’t work out, bringing the depression back into the foreground! I thought of my mom a lot, couldn’t deal with the change of not being able to see her ever again and I easily got irritated, giving my friends and family back home a tough time, too. During those months, I isolated myself from all my friends and family completely, feeling like no one would understand what I was going through.. This resulted in me feeling really lonely..
Nevertheless, to get out of this hell, I made the next big step in my life. I quit the job. You might think, it is not much of a big deal, but to me, overcoming my fears in that exact moment and actually doing something to make me feel better for the first time, gave me a great little confidence boost!
Things went uphill until I ended up being stuck in one place again. I was staying in a working hostel for 5 months straight!! I went through hell and back. Being constantly surrounded by people, NEVER having any privacy just took that security spot away from me. I tried to avoid people as much as I could, spending every single minute that I was not at work in my room.
After a while, I ended up meeting some amazing people, who supported me a lot, giving me a little of that security back, that I urgently needed! I started to spend time with them and it helped to boost my confidence again, with minor fallbacks every now and then.
It hit me pretty hard when all of my friends suddenly left. All of them at the same time. The security was gone again. New people came, but I didn’t really manage to make new friends, since the sudden loss of all my friends made me feel lonely again, triggering pretty bad depression and anxiety. I didn’t leave my bed; only for work. And I even locked myself in the bathroom, just to get some time away from all these people around. All these people that I don’t know and that are not like me at all. A lot of partying was going on. My absolute nightmare. People probably thought I was the most boring and weirdest person on earth, never ever taking part in any of these parties …
However, it felt like a massive relieve when I finally finished my compulsory second – year – farmwork and I could move on. I bought my first ever car and was actually quite excited for the unexpected since it would mean that I could leave this hell.
Owning a car and living in a car meant, that I had my own safety spot again. It made it possible to have alone – time whenever I needed it.
I got to meet amazing people during the following part of my travels, making it possible for me to cheer up again! I felt free, I had people around me that I could talk to and it was just a massive adrenaline rush to finally do something, I never thought I would be able to do: travelling on my own!
The most influential person I met, was also the person that triggered a massive change in my way of thinking. He was not living after “what if”, but “ah well” and “can, will, did” is his motto. He just does what other people told him he can’t do, nothing can stop him. I found that pretty inspirational and soon decided to give it a go! I wanted to have his view on life! “Can-will-did” soon turned into my motto too! I would not only prove others wrong, but also myself!! I had another major confidence boost and it was a massive change in life, but this time, a change was okay with me. This person managed to convince my troubled mind, that I could do anything! This is also the story behind my blog title, by the way 😉
I had another massive fallback when I ended up being stuck in one place for the third time, having too much time to think and not much distraction. The whole place was not a good influence on my mood either and soon things happened that made me struggle not only mentally, but also financially!But I got a lot of support from those amazing people that I met and I got through it all!
As soon as my time in Australia came to an end, I decided to write my own bucket list, since it is like a therapy to me, to accomplish the things that scare me the most. Step by step!
I flew to New Zealand and had to start all over again. My biggest fear was another major fallback because I would lose all sorts of security: no car, no friends, no alone time. But I bought a car as soon as I could and could thereby prevent any further anxiety – attacks. The urge to see the world was a lot stronger than my anxiety anyway!
I soon started to set up my own motto and project: “Dare yourself – Prove them wrong”. Check it out here:
This is my way of helping others use the exact same method to overcome emotional struggles, that I used. Even if it’s only one person that comes back to me. I want to help because it helped me!
Currently, I got pretty bad levels of anxiety again. I’ve got a pretty horrific fear of death (which I assume got triggered through the death of my mom), I’ve got extremely bad physical issues (muscle tensions, stiff neck, headache, fatigue) and little things and situations turn into a pretty big deal to me. I’m pretty disappointed in myself again, running away from my fears instead of facing them.
I will be alright again soon. It’s just another phase that I’m going through right now.
Don’t get me wrong: I have the time of my life travelling and I wouldn’t wanna swap with anyone! I’m a lot happier and a LOT more confident!! Step by step I’m getting there! This is just the “behind the scenes” basically. My anxiety relapse. The “me”, that no one gets to see.
I’ve experienced a major improvement over the years and I’m proud of myself. I hope that this might help people, who are going through similar things. Maybe it helps to realize, that they are not alone and that it DOES get better! With my little project, I’m here to help.
This blog post definitely helped me to feel better.
Please don’t judge me! This took a lot of courage!
The weather over here is super annoying, man!! Climbing up a hill to get a good view, just to realize that the view is blocked by multiple clouds is annoying too!! Yep, the odds are currently not in my favour!
The mountain I climbed up is “Mt Taranaki/Egmont”. It is the most perfectly shaped volcano you’ll come across here in New Zealand and besides that, it resembles “Mt Fuji” in Japan quite a lot. It’s massive!! You stand at its base and you just see this monster right in front of you! Photos for sure don’t do justice! And I did not even see the whole thing yet! 😀
It’s snow-covered as well, which makes it even more beautiful!! So I tried the whole day to find a spot, that gives you a good view, but failed bitterly. I drove halfway around the whole National Park, hoping that the cloud that blocked the view would either move or not surround the whole tip! Unfortunately, the cloud decided to mate with other clouds, while I drove around, covering even more of the mountain. Thanks, Karma -,-
By the way, I decided to start my own project, called “Dare Yourself – Prove them wrong”. I’m trying to reach out to people, to help them build up confidence and to overcome emotional struggles… It’s a project and worth a try. If it fails, I can at least say, I tried! I hope, I can help though! Check it out: (I had to lower the video quality a lot in order to be able to upload it at all.. I’m sorry, but unlimited high-speed wifi is rare in a backpackers world.. )
I even met a guy that was living exactly according to my philosophy of life! He is an Aussie who recently lost his wife… But instead of sitting back home grieving every day, he came out here, doing what no one expected him to do! He came out here, hired a van and now travels around all by himself! He did exactly what scared him the most at that exact moment: Letting go and starting all over.. he dared himself and proved everyone, who didn’t expect him to just leave, wrong! You go, mister!! Be an individual and only listen to yourself!! That’s the go!!
That was not the only person that proved, what I’m always talking about, is true. There are people out there with a heart of gold, helping you no matter what. I wanted to pay for my parking ticket and inserted my card. Somehow, it got stuck and I couldn’t get it out .. Luckily, the lady behind me jumped in! And guess what?? She paid the parking ticket for me, cause I didn’t have cash and she didn’t want my card stuck in there again!! I didn’t ask for it or anything! I would have just parked somewhere else.. That kind of people is what the world needs! ❤
All that happened while I was literally waiting for better weather!! I’ve spent two and a half days waiting for the clouds to clear to get a good view of “Mt Taranaki”. I was so close to just giving up and moving on, but I decided to wait. I parked my car and just waited and waited and waited… And finally, the clouds cleared and the sun came out!! The best view you could ask for!! It was unbelievable!! It’s about 2500m high!! Never give up, guys! Patience is the key!!
I also needed a lot of patience while backing up about 20m.. downhill and around a corner… I actually wanted to explore the white cliffs, but little did I know, the walkway is closed until the end of September, due to lambing. Yep, sometimes it helps to do your research before heading out for a 60k detour. Why did I have to back up, you might wanna know?! Well, I didn’t pay attention to the massive sign, telling me I had reached the walkway. I kept driving and had two choices: ending up on the beach or ending up on private property… Too bad you couldn’t turn around… Hence, I had to back up all the way… Got all the attention, that I didn’t want…again. Pay attention, kids! Not only in school, but also on the road! 😀
The weather didn’t stop messing with me, so I ended up spending a full day driving! I planned on seeing “Cape Egmont”: a lighthouse with dominating views of “Mt Taranaki” in the background. But guess what: There was no view! Once again .. 🙁
And I was extremely tired. Don’t ask me why, but I didn’t end up getting much sleep since I had a little tsunami – anxiety – panic – attack. What the hell am I talking about?! I discovered a few years ago, that the open water freaks me out. It’s probably even a phobia, I don’t know. Anyway, I was camping right next to the beach, which is actually amazing, don’t get me wrong! But somehow the whole situation got a little too scary for me and I suddenly started fearing a tsunami… to be fair, it’s not unlikely to happen over here, but I don’t know why it popped into my head right when I was about to sleep. There was even a video about Tsunamis randomly appearing on my phone straight after! THAT brought the thing to a whole new level! I actually started panicking a little and ended up not getting any sleep at all 😀 Yeah, I’ve had some weird anxieties recently. I don’t know, what’s wrong with me! At least, there’s proof that travelling makes you get to know yourself better after all. I didn’t know that the ocean freaked me out that much until I tried diving and snorkelling!
However, we haven’t heard of my good old friend Karma recently, have we?! Don’t worry she wasn’t far! I finally got a good night’s sleep and got ready for the day, when I suddenly noticed a little piece of paper on the driver’s window… What could that be?? Guess what it said: “Back tyre flat”… It was the right rear tyre… Again!! Those of you, who followed me throughout my Australia – adventures might have noticed that I never had any flat tyre other than the right rear one… twice.Haven’t got a logical explanation for that yet, but I will work on it 😀
Anyway, since I haven’t had this car for long, I had noooo clue where all the gear was.. I’ve been told it was there somewhere, but not exactly where. Great… I had 40 minutes left till checkout. I had no other choice than grabbing every single piece out of my car. Of course, I drew some attention on me. But this time, I was quite glad about it! Two guys came to help! Just to let you know: I don’t take it for granted, that people just come over and help!! They did not even just offer it, they just did it!!
We soon figured out, how to get the spare tyre off, which was a pain in the arse!! Unfortunately, I was missing a proper wheel spanner and neither of the guys had one. Therefore, one of them decided to drive into town and get me one! I had to trust him in that moment, giving him cash and seeing him driving off with it. But I’ve learnt, that at one point you just figure out who is trustworthy and who isn’t!
Time went past and the other guy and I were slightly concerned about him not turning up anymore. But he did! He even paid the difference and believe it or not: he offered me a job!!! As soon as I’m back in Taranaki, I can contact him and he will organize me a 6-week job, more or less well paid!! (No, I’m still not used to NZ – wages, after having worked in Australia!) How crazy is that?! That again shows that you meet people when you expect it the least! And of course, that there are people out there with a heart of gold!! ❤
The whole thing took way longer than the supposed check out time, but the lady at the reception just waved me through! They could have charged me for another night! 🙂 So I drove on and ended up in Napier. There was not really much time to explore left, so I decided to settle for the day.
I couldn’t quite believe my ears though, when the lady at the reception of the new caravan park asked me, whether it wasn’t a bit cold for camping… Uhm… yes!! It does get super cold at night!! But NO, I kinda haven’t got another option. This is the cheapest… Of course, I’d love to be in a warm and cosy room instead. That’s the life of a homeless person by choice 😉
What is even worse than the cold is the constant investment of money into your “home”. Especially, when it ends up to be more than expe…ed.. I mean, a lot more. I thought of spending 30, maybe 50 bucks to get that tyre fixed, that’s it… but instead… I ended up spending 500$!!! Gone! Just like that!! And you know why?? Someone messed up my car and put 3 different types of tyres on there.. apparently.. and one of them was worn out because the wheels weren’t aligned at all. According to the mechanic, what I was driving was illegal and if the police had stopped me, they would have taken the car off the road.. I don’t know whether it was really necessary to get 3 new tyres, but anyhow, I got 3 new tyres and a wheel alignment.. 500 bucks… I got it for a lot cheaper though! Normally the tyres are 175$ each and I got them for 105$ each! It helps, when you look like you’re about to cry, because you just realised that you spent almost all of your travel savings and you’re pretty much broke.
I could definitely feel the difference while driving, though. And apparently I will save a lot more on fuel now. What confuses me a little is, that the last mechanic that serviced my car, didn’t mention anything of the above… hmm..
As soon as that was all sorted, I could finally explore the area. And you won’t believe it, but a mysterious natural phenomen accured, which is not to be missed… th sun was out!! 😛
So I hiked up “Te Mata Peak” in the TukiTuki Valley. A 5.5k hike with the worst track-signage I’ve ever seen! I think, I’ve changed track accidentally about a million times! The views were sooo worth it, though! I’ve never seen valley – views like that before! Absolutely breathtaking!!
It was super windy but, which made the way back scary as! You basically had to walk on the outer rim of a hill. A windy, narrow track leads you along massive rocks on the one side and the hill on the other… Yes, the wind makes you lose your balance every now and then.. That was the scariest hike, I’ve ever undertaken! But you always gotta dare yourself, hey?! Of course, you had to share the track with other hikers and even cyclists! At some point, a guy, running like a bear was chasing him, past me, while I was trying really hard not to stumble 😀 I don’t know what the hell that guy was doing, but he made me feel like the most unfit person on planet earth!
I gotta correct myself: the worst signed track is the “Otatara Pã Loop”! First of all, a Pã is a formerly in use Maori defense base. Practically, a massive hill, with their living base in the middle of the crater, well protected. It was quite intersting to learn about it, but since there is not much of it left, I soon found the new inhabitants, the sheep, much more interesting! The lambs were sooo cute!
Anyway, as I mentioned before, the signage was bad!! It was supposed to be a loop, but at some point, the track just ended at a random street and you were left alone with your own fate… I had to use “Google Maps”, cause I had no bloody clue where I could possibly be… Took me 45 minutes to find back to my car.. What the heck?!
But I gotta give credit to the Kiwi’s this time, before I finish the blog post! If you wanna get fuel over here, you basically just drop your car off and get it refilled and washed, while you can use the bathroom or buy groceries or just wait in line! I don’t know why, but it’s super cute! Might be because the demand for fuel is lower. While in Australia, everyone is running to the same service station because it’s the last for the next 300ks, people in New Zeland can easily grab fuel wherever, whenever they want. Running out of fuel is quite unlikely! 😀
I’m sorry that this blog might be less exciting than usual. But it has a more personal note instead. Hope you don’t mind! I can release a second post this week, commenting on anything you want! Just leave a comment with any ideas, please 🙂