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How to meet the locals (being an introvert)!

Would you classify yourself as a rather anti-social person and find it hard to meet locals. Or are you simply just disappointed, that you’re surrounded by people from your own nation, although you came to a foreign country to get to know the locals? Well, I’ve got some tips for you! I’m probably the most anti-social person among you, but I still managed to meet heaps of locals, that turned into friends for life!

1. AirBnb. The best way to meet locals is to stay with them and to experience their lifestyle. The easiest option to get in touch with them, if you don’t have any contacts is using certain Apps. AirBnB is perfect for booking cheap rooms and apartments. Perfect, if you want to have some privacy for a little while, after spending the majority of your time in hostels.

2. Couchsurfing. If you can’t afford to book a private room, couchsurfing is the best solution. Why? Because it’s totally free. In exchange for a few good chats, eventually a meal and a few tips and advises, locals let you stay on their “couch” for a couple of nights. Although people might find it risky, I am a huge fan of the app, having made some great friends!

3. Get out of the city. It’s almost impossible to get to know the locals when you spend the majority of your time in cities. Everybody is busy working or rushing to catch the next bus. It’s a lot more likely to meet people in smaller towns, where the atmosphere is completely different and everyone is just so much more welcoming!

4. Not everybody has bad intentions. This is pretty much the basic rule, you need to follow. If you want to make friends, you need to change your attitude: Not everybody wants to harm you! You surely, need to take precautions every now and then, but most people out there want to help you and are more than happy to meet someone international!

5. No fruitpicking. When it comes to jobs, I can recommend turning your back to the usually typical “Backpacker jobs” like fruitpicking. If you want to experience a welcoming atmosphere and true local lifestyle, other farm work, like outback station work, is what you should look for.

6. Be yourself. You don’t have to be an outgoing and social person to meet new people. Being an introvert can sometimes even be a perk. I have experienced, that locals often come to you and invite you over, when you seem to be insecure or lost. Don’t forget: Not everybody has bad intentions! There is always a way!

Dare Yourself – Prove them wrong!

Dani

P.S.: Only two more days of work and I’ll be back on the road! Which means, my blog posts will get a lot longer again!!

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We have all done it… **Backpacker confessions**

G’day everyone!

What’s up? Still everything as normal here on the farm. Well, to be honest, I got pretty sick (happens, when you work in the rain :P). It’s really annoying. Especially, when you work 7 days a week and getting a day off is not that simple. But not long and I’m finally free! To be honest, it’s quite tough for me here at the moment. People are going through a divorce and I’m somewhere in between. There is no happiness here in this house at the moment. It’s quite depressing.

Before I get into the article, I would like to point out, that someone actually printed one of my photos on canvas! Feels awesome to know, that someone likes my photos that much! Although it was not even one of my best photos, I’m still happy with the result:

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All right, here we go! 10 things, we all must admit having done at least once:

1. Washing your clothes in the shower and drying them with a hairdryer. Yep, that’s right. It saves you a lot of money for the expensive machines, that can cost up to 5$ per wash in Australia. Unfortunately, the washing machines don’t really do a good job, which is why I would never attempt to wash white or expensive. To be honest, most of my clothes are old, full of holes or from Kmart anyway. 😛

2. Stealing clothes other people forgot in hostels. Clothes are far too expensive. Moreover, we don’t want to waste money on new clothes, if there are so many adventures, that we could spend money on instead. Luckily, the cleaning staff in hostels often forgets to check underneath the beds, which is where many people forget their clothes. It’s simple: Wash it, wear it, it’s yours! Jackpot! No one would come back to claim back an old shirt, that has been sitting underneath the bed for months!

3. Fixing thongs with duct tape. Who needs shoes, when something like thongs exists. To the inventor of the thongs: You are a genius! Unfortunately, most of them don’t last forever. Especially not the 3$ thongs, that you pulled out of the vending machine. This is where duct tape comes in handy! Never would we think of getting rid of them! No, we fix them and wear them with pride. What about the old put-an-old-bread-bag-clip-underneath-the-thong-trick, hey? You all know, what I’m talking about.

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4. Sitting in front of buildings to steal wifi. If there is no library in reachable distance, most of us wouldn’t hesitate to sit in front of restaurants and buildings to get some of their free wifi. Even, if that underlines our homelessness even more. Data are fairly expensive and sometimes, you need to switch your priorities around a bit.

5. If it’s free – you take it, no matter whether you need it or not. Number one rule of backpacking! The word “free” turns into your absolute favourite word when you’re living on a tight budget!

6. Being willing to spend the night on a freezing bus/ train. It’s cheaper than a flight, plus, you save on a night’s accommodation fee. So why would we not spend the night in a super uncomfortable, freezing bus, with no chance to find any sleep? Makes total sense to me!

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7. You love to experiment to find out about the best travel hacks. As a traveller, you sometimes need to get creative in order to get a through. Throughout the years, we have developed the most creative travel hacks, that should be awarded. Let me give you an example: You don’t need a stove! When the kitchen is busy, you might as well take the cattle into your room and boil your eggs in the cattle. Thank me later 😀

8. You know more mechanics than National Parks. As much as we live our home on wheels, they are usually a waste of money. They are old and have done way too many ks. Plus, the need regular oil changes. Oh, and what was that rattling noise, that recently kicked in? Mechanics become your new best friend. Whether they rip you off or not, you tend to get really dependent on them, wherever you go.

9. You regret having taken so much stuff with you. Before you leave, you can’t imagine, how you could possibly survive on “so little”, but after you arrive, you will soon realize, that you have packed WAY too much. You will start to get rid of unnecessary stuff like hair dryers and that third pair of shoes. Carrying around an over-heavy backpack is not funny, trust me!

10. You’re never gonna feel “home” again. This is what travelling is all about. We lose our hearts in a certain place and wish, that we wouldn’t have to leave the country at some point. Well, the day usually comes sooner than expected. But once we’re home, we notice, that this isn’t  “home” anymore. Our home is somewhere else, on the other side of the globe ❤

Don’t forget to smile,

Dani

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Expectations vs Reality: Backpacking

Hey everyone!

Since I have recently lost all my money, I had nothing else to do than working my a** off. Why? Because no one told me, you had to pay for “road user charges” here in New Zealand. I already thought, it can’t be right, when I saw the cheap diesel prices… What am I talking about? Well, all diesel cars have to get a specific license and pay for their kilometres in advance, while petrol cars have to pay a lot more at the service station. Since I had no idea, that I had to get that license, until now, I had to pay for 7000ks that I was over already, plus another 3000 to keep driving for a little while. That was 620$ and thereby all the money, I had. The payment of my first job is already overdue. Hopefully, it comes in soon..

The bloody time change also killed me a little because I basically start work at four in the morning now..

Anyway since, my week was pretty similar to last week and the only “new” thing was, that I got to meet all the neighbours, here are some stereotypical expectations, that others and I had before I started my backpacking adventure and their harsh reality! How unexpected!

1. Expectation: You’ll spend a lot of time carrying your backpack around. Before I spend my travels, I often heard, that people thought, I would walk around in the desert carrying my backpack around with no other soul around. But come on! Backpacking doesn’t automatically mean, you end up as a nomad in the Sahara desert. In reality, backpackers usually always only carry a small daypack around, leaving the backpack in the car or hostel. Unlesd you have to take on half a daytrip with your backpack to get from your hostel to the train station, looking like a humpback whale: Your backpack on your back, your dayback at the front, another bag full of food in your hand and your phone with Google Maps open in your other hand.

2. Expectation: You will lose weight from all the walking. The above expectation is the reason, why people think, you might lose weight. I thought, I would lose weight, too. But not only because of the walking, but also because I wouldn’t be able to afford food, since food would probably turn into a luxury. However, in reality, you realize quickly, that fast food and instant noodles seem to be a lot cheaper than healthy food and is actually affordable. Usually not being able to carry dairy and vegetables around with you, you soon end up in an instant – noodle – addiction. Dangerous trap.

3. Expectation: You’ll have a lot of time for yourself. We have all imagined this scenario before. Sitting on a cliffs edge all by yourself, enjoying nature and thinking about life. But that’s all half the truth. In reality, you end up spending a lot more time around others than you asked for. In fact, there is always someone around you. Wether it is your hostel – roommates, other campers or a tourist, that is trying to enjoy the same scenario, you thought you had claimed for yourself. Even, when you stay away from tourist hotspots. You barely have time on your own… oh, this includes privacy. I don’t know, what privacy is anymore.

4. Expectation: You’ll figure out what you wanna do in life. “I’ll just take a gap year after school, so there is enough time for me to figure out, what I want to do in life.” You all know, what I’m talking about and you all know, that it’s a pure lie. In reality, you learn things about yourself, that you didn’t know before, which raises more questions than answers. In the end, we have more doubt, than we had before.

5. Expectation: Backpacking is a holiday. I always hear, that people envy my life. They tell me, that they wish, they could just take a two year holiday. Okay, first of all: you can! There is no excuse. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You can do anything, you want, if you really want it! But to be honest, backpacking is great, but certainly NOT a holiday.  There is a huge difference between vacation and travelling! In reality, we end up losing a lot of nerves organizing our life. While you don’t have to worry about anything on your vacation. You have to worry about everything during your travels. Whether it is the insurance, the accommodation or the job. Travels are not financed by mum and dad (usually). In order to be able to backpack for two years, a lot of effort is required!

Of course, these points are all based on my opinion and experiences. Don’t take it too serious!

Keep smiling!

Dani

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The effects of a disrespectful employer on travellers!

Hey guys, what’s up!

I decided, it was time for a change. Well, actually, it was all planned beforehand already, but I was quite relieved, when the time at my old dairy farm was over. I felt mentally abused, after being blamed for things, that I didn’t even do.

2017-09-18 19.41.49On my last day, I left straight after work and arrived at the new farm in Tirau at night, getting straight into work the next morning. But I didn’t mind it at all. I’m just a bit tired.

 

The job is pretty similar. Milking and feeding the calves, but over here, it’s all a lot employee – friendlier.

After the first milking on my first day, I got taken to a motorbike – meet up on a bigger, hilly farm. It was a lot of fun to watch! They even let me ride! I took a few shortcuts and was the slowest, of course, but you still have to consider, that I haven’t been doing this for long. Let’s just say, I won the race 😛

The farm is so high up, that you can see the ocean on top of the highest peak. It was a bit too cloudy for that day, but seeing this, was still impressive. The way up was already an adventure itself, though. We had to drive along the outer edges of a cliff to avoid getting stuck in the mud! A nice break from work!

For a moment, I thought, I would have to listen to a preach again and already tried to mentally prepare myself. But nothing like that actually happened.

Yes, this is what a disrespectful behaviour of your employer towards travellers does to you. This was not the first time, that I had to deal with grumpy employers and I’ve experienced, what effect those behaviours had and still have on me.

Many of the younger travellers, I included, haven’t had much work experience yet and have a tough time to find a job anyway. Many employers, don’t want to hire inexperienced people, especially no travellers. If there is someone that actually offers us the opportunity to learn, we can surely expect some mercy from the employer.

However, the reality often looks different. It’s normal to get told off about things, that you do wrong, obviously. But in contrast to that, I’ve been insulted and blamed for things, that I had nothing to do with; things, that I did not even know anything about and things, that I’ve seen others do, but I still had to take the blame. I had been told to shut up when I asked questions or wasn’t allowed to talk at all.

As a result, all the jobs, that required a little bit of responsibility were taken away from me. Just because I’m the “backpacker”, who “can’t understand English”.

On the other hand, I had to deal with sexist employers, that didn’t entrust me jobs, didn’t want to teach me or simply did not even give me a try, just because I’m a girl. While all the guys were allowed to go mustering, drive tractors, etc., I had to stay behind and clean. This resulted in me just learning how to drive the tractor myself when the employer wasn’t watching. Becoming a rebel, because I was too scared to stand up for my rights in front of my employer, fearing to lose my job.

Now, what other effects does this have on us?

Short-term effects are clear. We become really insecure, about anything we are doing and stop asking questions since our employer becomes a really intimidating person to us. This then results in more and more mistakes and a very depressed mood and atmosphere, while we should actually use these opportunities to increase our experience – horizon.

Long-term effects are the more important ones. The jobs we take on during our travels are usually our first proper jobs, besides little part-time jobs, we did at home. They are our first real working experience! Getting treated like we were just a random person from another country, that doesn’t deserve to be treated like the locals, will leave a wrong impression, take all our motivation and will turn us into a scared and insecure character, rather than a confident person.

All that confidence, that has been built up during our travels as independent individuals have been damaged within a second. And we will take this behaviour from one job to another. We’re dragging the weight of our insecurities around with us on our shoulders, no matter, which job we take on.

This is not how it should be and this needs to stop! But you can’t just change the attitude of a person. They have to do it themselves.

This is just my experience, but I’m sure, some people went through the same. You have to be careful with the job choice, but of course, it also has to do with luck! Don’t let this bring you down! I had a lot of awesome jobs, that I really liked, too!

Just keep smiling and try to stand up for yourself!

Dani

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The Dairy – Farm – Life

Hey guys,

Just one thing:

If you ever thought your job was hard, you have never worked on a dairy farm! I’m exhausted as hell and that after only one day of work!

So the job basically consists of starting work at 5:30 am, sometimes even 4:30 am bringing 400 cows in, milking 400 cows twice a day, feeding calves, cleaning the shed twice a day and other odd jobs around the farm. You might think, that it sounds like nothing, but milking goes into arms and back, trust me! You really gotta bend down and stretch to reach for the tits sometimes! Plus, you have to hold all 4 cups up all the time, while you feel for them. Other than that, you gotta watch out for the cows tail. If she lifts it, you better step back! 😀

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The hose you use to clean the shed is not the lightest either! But I’m not gonna complain! It’s good money, since you work so many hours. And on top of that, I get to see cows with a full utter running every day. It’s the funniest thing, you’ll come across! They just waddle around like penguins, it’s hilarious 😀

I live in a shared house with a 34-year-old and a 32-year-old Filipino, who work here full time. Both are a good laugh 🙂 One night, we went out to the “Hamilton Night markets” for dinner and they paid all the food for me! Apparently, it’s normal for Filiponos to just pay for all your excesses! Another night, I just got invited to a random persons Filipino birthday and got to try a lot of Filipino food! Very hospitable people!

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You can tell, the owner is exhausted though. Besides me, there are only two other workers and I’m only here for two weeks! He actually asked me, whether I could stay longer, but since I already accepted the other job, I had to disappoint him. To be honest, I don’t think, I could do this for long anyway. I love working on sheep and cattle stations, but dairy farms are not my world.

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Surprisingly, I have been recommended to another dairy farm in Tauranga, although it was just my second day and I’m basically not even looking for another job! But my employer told me, I had good milking potential in me! 😀

On other days, however, I’ve been ignored completely and everything just went wrong. Two different people keep telling me two different things (and that not properly) and I never know what to do (sometimes just because this is all new to me and I’m not an expert)… It is apparently hardly acceptable to make mistakes and I, unfortunately, got blamed for things that weren’t true or not fair. Some days, I feel, like I am too dumb for the job… Especially, when they don’t trust me with jobs, that need only the slightest bit of responsibility…

On the other hand, however, I really get the feeling, that I can use my learned skills! Thanks to my motorbike lesson and droving experience, I can now go out into the paddocks and set up electric fences. I’ve done so much fencing already, but I’ve never set up electric fences. It’s not hard, you just gotta be careful. Especially when the ground and everything is wet! I also got to bring herds in from the paddocks, which basically means mustering and droving.. in a way! They even let me do it on my own! I love it! *-*

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But the thing with dairy cows is, that you don’t really need to muster or drove them, they’re so used to the milking process, that they already go everywhere themselves -it’s crazy, considering, that I had to push sheep by sheep into the shearing shed in Australia! Of course, you still have to muster them together and push them in the right direction, but they know where to go and they know what’s happening. Mustering dairy cows is definitely different to mustering beef cattle!

My absolute highlight working here was, that I finally got to drive a buggy and to ride a quad bike! Now, I can tick that off my bucket list! I told them, that I had never done it before, but they didn’t seem to care and just made me pull a 500kg trough into a paddock! I’m glad, they trust me that much, haha! But all went well and I made another life – experience.

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This whole farm is a demonstration farm on a huge school property, meaning that I can be sure to be taught properly since they often have visitors, who can expect certain standards!

By the way, just a quick update on my book: I had written 40 pages already, but now they are all gone…my file corrupted itself with no chance to recover it… all that happened after my photos had been rejected from my first ever photography request, that I’ve been offered, I broke my phone and have no internet now anymore, since this was the phone that had the sim card inside, plus I’ve realized that I put too much effort into this website for almost nothing.. I mean, I love creating and writing, but all this effort gets less reward and acknowledgement than expected… Things are not going too well at the moment, but I can’t help it anyway. Life goes on…

… so I bought a proper laptop, made sure I save everything properly and started all over again.

Never give up!

Dani

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