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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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See ya Straya – my 100th blog post!!!

G’day everyone! What’s up?!

As I’ve already announced before, this is my 100th blog entry!! And along with that there’s gonna be some changes, basically only one massive change: I’m gonna be switching to English from now on.. yeay!

So basically I got to enjoy the pure joys of being a backpacker again: carrying my backpack around, spending more than 3/4 of a day at the airport and getting no sleep!! Ahh! I literally feel like an infant that is not able to sleep through the night anymore! It’s like I’m slowly starting to get nocturnal! 😀 Speaking of infants: Guess what kept me awake all night on the plane while I was trying to sleep instead of vomiting… that’s right! 😦

Ahh well no sleep for me! I also can’t even remember having more than 1 meal per day anymore… I’m either just too tired and too busy or I don’t have money. That’s also why I’m sleeping on benches at airports… I pay heaps of money to live like a homeless person basically! 😀 But let’s not be so negative, new adventures are ahead!

2017-07-18 23.46.00

I even convinced myself to spend my last night in Australia in a hostel!! Although I’m trying really hard to avoid them, still being traumatised by my Mildura – working – hostel – experience! It was the same hostel that I spent my first nights in Australia in! Now I’ve got a nice frame, hehe… But, I’m still not finished with Australia that’s for sure!

So… time to say goodbye.. in a way I’m excited to see what New Zealand has to offer, but on the other hand, I’m devastated…  😦

My last impression of Sydney was not the best either.. Not that I did anything, but at some point I eventually started wandering around in the city and within half an hour I gave my phone number to two Japanese girls who wanted to invite me to a weekly meet up and I was about to subscribe to a 30$/month donation… I have a problem!! It’s like those people know that I don’t have the heart to tell them that I don’t want to buy a washing machine if they offer me one! It has become a serious issue! I don’t know how many people have my contact details already haha 😅

Anyway.. I made it to the airport.. and spent a few hours waiting… We left with a one and a half hour delay …  I have the feeling they run out of excuses in the end since they gave us three different ones… Good start! Didn’t know how to feel… Everything comes back to a beginning… A fresh start and a sad goodbye..

Sooo the day had arrived… They made me leave Australia.. a home for the past two years… (warning: this is gonna get sentimental :P)

Straya has defo tested me… mentally and physically!! Soooo many Down’s!! And by that, I mean serious ones!! I had to go through a lot here… BUT I always managed to pull myself through and get UP again!! Thanks to all those people out here that mentally supported and lifted me up again! People that I met during my travels and are considered more as family than friends! They make it even harder to leave this astonishing country! Breaks my heart that two years went by so quick!! I’ve defo changed! The best example is me back in Germany sitting behind the steering wheel scared to drive and me now having owned my own car, driving on the left, having gained the habit to steer with my thumbs and pressing the gas pedal with my big toe only, driving barefoot 😛 Don’t worry, I’m a responsible driver still 😛

But I also changed physically: got a weird thong tan line on my feet and my hair is a mess completely damaged by the sun 😦 BUT it was sooooo worth it! This changed my life!! I went 50000ks in my car!!! One full lap! And I only got my car after 10 months being here 😅

Of course, I’ve made a little montage too… because if you went to Australia and you didn’t make a montage, did you really go to Australia?! Just kidding, the montage kinda sucks. I used about 5 or 6 different devices to film… I had to go through 8sd cards, having about 5000 videos. It’s a long video and the quality varies a lot (sorry!). It sure doesn’t give any justice to what I’ve experienced over here though. You gotta come over yourself, sorry mate! 😛

I spent a lot of time on this video, although it doesn’t look like it! It is more a video for myself than for anyone else anyway 🙂

Fun fact: I broke 5 phones, 2 cameras, 2 laptops, and multiple charging chords while being here and I wasted 2700$ on mechanical emergency repairs and should have paid another grant!! Yes, I’m eventually a clumsy person!! Or maybe I’m just a person who makes her dreams come true!! “Can, will, did” – a quote that a good friend of mine inspired me with! The same person was also the inspiration for my new blog title!
Soo, new adventures are ahead: I’m going over to New Zealand!! And to everyone asking: Yes, I wanna study at some point, but life is too short, go out and live it first, I’m only 20!!

Here is the video:

Well, I realized soon that sleeping at the airport was not the best idea since the domestic terminal with all the sleeping options was closed until 5 am.. and the international arrival section was super noisy and uncomfortable.. so I decided to sort out things like my sim card. I’ve got a new New Zealand Vodafone number now.. and of course, they made me buy a new phone too because my old one is locked to my Australian Sim!! That’s phone number 6 within 2 years! I’m hopeless… Got some NZ Dollars and spent a sleepless night at the airport.. so let the preparations begin: New Bank Account, new debit card, new tax file number, car etc… love it! -,-  I was soo tired during the day that I started talking weird stuff: I actually apologized when my hostel roommate walked in seeing me sleeping!! Like, what the hell?! Hahah!

But Welcome to New Zealand!! ❤ And welcome to a 10 hour time difference!!

New Zealand is soooo very different to Australia! first thing: the weather! People here actually own winter clothes and umbrellas! The weather is crazy: changes between hail storm and sunshine within 5 minutes!! At least here in Auckland! Furthermore, it’s a lot more hilly! I have the feeling I’m actually joining a hardcore workout when walking up and down the main street!! The currency is really beautiful: I mean, look at those coins!!!

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The salespeople over here are still the same though… -,- 3 people in one day… Come on!! I wish I could just start exploring, but things need to be sorted, cars need to be bought and bank accounts need to be opened.. and I didn’t have much luck doing that stuff yet..

You know what I also realized: I’m getting too old for this stuff!! Here are sooooo many 18-year-old Germans!! It’s not even funny! I actually belong to the less annoying traveller age group now, yes!! 😛

I gave up on sleep the following night. There is someone here in my room that snores… obnoxiously loud!! Not even earplugs help!! So I literally walked around like the walking dead! See, everyone thinks travelling is a holiday, but you gotta consider how many of the basic needs we sacrifice, like sleep or a bed or food or toilets!! It’s exhausting! Buuut I still wouldn’t wanna swap with anyone else stuck in one place!

Zombie-like, I made my way to the Auckland museum, where you learn a lot about the Maõri culture, the indigenous people. What was even more interesting was an exhibition about volcanoes and the extreme danger that Kiwi’s live in! There are so many active volcanoes around, which are ticking time – bombs! It is said that it’s unlikely that a volcano near Auckland will erupt in near future, BUT it will happen, you won’t be able to escape and there is not much of a big warning… Great! How soothing!

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There was even a simulator for an earthquake resulting from a volcanic eruption. That was scary! They showed you a TV interview about volcanic activities and suddenly they get footage in about steam coming out of the water, a volcano – professor said “the eruption has begun” and suddenly the screen goes black and you feel the earth shaking and see a massive cloud of smoke coming towards you! Definitely made me think…

Especially because I went to the volcanic crater “Mt Eden” straight after, one of 50 volcanoes Auckland is living on!! And they are not all extinct!! It offers you a 360-degree view over Auckland and the crater, of course. It was nice but made me realize that I really don’t like cities, which I mentioned before.

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The good news is that I found a car!! It’s more like a van this time and an automatic, diesel. I don’t like automatic, but hey. But that means no more crazy 4wd trips in this car… 😦 It’s not really worth it here in New Zealand anyway. Still makes me sad though.. I’m gonna buy the van of two French – Balinese girls which I met at “One tree hill” another volcanic hill, that offers you 360-degree views over Auckland! Plus, I’ve seen sheep for the first time here in New Zeland!! I walked up there… 16km return!! I’m glad I had some company with my American roommate!! 16 km!! That’s an insane distance for a day walk… Or maybe I’m just unfit 😛 Anyway, I bought the car and hope it will last for a while since it has done quite a few ks already… but diesel lasts usually longer than petrol.. right?! I just hope for more luck this time! The van has a small kitchen, a table and a bed inside! Definitely a lot more space than my old Subaru! Let’s all hope for the best!

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Are you wondering how the wether was today? It rained! Are you wondering what it’s gonna be like tomorrow? Rain again , good guess!! Ahhh!!

Well, every new work & travel destination also has its downside, speaking of organisation!! But I finally got most of it organised now: I got my bank account set up, got my IRD number (tax file number) and I have found a car. We’re almost there. Just a few more things and the roadtrip can begin!

I got the car the next day, after walking half an hour through the pouring rain, and realized soon enough I walked to the wrong post office/ registration opportunity and it was really late. I neither got a chance to figure out anything about the car, nor could I register it in my name. It was dark fairly soon and I’m glad I found a sleeping place at least. Still, I didn’t have a chance to figure out how to put the sheets on the bed, where the fuel lever is, how to open the door from the inside etc.. a nightmare.. but tomorrow is a new day..

Have a good one!

Dani

http://www.bookme.co.nz/bookings/auckland/home#bb2b2

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