Holy moly, I cannot believe that we’ve been travelling nonstop for eight months now (Click here if you missed the first month’s summary of our slow travel)! We spent the first week in Australia and the rest of the month in New Zealand. It’s been a remarkable month where we saw a lot of wildlife (kangaroos, koalas, penguins, emus, seals, sea lions, glow worms) and we’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors. The most significant downside to the month is that we’ve been moving around… a lot.
I’m starting to feel drained with all the travelling and moving around. Australia and New Zealand are too expensive to travel slowly, so we’ve been relocating every two days to different cities. As you can imagine, our days are jam-packed. $50 a day for two people for accommodation is my benchmark in deciding whether we can slow down on our travels. Both countries clearly blow that number out of the water. Although you could do it if you stayed in dorm rooms at hostels. Not my preferred way of travelling though.
FYI, we stayed in dorm rooms twice this month. It’s not so bad as long as you don’t have a snorer (we did) or if you compare it camping.
We spent the first few days of this month visiting the Great Ocean Road in Australia
One word to describe the drive – breathtaking. I was swept away by the beauty.
And then I get to New Zealand and omg, every inch of the country is beautiful!
We rented a car (meet Kirby!) and drove around the island. While we had an idea of some of the places we wanted to visit, most days were unplanned. We decide on what we want to do when we arrived at the city/town or if we saw something interesting along the way.
All this moving around made me realize how much time is wasted when it comes to settling in and out of each accommodation. You unpack, then repack stuff the next day, then spend time checking in and checking out… it takes up precious time.
Month 8 | Summary of being a nomad
Dates Travelled: February 19, 2018 – March 18, 2018
Budget: No crazy unexpected spends this month, just an insane amount of spending because New Zealand is one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit. Gary chipped his tooth, and the visit to the dentist came up to be under $200. That was an unexpected spend. Luckily, we have travel insurance that took care of the bill.
Places Visited: Melbourne, Great Oceans Road, Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, Dunedin, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Glenorchy, Arrowtown, Wanaka, Hokitika, Nelson, Picton, Wellington, Taupo, and all the little towns along the way.
Items Lost: We lost our viewfinder eye cup on one of our cameras. We also forgot about our french baguette, pesto, and cheese at a hostel. I hope someone realized we forgot about it and ate the food.
What I Wish I Packed: Auxilary cable for the car so that we can listen to podcasts! We bought one for $4.30 NZD.
- Flew from Melbourne to Auckland
- Flew from Auckland to Christchurch
- Tour bus to travel along the Great Ocean Road
What I Miss: Being in one place. Chiang Mai. Toronto. I also miss having data and wifi that doesn’t run at the year 2000 speed. Most accommodations have a limit on wifi (think 300mb per day at some places!). All that time spent writing blog posts in advance in Chiang Mai (save for the monthly highlights) paid off during this data-drought period.
Scariest Moments: Hmm, where do I start? Well, our car breaking down was a tad scary, same with when Gary chipped his tooth more so because of the unknown factor. My MacBook adaptor not charging was another not so fun moment. I was quietly freaking out about how my laptop just died on me during my trip until I realized that a staple was stuck inside the adaptor. Whew. We also saw something crazy in Mount Cook… That is all I will say…
Funniest Moments: We had a huge bee fly into our car, and we spent ten minutes trying to get the bee to out of the car.
Here’s a funny photo that cracks me up each time I look at it!
Memorable Moments: Seeing a kangaroo in the wild in Australia. I was SO SO EXCITED and so happy! I honestly felt as if my life was complete. And then my life felt complete again when I saw wild koalas, penguins and, sea lions.
The crazy thing is that we saw the sea lions on one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been on, but I could care less. It made me realize how much of a priority I put on seeing wildlife versus beautiful views.
Oh, we also saw a baby blue penguin in the wild, which is the smallest penguin in the world. We also saw a whole army of penguins moving from the sea to the bushes in Australia – that was pretty cool.
Defining Moments: Completing a 20km hike for the first time in my life at Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This hike involved getting on all fours and climbing at certain points to reach the highest point of 1,886m. Yup, I did it. Despite not working out for over eight months and falling flat on my face within the first few km of the hike. My fall left me with a nice little gash on my knee that stung each time I took a step. Just imagine an inch long wound reopening each time you bent your knee.
Yucky Moments: Staying in a dorm room where the room smelled really bad. Like damp towels bad.
Thoughts and feelings of being a nomad in month eight
This month left me thinking and reflecting a lot on my fears and the built-up anxiety I had before I started my trip
I laugh inside whenever someone says to me that I’m brave because I am the BIGGEST chicken inside. I have this crazy imagination where my mind creates stories of the worst possible things happening, and it scares the crap out of me. But I know that I will have regrets if I let my fears prevent me from building my life, so I just, you know, jump in the pool before checking if there’s water in it. Another way to relieve my anxieties was by writing down my fears before my trip and then thinking of a solution to eliminate each fear. Some of the concerns are unreasonable while other situations can be avoided with awareness and planning.
As I look back over the past eight months of travelling, I realize nothing is ever as bad as I make it out to be in my head. And yet, it’s crazy how fear can paralyze one not to take action on something that could significantly enhance their life.
That’s the reason why I have a section in my highlights called “scariest moments” because the scary things when it comes to long-term travel are few and far.
I started feeling the travel burnout
The more I travel, the more I enjoy those moments where I have a few hours of nothing to do. No itinerary planning, no packing to get ready for the next hotel…nothing. I do look forward to vegging out to Netflix when I’m back.
“That sucks that we have to buy tickets to fly back home” – Gary
Sigh. The month where we started to look at dates when we’d be returning home
We’re out of space on the hard drive thanks to 1,234,504,392,203,948 videos and photos
Yup, Gary has said that to me more than once throughout this trip. Despite the fact that we tried to clean up our photos and videos during our mini break in Chiang Mai, we’re still out of space. Boo.
Learnings during month eight of being a nomad
Wear sunscreen when in Australia and New Zealand
I keep skipping the sunscreen because it’s chilly in New Zealand (ok ok, and I get lazy). Well my face now looks like a blotchy mess thanks to the weird tan lines
The realization that accents can define us
The first time I realized I even had an “accent” was during our second month of traveling when an entrepreneur from Chiang Mai asked me “where is your accent from?”
That struck me as very odd because I never saw myself as someone who has an accent. But I guess I do, and I guess perception comes with accents.
Leave signed passport photos at home with a loved one
We needed to get our international driver’s license so that we can go-kart around Tokyo. Because we didn’t leave our photos with anyone, we had to retake them in Chiang Mai and send them to our loved one. On that note, maybe the lesson is to bring your driver’s license and get an international driver’s license before you travel
Bring extra credit cards… just in case
We found out two of our no fx cards can no longer be used because the company isn’t servicing them anymore! Good thing we had a backup of the backup of the backup! By the way, in case you guys are curious, my debit card didn’t work in New Zealand. I’ve been trying to contact them, but it’s been hard with the 18-hour difference. I’m losing more and more faith in this fruit company.
Photography progress during month eight of being a nomad
Man… let me tell you, it was hard to photograph the church. For one, there were more clouds than we had hoped and two, so many cars had their lights shining on the church as they drove into the parking lot. There were also some dumb people who kept shining their flashlight or cell phone light ON the church. That was their attempt to get a good shot of the church, not realizing that their stupid flashlights ruined the lighting. I wanted to strangle them.
We walked to another dark area, and of course, the damn tourists somehow saw us and followed us! Ugh!
One girl had no idea how to use her camera, so she asked me to help her. Gary kept commenting how all these tourists have the best camera gear and lens but he doubts they know how to use them. Well, he was 100% right.
I helped her with her shot, and she was so amazed by it while I’m left feeling jealous of her incredible (and expensive) camera gear!
Another case in point. We found a tourist with an enormous lens and asked him to take a photo of us
Here are the results
I took this awesome shot of Milford Sound. I feel so lucky because this place rained all day and it rains 200 days in the year
Take a picture while you can
Don’t always assume there is a tomorrow – because the weatherman likes to lie!
I’m either avoiding the sun or chasing the light
I am always looking at the sun and seeing how I can take the best photos
I wish I could dress up while travelling too
I learned so much at the Wanaka tree
In case you didn’t know, the Wanaka tree is world famous. Why? I have no idea… but we decided to check it out and photograph it anyway. Our cameras have focal length limitations (BOO!), and since the pro photographers had the best spots, this shot was the best that I could do.
To add to the photo, I used my foot to make a small rock pile (see that one on the lower left?). People (including Gary) looked at me like I was crazy, but I didn’t care.
What’s next for our ninth month of travel
We have another week left in New Zealand before we head back to Asia! Japan is next! Can’t tell you how much I am missing Asian food!