Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bay of islands

What started out as a day in Queenstown, ended with a night of homelessness in Paihia. 
Note: Travel plans do not always work out... No plans do not always work out. #winning

January 24th
Today I flew from Queenstown to Auckland and in my head, I thought I would be staying the night in Auckland. I arrived in Auckland, grabbed a sandwich from subway and made my way to a YHA Hostel. I was going to stay the night, but then I asked..."Is there any reason I should stay in Auckland tonight? Is there an event I need to go to, etc?" They replied with, "Unless you're into the city and nightlife, maybe not." Then I said, "Okay is there still a bus headed to Bay of Islands?" They replied with yes, and so I asked to get booked on it. An hour later, I was on a bus headed to somewhere in the Bay of Islands called Whangarai (pronounced - Fung-a-ray). I arrived in Whangarai, got off the bus and asked the bus driver where a hostel was and he looked at me blankly. He told me I should get back on the bus and go to Paihia because it was much more touristy. Since it was 7 pm at this point, I figured I would listen and got on the bus to ride to Paihia.
    On the way there, it came to my attention that there may not be any room in hostels because it was a public holiday weekend (175th anniversary for Auckland). On the way there, I texted some friends to get phone numbers for hostels and began calling to see if there was any vacancy in Paihia for hostels... there was not and on top of that, my phone ran out of credit so I had to stop making calls. OOPS. So I came up with a quick backup plan of -- if all fails -- I must find a campground and use my emergency tarp tent and sleeping bag and pray it didn't rain. Thank goodness I brought my sleeping bag -- it was a big debate between sleeping bag/aerial silk and then I decided I needed to bring my sleeping bag and silk even though it completely filled my entire hiking backpack.
     I got off the bus and met a friendly guy from the Netherlands (friendly, like a little brother you creep). I got this vibe that he didn't have a place booked either and I told him all the hostels were booked and said I was going to a campground if he wanted to join. I heard some sketchy stories about the area, so I figured, 2 is better than one and hey sometimes it's nice to have a guy around so other guys leave you alone #truestory. He joined, we found a campground that was shut down, but people were there, he borrowed a sleeping bag from the camp ground attendant who lived right by the area and we slept under the stars and listened to the waves crash. Not a bad way to start this trip out...

January 25th
I woke up to the sun shining down on me and slowly packed up camp. My new netherlands friend and I considered renting a car together to drive up north, but hey, everything was booked. Meanwhile we made friends with a group of Maori people camping by us and we both tried sea urchin for the first time... lets just say, it's not my favorite breakfast, but I'm very proud of myself for trying it #selfhighfive.

   We both split and made our way to our hostels and then joined up later to go to action world. I was determined to go to Action World because, they had a flying trapeze and... get this... it only cost $21 to get in and play on the trapeze and all the other fun circus things like monkey bars, a tight rope (up high too), a wobbly ladder, a slide, a trampoline, a rock wall -- Kairos Family, you would be in heaven --I know I was. As soon as I got there, I was so glad that my new friend had come with me because... there were kids playing on these action world circus toys, no adults, the adults were just watching.
     We started playing circus immediately and did the obstacles we had to pass off before going on the flying trapeze and then we flew. I have tried flying trapeze once in my life and loved it. I had a harness and it was super safe because it was a summer camp I use to work at in Pennsylvania. I didn't have to wear a harness here, I knew the risks, but it was worth the risk. My main goal was to swing from one trapeze to the next and flip and guess what I did it and it horrified me!! Seriously, one of the most thrilling and scariest things I have done. I had to fully let go and trust my body to go where it needed to go and trust my hands to catch me and trust my body to not flail into the bars, etc. I love flying trapeze #circusfreakforever.

    We later booked a boat over to an island called Otehei Bay. We roamed around the area and found rock natural rock pools in the ocean and then on the walk back, I discovered the coolest starfish in the world on shore. I didn't touch it because it was moving faster than I have ever seen a starfish move (which was still slow),  but I did make a movie. That starfish can be named patrick after the starfish in spongebob square pants.

January 26th
Today I woke up nice and early and roamed to meet up with some new friends from the day before. We were driving up to Kaeo to meet a bus company called Harrison's. We were going to see 90 mile beach (which is not actually 90 miles), go sand boarding, and do a short walk to Cape Reinga which is one of the most northern points in NZ. That tour could possibly be the best $50 I have spent and did I mention it included lunch and good company. I met an awesome couple from Wisconsin and I am hoping to reunite with them when they get to the South Island.
On a side note, tour ended, we drove back to Paihia and I decided if I was going to Scuba Dive, which I really wanted to do, but I had not really planned or booked anything then I needed to get to Tutukaka or Whangarai tonight. Words can not describe how stressful of a process this was, but all ended well. I made it to the hostel just outside of Whangarai at 8:27pm -- they closed at 8:30 and they had been very firm on that when I spoke to them (It was very stressful because I had to find a ride and such to get there and there were no more buses leaving Paihia). I also managed to book my dive with Yukon Dive last minute and everything magically worked out. Tomorrow I scuba dive Port Knights Island.

January 27th
Two months ago I left my home in Utah and 4 months ago a part of me died. Today I choose life, I generally choose life when I wake up in the morning and I was lucky enough to Scuba Dive at Port Knights Island just off of Tutukaka. I got to see colorful coral shadowed with kelp forests, an eagle ray, and some pretty large sized nudibranches. Weeee... I love scuba diving and getting in touch with mermaid brooke. On a side note... I think my camera is broken, it won't turn on and it appears water has leaked... that's sad.
   My shuttle came to get me after and I met this lovely girl named Jan-Et from Switzerland. I also booked the same bus she was on to get to Auckland so, we were in for spending some good quality time together after our dive. Lucky for me, we clicked and had quite alot in common. We got groceries together and did it ultra backpacker style -- grab a cart, through our big old backpacks in them, and roll around buying the typical things -- bread, peanut butter, granola bars, apples, bananas and then ran to catch the bus.
    We ended the night in Auckland going out to dinner with another friend, Lena, she had met earlier in travels. It feels so good to focus on the here and the now. I definitely hope to cross paths with these girls again! Over and out -- tomorrow I am off to Wanderlust and tonight I got to sleep like a beast, much needed.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Off to Wanderlust

Life just doesn't seem to slow down. I just worked my last day at a local restaurant here in Queenstown and now, I am free. I was a waitress for about 6 weeks, put my two week notice in after 4 weeks, and today after getting thrown in the lake by my co-workers, I am free. FREEDOM. Shortest job of my life!

After you graduate from University, you think you're a grown up, you think you've made it in life, you think you are going to get awesome jobs ... and maybe you will... and maybe you won't. I, for one, did not think I would be waitressing at the age of 25, but here I am living in Queenstown and waitressing at 25, again. I haven't done that since I was 21, but hey, you got to start somewhere or in my case, you have to suck it up and take what you can get. Considering I arrived in Queenstown just before Christmas came, the pickings were slim and I needed to suck it up and apply for jobs that were... not my top pick.... hence waitressing. It wasn't all bad though, turns out my co-workers were pretty close to awesome and it was sad to say goodbye to that job for that reason.

That being said, Sunday I magically saw one of my favorite musical artists was in New Zealand, I looked up if they had a show and .. they did .. at a festival called Wanderlust in Taupo. I thought to myself, "Hmmm, could I make it up to Taupo for this?" Then I looked up tickets... and died.. $595. No way in Hell I could afford that. However, turns out they were still looking for volunteers for Wanderlust, so, on Monday I applied to be a volunteer at Wanderlust and Tuesday, I found out I got accepted. Yesterday I bought a plane ticket to Auckland and now I'm #FunEmployed again and off to explore, volunteer, do yoga and other stuff I'm sure.

Do you want to hear my plan for this trip???? It's super detailed...

  • Buy a plane ticket to Auckland or Wellington, check.
  • Hitch a ride to Bay of Islands and stay there for a couple days
  • Hitch a ride to Lake Taupo and go to Wanderlust 
  • Hitch back to Queenstown... not sure when yet, but before Feb 23rd when Pole Camp starts.

So, as you can see, I'm quite the planner. I'm kind of freaking out a little, but so excited for this random trip that is about to happen. It needs to happen. It's going to happen in

Note: That when I talk about waitressing above, I'm not trying to speak down to people who waitress. I, simply, did not come to Queenstown to waitress, I came here to work in the tourism industry with a tour operator and I still plan on making that happen. I just came at one of the absolute worst times to find a job in the tourism industry so I had to accept other jobs that I was not to fond of. No disrespect to waitresses though.. Fo' Real.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Brooke in Wanderland: NZ 1

Remember the travel videos I use to make while I was in Fiji -- Bula Mi Fiji? 


Prepare yourself for the first episode of my New Zealand Travel Videos...

Brooke in Wanderland - New Zealand #1 
is up and rolling...rolling... rolling...

Watch it here:
I am Brooke in Wanderland

Well.. I said I was going to move away... and I did. I still find it hard to believe that I am here in New Zealand. It doesn't feel real, but it is...
On that note
Follow your dreams... and make shit happen.

Stepping into the Unknown:

I'm taking a step into the unknown...

Put in my two weeks at my job
and for my house

I'm moving on... and I'm moving out

I have my reasons, but I may be freaking out a little bit on the inside.

I do think this is for the best for me. Do what makes YOU happy.

Still Freaking Out.
[on the inside]

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Get Out and Live

It's not all bad when you work with good company and have sunsets like this outside of your work... 
Below is just some of the dream team...

After doing my first pole performance out here with QT Dance I made a couple friends. One of which who likes to go on hiking adventures, snowboard etc -- #soulsisters. My friend Mel and I drove up to Sylvan Lake just past Glenorchy and did the loop track and relaxed by the lake, so peaceful!
Nothing like some good trees to wander through...

After Hiking around Sylvan Lake with Mel, I got dropped off at the after effects of a horse race and hung out and went camping with some friends. I wanted to explore the area a little and got introduced to ... what I would call ... a red neck swimming pool. I have mixed feelings about this... because if given the opportunity... I feel like my friend Lacey back home would be into this. Right?

I have missed camping quite a bit. I love being outside and staring at the stars wondering what the world is going to bring. It was nice to escape Queenstown and go to Alexandra with friends for some fresh air... we even managed to have a fire... which is kind of rare I feel. Fire, moonlight... and a wild pig that scared the bejeezes out of me.

Cliff Jumping
Nothing like taking a break from this super touristy town. Although Queenstown is beautiful.. it can get absolutely crazy here and can be very overwhelming!

I was lucky enough to get to go do the Gibson Valley Wine Tour through my work and ... watch out world because I think I'm going to become a Wine-o! I got all edu-macated on wine and tasted about 10 different wines. Maybe... I got a little wine drunk off of it too because maybe... I am kind of sort of a lightweight because I don't generally drink. Wine is wonderful.
Why is wine so wonderful... it's an art really. Whenever you drink wine, you drink art.

And the wine with the cheese platter ... was a little slice of heaven.
Watch out world... I'm super classy now.

When I left New Zealand 4 years ago there were two things I wished I had done and I didn't because I was too low on money and time. One of those things was Milford Sound and yesterday I was able to go and see this place. I got to run go frolicking through the high grasses and stand in the wildflowers...

 I found beautiful waterfalls and rivers galore...
 I got to be one with the wildflowers...
 and I had good company too.... the 3 stooges yo. #BroHoes

 After driving up and through some of Milford Sound we did a boat tour and well, it was super pretty. It actually reminded quite a lot of the Alaska and taking boats between Sitka, Juneau and Skagway when I lived out there. I love it when things link together. It is a small world after all...
Majestic Cliff views and Seals... sitting on rocks... like pieces of poop 
(quote I heard from someone else on the boat).
 On the way home we stopped at a place called the chasm... and found clear blue water! It was so pretty I knew I had to jump in... so I did... and then I couldn't breathe because it was so cold. I sadly and coldly got out of the water and took a deep breathe. Why can't this be a hot spring... I love hot springs!

 Last, but not least, I became a bird whisperer for a couple minutes while we waited to drive through the one way tunnel. Say hello to my parrot friends.. there were 3 of them... and we had bird like conversations.. I love encountering wildlife!
That's all of now... hey. oh. let's go.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Years Resolutions

Last year I set a couple New Years Resolutions and although I wasn't able to accomplish all of my goals that I set, I am pretty happy with what I did successfully achieve. Below are the New Years Resolutions I wrote at the start of 2014 and my achievement ratings on it.... and then I have posted my New Years Resolutions for 2015 below that.

2014 New Years Resolutions:

1. Chest Stands: Get my feet to my head in a chest stand.
SUCCESS: I am nearly there and will continue to have this goal through 2015.

2. Middle Splits: Get flat..BAM!
SUCCESS: I am nearly there, therefore I claim success and will continue this goal for 2015

3. Trip to Banff: Make it happen!
FAIL: One day I will get to you Banff and even though I didn't make it to Banff, I did make it to all 5 National Parks in Utah... so I am going to claim SUCCESS anyways.

4. House Pretty: Work with boy to make house pretty.
No comment: House is gone and no longer all

5. Run twice a week for about 30 minutes...
MOSTLY SUCCESS: I did that for about 6 months out of the year which is better than ever before.

6. Drink less soda --
 SUCCESS: I drank less soda 

7. Eat less cookies: Only allowed to purchase cookies/sweets ready eat, once a month. 
SUCCESS: I didn't buy cookies often, until December 2014, then I had a vanilla wafer problem.

8. Scuba Dive: Anywhere.. I want to make it 40 and I'm at 39 scuba dives.

SUCCESS: I did two scuba dives in Hawaii and made it to 41 scuba dives! Weeee

2015 New Years Resolutions: 

1. Get feet to head in a forearm stand
2. Middle Splits: V- to the - G
3. Get Paragliding Certified
4. Scuba Dive at least 5 times this year (eventually get my dive instructor rating either this year or next)
5. Get a job with AJ Hackett Bungy
6. Do at least one big hike to the top of a mountain per month
7. Continue to do pole fitness and aerial silks
8. Eat Healthier than last year and drink less soda
9. Pay it forward
10. Take a holiday to Fiji and visit friends
11. Practice Flexibility 2 times a week at least
12. Run once a week for 30 minutes

On that note... Let's see what 2015 brings. I'm nervous and excited to see what comes from this year. It's been a bit of a rough start. I've been thinking a lot about the last year and how I ended up being in New Zealand. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to be here, but I am also in awe as to how I ended up being back here again after my last visit.

Cheers to fresh starts, pop tarts, and following your dreams. Live the life you want to live and every day try to do something that scares or challenges you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Everyday do something that scares you

Life suddenly got crazy. I got a job, I worked my ass off and I played every second I could over the holidays. What can I say... I try to keep myself busy. 

Christmas I worked heaps! When I say heaps, I mean alot, I mean 16 hours of work, I mean, that really sucked. So to celebrate Christmas, the next day I went out with some friends and we drove cars through rivers up to Mace Town and had a picnic. This sounds weird and it's a little weird to me too, but it is heaps of fun! We brought two cars up (thank goodness for that) and managed to drown the car I was in twice. There are ways to stop the car from drowning the engine, they sell car snorkels here specifically for driving your car through rivers.... Who would have thought?? 

 The Views though... 
I like pretty things in nature..

Anyways, it was fun and thrilling driving through these rivers and it was kind of neat getting stuck in a river and opening the door to water... and more water. Not a bad view for this mermaid! 

There is this jump people speak of called little thailand. One day my friend and I were driving by it and we decided we should jump it. Lake Wakatipu has never been so cold after that freezing drop into the glacier water #yikes #worthit #cleansed. 

 The view was pretty nice too, nothing like taking a plunge into water like this, no matter how cold it is.

There was a rumor that a company called The Playground had bubble soccer at a park here in Queenstown for a couple days and it was... so fun. My flatmate Caitlyn and I went to give it a go and it got pretty intense. The game ended with fresh bruises and a scratched nose. Bubble soccer is even more intense than regular soccer if you ask me and you should probably try it out if you haven't!
Practicing headstands in the bubbles is also a good workout, I bet you could hold it all day too!

Everyday I stare across the lake I see the magestic view of ... The Remarkables. They are quite a sight too, nice jagged ridges, like the kind I use to draw in third grade, but they are real and much cooler than my third grade drawings. I had just got done working heaps over the New Year and I was determined to go do a hike. Just so happened that my friend was keen to go as well and he suggested the Remarkables. So we drove on over and I was thinking we would just hike around the area, but not to the tip top. He thought otherwise #extremist which is fine, I like hiking to the tops of mountains, even if it is a little sketchy... and it was sketchy. 

For all you Utah people who have hiked angels landing, picture the last half a mile of that trail, now picture it narrower than that, now picture it without a rod or chains to guide you across that, now picture loose boulders that your climbing on, now picture it going up an extremely steep pitch and rock climbing with no ropes... that was the hike up to the top of the remarkables #sorrymom #Iwassafe #sketchy.
I'm glad I did it, it needed to happen at least once and it did. Also I found out after the hike that my friend's roommate had broken her leg up there about 2 months ago. So worth the view though... the pictures I took will never do it justice either because it was absolutely #beaUTAHful... (see how I did that, I'm clever). Also, did I mention that up on the remarkables there is a ski resort as well called... The remarkables.....

 Also let's note that climbing the remarkables was the perfect way for me to celebrate New Years Day. I had good company and snow! SNOW! SNOW KIDDING! #winterisnothere. I normally spend my new years day with snowboarding, but since it's summer here, It was so nice to be able to find snow and attempt sledding down the remarkables instead. Not a bad way to start out the new year...
Happy 2015.
Also, this next photo is proof I'm not hiking by myself... ever because I am safe because my family told me to be safe... soooo... seee that two people #donthikealone
This hike was seriously a big highlight once we got down to the bottom safely and the car broke down and we were stranded up on the mountain for a while. Being stranded wasn't bad though, it left time to watch the sunset and for this magic to happen....

mmmmm ... So Pretty!