Short but Sweet
Raglan & Rotorua

Raglan was amazing. The moment we stepped off the bus and into the small downtown area... my entire body breathed a sigh of relief and relaxation! The air was still, the town was quiet, you could tell this was a place that didn't possess a lot of clocks! It was wonderful!

This little surf town on the west coast of the North Island prides itself on its ability to relax, let go and enjoy life! After a few days in the active downtown Auckland area, and a few hours and a few buses on our travel day, we were very pleased with just how relaxing Raglan felt already!

I have stories and stories to share about Raglan, but those will be saved for when I have more time on a computer.. and hopefully when my laptop decides to un-break itself... it happens right? hah. We spent five nights in Raglan and although we were ready to take the next step on our journey when the time came, we both decided that it is worth a re-visit within our year here in New Zealand! One thing I learned there, I really, really enjoy a relaxing morning sitting in the sunshine in an outdoor table and chair out front of a coffee shop in a not-too-busy downtown, sipping a delicious latte and just... being. It's wonderful. Exactly what I needed/wanted/dreamed of!! yay!

We tried to buy a car in Raglan.. a Toyota Camry Station Wagon... it was perfect for our needs! Not too old, big enough to sleep in if needed, cheap and within our price range, and being sold by a guy from Tofino... perfect? I'd say so. Sadly.. he sold it to some other guy before he even let us talk to him... in Luke's words "Where's the backpacker love?" Sooo, after many complaints between us about how much that tofino guy realllly screwed up our plans, we changed our plans. (haha, as per usual when backpacking right?) We figured out how to bus to Hamilton, then on to Rotorua. [row-toe-roo-ah]
First night in Raglan
Raglan Sunset Love
Raglan Rain Forest

read about our bus mishap below...

We spent 4 hours in the bus depot in Hamilton, and after such a wonderful time,  we clearly wanted more.. so we missed our bus to Rotorua... by 3 minutes... due to an intense card game! True to style for both Luke and Deanna. We just laughed at each other. ridiculous! Soooo, we spent another 3 hours in the bus depot (Hamilton didn't seem to have too much to offer, and we had all of our gear too) avoiding playing cards again, until we finally gave in to setting an alarm so we couldn't miss the next bus.

Sue had warned me that Rotorua is really smelly. Really smelly is an understatement. It STINKS! Literally. It has to do with the geothermal activity across the entire city, and the smell is of sulphur, stinks like egg! bleh. But so far we've really enjoyed it. Lounged this morning in a natural hot spring while getting to know our new friends from France and Ireland.. who we now are going to be travelling with. They have this bright green campervan they've rented.. like NEON green!! All 5 of us are going to roadtrip together from Rotorua to Wellington (the bottom of the north island) with a few fun stops inbetween.
sharing a beer in a natural-sourced outdoor hottub
This is what I look like when I hike!!
I have oodles more to share but will do so at a later date! We're having a fantastic time and are very happy we're here! Today was the first time we brought up Tim Hortons!! The coffee here is expensive and it seems to be rare to find a cup of regular coffee, always espresso. So Luke hasn't been too impressed. We reminised about a big delicious cup of Timmies, two milk, one sugar for me - double double for him. It felt nice.

I have heaps of photos and videos to share.. will do down the road.

Sweet Dea & Dukey

this song was on repeat while I wrote this so I thought I would share it ... probably for the younger audience only ;)

Auckland! Auckland! Auckland!

Auckland is a very unique city! Before arriving here I had hear it was quite comparable to Vancouver, so this is what I was expecting. I guess in some ways it is. there are lots of people, all over the place. There is a beautiful waterfront, right on the ocean. Some of the buildings are really quite gorgeous and the weather can change in a matter of moments! 

One thing that I always notice about a new city is what people wear. There really is no standard here. You'll see tow girls walking together, one dressed to the nines, decked out in sky-high heels and jewels all over her, and her friend will be wearing a messy sundress and converse sneakers. It's a bit random, but it definitely makes me feel better about my backpacker wardrobe!  

The buildings are unique! Really really old character buildings in among brand new all glass towers. There are palm trees all over the place and it is very humid. Their trees are massive!! Not really tall like in Vancovuer, but very very wide and big. It's quite neat to see. The drivers are very entertaining, just honking and honking for what appears to be no reason at all. 

Our hostel, ACB Base Backpackers, was right off of Queen Street, the main strip of downtown. (Thanks for the heads up about Queen Street Sue!) It was nice to just wander up and down the street, looking at all the shops and people. My favourite part of downtown is at a busy intersection. The traffic lights stop cars in all directions and a big mass of people walk in every direction in the middle of the road. It's beautiful chaos. You have to be careful though, this only happens at a few intersections.. and seeing as they drive on the other side of the road, we're still adjusting to which way to look first before jetting out into the street. 

Realizing that we aren't really downtown people, we did some fun day-trip excursions, exploring the outskirts of downtown Auckland. We went trekking to One Tree Hill - a historical monument on top of a hill, Mount Eden - an old volcanic cone, and wandered along the fancy Parnell Village. Everything here is just so BIG!! The green spaces are massive amounts of rolling green hills, all very lush still for it being the end of their summer. 
We saw our first sheep up on One Tree Hill. This was a very exciting moment for the two of us! We baaa'd and raaam'd and ewe'd ... just like on Babe, but the sheep weren't big fans of that. We learned that we haven't quite honed our sheep-speaking abilities yet - all the sheep just got up and walked away from us. Give it time, they will come! We'll make friends.. just you wait!! 

New Zealand, at least Auckland, is definitely more expensive than Victoria. Just a plain, drip-coffee, size small is usually $4! So a latte is a truly delicious and wonderful splurge! Is it wrong that I care more about a delicious cup of coffee than a healthy meal? :s hmm.. priorities.  
Internet is usually $3 for an hour, unless you find one of the few coffee shops that offer you one hour wifi in exchange for buying something. Currently I am happily seated in an Esquires coffee shop, looking at a teeny tiny adorable birdy happily bouncing around the coffee shop beside me.
It is rainy here today, but still very warm!

More on Auckland and Our Next Adventure

I have come to my own conclusion that there is no rhyme or reason as to why New Zealanders do what they do. Prices for things change randomly throughout the day. why? Just because. They never have a reason. They build brand new beautiful buildings right beside old, run-down shacks that look like they'll barely last one more winter. why? Just because. We asked four different bus drivers the same question and got four different answers as to how to get to the same place. And I think they were all wrong.. haha.. Luke just got us there with his own sense of direction. Oh.. turns out, Luke is a great day-trip planner and has a wonderful sense of direction!! I am very very verrrrrry thankful he possesses these skills!! For anyone that knows me well enough knows that , well, I get lost in my own head, let alone trying to find my way around a new city!! 

Today Luke and I begin our "around the middle of the North Island" adventure for at least 5 weeks we'll be trekking around and stopping in a bunch of neat little cities. We'll be busing on this adventure!

Raglan - a little surf town with a cool vibe
Rotorua - a unique town with lots to see and do
Waitomo - to do some underground cave adventuring
Taupo - because we heard that it's cool
Tauranga - to try our hand at working on a farm!
Wellington - because we heard its a lot like our little Victoria

Auckland, New Zealand - Here We Are!

We did it! We made it here to Auckland, New Zealand! We finally made it to our travel day, the day of 18.5 hours of being in transit, sitting on planes, making transfers, passing time... we made it! The travel really wasn't too bad at all, and lucky for me I chose my perfect travel buddy! We laughed and laughed - especially at our ridiculous attempts to get in comfortable sleeping positions on our 13.5 hour overnight plane ride. Our first day has been a good one! Very sunny and warm and beautiful. We wandered around a good majority of downtown Auckland - lucky for me Luke is a bit better with directions and remembering where he has been before. Then we booked into our hostel, had a "short" 3-hour nap and we were at it again. Wandering around the downtown core, enjoying all the people watching. :) Fun Fun Fun! 

Here are a few of my New Zealand first impression observations:
The seagulls are TINY! Like the size of pigeons! Either we have mutant seagulls in Victoria - or New Zealanders don't leave much garbage for them to feed on! 
  • There seems to be no New Zealand fashion - it is purely wear whatever you like! 
  • Internet is very hard to come by and costs for every time you use it! Even at Starbucks!
  • There are lots of hostels to chose from, but we think we made the right decision!
  • Our first hostel meal - rice, carrots & beans! cheap cheap
  • We already think we brought too much stuff! Fail
Luke and I both love sunshine! And Auckland! And being fun-employed! 
Excited for our 18.5 hour travels to New Zealand! Wasting time @ YVR
Where are you New Zealand?
First beer in NZ at a slanted bar 
Thinking of you Tingy
Getting Exciiiited
Sky Tower in Auckland
There's New Zealand!

More About Our Final Day In Canada Below


Why Not?

Recently a few friends have expressed to me that they have been following my blog. And not only that, but in following my blog, they have even been a little bit inspired! Inspired!? Talk about inspired!! Each time I hear that someone is enjoying reading my ramblings it genuinely makes my day so much better! It is wonderful to have created a platform for my many thoughts and rambles, but to know that someone actually enjoys what I have to say, well, that's the dream! Thank you to Kate, Melsa, Christine and Kelly for taking that extra moment to share  this news with me! It was very much appreciated!

Dream. That's an interesting word isn't it? Dream. All throughout our childhoods we are taught that we can do anything, and to always remember to dream. And dream big! So, why is it that as adults, suddenly our dreams become unattainable. Who makes them unattainable? Is it your boss? Your bank account? Society? Your debt and mortgage? Or is it just, you? 

And by you, I mean fear. Fear of failure. Perhaps fear of success? Fear of truly being happy and doing what you want to do, instead of what you need to? Fear that maybe you don't really know who you are, and what you want? Everyone is unique, and has their own fears. But what I don't understand is why it is so common to simply settle for what you're supposed to do, instead of seeking what you want to do, your dream!?

My theory in an attempt to combat these fears..."why not?" When presented with an opportunity, I ask myself, why not? All the "nots" that I come up with are usually fear-driven, so I take them out of the equation. And to be honest, the answer becomes pretty clear! 

If you want to try something.. why not set yourself up in a way that allows you to try it? Surround yourself with the things and the people that you would need to make your dream happen. I have reached out to my entire network, and beyond, asking for advice, tips and tricks on our upcoming travels to New Zealand. I have been met with fantastic responses. So many people are more than willing to lend a hand, an ear, an afternoon or an email address, in order to help out another. It's truly amazing. And I think it should utilized and celebrated more often.

And just trust yourself! Believe that you truly can make your dreams come true. Whatever those dreams may be! And even if those dreams are ever-changing, as I feel that mine will be, go with the flow. Trust that you are, or can become, adaptable enough to create the life that you want. Because really, who else is going to do it for you? 

Need a brief pick-me-up today?

Click here to see what
I use for those days!

"Dreams can at times make a creative thought occur to the person or give a sense of inspiration." 

Social Media - Foe or Friend?

Social media is a phenomenon. It is brilliant, scary, overwhelming, overpowering, and has become a way of life!  There are many people that stick to seeing the negative aspects. Social media does involve divulging a lot of personal and individual information to the entire globe, to any one with access to the internet. It causes many people to spend the majority of their time looking at their cellphones while standing in line, waiting for the bus, out for lunch with friends or even driving their car.

However, I have always known that there is an incredibly positive side to social media. I knew it was there, and had a vague idea of the possibilities it possessed, it just needed someone to bring forward the cause and action required. xxx has done this! 

If you have a few moments to witness how social media is attempting to change the world.. please watch this video below. 
motivation inspiration | passion | community | support | ability | resiliency
Do you have all of these^in your life? On a daily basis? Readily available for you to pull on at any moment that you may need them?  If you do... wow! Good for you! If you don't, welcome to the other 98% of the world. (rough personal estimate of course) 

It would appear, in the news, in the way people flock to reality TV shows, in the amount of things that people buy that they really do not need, that people may be not be as happy as they could. But what could be the cause of that? 

Consider these thoughts for a moment:
"Give without remembering and take without forgetting"
Sandra Yancey
"Release attributes not congruent with who you want to be"
Kerry Brown
"Foster your most positive attributes" 
Kerry Brown