Monday May, 24th
Wow, so I looked at the last time I posted and it really has been infrequent. I do apologize. Today marked the 21 day out of 22 that I’ve worked, so I’ve been busy, but I have been trying to have some fun too.
Out on the town with my German girlies
Work has been my main objective here in Christchurch. I’ve been temping, as I may have mentioned before, and I’ve had a variety of jobs, but I’ll get into more of that in a minute. I have made some good friends who have also been long-term stays here at the coachman backpacker, and we’ve been spending a number of days a week heading out for some good times.
And now to some of the main topics for this post. I asked in my last for questions about my trip, you guys delivered a few good ones so let’s address ‘em.
As for my biggest surprise, one thing that comes to mind is how long some of the travelers I’ve met stay on the road. When I left home, I thought I was going to be gone for a long time. I mean it’s nearly half a year, but some of my fellow backpackers have been traveling for a year or longer.
I just don’t know if I could spend that much time away from my family, friends, working and home. Maybe it’s because I knew I was only going to be traveling for five months, or maybe it’s because I’m not out on my gap year before heading back to university. But being away for a year or longer is something that is a bit of a surprise to me.
The rest of your questions;
What do I wish I had brought that I didn’t? A few more pieces of clothing. I would really like to have another collared shirt and at least another t-shirt. Oh and probably more socks and underwear, five days goes by a lot faster than I imagined.
What is the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far? When you’re broke and living on a budget, many things get sacrificed, beer and alcohol is never one of them.
What has been the thing that has pushed me out of my comfort zone the most? There’s been a few things that have stretched my comfort level a bit. Buying a car on my own, asking to stay a few nights at someone’s house that I’d known for only a day, randomly choosing a family to host me for two weeks and probably the biggest… getting on an airplane on February 10th to travel across the Pacific.
What is something I still hope to do before I leave? There’s tons still left to do and I can’t wait to get going again. Party in Queenstown, see the lakes near Wanaka, experience the amazing sights of Milford Sound, hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, sky dive, give surfing another go, get a taste of Australia and spend a few relaxing days on a sunny beach in Fiji.
What has been the most awe inspiring moment so far? There are moments when I’ve been like “wow this place is beautiful” and I’m totally in awe of the scenery (the Bay of Islands, Arthur’s Pass, Abel Tasman) but really I think the most inspiring has to be a day off I had during this working period I’m in the middle of. I spent it walking around the city center area and while walking past a monument to some of Canterberry’s most influential people I thought to myself “man it’s nice to have a break from working…but you know even if I’m working in some factory pulling tires or feeding bags of wool through a scouring machine, I’m still working in New Zealand and I really can’t believe I’m here experiencing this.” Sometimes life for the last month or so has felt a bit routine, sleep, then work, then food, then repeat. But even still this isn’t your normal routine, I’m in a completely different country, with people from all around the world. When I realize that I feel rather inspired.
A visit to Cathedral Square to the giant chess board
Sorry I haven’t checked in lately, I assure you I’m still alive and doing well 🙂 .
Your question about some of the low cost entertainment and local celebrations, well I have visited the free art museum. I only had enough time to visit on exhibit, but it was very interesting and I do plan on visiting again before I leave Christchurch. There’s also the botanical gardens, which I did walk through as well and hope to make another trip on a sunny day.
You also want to know about my jobs that have been taking up so much of my time. Well I’ve been working with a temp agency so I have gotten quite the variety. My first job was with Altex Coatings, they supply marine and industrial paint. I was mainly a receptionist/shop helper for them. I worked one evening shift with a company called Kaputone. They are a wool scouring company and I basically stood in front of a machine for eight hours feeding wool onto a conveyor belt. I spent two and a half weeks with Bridgestone Tyres (that’s how they spell it here), while there I was mainly moving tires. If they had shipping containers filled with tires, we’d unload them. If they had a container empty, we’d fill it. Not complicated, but rather exhausting moving nearly 5,000 tires in a day.
For the last few weekends I’ve been a cashier/mover for a retail shop called Impulse Imports. And lastly I work for a company called Vbase as a casual host and the only job I have done is one rugby game. I was basically an usher helping people find their seats, closest food and beverage stand and the toilets.
My current residence 144 Gloucester St CHCH
And lastly Grandma, yes I’ve met quite a number of excellent new friends while staying in Christchurch. The nice thing about being in one place for so long is that you get to really develop some good friendships (I’ve been here for a month and a half and will take off around the two month mark, longest I’ve spent in one place since I left!). It’s really made the Coachman Backpacker feel like home.
Me enjoying some delicious Monteith's
Yes I’ve definitely consumed my fair of local brews, and to be honest they’re not too shabby. I visited the Monteith’s brewery in Greymouth on the west coast of the South Island. They had a wide range of styles and flavors that were very tasty. While here in Christchurch I’ve frequented a local pub called Twisted Hop that I’ve been told makes a very good English style beer. They have a fantastic porter and the last time I had they’re new seasonal a very delicious oatmeal stout. I’ve also ventured towards the cheaper stuff and I’d have to say if I’m drinking economically, Speights has been my favorite beer.
Despite some decent choices here in NZ, I’ve been trying to sell Portland’s image as a beer town. I know I’ve perked some interest from at least a few fellow backpackers. I can’t wait to get back and head out for a drink or two. Lately I’ve really been craving a Beershake from Mcmenniman’s.
And lastly, Ryan;
Out on a Friday night pub crawl
I don’t really know if there was supposed to be a question in there but I’m sure you would have asked about girls or something like that. I’ve met lots of girls. Some from France, others England, lots from Germany, one from Denmark, a few from Utah, Argentina and so on and so on. You know as well as I do Ryan, I’m not looking for long-distance, so I’m looking for one petite enough to squeeze in my checked baggage, when I find that one, I’ll let you know.
Thanks everyone for helping give me some stuff to write home about. I’ve been having a great time while traveling. Even the time spent working has been exciting. Lately there’s been plenty of hanging out watching movies in the lounge, playing poker on the pool table, drinking games, pub crawls, late nights out until 4 in the morning (ya bars are open really late here) and even some time spent reading. That’s right, it’s not all partying around here!
The plan is to buy my airline tickets for a trip from Christchurch to Brisbane (AUS), from Sydney to Fiji and from Fiji back to Auckland this Friday after my next paycheck. Then around the 5th of June I’m headed back out on the road to see the rest of the south island and finish up back in Christchurch around the 12th. Fly to AUS on the 15th, travel done the east coast to Sydney and fly from there to Fiji on the 28th of June and then relax for a few days on the warm sunny beaches before heading back to Auckland on the 3rd and then back home to the states on the 5th of July.
I can’t believe there’s so little time left.
Hope there’s less time till the next post,