A Travellerspoint blog

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Backpackers...

Gang Aft Agley (Due to ‘Acts of God’)

Hello all

It’s been a while since I last updated, mainly because we’ve been doing so much driving recently. Since Christchurch we have driven the rest of the way down the east coast of the island through Oamaru to Dunedin (which we loved), then on to Invercargill (which we didn’t like at all). Yesterday we drove approximately 400 kms from Invercargill to Milford Sound, then a long way backtracking again because we couldn’t get accommodation. Most frustrating!

Anyway, I shall update you on all of that properly in a later post, ‘cos the purpose of this one is really to inform everyone of our change of plans. In our first blog entry we announced our intention to leave New Zealand and tour Australia. We chose Oz for several reasons:

1. It’s a country with which Pete is already familiar, so it wouldn’t feel too strange as our first foreign destination.
2. It’s a safe country, as far as these things go. We reckoned the worst we’d have to put up with was perhaps being called 'Whinging Poms', or being made to watch Mel Gibson movies or something.
3. There are a whole bunch of people in Oz who we can’t wait to see again.
4. Although there are poisonous snakes and spiders and nasty things like that, I have it on good authority that you hardly ever see them in the cities. (I really hope that’s true!)

Of course, since this decision was made, poor old Australia had had rather a rough time of it. As well as snakes, spiders and Kylie Minogue, the Ozzies have also had to put up with:

    - Those terrible bush fires in Victoria
    - Dengue fever in Cairns
    - Drought
    - Floods
    - Extreme temperatures in Melbourne and other areas.

So, to Claire, Donna & Pete, and Beccy & Marcus, we send our apologies. Our sympathies are with everyone affected by the horrible events of the last month or so, but we feel that it would be better to wait until things have settled down and the country has had a chance to recover a bit. We will come and visit you all eventually, but it will be later rather than sooner. (Donna and Pete: Keep that cocktail mix chilling for us, okay?)

Our provisional schedule now looks like this:

1. Leave New Zealand and head to Japan for a couple of weeks;
2. Go to America and tour the southern states before summer arrives and we melt from the heat!

It’s a theory, anyway.

I will post again either tonight or tomorrow morning with proper details of what we’ve been up to as soon as I’ve worked out how to upload photographs to my blog pages.

More very soon

from

Julie & Pete

Posted by Julie1972 00:41 Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Of Packing and Pantheons…

Or how not to move house

Hello again, all. I know I promised I’d post again before leaving Auckland, but obviously I lied. I did have a good excuse all lined up, but I forgot it; you’ll just have to trust me that it was a good one!

Given that I am now writing at you again, you may safely assume that we survived the past week and got all the boring moving stuff out of the way. Actually, I spent most of that time being very concerned with gods. And goddesses, come to that. The ancient Greeks and Romans had a heap of ‘em, and the ancient Egyptians had almost two hundred, as far as I can tell. Me, I’ve been trawling the ‘Net looking for one: the one. The one that would help this awful cleaning/packing/sorting/storing routine go a little easier. I thought if I could find a god(dess) or two to lend a helping hand, the move might not be such chore.

I started off looking for major gods, hoping I could find one that went by the title of the God of Moving House Quickly and Painlessly, or something similar. The only thing I could find that was house-related was in the form of a couple of goddesses called Hestia and Vesta, both of whom are considered protectors of the hearth and home. Not exactly what I was looking for (though I did take the ‘hearth’ part of their descriptions under consideration and thought briefly about burning the darned house down. Not to worry; I did not act on my pyromaniac tendencies, if only because we don’t have contents insurance!)

So, on with the hunt. I did get a brief glimmer of hope out of the Roman god Bacchus, who has the enviable job of being in charge of the wine, but realised that getting tipsy, while pleasurable, would not help the packing process any. Janus, the two-headed god, confused me by being listed as the god of beginnings, endings and doors. (Doors? Why? Why not windows or floorboards or something instead?) The Romans liked their door gods, as it happened, ‘cos I later found another one, Portunes, who is the god of doors, keys and livestock. So next time you lose your keys, try offering up a T-bone steak to Portunes and see what happens.

Actually I’m convinced that the Romans were getting desperate by the time they came to assigning roles to their minor deities. Some seriously time-wasting jobs include:

Notadus – god who ties knots in stalks of wheat. (What on earth for?)
Potina – goddess of children’s drinks. (I wonder what she’d make of Sunny Delite and Ribena?)
Spiniensis – a minor agricultural god to whom one prays before attempting to remove thorny bushes. (I wonder if he should actually have been named the God of Splinters or the God of Ouchies?)

And my absolute favourite:

Viriplaca – goddess of marital strife. (People are more than capable of causing that for themselves without divine intervention, surely?)

The Greeks were just as bad, having Ate as their god of foolish acts, and the Egyptians came up with one especially for you guys in Britain: Tefnut – god of rain, dew, clouds and wet weather. I’m pretty sure there’s also one for making the British train service the most inefficient in the world, but I haven’t found it yet. I imagine s(he) would be named the Goddess of Leaves on the Line or the God of the Wrong Kind of Snow. I’ll let you know when I do…

So, entertaining as these ancient deities may be, they didn’t help me any on my quest to find someone to help us with the move. No wonder these pantheons became obsolete: they’re blooming useless! I wasn’t really asking for much. You know, perhaps a minor god that would help pack irregular-shaped objects into cardboard boxes. I’d just have to sacrifice a couple of marker pens and a roll of bubble wrap, and voilà, everything would fit perfectly.

Or how about a goddess for removing stubborn dirt marks off cream-coloured walls? She’d be useful, as would the god of getting stuff down from high shelves without straining something. Or a goddess that would help me squeeze two-thirds of my wardrobe into a medium-sized backpack. Better yet, I’d like one that could get two-thirds of my books into a medium-sized backpack. Clothes I can live without, but I have no idea how I am supposed to cope having only one book with me at any particular time. For heaven’s sake, I usually have three on the go simultaneously!

Sadly it was not to be. We did finally get everything sorted, but we had to do it without other-worldly intervention.

The moral of this story: if you’re moving house, don’t waste time playing around on the Internet. It won’t help!

Right, I’m done waffling for now. I assume you all want to hear some sensible stuff before I go, right? Okay then, happy to oblige:

We finally finished tidying up our house in Mairangi Bay on Saturday evening, and happily got our bond (deposit) back. Our landlords also very generously offered to help us get rid of some larger items that we couldn’t fit into our packing container, which was a relief. We have been without a car since Thursday, so things like trips to the rubbish tip were out of the question.

Saturday night and Sunday were spent recovering in a hotel in Auckland. We did very little except eat, sleep and complain about our aches and pains from the move. 'Nuff said.

On Monday we stopped moaning long enough to get our stuff together and hike to Britomart train station to catch the Tranzscenic Overlander from Auckland to Wellington. (That, for the record, was 12 hours of pure misery. Never again!)

Yesterday was spent shopping (through necessity, as Pete’s backpack decided to fall to pieces on him), wandering round an Impressionist art exhibit at the Te Papa museum, doing boring stuff like booking flights, motels, cars and insurance, and eating wonderful food at a little Lebanese restaurant we found last time we were down this way.

I am now writing this at 9.20 on Wednesday morning, just a few hours before we are due to leave Wellington and fly out to Christchurch. I am happy because this will be a mercifully short flight – just 45 minutes – and we will arrive early in the day and have time to go and do some exploring.

I hope that everyone is well out there! We shall write again soon (and I promise to try and make my post a little more coherent next time.)

Bye!

Posted by Julie1972 12:18 Tagged packing Comments (2)

The FAQ Page

Everything you never wanted to know about our world tour, but we're going to tell you anyway.

So you’re off around the world, then?
Yup.
Why?
‘Cos it’s there. And travelling’s better than working for a living, obviously.
Where are you going?
Um, we’re not sure, exactly.
How long will you be away?
Er, we don’t know that either.
Is there anything you do know?
Sure, lots of things. For example: beer is good; cake is fattening; boy bands are annoying.
You know what I mean.
Alright, alright, we know what you mean. Look, all we can say at the moment is that we have no definite plans. We have a vague idea of the kind of places we want to visit, but we haven’t got a predetermined schedule. We’re just going to play it by ear and see what happens.
So what are these ‘vague ideas’ of yours then? Honestly, for a FAQ page you’re not answering very many questions.
No need to get snappy. Okay, we’ll try and be a bit more informative. Quite simply, we are open to seeing pretty much any country, but there are some that we’re more interested in than others.
Such as?
Well, the USA and Canada, for start. And a large chunk of Asia. We also intend to head back to Europe at some point and see the bits we missed out the first time ‘round, and of course we’ll be dropping in on friends and family while we’re there. Is this a bit more useful?
A bit, yes.
The one thing we can say for certain is that we are definitely starting with a two-week holiday on New Zealand’s south island. We’ve never been there, and we want to compare it to the north island as a potential place to live.
So you’re coming back to New Zealand, then?
Oh yes, for sure. It’s a beautiful country and a great place to live.
Any more ‘definite’ parts to your plan?
Only one: After seeing the south island we are heading off to Australia to drink Castlemaine XXXX and sing “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” at the marsupials. (After a few cans of brew, this is a most likely occurrence!) We also have to go to Canberra, ‘cos we hear that there are some cocktails down that way with our names on ‘em.
So what you’re basically saying is that you’re going on a world-wide pub crawl.
You say that like it’s a bad thing.
So when do you think you’ll be back? When you get fed up with drinking?
(laughs) Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.
No, we reckon that the trip will end in one of two ways:
1) When our planetary playground no longer excites us; or
2) When the money runs out (at which point we may well consider a new career in bank robbing).
Talking of money, I take it you’ve quit your jobs?
Pete did. Julie’s been an unemployed and unemployable sponge for a while now, so she didn’t have to quit anything.
Lucky her. So if you’re not working then how can you afford a trip like this?
Here’s a clue: look at the web address of this blog.
http://blowingthemortgage.travellerspoint.com. So you’re spending your house money?
Some of it, yeah.
Are you bonkers?
Oh, we do hope so. Normalcy is so overrated.
You have heard that the economy is going down the pan right now? You know, that pesky recession everyone’s talking about?
We did hear something about that, as it happens. And, yes, we also know that the NZ dollar is worth next to nothing, and the banks are collapsing, and the polar ice caps are melting, and the oil is running out, and flying is environmentally irresponsible… and we’ve decided to do it anyway.
So it’s a midlife crisis thing, eh?
Partly, yes. We are aware that we aren’t getting any younger (or healthier) and need to take advantage of this opportunity while we still can, but mainly we are both keen to get out there and see what the rest of the world is up to. It’s about being challenged, and being inspired... and being nosy on a grand scale.
Sounds good. So what do you think you’ll miss most while you’re away?
Everquest II.; our own bed & duvets; trainwreck TV (e.g. ‘Greys Anatomy’); waking up to a beeping alarm clock every workday.
Now you’re just being sarcastic.
True.
This is getting long. Is there a point to this page at all?
Yes, two, actually:

Firstly, click on the comments link at the bottom of this entry, then enter a Travellerspoint user login and password so you can reply to us. We are needy, attention-seeking little kiddies at heart, and we want feedback!

Secondly, please also subscribe to this blog by clicking on the link at the top of the page (in the sidebar on the right, third option down). This means that you will receive an email every time we post a new entry.
So, anything else you’d like to add before we wrap this up?
Paul Theroux says it all quite nicely:

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going.”

Whether we end up being tourists or travellers, this is going to be one weird and wonderful journey. (And whatever the case, Julie is going to be permanently lost because she has absolutely no sense of direction. Which way’s the airport, again?)

Okay, you’ve suffered enough – for now. We will be posting again before we leave, so if you have any questions, suggestions or insults, leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

More soon,

Julie and Pete xxx

Posted by Julie1972 21:27 Tagged round_the_world Comments (3)

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