It’s been 12 days since I last posted and it’s for various reasons:
1) No time
2) No wifi
3) I am having THE BEST time in New Zealand right now and getting my laptop out is literally the furthest thing from my mind.
These weekly Added Extras are supposed to be about the little things that have made me happy, but there is so much that goes in that camp recently that it’s near on impossible to whittle it down. I’ll give a little round-up but seriously, I could write about this trip until I pass out from exhaustion!
1) I was so fortunate to be taken in by my friend Emma’s parents when I arrived in Auckland. Feeling a bit emotional and very homesick, they fed me, took me everywhere and gave me big cuddles when I had a meltdown one evening. They are such wonderful people and I am so grateful to them.
2) I headed up to the Bay of Islands for one night and it was absolutely stunning. Crystal clear blue seas, green islands and hardly any people. I took a boat to the Hole in the Rock (which does exactly what it says on the tin) and it was seriously beautiful.
3) In case you didn’t know, I’m touring New Zealand by bus and on Thursday last week I met the people I would be spending at least the next week with. This group is a random mish-mish from a 20 year old German guy on a gap year to a 37 year old college professor from Ohio and they are all wonderful. I haven’t laughed so much in such a long time and they are all brilliantly bonkers and have such a love of life and new experiences that I find them all totally inspiring.
4) I battled my claustrophobia and went caving in Waitomo Caves. I was almost in tears as I climbed down the ladder to get in but it was amazing inside, with the highlight being when we turned off our head lamps and went tubing through a section covered in thousands of glow worms. I may have cried…
5) I have felt so lucky to be immersed into Maori culture twice so far on this trip. One night we stayed in a marae and I learnt the Haka (if you missed it on Snapchat, I’ll put it on here at some point!), and the next night we stayed with an amazing family who cooked us a traditional hangi meal. This doesn’t even touch the sides in explaining what else we did, but time and wifi connection is low so more on this to come.
6) I have been very homesick despite all the awesome things I’ve been getting up to and at 6am on Saturday morning I Facetimed into my Banagarang girls’ Friday night drinks. They sang Hero by Mariah Carey at me and I cried. God, I cannot wait to squeeeeeeeeze them all when I’m home!
7) I went to Hobbiton and it was god damn ADORABLE. Plus the scenery was absolutely out of this world.
8) I’m thrilled to say that sleeping in dorms isn’t all that bad! I’ve figured out who the snorers are and keep the hell away from them, and although the beds aren’t always that comfy, it’s great to share with the people I’ve met. It just makes the whole experience more inclusive and friendly.
9) Whilst in a hostel in Raglan, a few of us girls went up into the native bush and did a well-needed yoga lesson. I stretched and cleared my mind of all sorts of shit that I shouldn’t be thinking of and as a result slept like a dream.
10) We made a pit stop at some sulphuric hot springs which was certainly something new! Stripping down to a bikini, walking through mud in the freezing cold and then sitting in wonderfully warm water was not something I thought I would ever do. It stank because of the sulphur, but it was still pretty special.
11) Oh my god, pretty much every hostel we’ve stayed at has had a dog and it’s made me so happy. I am that person that ditches other humans to sit outside with the pooches.
12) We had such a fun night staying in at our lodge in the middle of nowhere just off from National Park. As we didn’t have to get up stupidly early for a bus as we’ve done every other day, we got a lot of booze in, played a lot of games and didn’t go to bed until 4am. So much fun.
13) I tried my hand at clay pigeon shooting for the first time ever! I had 10 shots and wasn’t doing very well but on my last go I hit something and I was so happy!
14) We stayed on a farm and this goat had his selfie pose perfected.
I have no idea when I’ll next be able to write a post (although I only have three weeks left until I get back to the UK, waaaaaah!), but keep up to date with me on Instagram and Snapchat too!