A man and his duck

I drove from the first camping to the second one, and this day was the first I used my kitchen! Cooking actual food, taking a half-hour walk around the camping ground and just chilling.

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I also managed to get in contact with Jessica, whom I met in Nelson last year. She had moved up to Wellington, so the day after I went and caught up with her. We walked around the city, and the botanical gardens, and had lunch before I booked tickets for the evening ferry over to Picton.  We also went by The Warehouse so I could buy pillows and a real duvet to sleep more comfortable in the car.

I would arrive late in Picton, but with nothing else planned it would work out really well. I met a few Americans on the ferry, and we played Settlers of Catan. I also traded one of my head torches for kiwi fruit, as I got one extra when I bought some other equipment from The Warehouse.

As I arrived in Picton, it was late, and already dark. I drove the half hour to the camping spot, but it was already full, and from the reviews I would probably get a fine if I stayed here. Along the road I saw a car turn into a courtyard, so I took my chances, parked in the beginning of the driveway and walked the 100-odd metres to the house. I asked for permission to sleep in my car at their courtyard, and it was no problem. Sweet!

Jessica put me in contact with her mum, so I had a bed to sleep in in Nelson for the evening. I only had two planned things before that, first, i wanted to by the same mosquito spray I bought last year at Pelorus Bridge, as it was a good-smelling toxic free one. The second was to climb the Maungatapu track, but this time with car. I thought it would be much easier than with bicycle, but I soon learnt that was not true.

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This was the better part of road. Didn’t want to stop at the worse ones…

The car made it over the water, through mud, and across all the rocks, and everyone I talked with living in the area thought it was really impressive for a car like that!

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t probably wasn’t too good for the car, but everything held together. I also met two touring bikers on the way, and when I met them at the top again, one of the bikes free wheel had broke, so he had to push it a long way.

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The other side is even steeper, and you need a key to pass the gate, so I didn’t even have any choice but to drive back the way I drove up, and drive around the mountain. The drive around was really boring with a lot of slow vehicles and no passing lanes.

Finally in Nelson, the car’s thermometer started to climb the last 100 metres. Nothing I could really care about that evening. I got served a really nice vegan dinner at Jessica’s mum’s place, while planning for the next day and having a good nights sleep.

The next day I wanted to go by Motueka to do a couple of jumps in Able Tasman. While getting the DZ briefing I got a surprise, as I saw Ben walking in with a tandem parachute! Apparently he was working here, and Isabelle, his girlfriend from the same hometown as me, did as well! The next awesome surprise was that Ben had a brake, and joined me for a skydive, so I didn’t even have to jump alone!

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While Ben continued working, I went to surprise Isabelle at her work. She was soon finished, and we went to look at an old rusty ship laying around on the beach, at low tide reachable without swimming.

I spent the afternoon with Ben and Isabelle, and we tried to see if we could see what was wrong the car. It was low on coolant, so that could be a clue to the problem. After spending a night at their place I went to a mechanic and did a pressure test of the engine, and it wasn’t totally sealed. To fix it would cost more than the car was worth, and it was more than possible do to drive a Subaru Legacy with a blown headgasket for thousands of kilometres. I bought more coolant and decided to see how far I would make it. After another skydive, I went south to a camping an hour away for another nice night.

I picked up two hitchhikers at the camping, and drove them to Westport (where my bicycle passed 10000 kilometres last year) before I continued south. If you remember Michael with his red Surly from last year, who I met the same day as the earthquake, my plan was to visit him and his parents again.

While driving I saw tho bicyclists, and they had a Swedish flag! Decided to stop and chat with them for like 20 minutes), and gave them a tip about the place I camped at last year.

As I didn’t have any way of contacting Michael, and I didn’t even have an adress, I decided to wing it. As lucky as I am, after I turned around because I thought I drove too far, I saw him 50 metres away! He was on his way to the beach, as he had adopted an abandoned duckling. His parents were happy to see me as well, and I stayed a night at their place.

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The duckling was really cute!

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I wanted to get to Skydiving Kiwis before the weekend was over, and now being Saturday the 18th, I crossed Arthur’s pass.

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At the top I saw a Kea! People shouldn’t feed wild animals.

I took a small detour to say hi to the camping spot I pitched my tent at last year as the rain, hail and cold got me, and then continued my easy driving. Apparently the car did only overheat at lower RPMs, so climbing mountains was all good.

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To get a good start for the next day I camped in between Christchurch and Ashburton, and the next day I drove down to Skydiving Kiwis to jump with them. Brent was still there, so I did some nice belly jumps!

After the last load I decided to continue south to another camping. This one was really hard to find, but after asking at the pub, they showed me a printed map. The app was showing the wrong place, so they got the question a lot…

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This is what my home looks like inside nowadays!

As I wanted to skydive in Wanaka, I drove past some other beautiful places from last year, Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, While exploring around Tekapo I found a place with 15 dead rabbits… don’t understand why.

I stopped in Twizel, again, to buy food and use the internet. There was a camping along the canal coming from Lake Pukaki, and that would be my place for the night. When I arrived there, I felt really down, not really knowing why. I ended up bringing my camera out, taking loads of photos as there were really beautiful surroundings, and by the evening everything felt a bit better!

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After staying another night in Auckland (Thank you so much, guys!!!) I went up at five-something and picked Axel up. I had even bought gluten free bread for him. 🙂

We drove down to Taupo, where we would spend some time. As the warrant of fitness for the car was coming up, we stopped on the way to make the check, and… it didn’t pass. Shit.

Well, shit happens. Continued down to Taupo, where we met up with a friend of Lily. I stayed at her place during this first time in Taupo, while trying to plan my life, fixing the car and going out dancing. Thanks to a friend of Summer I managed to fix  everything needed really cheap!

After a good night out, I bought myself a modern polaroid camera at the fifth. Everyone who will visit me at home in the Swedish summer can come and take a look at the book I’m making, by taping a photography from each event and writing a small text. Best hangover shopping so far!IMG_0300.jpg

I also bought a lot of toothbrush holders, as I needed the suction cups for the curtains in the car.

We went horse riding, did some trekking, went up mount Tauhara and got my car fixed.

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Taupo by night! Mount Tauhara in the background.

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View from Mount Tauhara

Me and Axel also got the skydiving started for us, awesome feeling to get out there again!

At the 10th, my car passed the warrant of fitness! The day after, I packed all my stuff, went horse riding, made some really miserable pancakes, and went on my way! It was time to go south.

Getting into New Zealand

I’m going to continue writing… sometime. Here is two weeks of travels, the next one is hopefully coming up soon! 🙂

 

Amber drove me to the airport, where a hard journey would begin. Getting on the flight to Los Angeles was the easy part, and when I arrived there late in the night I just put my air mattress up.

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I had a few hours of sleep, but should have brought my sleeping bag as they always make it really cold inside in the US, while it being 30°C outside. I went to check in, with seven hours left, but at first they didn’t want to let me. According to their papers I needed a visa before arriving in New Zealand. I showed them the NZ immigration site, which clearly stated I would be able to enter the country and get the visa after I arrived, and after two and a half hours they finally let me check in.

I asked at the boarding desk if there would be any more problems, and they said no. While I was boarding, 25 minutes before the flight was supposed to leave, they stopped me and told me something else had to be fixed, but I managed to convince them to let me fix it at Hawaii instead.

At Hawaii I asked them twice to see if everything was in order, and they said yes, and let me on without making a fuzz. In New Zealand I got my visa when I arrived, and everything worked out as I thought it would. This picture reminds me so much of last year!

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Hawaiian Airlines gets 2/5 from me. Nice and kind people working there, but outdated/wrong info, and no food for any special diets or allergies, even if you through to book it long before the flight.

I arrived in the night again, so I slept at the airport until four in the morning. My plan was to hitchhike south if nothing else came up, but with a lot of help from Lily I ended up staying a couple of nights at her aunt and uncle’s place. It was really nice to be able to settle down a little bit, plan my journey, and also to learn the basics in blacksmithing!

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I made a bottle opener, to have some practical use for it. It went really cool!

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Now, the 25th of October (to give you a sense of time), I started hitchhiking north. I wanted to visit a friend from last year who lives in Whangarei and also check out the dropzone in Bay of Islands. It was a bit hard getting out of Auckland, but after that I got to Skydive Auckland (50 kilometres) fairly easy. The weather sucked, and the forecast looked bad, so I converted my skydiving license and hitchhiked to Whangarei, another 150 kilometres. My friend wouldn’t arrive at home before the next day, so the lovely lady who had picked up me up drove me to a camping.

I met up with the crazy Scot again, which was awesome, once again. This was the same Scot who drove us up to Cape Reinga to start the bicycle journey last year. Sadly, though, the dropzone in Whangarei had ceased to exist. To get some jumps I hitchhiked up to Bay of Islands the next day, left an application for work, did two jumps and hitchhiked back.

Jim (the crazy Scot) had a friend working at the newly started dropzone in Mercer (south of Auckland), so I decided to go by there and see what it was like. Before leaving Whangarei, I visited another friend, Ana, who I stayed at a bit south of Whangarei last year, but she had moved up here now!

The friend, named Sam, picked me up close to the airport. I stayed there for two great nights, had a few jumps, and managed to fall out of the airplane. I should learn to exit from the smaller ones.

As my bags were really heavy, and the bigger one was felling apart, I had two choices; I would either buy a new bag, or just buy a car.

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Buying a car would help with other stuff as well, as I could keep it locked with all the stuff in it instead of carrying it around, and get to places a lot faster. There are a lot of free campings as well, which sometimes are pretty hard to reach. In the end, I decided to buy a shitty car which would be big enough for me to sleep in. I found a Subaru Legacy 1997 for 1200 NZD (about 7000 SEK), so I hitchhiked there and bought it. As I arrived late I also got to stay a night at their place, which was a really cool way of living. They were living in an old, big bus, still working properly, and they had built a garage and a big roof with movable walls as working room and living room. They even made curtains for me, so I could have some privacy in the car.

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The next day I drove (Wooo!) to Rotorua to visit another friend from last year. It was now the 31th and Axel was arriving the morning of the 2nd. I was going to pick him up, so I spent the day fixing a few things in the car. The 12V charger didn’t work, and apparently it was just a cable that had popped out. I put it back, and also saw that the radio needed converter cables if I would ever get it to work. I spent the night at a camping on the way to Auckland, where I would stay another night before picking Axel up early.

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I did not really remember that it was Halloween, but a cool girl on a horse came by the camp!

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Three weeks in the US

My family weekend is now official done, and my stay at Amber’s place as well.

There has been shopping, Universal Studios, Island of Adventures, beach, pool, sunbathing and a lot of heat! Some longboarding, driving and “catastrophe sightseeing” as well.

Going to Universal was nostalgic, even though you could understand why they are rebuilding old attractions into new one. Terminator 2: 3D is still awesome, but the 3d is… sucky. Both “Jaws” and “Back to the Future” were gone, and so was “Earthquake”.

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The Harry Potter parts were pure awesome! So well built, and I was too close to spend all my money on merchandise.

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Taking care of the little has been really fun. He is such a cutie, and almost never screams compared to other children, which the other people on the flight probably was really happy for.

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They are still cleaning up after Irma, much needed. There are a lot of boats which are destroyed, a lot of trees piled up and a few buildings where the roof has gone.

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On my fathers birthday Tim had prepared and bought some Key lime pie. I wanted to get a donut for him, but everything I could find was a bagel. Round with a hole in the middle at least, and a couple of candles!

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I also managed four skydives at Deland, and some work. It really can be too hot when skydiving… I ended up jumping in shorts, as the overall just made you sweaty all through. My sit is getting better!

 

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As my parents flew home from Miami, Amber came and picked me up! It was really cool, as we actually met at my home DZ in Sweden.

The stay at Ambers place was my lazy stay. I started rewatching Once Upon a Time, and borrowed Ambers longboard whenever I wanted to go shopping. We had some awesome nights, and tested the vegan restaurant Ethos. Walmarts guacamole sucks, though!

Arriving in the US

Another year, another trip!

Yesterday evening local time I arrived in Orlando with my family. They will stay here for two weeks, while I will stay another five days before traveling to New Zealand! This time I will stay there for about six months, hopefully getting a job as a packer at a dropzone! This years trip may not be as adventurous as the last couple of ones, but I will try to keep the blog updated anyway (and get done with the last trip, sometime)!