Conclusion

This will just be a collection of thoughts I’ve had and learned on this adventure..

Things have always worked out for me on this trip. I didn’t hurt anything. I never touched my med kit. I barely used my water filter. I never used my water purification tablets. I never used my saw and never had to defend myself against anything or anyone. I never had to use my survival kit. For the distance and Elevation I traveled I didn’t have much issues with my feet. Out of everyone I saw or anyone who saw me struggling to lift up my backpack, I had the heaviest one out there. Am I a super athletic muscle man? Lol no. I spent the last 2 years sitting for 8-10 hours a day and maybe getting to the gym twice a week. What was my crazy workout? Igor and I had a good laugh. We thought maximum incline for 30 minutes was wayyy too hard. I realized that an easy trail was generally maximum incline on a treadmill. Lol. We did ab ripper at the end of every workout. I did 60 push-ups a night. Shoulder shrugs and some leg presses. Totally honest..I was having issues with my left knee before I left. I I had it x-rayed and had an ultrasound done. The conclusion that the tendons in my knee were swollen. Every couple weeks a couple months before this trip I felt something rip or pop in my knee. It felt like the tendon going over the knee cap was tearing. Sometimes going up steps it would give out on me. Sometimes I limped a little. I had to wear a knee brace when working out. I had decided that what I was about to do was such a big God thing, that the devil needed to pull out the big guns to get me not to go. What did I fix it or change it or heal it? I didn’t. I went anyway. Did I have any problems (besides going downhill 1300meters) with my knee or knees? Nope. They felt great. If you have decided in your heart your going to help someone or do something to point people to faith, expect huge difficulties! Tons of resistance. Expect life to fall apart right before you do it. It’s NEVER easy.

But…EVERYTHING fell into place. Igor and I made plans.. they fell through. After I began planning nothing I could really see that life starts to plan itself to what’s inside your heart. Change your thoughts, change your heart, change your life. Last day of this ‘Born for more’ Devotional:

I learned.. that even though my father and mother did their best at raising me. They failed a lot. We all do. When you’re growing up, you assume you know everything and they don’t understand anything! But really.. when you mature, you can see that everything they told you was out of love. If they didn’t want you to do something, it’s because they could see the result of what would happen. They only want what’s best for you. I think I’ve turned out ok so far? 😅

So thank you mom and dad for raising me properly. It’s taken a bit to figure out for myself ..why. Everything was done with good intentions in mind. It’s the thought that counts right? Just like me shining a light in the little girls face when I was only trying to help her mom see on the plane.

Have FAITH! That everyone will work out. Not the way you plan it. But it will workout. The less you try and control it, the easier it becomes.

It doesn’t matter how slow you go.. just don’t stop. You will ALWAYS make it if you don’t stop. Take smaller steps. Only look up to make sure you’re still headed the right direction. Don’t get discouraged as you’re staring at how far you have left. Look down at your feet and just. Keep. Moving. You will make it! If you’re going to go up, look wayy up for help!

I’ve come to understand things about women also. Ok, so I’m a mr fix it. It really bothers me if I can’t. Like my iMac stopped working last night and I was up till 4:30am trying to fix it. I didn’t even sleep well because I wanted to get back at it! One of the main things I’ve learned.. is that manyy times.. a woman doesn’t want you to fix their issues or problems. You just need to be there to listen and support her. That’s been really challenging for me in the past. I watch a lot of movies. Probably not the best ideas to put in my head as far as relationships go. Love takes hard work and daily maintenance. Marriage will be like climbing mountains.. you will get some great views on the way, but most of it will be hard work. Just as most of you have no idea how hard it was to climb those mountains unless you do it, I will have no idea what it’s like to be married till I am. It will take commitment and faith. I used to have a fear of commitment. Crazy huh?! Lol

I think I’m finally past a lot of those hurdles.

I always want my art piece or what I have created to show how hard I work. Not just me doing the work. I want the way I live to give you hope and inspire you. If anyone needs more hope, come to me. I have more than enough for everyone! (Seriously you know how to get a hold of me)

Success isn’t how much money you have or how popular you are. I know. I know. The world say it is. Success is using the gifts God as given you to its full potential. You’ll find happiness and joy if you’re doing what you’re meant to do.

Have patience! Definitely with yourself but with everyone around you. You have no idea the situation someone is in. Tryyyy to think of a good excuse for that person being ***hole. Hurt people hurt people. In fact you should be nicer to those that hurt you, because they are also hurting themselves.

Finally. HOPE.

When there is nothing left. There will ALWAYS be Hope. It doesn’t matter how dark it is, hold onto the little light you have. That little light is enough to brighten an entire room. I had Hope that this trip would be awesome.. and it was! When you combine Hope and Faith. I don’t think anything can stop you. You really only truly know yourself when Hope is all you have left. NEVER GIVE UP.

Thank YOU for being a part of this journey!

Day 40. Re-Entering Civilization

2:14am

I’m going to combine my experiences from Monday and Tuesday (today).

I woke up about 10am Monday. Surprised I got another 10 hours of sleep actually. I kind of made a commitment to eat everything I had in my backpack so I set it all out on the counter.. besides granola bar and big sack of scroggin.

Tuna. Chicken teriyaki. Both in cans. Then some cuppa soups and 4 cheap ramen noodles.

I talk a lot about scroggin:

Thad’s it. Nuts. Chocolate. Dried fruit. Seeds. Just the main diet of trampers. Last a long time and is really high in protein.

Well. I don’t have any pots. Sooo I’ll just make it the same way I have been for 40 days lol.

I need to use these jet boil gas tanks anyway. You know what? Sadly as I poured my boiling water into a bowl for the noodles I accidentally saved the rest to drink later. 😂😂😅

Yeaaa I don’t need to boil my water right now to consume..

I basically relaxed all Monday. Watched some movies. Drank a red bull I had in my fridge and wrote those blogs. Surprisingly I didn’t get tired till 3am. Woops. I just needed some motivation for typing is all.

I figured I would wake up in 8 hours. Nope. I didn’t wake up till 2pm!! I always say when you sleep that long, you’re either depressed or your body needs it. (I’m not depressed lol)

Tuesday (today)

I watched another movie called ‘Mute’, sci-fi movie. Pretty neat. Especially the first quote of the movie..

Very true. God needs to break you of yourself before he can use you.

I ventured out in the 32 degree F (0 C) weather to mail Kayla her ring and just to get out of the apartment. It was the first time I had changed into jeans.. and a hoody.. and a warm hat and gloves. What were these things?? Why did my pants feel so heavy?! My head is still slightly recalibrating back to this old life.

I ended up taking a visit to Igor’s. It was awesome to see him again!

I weighed myself. I think I weighed like 170-175 before. Now I weigh 160. I figured it would be less. I guess all my muscle from my upper body just moved to my lower body..?

Relaxed in his complex’s hot tub.

SO. RELAXING.

My legs and knees are still sore. Crazy huh. Interestingly enough his knees now pop and he is just now getting flexibility back into his legs.

I feel like a potato.

One funny thing happened on the way home tonight.. A homeless or crazy or drunk guy was walking and slurring loud lines from the movie ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’. It’s a classic for anyone that hasn’t seen it. As I pass by, I proclaim loudly with with my hand above my head “THE HOLY HAND GRENADE!” 😂😂

He goes wild. ” all that for the the the rabbit!!” Then keeps slurring and I hear him continue to yell as I keep walking. “YOU DIDNT CELEBRATE ST PATRICKS DAY DID YOU?!” Nooooo I didn’t! I say back. He keeps yelling inaudibly.

Odd.

I have learned some real valuable lessons on this trip and I hope they get branded onto my heart.

My wrap up blog will be tomorrow. Everything I’ve learned and my next steps.

Bitter sweet it’s over, especially for those that have read religiously. You’ll have to read some other boring book. Lol

‘Coincidentally’ what I talked about in the last blog appeared in my devotional this morning:

I’ll have plentyy of thoughts in tomorrow’s final blog..

Goodnight!

3:08am

Day 38 and 39. Around the world in 27 hours.

9:37pm

(I think I’m a day off. Probably because I didn’t start blogging on the first day or I combined two blog posts on a day..?)

Woke up the next morning after a few restless hours of sleep. Open my blind and am blinded. It’s so bright outttt!

We had an hour to go till San Fran. We got breakfast. Hot breakfast was eggs and sausage and baked beans. Cold was cereal and milk, fruit, and yogurt. Fruittttt. Cold please! We finally arrive at San Fran and I round up everything I own that has managed to spread around around my feet. I tell Sam that I have an 11 hour wait. Ugh. He told me stories about owning his own business and all these countries he went to for meetings. He asked if I wanted to come to his place so I’m not stuck at the airport for 11 hours. I understand his place would have been real nice.. but I don’t want to go back through security. Nice of him though!

We talked a bit also. One of his questions to me was..”God gave you a second chance.. what are going to do with it?” That’s a very good question.. I can only hope I am doing it.

As we exit the plane I take a picture of the first class seats..

They get unlimited leg room and a bunch of stuff in their cubby hole. If we got free booze I wonder what they got? Bottles of wine or back rubs? Maybe they get spoon fed. Lol

Last blurry picture of Sam.

He was talking about how on this 20 days he didn’t have access to a gym and the first thing he wanted to do was do some bicep curls. Lol. Talk about dedication.

Well. I had 11 hours to hang out in the airport. I took my time walking around. My phone didn’t work.. I guess the NZ SIM card doesn’t workin the US. I know I had money left on it, so I called. $0 balance. Stupid. I probably spent two hours wandering then I stopped to get food. It dawned on me I could use wifi instead of carrying around a brick. So as I was eating I got on WiFi to text people and let me mom know I was safe. I went to the gate where my plane would have been leaving later. There was a plane flying out at like 3:30pm instead of 10pm going to Toronto. It was about 3pm. I asked the guy if they had extra seats on the plane and it dawned on me. My checked bag wouldn’t be on the plane. He asked if I had a checked bag.. I reluctantly said yea. He did the whole disappointed look and said sorry. It was a decision to wait in San Francisco or Toronto. Umm I’ll take San Fran. I guess I needed to get my phone working then.

I walked around to several different center airport stores and asked if they had something small enough to open my SIM card slot in my phone. Without hesitation they always said no. Like.. if you aren’t buying anything I don’t want to talk to you. I even went to a phone case store. Nadda. Hmmmm I wondered a bit more. Ended up heading back to the liquor isles where there was a watch stand. I waited a while then lady almost sprinted to help me. (It was a fancy watch place lol) I felt bad.. 😅

I just kind of slid the question of there and she laughed like..’why did i just jog over here for this?’ But she said I could try this little tiny watch screwdriver and said she had never replaced a SIM card. Cool. Opportunity not to feel like I was just using here. Told her she could watch and I would talk her through it. It’s pretty easy. Use the little screwdriver and poke it in the hole.. the tiny tray pops out with the SIM card on it. Swap out NZ number sim back to Canadian number sim. Put back on the tray and slide it back in. Done!

I was beaucoup thankful!

I knew it wouldn’t work right away. If I hadn’t paid the bill in a while I would have to figure that out also. Well. It actually started working in a few minutes as the notifications and emails rolled in. I checked the account.. such a smart Kevin. I paid my bill up to the point where I came back just for this purpose. Lol. *pats myself on the back* I caught up on all the notifications but was feeling pretty tired. I must find a place to nap.. I went back down to where the Toronto plans took off from. Went around behind the escalator. Saw this guy

Looked like the nap area. I think I stayed there and tried to sleep for a few hours. He was a worker and left an hour after I laid there. Almost fell asleep then he left. He was able to about lean on his pillar while I could only lean my head back. I naturally took his spot after he left and slept for an hour. I blogged for another hour or so. Can’t remember what happened to the other hours. Boarded the plane to Toronto at about 10:30pm I think.

Ah yes. Canadian air. Chargeyouforeverything Air. The flight time which I thought was 3-4 hours was actually 5. Boooo

San Fran by night:

I had the window seat again. Of course. And there was a little Indian girl beside me and her mother in the isle seat. My initial thought was..oh boy.. little girl.. she and her mother were let on first as ‘people who take more time or have little kids can board first’. She was sitting quietly with her headphones on watching the movie Coco. It’s an animated movie. I saw her keep looking at me from the corner of her eye. I would glance at her and make a funny face. She would chuckle. I chose to watch Step Dads 2 for a movie. Anytime the pilot or a flight attendant would speak over the intercom it would shut off our movies while they spoke. She would do a tiny gesture of disappointment and roll her eyes. I did bigger ones. Lol. Ugh!! I mean they interrupted quite a bit. Thennn they also had to say them to French too. We started our movies before they got all the bags in and before we took off. At least 20 minutes into them when we took off and when our monitors came back on we had to start them over and find our spots again! Ugh.. UGH!! (little and big hands go up in the air and slap down on our thighs while we tilt our heads back in disappointment) lol. So we did. Their system was slow and the accuracy of the screens were off but finally we started watching and got another 20 minutes in and a lady comes over the intercom…ughhhh UGHHH! Laughing now. The lady said “we understand that many screens are not working so we are going to reset them all and it should only take 5 minutes for them to reboot” I’m like no no no no no!! It will reset our movies againnnnn! Sigh.

She gave up and laid down on her moms lap. Her mom had been watching and thought it was funny.

It didn’t take 5 minutes, it was like half an hour! Anyway. I turned mine back on to watch the rest and the little girl was passed on. She kept putting her foot on my thigh and I said it was ok. But the mom kept taking her foot off me. She was obviously a well disciplined kid. Mom was a good role model. I finished the movie and we had about an hour or two till we got there. We would arrive at 6:45am. I figure I should get a little more sleep. That way when I got home I could get a decent amount of sleep and not stay up. Jet lag is all about getting on the same sleep schedule. Anyway I woke up later as they were handing out the immigration papers to fill out. I had no pen but I saw the mom dig for one and start trying to fill her paper out. She looked like she was struggling to see the paper so I reached up and happy to help turn her light on. Oooops! Shined right on the little girls face after a few seconds realized. She smiled and said thank you as I realized a little later..

The best intentions from another perspective can seem like bad ones..I wanted to turn it back off but she had already been writing. Maybe that’s why she didn’t turn it on to begin with..? Ugh..

After she asked if I wanted the pen and I said sure, sorry about shining the light on her face. I didn’t think about that. 😅 She said don’t worry about it.

Filled it out. Handed back the pen.

We departed the plane at 7am. A little late. I checked before we left if the GO train wood be running from the airport into town. Yup. Starts at 5:30am. I wasn’t in a huge hurry.

Waited in a long line for immigration.. They just look at the picture and look at your face.. “Welcome home”.

Go down to get our luggage. Mine will be easy to spot. It looks like a plastic cocoon. We wait for like 30 minutes for the conveyer to start spitting our bags out while I wait with that dumb cart thing again. It seems to be popping everyone’s bag out but mine. I’m trying to say in my mind, that they put mine in hoursss before every else’s so it will probably be last. Finally it comes out. I plop it on my cart and eyeball a trash can. I have to unwrap this thing now. So I find the end and begin the unwrapping process. That takes another 15 minutes. Finally good to go. I open to top pouch and pull out my thermal top right on top. (I think ahead sometimes) then I take off my ball cap and unzip the side pouch to put on my beany. A little warmer! I put on my texting bum gloves and head out. Gotta give the guy at the exit my immigration receipt. I have two backpacks on again. I’m hungry. I stop off at the little stand in the airport to get 6 Chicken tenders and a gator aid. I’ll eat them on the train. I know exactly the turns and exits back to the ‘train to the city’. I’ve been through here many a time. Pay for ticket with some extra Canadian cash. $5.75. Cheapest train ride around.

Hop in and plop my bags down in a near empty car.

Finally eat my chicken tenders. Day was good. It’s a 15 minute train ride to Bloor st. Where I exit and need to take a 40 minute street car ride. I had wished I had tokens left for the street car but do not. I give the guy a $20 bill and also for 10 tokens. Trying to math in my head. He asks me 3 times how many. They are $3.25 a piece. Oh. Right.. mathing no good after so many hours. He just slides me like 6 and some change. Mkay. I wait 15 min for the street car and it’s reallly collddddd! I don’t have the clothing required. It’s about 23 degrees F. I ride the street car kind of in a zombie mode I sit there. Get off at my stop and very frigidly walk the 7 minutes to my apt. Maybe it’s less than that. I don’t know. Hoping my key fab still works.

Whew. It does. Side story:

I gave Dane, my roommate my two month notice that I’m moving out. I told him I would be out by April 1st. He said he planned to get married a month or two after that so that works. He tells me a week earlier that he had a gig he had to go do in Japan for 2 weeks and that he was leaving the same day I got home and wouldn’t be back till mid April. Which means I wouldn’t get to even say goodbye to him in person. He also said he planned on moving all of his stuff out of the apt by the time I got there but the router and the chair I borrowed when I arrived. Thank you for leaving those!

So.. I return home and it looks soooo empty. He owned pretty much everything in the kitchen / living room/ dining room. It was so empty there was an echo. Lol

He said he left a beer for me in the fridge. Lol. I found some frozen chicken in the freezer I left.

Dinner! (And there was my bbq sauce left and the two plates and silverware I brought. )

I made a video of the empty apt I’ll have to post later.

Sooo I also did some before and after pictures..lol heh..

Next one is to show how much weight and upper muscle I had lost. I wish I would have taken pictures of my legs..

😂 I looked so young 40 days earlier. Now. I’m a hairy mountain man.

Sigh.

I hope the shirtless photos don’t offend people. Just act like I’m at a pool or something.

Oh yea.. I made the chicken for dinner.

I came home and passed out from 9am till 5pm. Maybe I slept too long..?

I just relaxed and watched a mindless movie on Netflix and made the chicken. I then tried to blog last night but lost all the blogging I did in the airport and airplane. Oh yes. I did a little after I finished Stepdads 2 also. Anyway. Lost all that. Finally re wrote it and onto Sunday.

Ended up getting tired about midnight and passed out.

Thoughts:

My old life is now gone. No job. No roommate. No furniture. No income. Lol

(Yes the money I saved for 2 years is still plenty)

The first time I looked into my room I said out loud .. “what is all this junk?!?” I had carried around everything I needed in life on my back for 40 days. Why would I need anything else?? I know I’ll need my iMac and other tech stuff.. but I just felt like a hoarder now. If I had a dumpster in my apartment I would have tossed most of it lol. I guess I’ll need more than 2 pairs of clothes..

It’s acting really crazy being back. Like my mind hasn’t totally accepted it yet. Sooo I live here.. with this stuff.

If you’re wondering where I’m going or what my next adventure is.. I haven’t posted it yet but I’m moving to California. My mom is coming up here at the end of this month to take my junk back to her place where I’ll hangout for a few days or a week until I can get my stuff sorted out. I have no furniture. I’ll toss a lot, shouldn’t be a ton of stuff.

I’ll be pretty free but kind of busy. I need to take some time and make that video, pack up everything, meet up with friends, and create books for the donations of $100+.

I have from the 18th-31st. Not a lot of time..

Life is about choices. You know.. at ANY given second you can change yours.. really! It takes one single decision not to live that way anymore. Job. Abusive relationship. Vacation. If you REALLY want to change.. you will.

Everything in your life starts as a thought in your mind. (Your choices that is) You decide what happens in your story and you decide how you will react to things that happen to you.

12:01am

Day 37. One last Hitch

6:08pm

Today is for my friend Nick Comis. I might really only have 1-2 more days of blogging and days of dedications. I wouldn’t feel good about dedicating a day to going home. I met Nick when I was in Orlando, Florida. Something manyyy if you don’t know, but I was a magicians assist forrrr month..? Maybe 2. My excellent friend Dain Marvel, from my semester at sea got offered a just on the north east coast he asked me if I wanted to take over his job. It was I think Thursday evenings. I asked what if entailed, and he only said.. “some audio video work”. I figured it was just assisting with the audio of Nicks Magic show.. actually I believe it was called ‘Nicks Parlor tricks’? Oh no. It was MUCH more than that. Lol. My worst nightmare is being on stage and making myself of the person I’m helping look like an idiot in front of a crowd. On the first day of ‘training’ I told him he had the wrong guy. Lol. I was actually helping him with the tricks. One of two of them DEPENDED on me to go right. He wouldn’t let me quit. 😂 So. If I was going to do this I wanted to have LOTS of time to practice. I would come early and stay late. I ended up doing fairly well and we became decent friends. I had told him I would have to quit as soon as I got a job in the industry.. and he understood. So when I got the job at Stereo D in Toronto I had to leave Orlando. He helped me get my motorcycle into my uhaul to take back to Fort Wayne. He busts his butt to make ends meet. He is ALWAYS in pursuit of new and bigger and better ideas. He’s always busy too. Lol. Thank you for your donation Nick, it means a lot. Sometimes.. rarely.. I miss the magic show we had going on! 🙃

Blogggg:

I set my alarm for 8am Saturday. (My flight leaves at 7:45pm to go to San Francisco.)I had a lot to do when I woke up. I hadn’t separated my stuff yet..

Jumped awake at 8am and laid there getting my bearings. After all I was in a hotel room and not my tent. It took me a few minutes. I got up and started separating the junk into 3 piles. Trash. Carry on. Checked bag. I ate two handfuls of scroggin. Fast food breakfast. I threw away a couple things that I knew I would never need again. Like my water shoes that retain water and end up being tubs of water for me feet to slosh around in. I wanted to poke a hole in them so bad.

Also it sucks that I can’t take these small gas canisters on the plane.

They last forever! I had gotten one with Igor as a backup and I never had to use it. Crazyyy.

I also didn’t fill up 1 liter of water because I knew I wouldn’t have to go far. (Weight purposes)Anyway I had 30 minutes to hurry up and I still had my stuff all over!

I just started chucking things in to my bag. Didn’t matter as long as I didn’t need it on the plane. I checked out 5 minutes early. I know. I’m fast.

I didn’t have my smaller backpack but the backpack felt so light! One last picture.

I had asked the lady at the desk earlier the guy before if they had shuttles to the airport. She said no but they could get me a taxi. Hmm I would think about it. It was a 2 hour and 14 min walk to the airport..

I decided to do..one last hitch. Who was going to be my final driver..

Lovely warm day. Hot sun. Backpack on back and backpack on front.

I figured (on the map) I would at least get to the 20B marker so I would have a better chance of getting a ride. Plus I had like 10 hours or something till my plane flew out. Why not?

I walked quite a ways and turned right twice along the way crossing over the road. It was pretty warm! There was some wind but my front backpack was holding my sweat in. 😅 One last good sweat! Then there are you who say..”yea but don’t need you need to sit in airports and fly around on planes force next 78 hours??” Yes. Yes I do. Then there are those of you who didn’t even think about that but now you’re kind of grossed out. You’re welcome.

I wonder if Toy World is NZ’s Toys R Us?

And who put this crappy car on the side walk?? I about kicked it.

Yup. Had a good sweat rolling now. Maybe I should have taken a taxi. Lol. Nah. This was the real final push. My muscles were feeling pretty sore also. Didn’t take long. (Insert being close to the toilet analogy) So yea. I knew I was close to being done with this hike, so my muscles heard the word and figured they would take off on holiday early.

Lol. Not as happy as my first picture.

I can across some construction. I didn’t think I would be able to get through, but I saw a pedestrian sign and had to wait 15 minutes to cross the road since cars were going just fast enough to no let me get by.

This picture wants to call me a liar.

There was a nice side of the road that was blocked for people to walk through. It actually ended up ahead but a ramp went up and crossed over a railroad track. I took that picture for Megan. Another thing about taking the donation pictures.. I don’t like to put them in my blog. I put their name on them and I feel like they become theirs and I don’t have the rights to them anymore. Lol. So it’s a small gift.

Weird tree:

Weird sign:

I had glanced at some buildings walking past..

Hahaha yess! Out of all my time in NZ.. and it comes down to the last hour I’m walking to the airport. C3 Church. It’s the one I go to in Toronto. I knew they were global, but this was a pretty cool sign. 😄

I kept walking. I saw a bunch of traffic up ahead.. I walked up on a grassy hill to see what the commotion was.

I guess a tow truck had stopped all traffic to tow a car so people were pretty angry about waiting. Lol. It was fine for me I just trotted down the hill and between the cars. I passed the bridge to where the 20B road started.

Put my thumb out finally.. 5 minutes later I got picked up by an off duty taxi cab. Bobby was his name. He first told me that he wasn’t going to charge me because he was picking up a friend from the airport. We only had time to talk for 10 minutes before he dropped me off at the airport. We talked about Cancer and he said he liked to help people out. What do you think one of the last things he said to me..?

My last hitch of this trip. My last day in NZ. My last new face in a car.

“God is always watching”

..I didn’t know what to say. It was the perfect thing to sum up this entire trip.

We hadn’t even really talked about religion or God.

I know God puts people in your life to help or correct your course. He might even also allow you to get brain cancer to come back to him. I have seen his hand so much on this trip.. I hope as you’ve read along you can too. We just don’t depend on him enough..

I walked into the airport.. I grabbed one of those rolling carts..

I took a few minutes to waft my shirt to dry the sweat. Lol. I knew this airport like I had been here before. Oh yeaaa, we flew here and had to get our bags rewrapped to fly out! So I knew where to go to get my bag saran wrapped. I headed that way..

This wrapping of my bag.. was the final conclusion of this trip symbolically. It was tying up all the lose ends and literally wrapping the thing that was on my back for 40 days. It was a pretty big deal really.. though she was just wrapping another persons oversized bag. All these thoughts running through my head. My backpack and I had gone through a lot! Pain and sweat and agony. It was like a weight off my shoulders! (Dadun dun tshhh)

Le sigh. I walked over to check it in.

byeeee! 😅😅

Needed to fill out this card next..

And..a real bye!

This was going to be rough..

I walked around the airport..I mean I still had like 9 hours.

Look at that line for Burger King!

They must have a real problem with this..

Sigh…

Yes. Fahrenheit. You can do the google conversion for Celsius.

I found a corner at a gate to head to China where no one was and blogged a bit.

Thinking back. I have no idea how I used those 7-8 hours? I might have taken a nap or I don’t really even know. Time slips by so quickly. I can see my gate on the other side of the glass to the upper right corner and I see people start getting up. There was a lot of people.. well. Time to jump into the chaos.. I had to go up the escalator then down the other side..

To this day I will never understand people battling to get a better position in line to get on the plane. The ONLY thing I can think of is if you have luggage you want to put up top and you don’t want to be that guy that has to find another place on the plane to put it. Besides that… whyyyyy do you want to rush and sit down for a 12.5 hour plane ride??? I mean people were pushing people out of the way to get a better spot in line. I was in the line.. got tired of the stress and sat down in a nearby chair. I waited till they called “seats between 50 and 60”. Hopped up. Walked past everyone and handed them my ticket. How is that so difficult? 🤷🏼‍♂️

I had a window seat. I usually prefer them to gaze out and see the world. Sat next to a 70 year old man. Spanish of Indian.. I’m not sure of his heritage? He was with his wife and 20 others that he drove around NZ with on a bus. I grabbed two ninja snapshots of him and his wife.

Sorry Sam if you’re reading this.. we never got a real picture together. This guy was the most fit 70 year old I have met in my life. I thought he was joking when he said 70. He lived in San Francisco but worked out 5-6 days a week. He talked about the whey protein powder he ate and his decent diet. He also said you’re body is like a machine.. you keep it oiled and active and it will last so much longer. He was really impressed that I hiked up mountains with no prior experience. We talked for a while then food was served. It was 3 options. Chicken. Or beef or some vegetable meal. I took the beef.

Purple because the lights were. I guess they change with what time it is where you’re headed. So if it’s time to sleep it’s blue.. orangeish if the sun is coming up. I could be totally wrong but that’s what I heard?

Anyway I had pot roast, with green beans and mashed potatoes. It includes that rice salad mix, a roll with butter, a square of cheese, crackers, and some orange ice cream for desert. For my beverage I ordered a Bloody Mary. They sure treated you well on NZ air. Later we could order anything we wanted for free. People had the option for wine with their meal and came back around for wine refills if they wanted. You could order ear plugs or a face mask or more alcohol if you wanted. They also had a ton of movies to pick from.

I saw on the list War for the Planet of the Apes in the list.. for those of you that don’t know, that was the only movie I got on screen credits for out offf like 23 movies I have worked on. I had to check..

😳😳😳 Wowwwww! This was the first time I have seen my name outside of the movie theater! I was so excited I turned to Sam who had his headphones on half asleep and told him. Yessss! I told him my good buddy Tupoc was right above me too! (Dipak) We trained together. Worked together and got or first on screen credits together. So cool!

After that I tried really hard to sleep. I even ordered a bag of chips and a small cup of rum and ice to help me sleep. Lol. The guy who dropped them off.. “are you sure you don’t want any thing else in this?” Nope. They would have put coke in it defeating the purpose. That did the trick. I drifted off..

Thoughts:

This entire trip has been one big ‘out of my box’ experience. I have learned so many things on this trip.. I’ll leave most of that for my final wrap up blog.

I have been incredibly blessed with everything just falling into place..

Some of you think that I must have good luck, or that I just pick a place and go on vacation or that I have the money for all this. None of those are true. I believe.. when you have faith.. if you are faithful will little, he will give you larger things to tackle. The thing is… this can be any of you! You have no idea the blessings you can have in your life till you believe. Believe.. then start with being faithful in little things in life. It’s scary.. but when it comes down to it.. if you go on a huge trip if you can point it back to him, he most definitely will bless you for another larger task. You never know till you try.

I was asked today what adventure I was going on next.. because that’s just who I am. Those people who are jealous. Get out there and do something you want to do! Help people! That’s always the best start. Whether you believe in karma or what goes around comes around. Put out some good deeds and take daring risks! If you fear it, do it!

8:42pm

Day 37. Lost it.

I had planned to finish up and post day 37. I wrote a few hours on the plane. Not saving because I had no signal. I tried re-uploading the photos and some how they only saved as thumbnails? I discarded changes thinking it would just go back to when I started fiddling with the photos. Nope. Lost everything I wrote.

Sighhhhhhhhhh I’m going back to bed. I’ll do them days tomorrow.

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11:23pm

Day 36. You can’t judge a book by its cover (part 2 of 2)

4:34pm Saturday. (In San Fran Cali. Crossed the dateline so I get two St Patrick’s days! :-D) <— does that smiley look like it has a double chin?

Anyway. Let’s blog. *cracks knuckles*

Liam. Come to find out he is one of the Māori people of NZ.

So his ancestors basically started living on NZ first a LONG time ago. So he was telling me a bit about the culture. I think we had about an hour and a half to get to Auckland. (I tried doing what I always do and looking at time stamps of photos, but the time change messed those up. I gotta math now.) It was kind of fun to ride in a semi.

He was a pretty chill dude and just liked to pick up hitch hikers to keep him company for the most part. After 25 years I KNOW he has driven in some horrible weather and seen some bad wrecks. This was the first Kiwi I had met that had never left the island. Hmm. He asked if I was in any hurry and I was like, nahh as long as I’m sleeping some place lose to the airport in Auckland tonight I’ll be fine. So he just drove right to his …uhh trailer drop off point? (Steve I’m gonna need some vocab here)

He has to make copies of some paper work and give them the trailer number. He said him and his wife had been married for 30ish years. I got to listen in on his wife being SUPER excited that he was coming home tonight. Aww I hope that’s me after 30 years of marriage. I guess ya different when you’re gone 6 out of 7 days of the week. Also got to hear him talk to his.. dispatch lady. Talking about how many kilometers and how much the company paid by weight. You can see the black box device in the last picture that his boss watches? His boss has to watch 250 drivers. And can tell how fast they are going, when they stop, fuel consumption, etc. If Liam makes a stop it if the ordinary he will get a call. He said that the guy knows he picks up hitch hikers. Which is also why he couldn’t deviate from his route too much. He said he thought all businesses were corrupt. They are all about that money and will force you to lie on your log book. So if you have only got 3 hours of sleep. It’s fine! I’ve heard my bro Steve talk a lot about that. So yea. It’s the same in NZ. If you decline taking trips, they just won’t use you as much. Such a nice system.

Took about 45 minutes to an hour making calls and doing paperwork and unhooking his trailers and attaching other ones. He still had a two hour drive to get back home.

He asked if I had dinner. Nope. Haven’t. Said after the drop his boss turns off the monitoring device so he could drive off the path. While he was doing all this I arranged a motel to stay at for my final night. I needed to totally reorganize my backpack and split things into what I could and could not take onto the plane and a carry on or checked bag.

So he drove me close to my motel and he said dinner was on him. Thanks man! I understood the struggle of parking a semi that had two trailers attached. (He had dropped off two and picked up two) he had been in this area many times and said KFC had large parking behind it.

I’m pretty hungry and am not picky at all. Especially if he was paying. It had started to get dark but KFC was only a 10 min walk from the motel. There was a long line but we got a decent amount of food and we chomped down some of that kernals chicken! Lol. He offered to drive me closer but I figured it was way too much of a hassle, I would just walk. So we said our goodbyes and I thanked him for dinner then walked down and ally to the road.

As I was eating to cross the st he drove up waiting to turn on the highway.

Another cool guy taking part in getting me where I need to be. I actually really like hitch hiking. Though people think you’re poor and homeless so they don’t pick you up, the people that do always have good stories and are generally good people. I mean who goes out of their way to pick up a stranger and drive him around for free? Yup. Nice people.

On the walk to the motel.. it hits me. This is the end. I made it!! Muscles sore, but intact. No big injuries. Just big adventures. I felt kind of bad that I didn’t have time to do a lot of hiking towards the end so my pictures aren’t of mountain tops. I just needed to get where I needed to go.

And this is my fuzzy, relieved, I made it face..

My motel:

First motel I’ve been to where the door to the place is the sliding door.

I plopped.

I needed to do laundry for the clothes I had on. The receptionist woman said that the laundry room ‘closed’ at 9:30pm but I could use it whenever I wanted because it doesn’t technically close. Kewlllllll

So I changed into some clean clothes while still being dirty and put my dirty clothes into the washer. My burnt face:

I kind of hit reverse culture shock..

I planned on showering and went to get my ziplock bag full of bathroom stuff and my quick dry fiber towel thing… right.. I didn’t have to. Everything I needed was already in the bathroom. I also didn’t need to worry about taking ‘rubbish bags’ with me. (Trash bags) 90% of places have you take your rubbish with you. They don’t have trash cans for people. Odd. I won’t need to worry about that anymore. I took a long. Hot. Free. Shower. (Technically i paid for it) But I didn’t have to insert tokens to keep the hot water going for another 4-7 minutes .

I didn’t have to see stars blowing up my mattress and pillow..

I would be able to use a FULL toothbrush again!

Yup. Cut it in half to save space and weight. Though very little, every ounce adds up.

I don’t have to provide my own toilet paper like some campgrounds or huts on mountain tops. I had a warm room to sit in while I did my dooty.

I wouldn’t have to worry about it raining and being windy at night..

I could shower any time I wanted or be able to go to the fridge and eat anything out of it.

I wouldn’t have to worry about blisters or what socks to wear.

I wouldn’t have to wear the same two pairs of clothes!

Or filling up both water bottles before I leave a place.

Lots and lots of things many of you don’t really think about on a day to day basis..

We tend to take it all for granted when it’s just always there.

While my clothes were drying, I wanted to turn the tv on just to have something playing in the background. I’m not used to having a tv. Might as well use it. I flip through the channels and run across the movie ‘Gods not dead 2’. It’s just the last 30 minutes. Never seen his one. Great. Now I have to watch it..

I grabbed onto one good line from the end.. it’s when people complain that God isn’t helping them when they are going through a tough time.

“When you’re going through something very hard, the teacher is quiet during the test”

Thoughts:

There is always a test. If you want to change something for the better, expect a test. You will always have a way out, but when you are faithful with little, he will bless you with bigger things and harder challenges to be faithful with again.

Sometimes..there are things put in your life that test your faith. How much do you really believe..

A part of my devotional:

I fell into a deep sleep without needing earplugs or an eye mask. I felt spoiled..

6:16pm

Day 36. You can’t judge a book by its cover (part 1 of 2)

4:58pm

Today donations are also for 2 people. Well a family and a friend.

First Kimberly, Joel, and Jadyn. I had met this family about 5 years ago..? Joel had had a brain tumor and my good friend Kati was a relative of theirs. Kati (fork) came to me and told me. I made some time to meet up with the family to talk about my experience and give my advice to them. They are such an amazing faith filled family. Joel has been in remission for over 5 years and they give all the glory to God. Kimberly has been incredibly strong undertaking the insurance companies while battling to keep the bills paid while Joel was going through treatment. Joel has always managed to keep his head above water as his faith and family is a core to his motivation. Jadyn has grown up as a pillar of strength for their family and has blossomed under the stresses of her father having brain cancer and her mother taking on a ton of responsibility. I hope when I have a family, they will be as close knit as the Saunders. Happy 17th Birthday Jadyn!

Now to my fran Megan. I met her at Stereo D like many friends there. She’s a super quiet girl, but works realllly hard. She has a work mode and a veg mode. Lol We mainly met up at the joker after work to have a drink at the end of a long day. She’s a reliable worker and doesn’t put up a fuss working long hours. She loves to travel and will even do it by herself if no one goes with her! She’s always been that friend that you could confide in. If she says she will be there.. she will be there. Looking forward to going back to Toronto to see her and other friends. Thanks for your continuing hard work at the D, and for your donation Megan!

Bloggin:

I tried to be as quiet as possible as it seemed the other 4 people were still sleeping and had already planned on staying an extra night at the hostel. I had an out time of 10am.. seems to be a country wide get out time. I packed my stuff as quiet as I could but when you’re dealing with ziplock bags and plastic bags, it’s near impossible. Luckily after I came back from brushing my teeth they had buried their faces into their phones. I probably woke them up. Lol I heard a few of them speaking French. I said hello when they arrived but when I left I said, Bonne Chance and Au Revoir. (Good luck and Goodbye)

I really had no idea of what my plan was for the day… I know I wanted to get some breakfast and figure it out from there. I remember seeing an All Day Breakfast place a block down. I headed there. I ordered a big breakfast and an orange juice. Several interesting things.. first. The bread was all free. They had it out in baskets with toasters and butter in packets beside it. Second. The orange juice tasted REALLY good. Like it wasn’t all orange juice? Did it have a bit of mango or something else..? Maybe it was a different kind of orange that wasn’t as acidic?

Third. This quote was on the wall.

I’ll put that there instead of in my daily thoughts.. Be yourself! Don’t try to be anyone you’re not.

I had seen a bubbling hot mud pit on the way to Hobbiton around town that I wanted to check out. Now… if I could remember where that was…. 🤔🤔

I googled mud. Or hot streams or a lot of stuff. I guess I found where it was in a park. I thought I was heading the right direction.. I walked for 20 minutes and realized I wasn’t going the right way. Welp. No big deal.. I don’t have any plans anyway. I cut over through some shopping centers.

It was only a 30 min detour. I found what I was looking for, butttt wasn’t as exciting as I thought..

I was told by … the biker guy with the dog. (Sorry I would have to look up his name and exit the blog) He told me that people had committed suicide there. They never retrieved any bodies because they boiled then sank. I guess they couldn’t retrieve any skeletons either because by sank! Who knows how far down they go or how hot it gets. We both agreed and death by fire / draining would be the worst two ways to go and this was a combination! Your burn then you drown. Not exactly a quick way to go..

I spent about 20 minutes walking around this fenced area and decided I would move on. Welp. It was almost noon. My flight was out the following day. I was about 3.5 hour drive from Auckland. 🤷🏼‍♂️ Might as well hitch that way. I walked for quite a ways. Just because I wasn’t exactly on the proper road to hitch out of.

A neat billboard:

A neat sidewalk:

A neat team:

I’m Mary Poppins y’all!

(Guardians of the Galaxy reference)

I hiked to what I thought was the edge of town. The speed limit was increasing and there was a big green highway billboard.

I mean it looks like the beginning of the highway. I stood there with my thumb out for about 50 minutes with no bites. How long would I have waited? Alright Lord, waitin on your person to come grab me. I planned to make a sign.. maybe that’s why no one picked me up. I was digging for the marker.. when a guy on a bicycle came up to me.. ” hey man.. umm I feel bad for you standing here, I’ve done some hitch hiking and I think you should walk down there a bit further. ” I explained i thought that the sign was the highway and he reassured me that it wasn’t and I had to pass that sign and go a bit further where I would have much better luck. He said most of these people are just going back and forth to work.

Pause.

At this point I felt like I was in the Bible.. on the boat. Casting my net out waiting to catch some fish. Nothin. Even though I wasn’t there all day, Jesus came along and told the fisherman to cast their net on the other side of the boat. They caught a TON! So.. I just had to move my fishing spot. Lol

Resume.

I thanked him. I put on my headphones and made the best of it. I was almost dancing down the sidewalk lol. I saw a McDonalds.. I wish it were a Dairy Queen.. I could use an orio blizzard out in this hot sun. I went in and got an Orio flurry. Basically the same thing. I made it to where I could tell was the end of the city. I decided to make a sign.

It wasn’t the greatest cardboard because the side you see has black on it. I had figured if people could see the first few letters they would know where I wanted to go. Yea. There’s no D on the end.. I get that.

I finish my cold ice cream, throw my pack on and take my newly created sign out to the road. Boom. Five minutes later:

He even had a Coke Zero he said I could have as he had a bunch more. Noice. He said his name.. I heard ‘Grunt’. Loll then he said nooo, and in his best American accent he said “Grant!” He was from South Africa and was raised with a good British family. So the proper way to say his name was “Graunt”. I like that. Just try saying Grant in a British persons accent lol. Yup. Just like that. He drove me a little under half way there. I just wanted to be in Auckland by sun down. He said people form cliques in jobs and people who don’t speak the same language don’t usually try and meet new people. They just stay comfortable with what they know. It’s easier anyway. He was in between jobs but said he didn’t really have a lot of friends because they all got married. Couples like to hang out with couples and then they have kids and they only hang out with other families who have kids. True. He asked if I wanted to grab a cup of coffee with him as he showed me around where he lived. Yea sounds good! He took me to their biggest mall and it was a decent size and we walked to a stand in the center of an isle and he ordered us cappuccinos. We sat and chatted. I forgot to mention that he asked if I got car sick in the car. Lol no. He said he was toning down around some corners because he thought it might scare me. LOL.. right. So he was driving like a real Kiwi. They never like to be behind anyone. Always take the corners as fast as their car will let them. There are roundabouts everywhere in NZ and one he drifted around. He had a Honda.. suv..? He said people called him Lightning Macqueen (a Pixar movie about an animated speeding car) I could tell. He said he had worked in car parts for a long time. He talked about some parts and cars I knew, the rest was over my head a little bit.

Walking up the moving sidewalk in the mall:

Aaand our coffee:

Nice guy. He’s a real motor man. Like he is a mechanic / has a motorcycle / races his non racing cars. Etc. it was getting a little later than I wanted as I still had an hour and a half left. He took me to the busiest and best place to get a hitch. He had mentioned that he either wanted to start a under 500cc motorcycle club or as he was dropping me off, he said he wanted to make a popular YouTube channel picking up hitchhikers. Lol I encouraged him to do either one! Nothing is stopping you. As he left me on the sidewalk, he burned out in a lightning macqueen style. Lol

I resumed using my sign and 20 minutes later to my surprise a semi pulled over that had two trailers on the back. I hooped yo the 3-4 big steps and he said hop in, he was heading to Auckland to drop off his trailers and pick up others to take back south. Liam was his name. I had to manage to get my backpack up into the semi and behind the seat. Took quite a bit of effort lol. He had been driving semi for 25 years! Reminded me of my brother Steve! He was a bit overweight, but what can you expect when you sit all day. He worked 6 days a week and was running on 4 hours of sleep in the last 2 days I think? Maybe 3..? He said so many kilometers andddd I’m not good with those.

I laughed and said, ” so I’m here to keep you awake!”

He was fine. He had a wife and 4 kids. Two guys and two girls

(Well.. my plane is boarding now. I hate being a day ahead because I spoil all the surprises and suspense. Sigh. I’ll post this half then do the rest on the plane and post that in San Francisco)

7:01pm

Day 34. Nerding Out

10:13pm

Today is for two people! Andie Hines and Kayla Roskopf.

Andie wanted me to dedicate today to her nephew Ethan who conquered Osteosarcoma last year. He’s only 15! It amazes me that kids so young have to start off life with such a difficult hurdle. Ive known Andie for years now. I wish I could remember who introduced us, but she seems to know everyone there is to know in Fort Wayne, and her connections reach about anywhere in the country! She connected me with people to make my Senior Thesis project, foam cubes and I think a few other things. If you need something…anything. She is the person who knows that person. Seriously. She has such a big network, if she throws your name down, its a big deal and odds are you will get that job you’re looking for or that side job you need done. She didn’t just know people for connections…she knows so many people because she cares about everyone she meets. She wants to help you. It doesn’t matter who you are. In return people just really love her and hope they can help her back. Somehow she keeps in contact with her 1000 friends and is a SUPER busy person continuing to meet with people and also starting her own business somehow in replace of sleep I would guess! Haha. She’s pretty amazing. Also she is amazing for dedicating a day to her Nephew. A heart of gold I tell ya!

My other good friend Kayla wanted to dedicate a day to her Grandmother, Mildred L Roskopf who was born on May 19th, 1927 and passed on May 4th, 1998. She was 70 and died of breast Cancer. Kayla wanted my day not to be a tough hike, but to have a relaxing beach day. Kayla is a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan, even so much that she named her cat Frodo. 🙂 I HAD to swap her day to my hobbiton visit. Lol. She and I got a ring from the movie and she wanted me to touch a door in hobbiton with it. Lol. I touched many doors and got many pictures with it so when it arrives, she will not only have the ring and chain but proof of it being in Hobbiton with memories attached. I met Kayla at the DAVE School in Orlando, Florida. I went into visual effects while she went into gaming. We all had to take the first two blocks together though, Modeling and Animation. She was always one of the top students and I was always a bit jealous. We became friends towards the end of the year and after school ended, I came back from Christmas break at home and we ended up being roommates together. We became much better friends then. I still dont know if she knows how good she is at what she does.. She got a job working at New Balance shoes and her 3D Modeling has been in many magazines and she has climbed the ladder SO fast at her job. She’s a perfectionist and manages to make everything she does look perfect, even if it takes HOURS. I say its talent, she says its hard work. I say its both. She makes it all look effortless though..Anyway, I’m rambling. We’ve been good friends since school and she deserves this ring from middle earth! Thank you Kayyyyylaaaaaaaaa! (I started saying her name like Seeeeeeggggggaaaaa. The old gaming system when it turned on LOL) 😀

Blogging:

I woke up and thouuuught I would have a bit of time to blog because I went to bed at 10pm after all… Nahhh. I did wake up at 8am and some how managed to get to noon and not finish the blogging. Meh. It’s ok, I did when i got home yesterday. Lol I mean back to the backpackers.

I had a skip in my step as I went to shower and packed my day pack with a few snacks, a bottle of water, and my personal locator beacon.

I knew where the store was because I was there the night before, just around the corner! As I’m turning the corner there’s this big boat looking thing with a bunch of people in it, mostly kids who had literal plastic duck lips on their faces that sounded like kazoos.

I saw a huge line assuming it was for the LOTR Movie Set bus…nope for these duck tours. Lol. Oook then. Doesn’t suit my fancy, but I guess many others it does.

Soooo, this blog is going to have the most pictures in any blog so far..It will be the peak of pictures in my blogging on this trip. Heh…he…ho.. off to Hobbiton I gooo!

Probably a one of the nerdier highlights in my life..

Kayla asked me to take her ring and touch a hobbit door with it. Lol. I guess I just blew that request out of the water. I was taking pictures with it, like it was her. Haha!

On the bus ride the driver of course had random facts about what to look out for on the side of the road and asked who had seen the movies. I would expect everyone going to the movie set would have seen the movies. Surprisingly 40% of the people on the bus said they hadn’t!? Whyyyy would you be going on this tour then? Later I was told, many people’s parents or grandparents’ sons or daughters or grandchildren loved the movies so they went to take TONS of pictures to make them jealous when they got back. Uhhh alright then.

Ive also heard on numerous occasions that Kiwis HATE possums. “What’s a good possum?? A DEAD possum!” I guess they are everywhere eating flowers and running a-mock in NZ. They somehow came over from Australia.

Also, the kiwis have many sayings..Sometimes I write them down. Most times I forget them. Like, “Sweet is bro!” Basically, it means…that’s sweet. They sometimes flip flop the words around.

Random side note…The kiwis made a train track back into the middle of some wooded area to get lots out faster…Seems like a lot of work for a little efficiency. What happens when the trees are gone?

We are getting closeeee! It’s an hour bus ride to Matamata where Hobbiton is.

You can just tell by looking at the hills. (if you have seen LOTR or The Hobbit you would know)

So…kind of brutal honest moment where I’m not sure if I have shamed my nerdiness. I’m not sure I knew what Peter Jackson looked like..? So even if he had come out to his Tesla at WETA Studios.. I dont think I would have known it was him till he got in the car. Hehhhhhh…

I know now..

Also..I’m surprised at how many sheep there are on these green hills! All the white specs are sheep just roaming around. This is a very frequent site in NZ.

We finally arrive and our bus picks up our tour guide. Fiona. (Ive heard that name several times in NZ, though I never have heard it before except in Shrek. Of course she says we can call her princes Fiona..)

Ok…So. I’m going to show you a behind the scenes to my photos showing you that there are a TON of people going through this tour. There are groups in front of us and groups behind us. They tell you to stay with your group because you dont want to get left behind or lobbed in with another group. They say they run tours every 5 minutes in their peak tour times.. Take the picture..RUN! Next picture! Gogogogo!

There is our fearless leader Fiona in the purple shirt with the shades on facing me in the back. Lots of people huh.. I make it a point to be last in the group. 🙂

Why? Mhmm, you guessed it. I could get photos with pretty much no one in them. :-B

I look funny squatting:

Sometimes I ask a few people in the back for a photo. Downside about being behind, I dont get to hear all the neat facts about the 39 hobbit holes. There is only 1 we can go in, but it’s empty. It’s up to the movie studio to create the ambience / lighting / environment in them. They were just empty rooms. We didnt have to go in all 39 to see that they all looked the same.

Flipping through my photos…i have a ton…lol..

Random fact about Peter Jackson. He’s also a perfectionist. Like..a huge one. He is all about the details. There were peach and apple trees growing around the hobbit holes and because the book had ONE line that said “the hobbits ate under a plum trees”, he had every tree de-fruited and workers had to attach fake plums with wires in all the trees. Fiona acted like she was the one that had to do the work.. I’m sure that was a pain and she said that it was only for one scene and the trees were in the background of the shot so you couldn’t tell if they were plums or not! Lol. Peter directed the movies, but J.R.R Tolkien wrote the books. The Hobbiton set was used for LOTR, torn down, then rebuilt a permanent version for The Hobbit. You can read the back of the pamphlet in one of the first few pictures I took.

You can see the Green Dragon Inn in the background of this shot:

Heres the ring!

Now its gone!

What kind of wizardry!?

Shhhhh slight of hand at work here…revealing the magicians secrets..

lol…

This is Frodos house, and at some point in the movie a scroll was nailed to his door “no admittance accept on party business”

They also had the smaller set of doors in the beginning of the tour that I forgot to mention. When the actors needed to look huge, they used the smaller set and smaller swap in actors. But full size and celebs got to use the ‘real’ size hobbit holes.

This tree…even though its a crappy picture on top of Frodos house, they had cut down from the town of Matamata and had planted sat the top of the hill.

They had to import leaves and sew them on, one by one. What a pain. You can again read about it from above photos. You also might be able to spot the tree in some of the other pictures above Frodos hobbit hole.

Tiny hole:

Touched another door!

Touch. Door. Touch. Door.

Big oleee tree

A cute shot:

There’s the double arch and Green Dragon Inn:

I thought it was pretty cool that there were various kinds of butterflies flying around too. They did a good job of keeping the chirping insects and butterflies around. Kind of puts the curry on the cake if you ask me.

This next picture is Sam’s home. He was Frodos best friend in the movie:

At the end of the tour, Fiona claimed that we would get beer that was ONLY made in Hobbiton and no where else in the world.

The beer came with the tour.

I heard someone else get one for them and a family member. They had 3 kinds. Cider, an IPA, and a Lager. Shhhhh I got a cider and an IPA. Lol. No one said anything about only one. I take this picture of a friend I’ve been chatting with.. Ester is her name. Probably spelled wrong.

I show her…Oh you look so classy.. So I have her take my photo..

Oh I look so…impatient.. Then…a bright idea!

I’m about to cast the ring into the fire of Mount Doom to destroy it once and for all! Muahahahahah hahaha haha.haha.ha..ha.

Of course we are taken thought the gift shop at the very end before getting back on the bus.

I liked this floor mat..

Sounds familiar.. (the vertical one)

Aaaand head back to the bus. Ester and I chat a bit. She is from the Netherlands and is on a year long sabbatical break from work. She kind of worked in a lab for some big pharmaceutical company. Her job is to gather statical information to help technology figure out spikes and out of the normal body issues so they can be treated much faster. It sounded complicated and that’s that I made of it. Anyway, she was on her 6th week and didnt have to take the full year off, but who knows if she would go back or move to Boston and work in a smaller company. I realized she stayed at the same hostel I did and we both had to leave the nest day. Every Thursday in Rotorua they have some kind of street food / art festival thing. We went and got some food, then sat and talked a bit. Smart cool lady. Headed back to the backpackers where she got her stuff and went to the kitchen to make food for the following day and I went back to my room and finished the blog on my top bunk.

Thoughts:

I like a lot of these motivational quotes from this Instagram page I follow:

That quote means to me..that if you have faith in something other than people or materialistic things…you wont be let down. It can be taken multiple ways..because we don’t have wings but its my opinion.

It’s kind of odd that I’m not a planner.. Yet I planned this trip for a year, and had TONS to prepare for / websites to get made / business cards to make and all the technology had to be tested and I had to learn how to use all of it. That’s an incredible amount of planning. BUT. I planned on coming out here…and not planning. Lol. This quote hits what I’m trying to say home..

“When you get out of the driver’s seat, you find that life can drive itself, that actually life has always been driving itself. Life begins to flow, and you never know where it will take you.” -ADYASHANTI

There is something freeing about taking your hands off the wheel and after so many times realizing..that things WILL work out. Even the bad things when you look back have a purpose in your life. (Not all bad things can be made sense of though). It’s scary at first.. many people need to feel like they have control. Control of your own life is just an illusion. You make choices, but life takes you where it wants to and usually its better than what you had originally planned.

Spend some time with yourself and really dig deep. Figure out why you do the things you do, accept who you really are.

My last full day in NZ is tomorrows blog. I head to the airport and my flight leaves at 7pm. I have a lot to wrap up tomorrow..Time has flown by.

So. Good morning, good afternoon, and goodnight.

1:27am.

Day 33 Hiking and Hot Mud. Part 2/2

9pm

What a day of nerdiness. Lol I’ll save today’s story for tm. Now to finish up my muddin.

So I booked the hostel and the Hobbiton Movie Set tour and decided to take the walk around the thermal wonderland. Lol

I went inside and got a ticket to go walk around. I asked the lady behind the desk if there was a place I could put my heaping backpack some place. She had to have another woman with a key escort me to their holding closet. I took my smaller backpack with a few granola bars and a bottle of water as a just in case thing.

I start my little hike thing. I plan to do ‘walk 1, 2, and 3 equalling about 75 minutes.

I had heard and seen these huge fern plants that remind me of Jurassic Park..

I had taken pics earlier of their leaves all curled up.

They really look like palm trees but are just mutant ferns.

It’s almost mandatory to get the background information before taking this trot.

I think it’s still pretty crazy that the earth can squish out such hot water to the surface from so far within.

I’ve slowly started to realize that the stink of the wet dog on me.. wasn’t me at all. Lots of these thermal pools were expelling sulfur. In fact any of the yellow you see in any of these pictures is from sulfur. Basically the rotten egg smell. Mind you they are pretty pictures without having to be there and smell them.

So thaaats where he livessss:

Certainly smells like it. Lol

Here’s a description about the craters and the colors you’ll see here in a minute:

Oh yea.. plenty of people..

It seems like everything is bubbling hot in this area. I’m not really sure how this company could make reliable paths and solid fences through this? I mean.. this is bubbling hot …stuff. It’s underneath this entire area.. hm.. I would think in a matter of time things would collapse into the ground. I know the crater sign said the last collapse was in 1968.. buuut yep. The earth can’t be trusted I say.

Then there’s this bubbling black tarrish stuff. Kid of like hot lead. Maybe that’s how it got it’s name?

I know ink isn’t the same as lead..

A lot of these things many people have never seen with their own eyes. It’s pretty crazy really. Makes me feel like I’m on another planet. I usually put a person in some of my photos or reference..

That’s one. Big. Hot. Crater.

And some more info.. if anyone even reads the signs?

This next picture is a purty one. The artists Palette. Lots of different minerals and words I barely know from chemistry class.

Its a stinky palette for sure..

Walked down the path a bit and took a picture of the palette closer to the ground.

You can see people on the far left of the picture. That’s where I headed next.

I think the words should be re arranged. Lookout! Champagne pool. Gross lookout. When some of that cloud wafts right into your face.. it’s a great thing..really it is.

I was trailing after 3 girls that were gagging getting closer to some of these hot pits. I thought one of them started dry heaving lol

I know.. I’m really making you want to be there..

Head back to the normal route.. walk number 2, the continuation.

Info info info

Up a bunch of steps. I feel pretty good. There are lots of benches along the way with a lot of people sitting down taking breaks. Even though I don’t have my huge backpack on, I notice I’m sweating less, my heart rate isn’t going up too much and I’m almost becoming a mountain goat hopping up a few steps at a time. Lol. I like my legs my now. Their new and improved!

A pretty overlook. Going down in and round is walk number 3. I’ve been hiking for about 45 minutes now.

“A reasonable level of fitness is required.” 😬

Hm. 100C…that’s 212F! I took many videos of the water a foot from where I’m standing bubbling. 😅

This should be called the stank cave:

Ok.. soo.. what’s great is people STILL want to see what happens when you step on this ground they they tel you not to step on. You know.. just to see what happens. Caught this guy lol:

I realize there aren’t railings.. but still.

This next picture if you look at the bottom right corner, you can DEFINITELY see a large hole of boiling water..

Then almost to the end of the line, there’s a gecko carved from a pie tree. Say hello to Merv.

The end:

Now to loop back around and head back to the visitors center.

Yuck:

I’m taking advantage of the fact that pictures are worth 1000 words. Lol

I’m not even really sure what this is.. it’s like chopped flat surfaces.. but wet..

Back to the artists palette.. but on a more eye level surface.

Walking around to the stinky champagne pool, the orange is pretty fascinating:

Here’s a sign that I was really interested in knowing. Hot far down and how hot these pools get?

Yayyyy yellowwww!

Here I don’t even think he took baths.. but that color is crazy!

They saved the craziest color for the end I guess? I head back to the visitors building. It’s about 4pm. I talk to the woman selling tickets and ask what time they close. “6pm”

Alright I think I’m going to go check out these things called ‘the mud pools’. I ask how far it is on foot.. she says about a 10 minute walk. Sounds good. That way I can see the mud pools without having to get my backpack out of their locker area. I start walking up the road. I see these signs far too often..

Yet as I’m walking further away I hear what sounds like a bee hive. Nope. Someone just outside of the ‘no drone zone’ flying their drone.. it’s sad that I tend to follow rules or less I would have loved to get the hot pits from high above!

I walk for a ways and Jen down this road, which I thought she said the mud pools were down.

Coooool its a dead end. I pull out my gps.. I guess I should have taken the next road. It’s 5:06 now. Ughhh a wasted 45 min walk. Well. At least it’s lovely out. So. I need to head back and get my pack before they close. That would suck. Finally arrive back at the visitors center and get my bag back. Welp, now I need to retract my steps and take the nextttt street past.

Neat set of shrubs:

I arrive at the mud pools. A bit of background.. if you can read it:

You can see 2 people in the very top left corner. I captured a nice moment or mud belching up to the surface and splatting around beside it. It happened a ton but that was a good onnnnne! I headed up to where the two people were:

Well. That was an experience. I took pictures and videos for about 10 minutes then decided I needed to get going. There was an interesting rock on the way out. Not exactly sure how they got such clean letters in it.

It was a 30 min car ride to Rotorua. There were about 3 cars in the parking lot. I pulled out a piece of cardboard and finally felt like I needed to use it. I wrote in big black letters ROTORUA.

I walked down the road, then out to the highway.. I crossed the highway and picked a spot going up a hill where people could see me and was enough room to pull over. It took from the time I left the mid to being picked up about 45 min. I had JUST picked my spot and dropped my backpack when a car pulled up. (I made sure each person coming could see that I needed a ride)

I saw 4 people in the car and the back seat person was scooting over to make room. Defiantly not enough room for my backpack. The back door opens and I lean in, it’s a couple of young people. Two guys up front and two girls in the back. “Throw your backpack in the boot!” Lol. The trunk opens so I understand. I’m always leery of someone tell me to put my bag in and then taking off. I keep an eye on the door as a foot is holding it open. (Or when I get out of cars.. I open the back door before closing the front door. Like that would matter much if they wanted to take off. I just didn’t want to get in the position where both doors were closed giving the driver even the thought of driving away) So I squish my backpack in the boot and hop in the back. Lol the girls in the back apologize about the pot. They are definitely high. Lol. Very chill. The girl beside me tells me she’s 19 and introduces me to the rest of the car. She asks me about smell and I hand her my card. I try to explain a bit. It’s going right over their heads. 😂 she is just jamming to music as we roll along.

Not sure if I should even be saying or posting this stuff, but no faces or license plates can be seen. It’s ok. At one point.. a fly was crawling on my arm. I moved it and it didn’t fly away. I had a thought that it was a spider and pulled my arm quickly closer to have a better look. Nope. A fly. I flicked it and actually hit it and launched it past the two girls and hit the other window. LOL.. it didn’t even try moving. A high fly. 😂😂

They asked where my hostel was as we came into the town and I said they could drop me off anywhere. They dropped me off at a McDonald’s because they wanted to go through the drive through anyway. Lol

I like people that pick me up..no matter who they are.😄

I head to my hostel. It’s only 3 blocks away.

When I booked this place hours ago, after just getting to the thermal wonderland, I chose 7 as a rough estimate to get there. It was 6:44pm when I took that picture. Right on time!

I check in at ‘Rock Solid, Backpackers’ and she assigns me a room.

Top bunk!

I kinda crawl up there and just lay for a while..about an hour. I convince myself to get up to explore. I noticed when I first checked in that there’re huge windows that you could see a 3 story rock climbing wall through!

I took a video of that guy in the top left corner climbing upside down for a while barely holding on with his finger tips and a heel! He slipped and was gently lowered by his rope buddy. Impressive!

I went in search of the place where the bus would come for me tm:

I rounded the block and found a place to eat. Got a cheap burger and fries then headed black to the hostel.

Thoughts:

I have collected quite a few motivational thoughts lately..

I’m sure most of you knew who Stephen Hawking is. Or was. I didn’t know much about him till he died. He was pretty smart as far as people go. He contributed many things to science and also added onto some of Einstein’s theories. He believed there was no God or heaven. It’s ok, he has many good life quotes though.. here is one I like.

This is just going to be a schmattering of quotes..

This next one is from LinkedIn, I usually read their, what’s going on in the world today / tech news. There’s always a good snippet in there too..

The more positivity you have around you.. the more positive you will become. The same applies to motivation. If all your friends are lazy, there’s a good chance you will be too. If you hangout with motivational people, you will become more motivated. You need friends to speak life into you. The ones who don’t support you are the only ones that want to just ride in the limo with you. You need more bus riders in your life! Lol

Growing up I got made fun of a lot. I realized over time.. that if I knew and accepted every single thing wrong with me.. their words wouldn’t hurt so much. Haha because I could actually agree with them. Unless it was something totally not true. That kind of goes with the saying..train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose. You accept who you are.. flaws n all. You can change your appearance.. but it takes years or something drastic to change who you are. Most people never really change who they are quickly. If you’re afraid to lose something, you try and control it. I see a lot of doomed relationships head that way. Jealousy loves control.

Just let go.. It will be fine! I promise.

11:33pm

Day 33. Hiking and Hot Mud ..part 1.

10:02am

Today is for my amazing Mother! She wanted it to be dedicated to Matt Marshall. I have no idea how to say thank you to the most influential and inspiring woman in my life. My Mom. The onlyyy way I know how.. is to show her that she raised a good boy who turned into a man one day. (Even though she always will still call me her baby.) To show her that she did an excellent job raising me and to make her proud by living a good, honest, faith filled life. Every friend of mine who meets you, wishes you were their Mum. There’s no way I could be where I am in life without your reassurance and constant prayers. Supportive in ANY decision I make. She does all my what ifs so I don’t have to. Lol I can trace back any accomplishment in my life to you.

So Thank You. For Everything.

Matt Marshall became her boss at Saint Anne Home for about 6 months. He has made quite an impact on her and everyone he meets. He fought a long battle with Leukemia (blood Cancer) about 6 years ago. His strong faith and prayers of other Gods brought him back to health. He has a big heart and never hesitates to share his story with other people. He has a gratitude about life and treasures every single day he lives. He takes nothing for granted and shares his kindness with every person he meets. On a visit home, I got to meet this guy. We have very similar stories and I was blessed to shake his hand. We share so many of the same views, but mainly.. Life is short. Take advantage of everyday and make it what you want. It is your life after all. My mom will treasure your friendship and kindness always. Like me.. I hope that every person you meet will walk away feeling better about their life or their situation. Thank you for being you and having a huge impact on my mother and I. You never know how far your life’s ripples will travel.

Blog:

I woke up about 9:15am. I look forward to the day that I can wake up in a real bed and not have to spend an hour every morning packing away all my belongings into a backpack that I have to carry the rest of the day.

Blueberry muffin. Some scroggin. Some water.

So this morning I tried to use the app ‘Hyperlapse’ to time lapse me packing everything away and into my backpack to carry out. Sad that when I got it all packed up my phone had shut off. I guess there is a time limit for the app. So not only did it only get about 70% of me packing but when the sun shined on my phone the exposure went pretty bright. I guess the old fashioned way would be to make the video and speed it up later on a computer. This got about 3 minutes and 45 seconds at 15x speed. I’ll post what I have on fb later. Instagram only allows 60 seconds. I might chop a part out and post that. I dunno yet.

I looked into where the campground woman told me would be the best place to hitch out of. It was still an hour and a half hike. Most of which was along a highway. Not too fond of that idea cuz no one stops, but I knew I could easily do it. Goodbye pool!

Oddly enough, my backpack feels lighter and lighter each time I carry it. Yet each time I pick it up, it’s just as heavy! Most likely because my arm muscles have shrank and headed to my leg muscles. So now my arms are puny but my legs are nice and shapely! (Not a word. I know)

Barely a cloud in the sky.. another beautiful day. I saw a lot of snow in pictures and friends posts online. Totally honest.. I would rather carry this backpack around in the hot sun that deal with the cold. 😅😅

Welp. There’s the highway ahead.

I didn’t think I would be getting a lift, so I put my headphones in.. shuffle random music. It’s now 11:20am. Some Hillsong music then some Daft Punk. Like really shuffling here. Something reminded me of my favorite song from years ago. (I might have already posted this.. or at least put it in my memory at some point that I should post this) 3rd Eye Blind – Motorcycle Drive By.

“I’ve never been so alone… but I’ve never been so alive”

Those thoughts filled my body with a new vigor and strength. I’m in New Zealand. Backpacking. I’ve almost made it 40 days and I’m super blessed. I have a full belly, and plenty of water. Hiking along a pretty much desolate highway. I have a direction, but don’t know how to get there. This seems to be at the core of men. Adventure. Danger. Being brave. We crave this stuff. I was so happy.. to be sweating along this road. We don’t get many times like this in life.

I hike for about 40 minutes..

(No not in the center of the road. Yes I looked both ways many times before I took this picture)

I had my thumb out sometimes and not others. I just kept walking sometimes glancing back to see if I was wasting my thumb and arm muscle efforts. No cars. No thumb.

Kind of surprises a guy named Phil pulled over in front of me. He had to move his baby seat out of the way for me to put my bag in the back. He said he was going up I the small village ahead. Good! That’s where I was told to hitch from. Lol even though I was getting a ride now..? He asked if I wanted to be dropped off at the highway crossing or the gas station. I said gas station. It would have taken me another 30 minutes to get there.. but in a car it was 5 minutes. Niceee

I thought the gas station would be an easier place to get a ride. Ehhh not so many people. So I walked back up to the highway crossing.

Took my backpack off. The road going past me was about 2.5 hours to Rotorua. But I planned on stopping at some hot thermal parks.

I waited for about 20 minutes and see a car slow down and stop beside me. He said he is heading to Rotorua and could hop in as long as I didn’t mind his dog on my lap. Lol. It’s ok. 🙂 Hue was his name.. and I’ve forgotten the little puppies name.

Hue doesn’t look too happy in this photo lol. But I assure you he is a nice guy. Also had hitchhiked before so he knew the struggle. He had to have the AC on high and blowing on his little pup. The little guys fur was even black. Hue said that he was an avid cyclist and had done many triathlons. He was in the process of getting all the red tape out of the way for his wife to cycle from India to China! Geeeze. Making my puny 40 day walk look like nothin! I tell him that I want to stop at some thermal pools stuff and he asks me which one, there are 4. Lol. Ummmm which one do you recommend?? He used to work in tourism and has been to all of them. He recommended Wai-O-Tapu. (Interesting names!)He said it was a little off the main road, but since he had no place to be he would drop me off at the door. Nice! Street to door service! I get out of his car and feel like I smell like wet dog. Like is that me? I assume it is for a long time. Lol.

Looks pretty cool. Price isn’t toooooooo bad..just for walking around. I go inside to buy a fruity drink and sit outside planning where I’m going to be staying and a shuttle to Hobbiton! I was told I should book in advance because they fill up quickly. Also another person said I should book the last tour so I didn’t have a group behind me. I imagine the tours go later than when we get there by bus though. So I’ll be in the middle between groups I’m sure. I first checked where the shuttle left from.. then campgrounds in the area.. not much. How about hostels..? Nice a few hostels. $19 for a night isn’t bad. 6 person co-ed room. Done. Then I booked my tour of where all the hobbits lived in LOTR!

Sigh.. speaking of.. I need to get going. It’s noon and my shuttle leaves at 1:20pm. Still in bed blogging. 😅

I’ll finish when I return!

Excited!

12:02pm