February 16

As with my other “homes,” the unique part about Waipu has been the relationships that I have developed here. In addition to the time spent getting to know Zhoel’s family. I have also nurtured friendships with the other travelers and locals who work at The Cove Cafe. I’ve mentioned before, the restaurant employs a few year-round locals, a handful of university students on summer break, and many backpackers.

Today, I went to do the Mangawhai Cliff Walk with Connie. She is from the UK, but she has been traveling for several years. She left home for the first time when she was 18 and went to India for six months, from there she backpacked more of Asia, Australia, the States, Israel and now, New Zealand. Speaking to her about her experiences really opened my eyes. As she has been traveling for so many years, she is able to look back and see how her decision-making has evolved. She took some chances as five years ago that she wouldn’t take now. Also, now that she is traveling with her boyfriend, Sam, whom she met in Australia, her experiences are impacted by that as well. Traveling with a partner from a different country limits the places where you can go, due to visa restrictions. It was enlightening to think about how she has maintained the traveler lifestyle and how much she has gained personally.

We ended up deserting our walk after we took a wrong turn and ended up sweating, panting and at the top of a large hill. We agreed that walking along the beach seemed like a better alternative. However, to get back to we had swing around a swamp on one side and a large gate on the other. If nothing else, our accidental trespassing added a little color to an otherwise normal day.

During our walk on the beach, we came across a blue bottle jellyfish. It was so exciting to see one for the first time!



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