On a trip we always meet people in a situation similar to ours and with whom we sympathize quickly. Pauline, I met her at the very beginning of my trip to New Zealand, in Rotorua on the South Island. We spent a few days together and her well marked but sympathetic character and her desires similar to mine immediately pleased me. We found ourselves again a week later by chance at the forecourt of the i-site of New Plymouth. Then several months later in Te Anau. Here is her vision of New Zealand.
Hello Pauline. Can you introduce yourself ?
Pauline, Pam for friends. I am a Frenchie of 18 years and a half (well, almost), and I like, obviously travelling, but also pastry, music, cats and beer.
I have a rather solitary character, and, as my father says, I am a “wild cream.” it means I’m easy to live with, I smile and I like to please people (the “cream”). But I am also very independant, I need to feel free and I don’t need anyone to take care of me (and I wrongly think that it is the same for others, hence the “wild”).
Since how long are you travelling ? And how ?
I left early April 2016 for 10 days in Tokyo, a week in Brisbane, 11 months in NZ, a week in Sydney and a few days in Singapore. Therefore, a one year trip, that will end at the end of March. I travel alone, I have great difficulty to live with other people. I am a wildling, remember! However, this trip helped me improve my socializing skills (which was unexpected).
I bought a car a few months after arriving, because the bus was a pain in the ass, and I wanted to prove to myself I was capable of doing it. It was definitely a good idea.
What is New Zealand for you ? What do you like in this country ?
What I really like here is the kindness and optimism of Kiwi people. At the supermarket they ask “how are you?” with a genuine smile, and they pack your groceries carefully. When you work well, they tell you, they congratulate you. Here, parents hardly ever scold their kids, they allow them to make their own experiences and encourage them. In the street when you smile at a stranger, they smile back and say “hi! “. It’s not much but for me it makes all the difference. Besides, I know French people are gonna throw stones at me but I have to say it: I love English!
I visited both islands from From North to South. I only skipped the Tongariro track and the North East part of the South Island because there was a big earthquake.
I am currently on my 6th wwoofing. I met wonderful people, worked in different types of farm and in a hostel, exchanged recipes with my hosts and friends, and will keep these awesome (sometimes awful) memories in my brain for ever.
Do you have a travel philosophy ?
Uh, I have no philosophy … Before I left, I thought about my life and realised that I did not know what I liked, what I wanted, that I didn’t have dreams. After 10 months here, I have found a lot of answers, I’m overflowing with future projects, I feel better physically and in my head, and I care less about the future.
Your best memories or difficulties ?
I have very good memories of my wwoofing during the calving season. I have bottle-fed hundreds of calves, I’ve seen them grow, they loved to suck my fingers and licked my head … a great experience! During this trip, I also met a person who made me see life from another angle and since then, everything seems easier and beautiful. It definitely was a key moment in my journey. I also swam with dolphins spontaneously in a creek of Coromandel. It was definitely a great surprise 🙂 But I could also talk about the friends I found here (including you my little Claire!), my skydive in Taupo, the extraordinary Christmas in summer, the three weeks I spent travelling in the South island with my daddy…
My biggest difficulty was probably my first month in NZ. The day I arrived, I went directly to a wwoofing in the north of Auckland and it was not exactly my ideal life. I had great difficulty adapting to the conditions I met there, and I was physically and morally exhausted (especially when the mice devoured my only chocolate bar!). But I wanted to stay a whole month, as promised, and I did it.
The future for you is scary or not ?
Well, the future honestly worries me less than before. For some reason, it’s the people around me who think about it too much …
I will return to France at the end of March after a year spent mostly in NZ. I have several projects in mind and so many travels I want to do. But as soon as I’ll be home, I’ll have a big “raclette” with good bread and wine and I’ll celebrate my return with my friends and family. The rest will happen on its own. One thing is for sure, I will not go back to work the same way I did before.
A recipe which illustrates New Zealand for you ?
Pavlova! It’s a big meringue covered in whipped cream and fruits, and it’s delicious. Despite its Russian-sounding name, it is a typical New Zealand dessert. I learned to do it when I was wwoofing in a dairy farm, with my host Tamara who taught me all her tricks to make it perfect. But NZ is also tin spaghetti eaten on a buttered toast, marshmallow fish, and fush’n’chups!
Thank you Pauline!
Sweet as bro!
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Talks is a dive into the lives of the locals and the travel experiences of the backpackers I met on the road.
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