One-Wheeled Wanderer


One-Wheeled Wanderer

Bringing a unicycle to all areas of the world! I'm still a novice traveler, but am eager to learn.

North America » United States » North Carolina » Durham January 8th 2014

And that's it, folks. Back again in Durham, putting my life back together after an amazing dream. I slept terribly on the flights back -- maybe 5 hours on the 8-hour flight, and almost not at all on the last 4-hour redeye from LAX. I got into RDU at 5:30am, had a bit of a shuttle snafu but was still home by 6:15 or so. I know that you're supposed to stay awake for the day to get used to the time change, but it was physically impossible for me, especially since it was still dark. So, I crashed, hoping to wake up by 10 or so. But I was so freaking wiped, whenever I woke up I felt terrible and my shoulder tendons were shaking. It's kind of a weird feeling to describe, but there ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland January 7th 2014

The bus was late coming into Auckland, of course, so Ben and Michelle had started to worry that something had gone wrong. But, soon enough I had collected my backpack and thrown myself into the back of the car. It was evening, around 8:30pm, but the sun was still up as we drove to their place. On the way there, they stopped and picked up some fish and chips from a takeaway (to-go) place, because I had not yet tried that New Zealand delicacy. We snacked on the fried fish and chips (fries) at their place, augmenting the delicious with tomato sauce (like ketchup but thinner, sweeter, and with a slightly different flavor. Maybe coconut? Or molasses? I don't know.) and aioli. After that it was time for bed, since we had an early morning the ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Ninety Mile Beach January 6th 2014

Well, I'll say this of staying with people you find on if you can roll with the punches, you may have some amazing experiences you did not expect. My host in Paihia was Josh, a native-born kiwi and self-professed pirate. He is renting a house in Russell, a small yacht-favoring town just outside of Paihia in the Bay of Islands. He often hosts people and friends in his house, so there were 8 people that were there the first night I stayed! The bedrooms/couches/cottage were all taken, but they had an air mattress and a gorgeous view so I just slept outside on the porch under the stars. It was amazing! Josh is an interesting character, a "retired" programmer and entrepreneur who now hangs around and spends his money as he sees fit. (Apparently his ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua January 4th 2014

Well, I finished off my time in Rotorua with a bang! After leaving the library I went to a public park near the hostel that was rumored to have some thermal vents you could look at. The park itself was quite pretty, nicely manicured lawns and wooden fences surrounding patches of jungle plants that marked a thermal vent. Some of the vents were steaming pools of water, ranging from shallow to quite deep. One pool was actually mud that was going at a roiling boil! It was amazing to me that you could be standing on grass not 10 feet away from where these pools were so hot they were boiling, and feel nothing on your feet. Totally weird. I was delighted to find that the city had constructed a heated pool in the park! It ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua January 3rd 2014

I'm honestly not sure if this place could get even more awesome. It's like the perfect storm of good things has happened: good food, good fun, good people. Last night I stopped by a Thai restaurant on a whim (this place is full of small international food restaurants off the main street, the Thai place had their windows open so the delicious smells leaked out) and sat down at a small table by myself outside. Within about 5 minutes a Chinese girl came to sit at the other table, and since she was alone I invited her over to my table to eat together. It was great! Grace works in Nanjing at a private school for Australian students, they cycle over for 5-week periods, and since she was on holiday she was traveling New Zealand for ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua January 2nd 2014

Holy crap am I glad I chose to come to Rotorua. I was originally going to skip it, thinking it too "touristy" and stating that I had little interest in a geyser and some hot springs. What I didn't realize is that Rotorua has a lake, is inland so it's fairly not-windy, but most importantly the feel of the city is kind of a bustling laketown where kiwis come to vacation. Right now I'm sitting on the waterfront in a tank top, with seagulls crying and black swans swimming by as I type (turns out there are tons and tons of black swans over here). I walked by a "retro carnival" on the way here, with shining rides and 50s music. Amazingly awesome city. Tonight I'm staying in the Base Backpackers, and it's a crazy-nice place. ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington January 1st 2014

Happy 2014, to one and all, from Wellington! The city is located on the very south tip of the Northern Island, and it is the farthest south that I will go on this journey. It's a port city, with a lot of cafes and bars on the waterfront. I couchsurfed one night and stayed in a backpackers in the second night, both of them located in downtown Wellington. The feel of downtown really reminded me of New York, with buses running, stores everywhere, interesting people walking by, the whole shebang. There also seem to be a lot of artists in Wellington, so that's another parallel. There are many things to see and do in Wellington, but the only thing I did was visit Te Papa, the AWESOME museum they have there. Most of the museum is ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Turangi December 31st 2013

On the bus to Wellington. Once again, another first: this was my first time using the couchsurfing website as a surfer, not a host, and it has been AMAZING. I stayed with Kicki and Mike in Motuoapa (moe-too-oh-AH-pa), which is a small collection of houses outside Turangi (TOOR-ang-ee) on Lake Taupo? Their house is in a really nice neighborhood up on a hill, with a view of lake Taupo, and the neighborhood is full of kids and parks and open space. The houses are all different styles because the parcels of land were bought up by Aussies who use the place as a vacation spot. In fact, a lot of the houses are all for sale because the place didn't take off like they expected, so now they need to sell it. I was dropped off ... read more

Today I faced the mighty Tongariro Alpine Crossing! It's a day hike, about 20 km (13 miles) long, traveling up to the base of some active volcanoes and then over and down. It's ranked as one of the most picturesque day hikes in the world, and, importantly, mount Tongariro is what they used for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings. The crossing does not begin or end in the same place, you hike from one carpark (parking lot) to another, so you have to arrange some sort of transportation to drop you off and pick you up. I'd arranged transport with the Alpine Hot Bus via email before leaving the states, and it was due to pick me up from Mike and Kicki's (see the next entry for all about Kicki and Mike!) at ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Waitomo December 28th 2013

Another busy day here in New Zealand, full of awesome bushwalks and glowworms! Jackie, Julia, and I left the backpackers around 8:40am for our bushwalk. The bartender that I bought my beer from last night said it would take about 2.5 hours to do the bushwalk, and we first stopped by the i-SITE so Jackie and Julia could buy a glowworm cave expedition. Thus I was a little short on time, since I needed to be back around 11:40am to get to my tour on time. But I figured I would do what I could and see what I could. Let me tell you this: the Ruakuri bushwalk is wonderful! For a lot of it you are actually walking through rolling farmland that is punctuated by these limestone rock pieces with cool layering in them. At ... read more

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