Getting down to business with opting out of big-business
The time spent at the Lumsden Hotel was both rejuvenating and relaxing. Our drive to help and get things done properly seemed highly appreciated, bringing about a pleasant satisfaction in us.
Moving to our next -and current- HelpX host, then, was not entirely untroubled: as we drove along the highway we noticed that the car was wobbling once again. Having just had our CV joints replaced, we were perplexed when the wobble continued to worsen, even as Scott slowed down to 50 km/h. Suddenly a great bang took us by surprise, only to find our back tyre completely ripped. As we were very low on oil, I hitched a ride into the next town (where we were heading - to get oil) to get some while Scottie changed the tyre.
Finally, we arrived at the church converted into a home late that evening, welcomed by Robyn, our new host, with a delicious bowl of mushroom soup. Since then, we have been learning all about Permaculture, an alternative to our unsustainable consumer-capitalist way of life. One thing led to the next and suddenly we are the guinea pigs for future -paying- students of a Permaculture Design course. That basically entails learning how to put the permaculture principles into practice by designing the garden of a house in such a way that nature will just work for you without you needing to do much more than harvesting your food. Some smart designing can save you from needing to weed, water the garden, using chemical fertilizers and harmful herbicides and insecticides, and on top of that it enables you to be far more productive on your piece of land. You save money, are independent from big food corporations, eat poison-free, live in harmony with nature... it just makes so much sense!
On top of that, we have been learning how to make cheese (feta, ricotta, haloumi , mozzarella, blue vein and cheddar), how to preserve, how to make jams and chutneys, nachos, the magic of propagating plants and trees and so much more. It has truly been a fascinating and productive month, currently being topped off by the merry visit of our dear Lydia to New Zealand. Driving over to pick her up I needed to take care to make the curves, as my mind was busy with reality checks that yes, I am in New Zealand, and yes, I am going to pick up our darling Lydia.
Leaving our wonderful host soon, I look forward to tramping and making our way up the west coast together, after which Scott and I have decided to take a break from traveling and get a job.
As I mentioned some time ago, our trip has continued in a serendipitous fashion which we have curiously got used to, but still baffles us when we stop and take a moment to reflect. Even though Robyn didn't really want any volunteers, for some reason she still said yes. We then found out that people we had met at Kiwiburn (with similar interests) had been here for a month recently. Then, while inventing a new type of income for Robyn -perfectly timed-, we received just the information we needed to start dreaming of future possibilities. Later, Scott's friend sent him a link for a job in a signage shop in Queenstown (he sent his CV and had the job by that evening) and having spent a good portion of our savings, this seemed like the perfect opportunity. After all, Queenstown was the place where upon arrival the first thing I said was: "I wouldn't mind staying and working here for a while".
I guess the universe heard me: as from the end of April we shall be living in Arrowtown, a beautiful little town just outside of Queenstown, where I am currently applying for jobs. Keeping my fingers crossed, I will soon go for an interview at a café/bakery where they make all jams, chutneys and buns in-house, after having sent a spontaneous application to the place I would most like to work at.
Finding a place to live has proven easier said than done, but with the various possible avenues we currently have, we're pretty confident to obtain a room/studio soon. That will thus keep us occupied till about September, when it will start to warm up again and we will head North again...
However, for the moment, the little mischievous juvenile cat who thinks he's a big black panther is keeping us on our toes with his constant entertainment and naughtyness (I have never seen a cat with that much energy!) and after the initial fear of my first two major earth quakes, I am now slightly excited to feel another (the ones here in Oamaru are not catastrophical as they can be in Christchurch).
Till next time!