Monday, January 20, 2014
Woof! Or WWOOF-ing is a term frequently used when long term backpacking. It stands for “willing workers on organic farms,” and is not only a good way to save money on a place to stay, but creates a connection between you and your resident hosts. Typically, volunteers help with daily farming chores, but WWOOF-ing can also refer to working for free accommodation at backpackers or hostels in exchange for 2-3 hours of cleaning.
On Friday, I “moved” to Riwaka, a small “town” about 4 km outside Motueka, to work for accommodation at this beautiful backpackers called Eden’s Edge. I came back because I fell in love with the scenery and absolutely enjoyed the owners, Chris and Liz. There are mountains nearby and apple orchards all around, so I would consider this country living, something I have never truly experience before. I am about a 5 minute drive, a 15 minute bike ride or a 45 minute walk away from town. It’s been great to just sit and be and soak in the surroundings.
It’s been pretty easy going since my return, and I have really enjoyed hanging out and catching up. I got to meet up with Victoria and Megan again. After our Friday night Mexican fiesta feast, they treated me to a British experience known as “The Full Monty.” I had no idea what that movie was about, and I think going into it blindly was the best. No better way to enjoy that film than with two girls from Northern England.
On Sunday, my Belgium roommate Katharina and I ventured into town for the Motueka Sunday market. The farmer’s markets in New Zealand rock. They are always full of more than just the local produce, but also feature jewelry, clothes, local beer, loads of food truck selections and define a great sense of community.
This afternoon, a few of us were talking in the kitchen when all of a sudden the cutlery started to jingle. I put my hands on the countertops, and I definitely felt a rocking like I was being shaken on a boat or something. It lasted for quite a long time, and we figured it had to have been an earthquake. Seeing as New Zealand lies on numerous fault lines, earthquakes are a daily part of life here. They experience thousands of earthquakes a year. Many are so minor you cannot notice them, but we felt this one centered all the way in the North Island which is a three hour ferry ride away. The Wairarapa area, about 1 hour outside Wellington, endured this six point something earthquake and didn’t fare as well as the capital according to my friend who lives in Welly. Coming from Virginia where relatively predictable hurricanes are our most severe natural disasters, it can be pretty terrifying to have to adjust to life with unpredictable earthquakes. It’s a trade off you have to make to enjoy such a picturesque country though.