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Welcome readers to the rebooted peripatetic kiwi blog not only chronicalling the sojurn of myself but also S. this time! We said goodbye to the growing chill in the Netherlands and headed back to parts known, New Zealand. I won’t bore with extraneous detail but it was wonderful to spend Christmas at the family bach (holiday house) for the first time in 6 years. It was family-filled, sunny and we gorged ourselves on excellent fish and chips, craft beer (try Stoke beer) and reunions with old friends.

In key achievements, S., J. and I spent a roasting day slogging our way on a stunning hike in the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett which has been rated as one of New Zealand’s best one day hikes. We collapsed into the lighthousekeeper’s house and admired the sunset from the cliff-face and listened to the seagulls squawking to each other on the cape. We also devoured the so-called best fish and chips in NZ at the Mangonui Fish Shop and swum in the sublime beauty of Matai Bay. Further south in Auckland we hiked up the (probably extinct) island volcano of Rangitoto (35min by ferry from central Auckland) which last erupted 550 years ago… We also swung over to Waiheke island to visit S. and take in the delights of the island suburb of Auckland.

All good things must come to an end and after having spent the best part of a month soaking up NZ, we needed to leave and ‘really’ kick off the trip! We took a long flight direct to Chiang Mai, Thailand and have stayed here undertaking some work on ourselves by attending a three-day workshop on ‘finding your purpose’ (ex-colleagues pay attention!). The days passed more quickly than I had anticipated with a lot of thinking, yoga, meditation and group discussion. It was very intense but S. and I both found it extremely rewarding. More on that in a later post! Immediately afterward we attended a two-day silent meditation retreat outside the city hosted by Buddhist monks. This included a lot of mindfulness meditation techniques as well as ‘ask the monk’ Q&A sessions. Very cool. Lastly we hiked through the jungle for a few hours in 30 degree heat to reach the most important temple in the region. Doi Suthep temple was chockablock with Chinese tourists visiting for Chinese new year and deliberately ringing all the bells and gongs despite signs not to!

Finally, in the best interests of boosting readership numbers, every title will have a hook from something I am reading or have experienced. This time as I was patiently waiting for my banana crepe to be finished (total cost 40 baht/ ~ 1.06 euro), a gigantic cockroach entered the griddle stage-left and danced daintily across my almost finished crepe. Onto Siem Riep!