I’m delighted to present an exclusive sneak peek book excerpt for my new travel memoir ‘Backpacker to Nomad’
If you are a regular reader, you will know since the pandemic hit, I’ve turned my attention to writing books about long-term travel life and over the past year I started work on my first travel memoir. However if you were not aware let me just give you a little insight. I started traveling in 2010 and didn’t return home to England until a global pandemic put a pause on my crazy nomadic life.
Backpacker to Nomad overview:
From his early calamitous struggles with solo travel, the odd brush with death, to ghetto snobbing (his words), it’s been a ‘take the rough with the smooth’ type of journey for British budget backpacker, Amit!
This selection of humorous yet thought-provoking travel tales dives into the adventures, discoveries, and despair of Amit’s nomadic life. He gets into sticky situations others may think twice about, especially when he’s trapped with a lunatic pilot enroute to a deserted island in Australia, scaling active volcanoes in New Zealand completely underprepared (not his smartest move), or getting propositioned by opium-addicted locals in Southeast Asian jungles to name a few of the soaring highs and crashing lows he shares.
Amit’s life isn’t normal and provides a unique perspective on long-term travel, but these true travel stories will fuel wanderlust for armchair travellers and free-spirits alike.
Book Launched: July 27th 2022
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Sit back, grab a snack and enjoy …..
Broke backpacking New Zealand travel story Overview
Living in a picturesque fairy-tale town surrounded by snow-capped mountains also known to backpackers as neverland came at a cost. Being broke all the time – It was nothing new to Amit but the latest precarious situation was. A choice was needed; the responsible one or the stupid one. He and his Canadian friend chose the latter for adventure & laughs while sticking a middle finger up to life. What could possibly go wrong!
Broke backpacking Zealand goes to new level
Malt wine and fumes of coffee fused with the burning cherry birchwood danced in the bitter icy fresh air alongside the constant chatter and clattering teeth all around. A magical and very unique atmosphere I had not felt anywhere else was generated from the melting pot of tourists, backpackers, thrill-seekers, and adrenaline junkies, with the added sprinkling of locals.
Once anybody experienced this melting pot, it was hard to leave this picturesque town. For most of the time it felt like being in a fairy-tale. Especially with the view of the frozen lake and snow-dripped mountains in the background from the outside seating area of this café.
Travellers from all over the world hid under woolly hats, brightly coloured puffy jackets, and matching pants and floated through the walkway between the café and lake. Most of them buzzing around like colourful bees, either returning from or heading to another extreme activity. The majority of them passing through for a few days and dialling up the adrenaline to the max before moving on.
Adventure capital of the souther hemisphere
This was winter in Queenstown. The South Island of New Zealand was known as the adventure capital of the southern hemisphere, and Queenstown—or Neverland as those of us who didn’t leave liked to call it—was the epicentre. The bitter air bit at my cheeks only to be melted by crackling flames emanating from the fire pit to the side.
The winter sun bounced off the sheer white mountains and just added to the surreal fantasy feel of this town. While travelling through with Alex, I had just a little taste of the unique energy, but it compelled me to return once she returned to Australia.
From the moment I returned nearly four months ago, it was like living in a thick bubble where the outside world didn’t exist anymore. Alex, who I’ve kept in touch with, thinks I’m spiritually connected to Queenstown—that’s why, even as broke as I am, I love it. Sure, I could feel the ambience and atmosphere, but it definitely wasn’t a spiritual thing, I don’t believe in that mumbo-jumbo.
We’re so broke backpacking in queenstown!
A pink glove slid in front of me and placed another coffee on the wooden bench accompanied by a familiar Canadian accent.
“So, apparently, my loyalty card had two free coffees. So, you’re welcome and we finally have some luck! And FYI, I hate that you like sitting out here.”
“It’s nice out here, feels tranquil and we’ve got the fire to keep us warm. Better than sitting inside our frozen cabin.” A smirk grew as my mouth lifted from under my three hoodies to feel the bitter air as Amy sat beside me.
“True, but not better than sitting inside the café. Amit, my feet are frozen and I’m wearing three pairs of thick woolly socks and Uggs.”
Only Amy’s face—or rather just her purple hair—was visible as she hid under layers of clothing and a thick jacket with all hoods up. The coffee had barely sat on the table a moment and it had already started to go cold, but it was free, and free always tasted good—especially when you were broke.
“How was work?” I asked while taking a sip.
“Same as every day. Pretty darn shite. Tourists coming in and out of the shop, asking me ridiculous questions like I’m an expert skier or snowboarder. Don’t they know I just work in the shop for very little money and am not an expert? It’s annoying, I hate it. And I have to sell and rent out gear for people to have a great time when I can’t afford to do it myself. Ahh, that’s better. Rant over.” Her huff was not a welcome breeze, turning icy as it hit my cheeks.
“Yup. Anyhoo, how was your day? Ready for work? Over the hangover?”
The reality of Neverland
We both shuffled along the bench, getting closer to the fire. Being a local in this town was not as adrenaline-fuelled as it was for the tourists passing through, but partying practically every night was. While the adventurous overpriced tourist activities created the electric atmosphere during the day, it was after dark when Queenstown really came alive. Locals finished work and hit the bars, and all the tourists fuelled up on adrenaline let it all out in the bars and clubs so the electric atmosphere exploded.
“Yeah, just about over it… didn’t do anything though, nearly froze to death in the cabin, went outside to feel some warmth. Got some noodles for dinner, sat in this café watching these tourists pass by.”
“Oh, well, don’t get too wild, you should slow down all that excitement,” she sniggered.
“Yeah, I know, right, some might think I was an adrenaline junkie backpacker.”
“By the way, you went to the shops…”
Before she could continue, a pack of sour worms Haribo sweets appeared on the table.
“Amazing. That’s my dinner sorted then. But seriously, will you get food vouchers from work today, Amit? We need to go shopping soon. We need real food.”
“I dunno, I’ve tried swapping the drinks vouchers for food ones, but no dice. I’m done with living on noodles. I didn’t live on noodles ever in Australia, no matter how broke I was. And I’m dying to eat a Fergburger.”
“Stop it, Amit—I hate being so poor. Can’t we just rob a bank?”
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Follow British backpacker Amit’s humorous wild ride into nomad life. From his early calamitous struggles with solo travel, the odd brush with death, to ghetto snobbing (his words), it’s been a ‘take the rough with the smooth’ type of journey
Don’t just imagine the journey – see it through this FREE photo album
Queenstown Sales pitch
More tourists flooded the walkway, some stopping to take pictures of the lake and domineering mountain ranges. Some stood on the wall trying to get the perfect selfie to show off on their social media accounts, while we sat here like paupers drinking free coffee. Amy hated it here, not just because she was poorer than she’d ever been in her life, but because it reminded her of home.
Like me, home was a place she never wanted to return to. It was, in fact, my fault she was here. I had convinced her to skip over from Sydney when her visa ran out, selling the town to her. And while, for most of us, no matter how broke we got it was a fairy-tale town, for her, it was a nightmare. She also had the same luck with money as I did—none. It wasn’t a great combination.
So much good luck!
The bitter mountain air tried to penetrate through and the thirty-second walk to the other side of the building felt like thirty minutes. As we got closer to the safe haven of the eXtreme bar, I shot through the single door, bursting up the wide stairs of the open sports bar, straight to the bar and the welcoming heat. I’m from England, but this is the coldest I have ever felt, it may as well be Antarctica. The welcome warmth helped in the fight to push coldness out and bring feeling back to noses, ears, fingers, and toes. Winter in Queenstown was no joke, but that’s what happens in a valley town surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
Free drinks vouchers wafted across the bar—the two barmen knew what most of us drank and lined them all up. They had been expecting us, just like every night. A perfume of stale oil, chips, and chicken wings filled the large open space. With my beer in hand, I walked past the pool tables that filled the open space to the usual spot near the smoking area.
Vibrations started to shoot up my leg from the old Nokia phone, I’d missed Amy’s call but a message popped up:
“Don’t go to the bar tonight, come straight home, we are FUCKED! Like code red FUCKED!”
Read full broke backpacking new zealand story
This was just the start of the story, nothing is ever how it seems, adventures can easily turn into misadventures on the drop of the hat and not revealed itself yet.
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