Hi everyone I’m delighted to share with you an exclusive sneak peak into the first travel story from Volume 1 of the new travel memoir.
As many regular readers will no doubt know through 2021 while stuck at home in England through Covid restrictions I thought it was the perfect time to reflect and look back at my insane traveling life which span nearly a decade. In doing so I started to write a memoir of sorts.
The book itself is a collection of travel stories including adventures, misadventures and poignant moments that have shaped my nomadic life. However I didn’t just want to write about just the events so the book takes you on a journey through a somewhat tangled mind and shows what I was going through at the specific times, how people have influenced my life, my thought processes and how I turned from naïve newbie backpacker to experienced nomad.
Every travel memoir excerpt will be released leading up to the launch which as of speaking will be May 2022
I hope you enjoy Sneak peek post #5: Campervanning New Zealand and of course sign up for the VIP newsletter for access to the first story in the memoir for FREE
Campervanning New Zealand overview
The unbreakable promise was broken, an impromptu decision was made, a new country, a new beginning, home was campervanning new Zealand and getting lost was the game. Amit & his traveling friend wondered into what seemed like an opening scene of a horror movie where he experienced both the most surreal & unexplainable freakish moment of his life.
lost again campervanning New Zealand
“You are such a dickhead Amit – Not again!”
It wasn’t the usual soft southern German accent floating across. It was stern and a good job Alex was still driving.
Gone was the sprawling smooth open highway with rolling green hills as far as the eyes could see. In our – well in my infinite wisdom coming off the highway to take the scenic route might not have been the best idea. The map lay spread over my lap on the passenger side, following the route with my finger but not lifting my eyes towards her.
“What do you mean not again?” I asked, partially knowing what the follow up would be.
“We are lost again. All the time getting lost!”
There was no need to look to know her nostrils had flared, the tone said it all.
Lost in New Zealand was the game
‘Yup, we are 100% lost, not a clue where we are, probably should have just stuck to the main highway, this map doesn’t look right either.’ Said one of my inner voices.
“No, we’re not lost, look, the map says we’re going the right way. It’s ok just keep going..”
“How can I look dickhead? I am driving but I do not believe, I know you too well. And of course I keep going, I’m not just going to stop in the middle of nothingness. Dickhead!”
Well at least she wasn’t really angry, she called me a dickhead numerous times in a matter of minutes. It’s when she doesn’t call me one I needed to worry. By this point leaving the incredible but rotten egg smelling, sulphur fuelled Rotorua behind heading towards Gisborne getting lost wasn’t an issue. We had got lost so many times since this journey began in Auckland, most of them had been forgotten about.
No plans while backpacking New Zealand
Rotorua along with the Coromandel and abseiling into the Waitanamo caves just outside Hamilton had been the highlight so far. The sulphur park, the natural hot springs, geysers erupting, the Mauri experience, learning the Haka, eating food cooked under the ground all had been amazing experiences. But the foul eggy stench of sulphur would not be missed, although it was still lingering a little in the van.
Along with the map a book listing all the campsites in New Zealand also lay open, we bought the book after we had got lost the first night massively failing to find a campsite. However since acquiring the book it hadn’t stopped us from getting lost, but we had found some amazing places.
Wild camping in New Zealand was quite popular and there had been some incredible locations with the most breath-taking scenery. Hopefully tonight will be another or I was going to be in trouble.
After the experience of traveling through Australia with everything planned and organised and Alex having a similar experience we decided as the experienced backpackers we were becoming to freestyle it. No real plans, no set route apart from starting in Auckland in the north Island and heading towards Christchurch in the South Island. It was just us, this van, and the open road so technically we hadn’t ever got lost, just discovered new places like the adventurers we were.
“According to the book, there should be a campsite close by, in about a mile – Sorry, kilometre. There will be a road to turn off, we just follow that down and the campsite should be right there. See I know what I’m doing. No getting lost today.”
The tall thick trees on either side of the road started to close up, like it was swallowing the van up. Branches from both sides enveloped and intertwined over each other keeping the sunlight out to create a natural tunnel. Loose gravel churned against the rubber tyres kicking up against the white van, causing Alex to slow right down.
“Wow, looks like an enchanted forest, where are the fairies?” Her face lit up, the smile was back as she took it in.
“See if we went the other way, you wouldn’t have got to see this.” I said with a smug grin.
“Yes, that is true, ok I do not mind. Amit did good.”
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A bit of off roading
The campervan started to bounce around, potholes who knows how old started to get a deeper, but it was the perfect condition for one thing. A new skill I was forced to learn in New Zealand was to roll my own cigarettes rather than buy readymade simply because it was too expensive. The only issue was I sucked at rolling unless it was on a bumpy road.
The road became only slightly smoother as the branches above unlaced a little, letting beams of sunlight through like punctured holes in a box but the campervan came to a stop. Alex’s dainty fingers slid over the map following the route mummering something in Bavarian before starting back up.
It wasn’t long before a gorge started to reveal itself as the treeline got thinner, the gravelled road ran alongside a fading river, it might have been a raging in It’s glory years, but it was nothing more than a shallow but wide stream now.
North Island New Zealand horror movie opening Scene!
The further down this scenic route we took it seemed the further away from civilisation we had become. To be honest, It had been hours since we had seen anything living, and that was just cows and sheep, I can’t even remember seeing another vehicle or humans.
‘We’re like proper lost, there’s not even any birds flying around. She is gonna be pissed big time.’
The stream disappeared as the vegetation got thicker, this was the heartland of the north Island new Zealand, it wasn’t like previous times further up north where it was a case of keep driving until hitting the coast. The further we drove the further we sank into thicker vegetation but then reprieve.
“Look there’s a sign campsite in two kilometres. See I knew we were going the right way.”
‘Woo. Thank fuck for that.’
The rusty sign though didn’t exactly ooze confidence, in fact it looked more at home in the opening scene of a horror movie the way the hung on by a lonely nail on a broken post.
maybe we’re a bit too lost!
“Amit, this does not look right. I do not like. I have the …how do you say, creepy crawly.”
“The heeby jeebies. Doesn’t feel right?”
“Yes this. What is it? Heeby jeeby. This not real you make this words up. Amit language?”
She turned off onto a tighter gravel road than the previous one.
“No they’re real words but Yeah, does look a little sketchy, think we might need to update the book. Not my fault.”
My words were cut short as everything started to get tossed around, the maps went flying as were the backpacks and bedding in the back and anything else that wasn’t fastened down. The kettle, bottles of water, our snacks, were all jumping around like the campervan was possessed. If I didn’t have my seatbelt on I’d be joining the splattered Mosquitos on the grey ceiling.
Read rest of story in new travel memoir
Read the full Camervanning New Zealand story in the travel memoir to find out how this travel story unfolds and what impact and significance it had on the evolution from backpacker to nomad. Remember this was just a snippet and nothing is ever straightforward so all is not what it seems.
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