Auckland

LAST BITS OF NEW ZEALAND 2017

(From my phone.)

Pre-surf at Maori Bay. 

Pre-surf at Maori Bay. 

New llama friend. 

New llama friend. 

Dowtown from Te Atatu Peninsula.

Dowtown from Te Atatu Peninsula.

Vintage shopping on K Road. 

Vintage shopping on K Road. 

Street art in Ponsonby. 

Street art in Ponsonby. 

Our friends who fed us satay sticks at the Henderson Night Markets every Thursday. 

Our friends who fed us satay sticks at the Henderson Night Markets every Thursday. 

Auckland Sky Tower at night, from below. 

Auckland Sky Tower at night, from below. 

Man and dog. True love. 

Man and dog. True love. 

Art on Waiheke Island. 

Art on Waiheke Island. 

Glorious  Waiheke . 

Glorious Waiheke

Mid-run on Waiheke Island. 

Mid-run on Waiheke Island. 

waiheke.jpg
Cleaned up for a Waiheke Wedding. 

Cleaned up for a Waiheke Wedding. 

3/4 of the Stratford Siblings. 

3/4 of the Stratford Siblings. 

Bexee, Scott and I. Practically an ad for Karen Walker. 

Bexee, Scott and I. Practically an ad for Karen Walker. 

Smokey , watching foolish humans. 

Smokey, watching foolish humans. 

Smokey, one with nature. 

Smokey, one with nature. 

Downtown Auckland. 

Downtown Auckland. 

Crater on  Mount Eden .

Crater on Mount Eden.

Sunset on the Te Atatu Peninsula. 

Sunset on the Te Atatu Peninsula. 

SHOTS AROUND AUCKLAND

From my phone.

Day at Piha with Smokey. 

Day at Piha with Smokey. 

smokey-piha-beach
Feeding the neighbors last night's salad leftovers. 

Feeding the neighbors last night's salad leftovers. 

Backyard.

Backyard.

Kite festival on the Te Atatu Peninsula.

Kite festival on the Te Atatu Peninsula.

Cricket game, out in the country. Note tiny Smokey in the middle of a game of fetch. 

Cricket game, out in the country. Note tiny Smokey in the middle of a game of fetch. 

Scott and Rangitoto in the distance.  

Scott and Rangitoto in the distance.  

Backyard dinner view. 

Backyard dinner view. 

Fetch at Piha. 

Fetch at Piha. 

Post-swim. 

Post-swim. 

A MORNING AT O'NEILL BAY

I've been all over the map the last few months.

Scott and I left New Zealand to expand EditMate into Australia (and explore along the way), then headed back over the Pacific for a day of swimming in everything that's glorious about America (filtered coffee! right side of the road driving!) in LA before landing in Austin, TX for a week of wedding festivities and taco hangovers. Then, we headed north to Massachusetts where we've settled into my beloved Jamaica Plain, for a TBD amount of time.

More on all of that soon. 

Until then, here's a few photos from a nice morning at O'Neill Bay in New Zealand. It was a perfect morning for a surf, a nap and an expansive game of fetch for Smokey. 

oneilbay-new-zealand
new-zealand-beach
new-zealand-beach
oneil-bay-beach
oneil-bay-nz
scott-surfing
oneil-bay-water
rachel-smokey-beach
smokey-dog

SMOKEY THE DOG

I like dogs (cats are another story) but I've never really understood people who are suuuper into their dogs. As in they personify their dog, talk about their dog, take their dog everywhere and talk TO their dog in that particular high pitched voice usually reserved for infants and toddlers.  I've never understood it. Kind of similar to the way I feel about folks who opt to have standing desks. 

This all changed when I met Scott's Dad's dog, Smokey. I officially became one of those people

Smokey-4
Smokey-4
Smokey-3
Smokey-cafe
Smokey-5
Smokey-Rachel
Smokey-van
Smokey-Auckland
Smokey-Rachel
smokey-one-tree-hill-auckland
Smokey-auckland
smokey-one-tree-hill

Smokey is smarter and more pleasant than a lot of humans out there. He doesn't require a leash, will wait patiently outside a grocery store for you while you shop, loves hanging out in cafes while you work, is an ideal wingman for meeting new people because he's so handsome people just want to pet him AND he does tricks. He's the ideal running and hiking companion, loves to explore the city, always down for a road trip, is incredibly friendly and relaxed, loves the beach and on top of all of that, is wildly photogenic. 

Smokey-Downtown

He's just a dreamboat. I don't know who I've become. I've never felt this way about a dog before. 

BACK IN AUCKLAND

Full disclosure: this blog is (perpetually) a little behind... so be prepared for Xmas in NZ posts even though it's actually currently March and I'm in Australia. Lots to catch up on! 

Here's the start of an Auckland summer:

Aotearoa
Auckland-skyline
Smokey. Who you will see many, many more photos of because he came my best bud/photo muse during my time in NZ. 

Smokey. Who you will see many, many more photos of because he came my best bud/photo muse during my time in NZ. 

The cat, Slinky, would also come on walks. 

The cat, Slinky, would also come on walks. 

Sarah-Birthday
ocean-nz
Bhana-Bros
BMD
Scott-Park
sunset-te-atatu

This summer was filled with lots of work (mostly from my remote offices: The Ponsonby Library and The Raw Kitchen) but also road trips in my beloved van, beach days at Piha and many runs around my new temporary home: the Te Atatu Peninsula.

It was a good summer. More soon. 

NEW ZEALAND WRAP-UP

After 6 months in New Zealand, it's the time to take a break from the travels (a holiday from my vacation, if you will) and head back stateside to see the fam, reunite with friends and celebrate a few marriages. I'll be exploring the U.S. of A a little bit and then heading overseas again come September, but until then, I'm excited to enjoy a sunny summer in Boston. 

THINGS I'LL MISS ABOUT NEW ZEALAND: muesli, runs on the Te Atatu Peninsula followed by brunch at William Souter, the view from my bedroom, power walking around Beach Haven listening to Serial, trampolining with Amanda, Carlos + ArchieThe Raw Cafe, white hot chocolates, black sand beaches, rum races, the drive over the Harbor Bridge, listening to Alabama Shakes on the way to surf, campervanning with Sandy, the green countryside, peaceful Aeroview Drive, free blueberry muffins, walking through the Viaduct, the slower pace of life, AM commutes on the Beach Haven ferry, the Pacific Ocean, brunches with Jess, Denise's gossip, feijoas, my van, hello Sunday mornings, long blacks and the way everything just seems easier in NZ.

2015-01-20 04.46.30 1.jpg
The most beautiful muesli, at  Dear Jervois

The most beautiful muesli, at Dear Jervois

Raglan sunset

Raglan sunset

Unabomber  chic
Pretty Piha

Pretty Piha

Drone flying/cow bothering

Drone flying/cow bothering

Billy Apple  exhibit at the Auckland Art Gallery.

Billy Apple exhibit at the Auckland Art Gallery.

Double espresso + Rangitoto from Takapuna. 

Double espresso + Rangitoto from Takapuna. 

Sheep. So many sheep. 

Sheep. So many sheep. 

Feijoa ice cream. 

Feijoa ice cream. 

See you later New Zealand, you tiny beautiful country. 

JESS IN NEW ZEALAND, PART 1: AKL + PIHA

Partly because she didn't fully understand where New Zealand is located, but mostly because she's a fantastic friend... Jessica came all the way over from Boston to visit, for just one week! 

Jess on the bus. She hates public transportation, so this was notable. 

Jess on the bus. She hates public transportation, so this was notable. 

Brunch at the Piha Cafe

Brunch at the Piha Cafe

Jessica is my former roommate, eternal birthday partner and has been my best friend since we were 13 years old. She's the vital kind of friend who despite time or distance, whenever I see her we're right back into giggling like we did in 7th grade English class. It was wonderful to get to do that with her all over the North Island of New Zealand. 

A HOME IN BEACH HAVEN

Once living out of a van while working full-time became an impractical idea (due to pesky considerations like where to park, where to shower, blah blah blah) and it was clear that hostel living in the city wasn't any cheaper than renting a place... I searched for a place to call home in Auckland. 

I scourged TradeMe (their version of Craig's List) for a few weeks and checked out half a dozen places before finding a listing in Beach Haven that looked too good to be true. Right on the water with a gorgeous deck and pool, it looked like a house off of a 90's season of The Real World. Half expecting it to be a scam, I was intrigued when I got an email reply from a guy that wasn't a Nigerian Prince asking for my bank account details... but a Kiwi who said to come by and take a look at the place. Turns out, it was even better than the photos. AND for less than I ever paid in Boston! I moved in the following week. 

See that pointy house that could pass as a hobbit resort? That's my house. YUP. This was taken from the Beach Haven ferry. 

See that pointy house that could pass as a hobbit resort? That's my house. YUP. This was taken from the Beach Haven ferry. 

View from my bedroom. 

View from my bedroom. 

While I'd love to give a full house tour a la Design Sponge, that would be cheating as I didn't actually contribute anything to the decor of the place. Owning only what fit in my backpack in the previous five months, I was psyched it was fully furnished. It had such an airy and clean feel to it, I didn't try to impose my own aesthetic (lots of patterns! too many colors!) onto the existing look so living here was a nice continuation of minimalist living but with my own room and SUPER SICK VIEWS. 

Violet sunsets make for a nice view while washing the dishes. 

Violet sunsets make for a nice view while washing the dishes. 

Beach Haven itself is a sleepy neighborhood that feels like Cape Cod in the off-season. It smells like summer but is super quiet. There's no traffic, the funny mix of shops are low-rise and the sunsets are spectacular. As soon as I arrive at home, it feels like I'm on vacation. 

From the Beach Haven ferry dock. 

From the Beach Haven ferry dock. 

Ferry ride back from the city. 

Ferry ride back from the city. 

Before I bought a van (dreams do come true! But more on that later) I took the ferry to work every morning which is THE ideal way to commute. I'll admit it, I was smug as hell thinking about how last year at that time I was digging out my car from mounds of snow in JP, snow soaking through my boots. 

This wall is hidden off the main road and is actually in no way reflective of what the rest of Beach Haven looks like. But I like it. 

This wall is hidden off the main road and is actually in no way reflective of what the rest of Beach Haven looks like. But I like it. 

Uniformed school kids at the Beach Haven bus stop. 

Uniformed school kids at the Beach Haven bus stop. 

Lazy Sunday around the neighborhood. 

Lazy Sunday around the neighborhood. 

Living in Beach Haven has been pretty dreamy and very different from anywhere else. I think that's the been the best part of long-term travel for me, having these little micro-lives in each new location. Each spot brings a new lifestyle and new habits. You begin to notice what you keep consistent and patterns emerge, illustrating what's genuinely important to you. It's a risk leaving all the routines and comforts of home when you've worked hard to establish them for yourself. But it's pretty interesting to see what kind of life you can cobble together, when you start from scratch in a new place. I'm beyond thrilled my current one includes an ocean view. 

SURF SPOTS

It can be easy to hang with other backpackers when traveling but if you're going to really experience a new country, it's more fun to find natives to show you around. Many of my outings around Auckland consisted of checking out all the local surf spots with these two charmers. 

Cam + Scott

Cam + Scott

Te Arai Point

Te Arai Point

Maori Bay

Maori Bay

Piha Beach

Piha Beach

IMG_20150511_174511.jpg

Scott would check the surf reports and we'd cruise around in Cam's van, frequenting Te Arai Point, Maori Bay and Piha (I never surfed Piha...Piha would eat me alive. I'd read The Department of Speculation and work on my tan at Piha). 

Cam could always point out the local floral and fauna while Scott showed me how to paddle out the back without "looking like a bloody jelly fish". Eventually, I got the hang of changing into a wetsuit in a parking lot and even grew some surf muscles.