Surprise! I’m moving to Christchurch!


I have some exciting personal news to share with you guys. I’m moving to Christchurch!

More specifically, I’m moving to Lyttelton, Christchurch’s quirky harbor town. And even more specifically, I’m moving out to one of the stunning bays on the Banks Peninsula near Lyttelton.

My current mood is a beautiful combination of giddy excitement that meets unsettled panic. What am I doing? If you asked me a year ago if I would ever move to Christchurch for a guy, I would have laughed so hard!

Not only could I have ever imagined moving to the big smoke, but I could also have never believed I would fall so hard in love that I was willing to open up my very private and reclusive life to share with another person moving to Christchurch.

Just when you think you have life figured out, it flips you on your head!

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

After six years in my beloved Wanaka, I’m about to embark on an entirely new chapter in my life moving to Christchurch. A chapter that I will admit I dreamed of deep down but never thought would actually happen. Love.

No, I’m not pregnant (mom), but I did fall in love with an old friend, Giulio Sturla. Swoon! Vomit!

Our story is a serendipitous one that I can’t wait to tell you in full one day, but for now, I’ll keep it short and straightforward.

moving to christchurch
The first photo I took of Giulio years ago at Roots
moving to christchurch
Eating at Roots for the first time

Giulio is an Italian – Chilean chef who has been living in New Zealand for over a decade and trained at Mugaritz in Spain, one of the best restaurants on the planet. And Giulio is not just any chef, and he was named New Zealand’s best chef last year, as well as running Roots, one of the best restaurants in the country. No big deal, eh? For a girl who loves to eat, I’ve died and gone to heaven!

We’ve been friends for years after he fed me on a trip to Canterbury before it blossomed into something more.

But the best part isn’t that he is a superbly talented chef, creative or that we have so much in common. Giulio is, in fact, the kindest, most patient person I’ve ever met, and he’s my match. He’s my person, my other half. It’s so crazy; I still can’t quite believe it!

After so many failed, wrong relationships, who would have thought you could so easily recognize the right person when they come along? It’s magic!

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

After a lifetime of self-doubt and an inherent belief that my travel lifestyle was incompatible with true love, I gave up on meeting someone. I quietly accepted my fate as a cat lady meets librarian, which I would still happily embrace (just so we’re clear).

At the beginning of 2019, I walked away from a relationship that just wasn’t right, that I clung to for too long because I didn’t think I deserved any better. Resigned, I finally came to terms with the belief that I would rather be alone than with the wrong person, a rather adult realization that surprised even myself.

As a solitary person, I don’t mind being alone, but deep down, I felt a quiet, profound sadness for my lot in life.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

But we all know that fate loves a good laugh, and before I knew what was happening to me, a blissful, storybook love came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass! Moving to Christchurch was something I could have never imagined when I first translocated to New Zealand.

All those cliche rom-com phrases describe my relationship with Giulio perfectly, and my deeply cynical frosty heart has softened considerably over this past year.

It’s so funny because everyone has told me that that is how it always happens – you give up on love, and then you find it. Eyeroll.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

But in some ways, I can really see how I had a hand in manifesting this love too. Since my story with the whales on Stewart Island a year ago, I’ve been forced to confront a lot of deep emotional issues and complex inner stories I’ve told myself.

Through therapy and a lot of life coaching with Kait Rich, I’ve been able to grow and do a lot of work on myself to be able to communicate better and really understand what I want and how to get there.

This hard work has pulled me up from rock bottom (again), and I know for a fact I wouldn’t have been able to have such a beautiful relationship if I hadn’t been able to grow the way I have. And what makes it even more amazing is that in many ways, Giulio has done the same thing.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

With love comes change.

As the perpetual third wheel to all my friends, no one hates hearing more about love than me, but here we are. As I am beginning this new era of sharing and partnership, as an only child who’s never lived with a partner before or had roommates in 6 years, have any life advice for me because I’m freaking the fuck out over here.

I’m so incredibly excited about this new era of my life to begin, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared too.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

My go-to situation has always been to be alone. I’ve learned to look after myself, and as a profoundly introverted human, my comfortable place is quiet and lonely. How do I navigate that as I now begin to share my life with someone else?

Our house is large and comes with a puppy (OMG) as well as two beautiful kids (aged 5 and 8), and is a massive change from what I’m used to. Any advice for someone like me stepping into a new role?

How do I continue to be myself and preserve my independent identity but also navigate a partnership in a new place? I don’t even know how to compromise, haha!

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

While I’m still keeping close ties to Wanaka (including keeping my magical flat which I rent out to friends and visitors), I’m now starting fresh in Christchurch, where I have approximately two friends. So, who here lives in Canterbury?

And of course, where can I start exploring here?

Have any tips for a newbie like me? Does anyone want to be my friend? Please send any advice or leave a comment for me below. 

moving to christchurch

The post Surprise! I’m moving to Christchurch! appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

Surprise! I’m moving to Christchurch!


I have some exciting personal news to share with you guys. I’m moving to Christchurch!

More specifically, I’m moving to Lyttelton, Christchurch’s quirky harbor town. And even more specifically, I’m moving out to one of the stunning bays on the Banks Peninsula near Lyttelton.

My current mood is a beautiful combination of giddy excitement that meets unsettled panic. What am I doing? If you asked me a year ago if I would ever move to Christchurch for a guy, I would have laughed so hard!

Not only could I have ever imagined moving to the big smoke, but I could also have never believed I would fall so hard in love that I was willing to open up my very private and reclusive life to share with another person moving to Christchurch.

Just when you think you have life figured out, it flips you on your head!

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

After six years in my beloved Wanaka, I’m about to embark on an entirely new chapter in my life moving to Christchurch. A chapter that I will admit I dreamed of deep down but never thought would actually happen. Love.

No, I’m not pregnant (mom), but I did fall in love with an old friend, Giulio Sturla. Swoon! Vomit!

Our story is a serendipitous one that I can’t wait to tell you in full one day, but for now, I’ll keep it short and straightforward.

moving to christchurch
The first photo I took of Giulio years ago at Roots
moving to christchurch
Eating at Roots for the first time

Giulio is an Italian – Chilean chef who has been living in New Zealand for over a decade and trained at Mugaritz in Spain, one of the best restaurants on the planet. And Giulio is not just any chef, and he was named New Zealand’s best chef last year, as well as running Roots, one of the best restaurants in the country. No big deal, eh? For a girl who loves to eat, I’ve died and gone to heaven!

We’ve been friends for years after he fed me on a trip to Canterbury before it blossomed into something more.

But the best part isn’t that he is a superbly talented chef, creative or that we have so much in common. Giulio is, in fact, the kindest, most patient person I’ve ever met, and he’s my match. He’s my person, my other half. It’s so crazy; I still can’t quite believe it!

After so many failed, wrong relationships, who would have thought you could so easily recognize the right person when they come along? It’s magic!

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

After a lifetime of self-doubt and an inherent belief that my travel lifestyle was incompatible with true love, I gave up on meeting someone. I quietly accepted my fate as a cat lady meets librarian, which I would still happily embrace (just so we’re clear).

At the beginning of 2019, I walked away from a relationship that just wasn’t right, that I clung to for too long because I didn’t think I deserved any better. Resigned, I finally came to terms with the belief that I would rather be alone than with the wrong person, a rather adult realization that surprised even myself.

As a solitary person, I don’t mind being alone, but deep down, I felt a quiet, profound sadness for my lot in life.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

But we all know that fate loves a good laugh, and before I knew what was happening to me, a blissful, storybook love came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass! Moving to Christchurch was something I could have never imagined when I first translocated to New Zealand.

All those cliche rom-com phrases describe my relationship with Giulio perfectly, and my deeply cynical frosty heart has softened considerably over this past year.

It’s so funny because everyone has told me that that is how it always happens – you give up on love, and then you find it. Eyeroll.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

But in some ways, I can really see how I had a hand in manifesting this love too. Since my story with the whales on Stewart Island a year ago, I’ve been forced to confront a lot of deep emotional issues and complex inner stories I’ve told myself.

Through therapy and a lot of life coaching with Kait Rich, I’ve been able to grow and do a lot of work on myself to be able to communicate better and really understand what I want and how to get there.

This hard work has pulled me up from rock bottom (again), and I know for a fact I wouldn’t have been able to have such a beautiful relationship if I hadn’t been able to grow the way I have. And what makes it even more amazing is that in many ways, Giulio has done the same thing.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

With love comes change.

As the perpetual third wheel to all my friends, no one hates hearing more about love than me, but here we are. As I am beginning this new era of sharing and partnership, as an only child who’s never lived with a partner before or had roommates in 6 years, have any life advice for me because I’m freaking the fuck out over here.

I’m so incredibly excited about this new era of my life to begin, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared too.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

My go-to situation has always been to be alone. I’ve learned to look after myself, and as a profoundly introverted human, my comfortable place is quiet and lonely. How do I navigate that as I now begin to share my life with someone else?

Our house is large and comes with a puppy (OMG) as well as two beautiful kids (aged 5 and 8), and is a massive change from what I’m used to. Any advice for someone like me stepping into a new role?

How do I continue to be myself and preserve my independent identity but also navigate a partnership in a new place? I don’t even know how to compromise, haha!

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

While I’m still keeping close ties to Wanaka (including keeping my magical flat which I rent out to friends and visitors), I’m now starting fresh in Christchurch, where I have approximately two friends. So, who here lives in Canterbury?

And of course, where can I start exploring here?

Have any tips for a newbie like me? Does anyone want to be my friend? Please send any advice or leave a comment for me below. 

moving to christchurch

The post Surprise! I’m moving to Christchurch! appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

The conscious New Zealand gift guide


As an American expat in New Zealand, whenever I travel to see family, I’m always thinking of clever, thoughtful gifts to bring home. Thus, the New Zealand gift guide is born.

In my first couple of years, I would always bring back beautiful bottles of Central Otago Pinot Noir and precious manuka honey, two classic kiwi staples. I would bring baby bibs with cheesy sheep quotes on them, bags of pineapple lumps, and possum wool socks.

While I’m still a solid fan of possum wool and pineapple lumps, I now try to use my gift-giving as a chance to showcase some pretty fantastic kiwi brands doing pretty amazing things. I’ve been asked regularly over the years to put together a New Zealand gift guide, and here we are.

I am not sure if it’s because I’ve evolved as a consumer, I’ve become more “woke” to cheaply made things or I’ve finally found some semblance of taste after 31 years on the earth, but the kitschy Kiwiana gifts I see these days make me cringe a little.

New Zealand is so much more than these stereotypes.

new zealand gift guide

Whether you are living in New Zealand and want to send gifts home that showcases this kickass part of the world, you’re a tourist coming to New Zealand, and you’re looking for an authentic souvenir, or you’re a kiwi, and you want to support NZ brands, this list is for you!

Even if you just plain love New Zealand (hell, I get it), I’ve spent the past couple of years carefully following and cultivating a love for all these guys below and decided now’s the time to put it all in one place for you all too.

I’ll also take a moment to say none of this is sponsored at all – these are all brands I buy and love.

So here you go, a comprehensive and conscious New Zealand gift guide made by yours truly that showcases the best of the kiwi brands I use and love, and can’t heartily recommend enough – enjoy!

new zealand gift guide

Allbirds

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve given a pair of Allbirds as gifts to people I love.

Too many, according to my accountant.

And while I have worked on campaigns promoting Allbirds in the past, I have bought even more pairs on my own for both myself and my friends and family. I’m truly part of the cult. My mom just got another pair for Christmas from me this year.

Allbirds was started by kiwis and is now based in the US, around merino wool shoes. Simple and perfect, an ethical and responsible company using natural materials. Here in the land of the long white sheep, merino wool is life.

The perfect travel shoe, they’ve also expanded and make bamboo tree shoes too, my mom’s favorite. I live in my wool loungers, wool runners, and tree skippers. A New Zealand gift guide would be incomplete without my beloved Allbirds.

new zealand gift guide

Honeywraps

Honeywraps are organic reusable beeswax food wraps, and they are my new favorite thing in the kitchen – non-edible thing, I’ll clarify.

Inspired to cut back on the millions of plastic waste we generate on this planet, Honeywraps was founded by a group of passionate local women in New Zealand, hoping to make a difference. Each beeswax wrap is made right in NZ from GOTS certified organic cotton -and natural ingredients.

I don’t know about you, but once I became aware of my plastic waste, I couldn’t bring myself to use plastic wrap or clingfilm ever again. It’s so pointless! With the wraps, you can pop on bowls to cover and press down to seal or wrap your veggies in them and then wash when you’re done.

Honeywraps also collaborate with charities and kiwi artists to decorate the wraps and tell a story of nature and conservation here.

View this post on Instagram

Back for 10 days only … the 10 Wrap Pack! 🧡 10 of your fave organic Honeywraps individually packaged so perfect to gift to friends, family, teachers, staff 🎄🎁 On the website now.

A post shared by Honeywrap (@honeywrap) on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:18am PST

Wellington Chocolate Factory

Who doesn’t love local artisanal chocolate as a gift? And with carefully hand-wrapped packaging designed by local artists, does it get any better than that?

Wellington Chocolate Factory is by far still one of my favorite chocolate brands of all time, and I often find myself following my nose towards their setup whenever I’m in Wellington – you know, for research purposes.

Made from the finest ethically traded cocoa in the world, the chocolate is made with love right here in New Zealand, with each bar carefully wrapped in the most delightful package, decorated by local Wellington artists.

The salted caramel bar is my favorite, but the Peru single origin bar is a close second.

new zealand gift guide

Ethique

I first discovered Ethique on my electric campervan road trip around New Zealand with Britz, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

On a mission to rid the planet of plastic waste, Ethique started in a kiwi kitchen by a powerhouse female scientist making plastic-free beauty bars. You know, bars of shampoo.

Yes it works, yes it smells good, and yes it’s fantastic. It’s the perfect plastic-free starter gift for conscious travelers. And they make everything.

View this post on Instagram

When it comes to gift wrapping, how are you lowering your impact but still retaining the element of surprise 💚🎁? Don’t know where to start? We have some earth-loving ideas up on our latest blog on our website. Pictured: Reusing old wrapping & fabric offcuts #ethiqueworld #giveupthebottle #zerowaste #wastefree

A post shared by Ethique (@ethiqueworld) on Nov 19, 2019 at 12:00pm PST

Annabel Langbein Cookbook

Annabel Langbein is a celebrated Kiwi chef and cookbook author, and a bit of a household name here. She’s also my neighbor in Wanaka.

My mom loves her – apparently, she shows air in the US too – and her recipes are classics here.

Her cookbooks make for great, thoughtful gifts, especially for those who love a good garden and a good meal.

View this post on Instagram

Now for the great reveal… this is the beautiful cover of our latest project, 'Together' co-authored with my daughter Rose. We are feeling very proud and excited for it to hit the shelves next Monday 15th. SIGNED PRE ORDERS are available now via my website – link in bio (they will be sent out on Friday 12th so make sure you get your order in before then!) *normal delivery times apply #together #family #freerangelife

A post shared by Annabel Langbein (@annabellangbein) on Oct 7, 2018 at 11:01am PDT

Queenstown Soap

I have this tradition where I always buy my mom locally made rose soap when I travel anywhere – it’s her favorite.

And my friends over at the Queenstown Soap Co. make one of the best!

The perfect gift, these soaps are handmade in Queenstown by good people from organic and naturally-sourced ingredients. Cinnamon is my favorite.

View this post on Instagram

These beautiful three bars will soon be available in liquid form! We would love to know if there any other Queenstown Soap Co. flavours you would like to be available in liquid form? Our liquid soaps will be packaged in glass dispenser bottles with larger refill bottles also available ☀️

A post shared by Queenstown Soap Co. (@queenstownsoapco) on Jan 14, 2019 at 9:58pm PST

Nevé Candles

I only just discovered Nevé candles while on holiday in Waiheke, and it turns out they are made right over the hill from me in Queenstown.

Named for the mountains, nevé is the word for the snow that forms the surface of the tops of glaciers.

Stocked around New Zealand, my all-time favorite smell is French Pear and Brown Sugar though Kowhai Blossom and Lime is a close second.

View this post on Instagram

NEW CHARITY OF CHOICE 🌱🌊 we are proud to announce our latest Charity of Choice – @sustainablecoastlines ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀ It’s important to us to support local charities that really make a difference here in New Zealand, so we raise awareness for different charities throughout the year and the fantastic work they do. We also donate 5% from every online order placed through our store. ⁣⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀ Right now we’re proud to support Sustainable Coastlines, a multiaward winning New Zealand charity run by a team of hard-working staff and a network of passionate volunteers and collaborators. They coordinate and support large-scale coastal clean-up events, educational programs, public awareness campaigns and riparian planting projects.

A post shared by N E V É C A N D L E S (@nevecandles) on Apr 8, 2019 at 2:12am PDT

Goodnature trap

This one might cost me a few readers, but c’est la vie! Also, this is probably only for folks living here in New Zealand.

You’ve heard me go on and on about how much I care about native New Zealand birds and creatures, and how passionate I am about conservation. Well, the reason they need help is that the majority of our birds here have been hunted to extinction or close to it by introduced pests, like stoats, possums, and rats.

One way kiwis are fighting to protect these birds is by setting traps around their houses and gardens. Goodnature makes excellent traps that are automatic, easy to set up, humane, and safe. It’s the perfect gift for a family or for someone who loves native New Zealand birds.

View this post on Instagram

Recording your trap strikes with your local predator-free group can really help give your group a sense for where rat activity is high and how you're going with getting rid of them! Using a digital strike counter helps give you more accurate trapping data. #nocookieshere #trapping #technology #pestcontrol #goodnature #PF2050 #predatorfreenz

A post shared by Goodnature Ltd (@goodnaturenz) on Jul 1, 2019 at 7:56pm PDT

Mons Royale

I’ve accidentally been a Mons Royale ambassador for years, a Wanaka-based merino wool company that makes outdoor clothes and base layers. I’ve been quietly (or not so quietly) stocking up on their stuff for years and years, and pretty much every photo you see of me hiking, that’s what I’m wearing.

And they make my favorite underwear and sports bras.

Merino wool is a magical fiber; a light itch-free wool that doesn’t smell; it’s the perfect fabric for people like me who are always outdoors. I only hike in merino these days, and it’s what I wear underneath my snow pants and jacket when I’m snowboarding.

And Mons (Snow spelled backward) is relaxed and trendy, probably way too cool and stylish for me, but I still want to be part of the club! It isn’t cheap, but it’s worth investing in, as you only need a few essential staples. I often give it as gifts and start small with a beanie, buff, or socks.

new zealand gift guide

Zoe & Morgan

Zoe & Morgan make the coolest jewelry. Sibling expats that ended up in New Zealand, they split their shop between here and London, and their designs are modern, creative, and ethereal.

Their jewelry speaks to their individuality and travels; it’s very evocative for travelers like me.

I’m always wearing their Golden Hour Ring until I can afford their diamonds.

View this post on Instagram

What do you love? ​scroll through, dream big. ​​ #7chakranecklace #fourthchakraring #heartchakra #araceliring #astridearrings #basechakramala #firstchakranecklace

A post shared by Zoe & Morgan (@zoeandmorgan) on Nov 20, 2019 at 10:35pm PST

Wilson and Dorset sheepskins

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that my house is chocked full of the most luxurious fabulous sheepskins and wooly trinkets. I’m obsessed. And they all come from my favorite local Wanaka shop – Wilson and Dorset. Any New Zealand gift guide must include wool IMO.

Living in the mountains of New Zealand, wool is vital, and it’s my favorite fabric.

The first “nice” thing I ever bought for my house was a Wilson and Dorset sheepskin rug, and it’s divine. I think it might be the only thing I’ve ever loved until I bought one of their iconic shaggy bags – a sheepskin beanbag. And the best part is that you can’t stain it – wool naturally repels liquids!

Depending on who you’re shopping for, I recommend a pure sheepskin in one of the natural tones. And sheepskins are perfect for babies to sleep on!

new zealand gift guide

Wine club membership at Two Paddocks

Serious wine aficionado in the family? Well, have I got the perfect gift for them.

A wine club membership at Two Paddocks, my favorite vineyard. Just down the road from me in rural Central Otago, Two Paddocks is the brainchild of actor Sam Neill. Quirky, charming, and beautiful with my all-time favorite Pinot Noir, it’s a winery for people who love wine and who love a good time.

The cellar door and events are open to wine club members, and it’s the kind of place you want to visit on a trip to New Zealand. Again, this heartily endorsed by my mom, for various reasons.

new zealand gift guide

Give the gift that helps others

If you’re in favor of giving a donation or supporting a good old kiwi cause, here are three of my faves.

Life Flight

All eyes have been on New Zealand this week with the tragic volcanic eruption at White Island, killing and injuring many tourists and locals. Luckily our government and systems look after emergencies even for foreign visitors for free.

What many might not know is that New Zealand has an incredible system of rescue services, including Life Flight, which provides emergency air ambulance services. They run the Westpac rescue choppers from Wellington but fly all over New Zealand, saving lives.

And they run a great deal off of charitable donations. Whether you need to be lifted off the side of a cliff or medevaced to a hospital on the other side of the country, Life Flight looks after kiwis and visitors alike for free.

Consider giving Life Flight a donation as a gift for someone who loves New Zealand.

new zealand gift guide

Project Jonah

A year ago, my life was turned upside down when I accidentally stumbled across 150 beaching pilot whales on a remote corner of Stewart Island.

I had no idea what to do, far from reception or help, and I spent two days with them as they died. It was the most traumatic experience of my life, a memory that still haunts me.

Whales are beautiful, intelligent animals, and unfortunately, New Zealand has one of the highest marine mammal strandings in the world. In partnership with DOC, Project Jonah is a small but mighty charity that helps facilitate rescues of whales and dolphins around New Zealand.

I give to them every month, and anyone who was impacted by my story and who loves whales too should consider supporting Project Jonah. You can also give the gift of becoming a Marine Mammal Medic, a trained whale rescue volunteer to help out at future strandings.

new zealand gift guide

Kākāpō Recovery – adopt a kākāpō

It wouldn’t be a complete conscious New Zealand gift guide if I were to neglect my favorite rare bird – the kākāpō.

Nocturnal, flightless parrots brought back from the brink of extinction by some of the most passionate kiwis from the Kākāpō Recovery team over the past couple of decades, the future of the kākāpō is far from secure. With only 211 birds left, they desperately need our help.

While you can donate to help the kākāpō, I recommend adopting a kākāpō – the perfect thoughtful gift!

new zealand gift guide

Phew, that turned into a much bigger New Zealand gift guide than I anticipated.

And apologies to any friends or family reading this, and I’ve potentially spoiled your Christmas gift and upcoming birthdays in this blog. Forgive me.

How did I do? Do you have any kiwi brands to add? Any unusual New Zealand gifts you’ve received? Spill!

new zealand gift guide

The post The conscious New Zealand gift guide appeared first on Young Adventuress.





Source link

The conscious New Zealand gift guide


As an American expat in New Zealand, whenever I travel to see family, I’m always thinking of clever, thoughtful gifts to bring home. Thus, the New Zealand gift guide is born.

In my first couple of years, I would always bring back beautiful bottles of Central Otago Pinot Noir and precious manuka honey, two classic kiwi staples. I would bring baby bibs with cheesy sheep quotes on them, bags of pineapple lumps, and possum wool socks.

While I’m still a solid fan of possum wool and pineapple lumps, I now try to use my gift-giving as a chance to showcase some pretty fantastic kiwi brands doing pretty amazing things. I’ve been asked regularly over the years to put together a New Zealand gift guide, and here we are.

I am not sure if it’s because I’ve evolved as a consumer, I’ve become more “woke” to cheaply made things or I’ve finally found some semblance of taste after 31 years on the earth, but the kitschy Kiwiana gifts I see these days make me cringe a little.

New Zealand is so much more than these stereotypes.

new zealand gift guide

Whether you are living in New Zealand and want to send gifts home that showcases this kickass part of the world, you’re a tourist coming to New Zealand, and you’re looking for an authentic souvenir, or you’re a kiwi, and you want to support NZ brands, this list is for you!

Even if you just plain love New Zealand (hell, I get it), I’ve spent the past couple of years carefully following and cultivating a love for all these guys below and decided now’s the time to put it all in one place for you all too.

I’ll also take a moment to say none of this is sponsored at all – these are all brands I buy and love.

So here you go, a comprehensive and conscious New Zealand gift guide made by yours truly that showcases the best of the kiwi brands I use and love, and can’t heartily recommend enough – enjoy!

new zealand gift guide

Allbirds

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve given a pair of Allbirds as gifts to people I love.

Too many, according to my accountant.

And while I have worked on campaigns promoting Allbirds in the past, I have bought even more pairs on my own for both myself and my friends and family. I’m truly part of the cult. My mom just got another pair for Christmas from me this year.

Allbirds was started by kiwis and is now based in the US, around merino wool shoes. Simple and perfect, an ethical and responsible company using natural materials. Here in the land of the long white sheep, merino wool is life.

The perfect travel shoe, they’ve also expanded and make bamboo tree shoes too, my mom’s favorite. I live in my wool loungers, wool runners, and tree skippers. A New Zealand gift guide would be incomplete without my beloved Allbirds.

new zealand gift guide

Honeywraps

Honeywraps are organic reusable beeswax food wraps, and they are my new favorite thing in the kitchen – non-edible thing, I’ll clarify.

Inspired to cut back on the millions of plastic waste we generate on this planet, Honeywraps was founded by a group of passionate local women in New Zealand, hoping to make a difference. Each beeswax wrap is made right in NZ from GOTS certified organic cotton -and natural ingredients.

I don’t know about you, but once I became aware of my plastic waste, I couldn’t bring myself to use plastic wrap or clingfilm ever again. It’s so pointless! With the wraps, you can pop on bowls to cover and press down to seal or wrap your veggies in them and then wash when you’re done.

Honeywraps also collaborate with charities and kiwi artists to decorate the wraps and tell a story of nature and conservation here.

View this post on Instagram

Back for 10 days only … the 10 Wrap Pack! 🧡 10 of your fave organic Honeywraps individually packaged so perfect to gift to friends, family, teachers, staff 🎄🎁 On the website now.

A post shared by Honeywrap (@honeywrap) on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:18am PST

Wellington Chocolate Factory

Who doesn’t love local artisanal chocolate as a gift? And with carefully hand-wrapped packaging designed by local artists, does it get any better than that?

Wellington Chocolate Factory is by far still one of my favorite chocolate brands of all time, and I often find myself following my nose towards their setup whenever I’m in Wellington – you know, for research purposes.

Made from the finest ethically traded cocoa in the world, the chocolate is made with love right here in New Zealand, with each bar carefully wrapped in the most delightful package, decorated by local Wellington artists.

The salted caramel bar is my favorite, but the Peru single origin bar is a close second.

new zealand gift guide

Ethique

I first discovered Ethique on my electric campervan road trip around New Zealand with Britz, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

On a mission to rid the planet of plastic waste, Ethique started in a kiwi kitchen by a powerhouse female scientist making plastic-free beauty bars. You know, bars of shampoo.

Yes it works, yes it smells good, and yes it’s fantastic. It’s the perfect plastic-free starter gift for conscious travelers. And they make everything.

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When it comes to gift wrapping, how are you lowering your impact but still retaining the element of surprise 💚🎁? Don’t know where to start? We have some earth-loving ideas up on our latest blog on our website. Pictured: Reusing old wrapping & fabric offcuts #ethiqueworld #giveupthebottle #zerowaste #wastefree

A post shared by Ethique (@ethiqueworld) on Nov 19, 2019 at 12:00pm PST

Annabel Langbein Cookbook

Annabel Langbein is a celebrated Kiwi chef and cookbook author, and a bit of a household name here. She’s also my neighbor in Wanaka.

My mom loves her – apparently, she shows air in the US too – and her recipes are classics here.

Her cookbooks make for great, thoughtful gifts, especially for those who love a good garden and a good meal.

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Now for the great reveal… this is the beautiful cover of our latest project, 'Together' co-authored with my daughter Rose. We are feeling very proud and excited for it to hit the shelves next Monday 15th. SIGNED PRE ORDERS are available now via my website – link in bio (they will be sent out on Friday 12th so make sure you get your order in before then!) *normal delivery times apply #together #family #freerangelife

A post shared by Annabel Langbein (@annabellangbein) on Oct 7, 2018 at 11:01am PDT

Queenstown Soap

I have this tradition where I always buy my mom locally made rose soap when I travel anywhere – it’s her favorite.

And my friends over at the Queenstown Soap Co. make one of the best!

The perfect gift, these soaps are handmade in Queenstown by good people from organic and naturally-sourced ingredients. Cinnamon is my favorite.

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These beautiful three bars will soon be available in liquid form! We would love to know if there any other Queenstown Soap Co. flavours you would like to be available in liquid form? Our liquid soaps will be packaged in glass dispenser bottles with larger refill bottles also available ☀️

A post shared by Queenstown Soap Co. (@queenstownsoapco) on Jan 14, 2019 at 9:58pm PST

Nevé Candles

I only just discovered Nevé candles while on holiday in Waiheke, and it turns out they are made right over the hill from me in Queenstown.

Named for the mountains, nevé is the word for the snow that forms the surface of the tops of glaciers.

Stocked around New Zealand, my all-time favorite smell is French Pear and Brown Sugar though Kowhai Blossom and Lime is a close second.

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NEW CHARITY OF CHOICE 🌱🌊 we are proud to announce our latest Charity of Choice – @sustainablecoastlines ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀ It’s important to us to support local charities that really make a difference here in New Zealand, so we raise awareness for different charities throughout the year and the fantastic work they do. We also donate 5% from every online order placed through our store. ⁣⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀ Right now we’re proud to support Sustainable Coastlines, a multiaward winning New Zealand charity run by a team of hard-working staff and a network of passionate volunteers and collaborators. They coordinate and support large-scale coastal clean-up events, educational programs, public awareness campaigns and riparian planting projects.

A post shared by N E V É C A N D L E S (@nevecandles) on Apr 8, 2019 at 2:12am PDT

Goodnature trap

This one might cost me a few readers, but c’est la vie! Also, this is probably only for folks living here in New Zealand.

You’ve heard me go on and on about how much I care about native New Zealand birds and creatures, and how passionate I am about conservation. Well, the reason they need help is that the majority of our birds here have been hunted to extinction or close to it by introduced pests, like stoats, possums, and rats.

One way kiwis are fighting to protect these birds is by setting traps around their houses and gardens. Goodnature makes excellent traps that are automatic, easy to set up, humane, and safe. It’s the perfect gift for a family or for someone who loves native New Zealand birds.

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Recording your trap strikes with your local predator-free group can really help give your group a sense for where rat activity is high and how you're going with getting rid of them! Using a digital strike counter helps give you more accurate trapping data. #nocookieshere #trapping #technology #pestcontrol #goodnature #PF2050 #predatorfreenz

A post shared by Goodnature Ltd (@goodnaturenz) on Jul 1, 2019 at 7:56pm PDT

Mons Royale

I’ve accidentally been a Mons Royale ambassador for years, a Wanaka-based merino wool company that makes outdoor clothes and base layers. I’ve been quietly (or not so quietly) stocking up on their stuff for years and years, and pretty much every photo you see of me hiking, that’s what I’m wearing.

And they make my favorite underwear and sports bras.

Merino wool is a magical fiber; a light itch-free wool that doesn’t smell; it’s the perfect fabric for people like me who are always outdoors. I only hike in merino these days, and it’s what I wear underneath my snow pants and jacket when I’m snowboarding.

And Mons (Snow spelled backward) is relaxed and trendy, probably way too cool and stylish for me, but I still want to be part of the club! It isn’t cheap, but it’s worth investing in, as you only need a few essential staples. I often give it as gifts and start small with a beanie, buff, or socks.

new zealand gift guide

Zoe & Morgan

Zoe & Morgan make the coolest jewelry. Sibling expats that ended up in New Zealand, they split their shop between here and London, and their designs are modern, creative, and ethereal.

Their jewelry speaks to their individuality and travels; it’s very evocative for travelers like me.

I’m always wearing their Golden Hour Ring until I can afford their diamonds.

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What do you love? ​scroll through, dream big. ​​ #7chakranecklace #fourthchakraring #heartchakra #araceliring #astridearrings #basechakramala #firstchakranecklace

A post shared by Zoe & Morgan (@zoeandmorgan) on Nov 20, 2019 at 10:35pm PST

Wilson and Dorset sheepskins

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that my house is chocked full of the most luxurious fabulous sheepskins and wooly trinkets. I’m obsessed. And they all come from my favorite local Wanaka shop – Wilson and Dorset. Any New Zealand gift guide must include wool IMO.

Living in the mountains of New Zealand, wool is vital, and it’s my favorite fabric.

The first “nice” thing I ever bought for my house was a Wilson and Dorset sheepskin rug, and it’s divine. I think it might be the only thing I’ve ever loved until I bought one of their iconic shaggy bags – a sheepskin beanbag. And the best part is that you can’t stain it – wool naturally repels liquids!

Depending on who you’re shopping for, I recommend a pure sheepskin in one of the natural tones. And sheepskins are perfect for babies to sleep on!

new zealand gift guide

Wine club membership at Two Paddocks

Serious wine aficionado in the family? Well, have I got the perfect gift for them.

A wine club membership at Two Paddocks, my favorite vineyard. Just down the road from me in rural Central Otago, Two Paddocks is the brainchild of actor Sam Neill. Quirky, charming, and beautiful with my all-time favorite Pinot Noir, it’s a winery for people who love wine and who love a good time.

The cellar door and events are open to wine club members, and it’s the kind of place you want to visit on a trip to New Zealand. Again, this heartily endorsed by my mom, for various reasons.

new zealand gift guide

Give the gift that helps others

If you’re in favor of giving a donation or supporting a good old kiwi cause, here are three of my faves.

Life Flight

All eyes have been on New Zealand this week with the tragic volcanic eruption at White Island, killing and injuring many tourists and locals. Luckily our government and systems look after emergencies even for foreign visitors for free.

What many might not know is that New Zealand has an incredible system of rescue services, including Life Flight, which provides emergency air ambulance services. They run the Westpac rescue choppers from Wellington but fly all over New Zealand, saving lives.

And they run a great deal off of charitable donations. Whether you need to be lifted off the side of a cliff or medevaced to a hospital on the other side of the country, Life Flight looks after kiwis and visitors alike for free.

Consider giving Life Flight a donation as a gift for someone who loves New Zealand.

new zealand gift guide

Project Jonah

A year ago, my life was turned upside down when I accidentally stumbled across 150 beaching pilot whales on a remote corner of Stewart Island.

I had no idea what to do, far from reception or help, and I spent two days with them as they died. It was the most traumatic experience of my life, a memory that still haunts me.

Whales are beautiful, intelligent animals, and unfortunately, New Zealand has one of the highest marine mammal strandings in the world. In partnership with DOC, Project Jonah is a small but mighty charity that helps facilitate rescues of whales and dolphins around New Zealand.

I give to them every month, and anyone who was impacted by my story and who loves whales too should consider supporting Project Jonah. You can also give the gift of becoming a Marine Mammal Medic, a trained whale rescue volunteer to help out at future strandings.

new zealand gift guide

Kākāpō Recovery – adopt a kākāpō

It wouldn’t be a complete conscious New Zealand gift guide if I were to neglect my favorite rare bird – the kākāpō.

Nocturnal, flightless parrots brought back from the brink of extinction by some of the most passionate kiwis from the Kākāpō Recovery team over the past couple of decades, the future of the kākāpō is far from secure. With only 211 birds left, they desperately need our help.

While you can donate to help the kākāpō, I recommend adopting a kākāpō – the perfect thoughtful gift!

new zealand gift guide

Phew, that turned into a much bigger New Zealand gift guide than I anticipated.

And apologies to any friends or family reading this, and I’ve potentially spoiled your Christmas gift and upcoming birthdays in this blog. Forgive me.

How did I do? Do you have any kiwi brands to add? Any unusual New Zealand gifts you’ve received? Spill!

new zealand gift guide

The post The conscious New Zealand gift guide appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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12 surprising things I learned while in Botswana


For the past couple of years, I’ve had the word “Botswana” scribbled on a note above my desk, a place that I’ve been longing to visit for as long as I can remember.

Ever since I was a little girl, I would rip out pages from my parent’s National Geographics depicting lions on the hunt or Jane Goodall with the chimps, my curiosity piqued; even then, I had the desire to travel to these places and experience their wonders for myself. A few years ago, I visited South Africa for the first time, and I was hooked.

I have been counting down until I could return to Africa.

My curiosity was and is immense for Africa, and was fizzing with excitement to return, this time traveling to Botswana with De Beers Group. Yes, those De Beers. The diamond ones.

botswana travel

botswana travel

While going on safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana had been a dream of mine since I was little, deep down, I knew there was much more to learn about this unique part of Africa. I’ve been itching to dig deeper on my travels, and share stories and cover beyond the expected.

We all know that Africa is so much more than lions and gazelle. A complex and profound part of the world, I was eager to explore it through an entirely new lens – community, people, economics.

Almost as soon as I stepped off the plane in Gaborone, I realized that nearly all of my preconceptions about Botswana were off-base. But that’s why we travel, and I never forget that.

botswana travel

botswana travel

Botswana is special. Really special. And its uniqueness comes directly from something you might not expect – diamonds.

The cradle of humankind, the ancestral home of humanity, is right here in Botswana, and it is the people here who have made all the difference. Kind and welcoming, they have moved me tremendously. As I listened to their stories of how many opportunities they’ve had (thanks, in part, to De Beers Group and its partnership with the government of Botswana), I could feel the sand shifting beneath my feet of everything I thought I knew.

Botswana taught me so many things, and now it’ll sit firmly in my psyche as a place of exceptional education for me. Here are some of the most surprising things I learned while exploring Botswana – enjoy!

botswana travel

botswana travel

1.  Botswana is one of the world’s biggest producers of diamonds

While diamonds have been discovered all over the world, from South Africa to Russia, Botswana is undoubtedly at the heart of the diamond world. In fact, Botswana is one of the world’s largest producer of diamonds by value, contributing around 20% of the total world production of diamonds.

Botswana also contributes 60-70% of De Beers Group’s total diamonds, and diamonds count for nearly half of the government’s value.

Did you know that diamond revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13?

botswana travel

botswana travel

2. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world.

The Okavango Delta has topped the bucket lists of most travelers enamored with wildlife who dream of safaris in Africa.

Perched at the geographical heart of southern Africa, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the closest thing to Eden left on the planet.

As crystal clear waters trickle down thousands of kilometers from wet highlands of Angola, they disperse almost finger-like out into the hot sands of the famous Kalahari desert. Here, classic Africa wildlife thrives in the largest wetland in the world.

Though right now the Delta is sitting in a drought, which is why it looks so dry.

botswana travel

botswana travel

3. The growing economy of Botswana is powerful

Fifty years ago, Botswana was one of the poorest places on the planet.

With only a couple of kilometers of paved roads, three secondary schools nationwide, and only one doctor for every 48,000 people, you don’t need me to tell you that the future seemed tough, and the outlook for many was bleak.

Then in 1967, a year after gaining independence, the first diamonds were discovered in Botswana, and everything changed. Instead of descending into chaos like you might have imagined (me), Botswana flourished.

De Beers Group partnered with the people of Botswana, setting up a 50/50 partnership called Debswana to mine diamonds. Not only that, but 15% of the whole company is now owned by the government of Botswana too – wow! So for the past 50 years, billions of dollars have been invested back into the economy here.

81 cents of every dollar from the partnership with De Beers Group in Botswana goes straight back to the country’s economy. In effect, the people of Botswana own part of De Beers Group. Let that sink in for a second.

Now, Botswana is considered to be an upper-middle-income country with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its GDP has grown 500 times since 1960, and Botswana is in the top 5 countries with the highest increasing GDPs per capita. 

botswana travel

botswana travel

4. Botswana’s currency means rain

When 84% of a country is covered in a sandy desert, there is one word that reigns above the rest – rain or pula.

Pula is so significant to the people of Botswana that it also is the currency. After all, what is more critical here than rain?

Pula is also used as a greeting that means welcome, farewell, blessings, and cheers, among other uses. 

botswana travel

botswana travel

5. Botswana is home to the world’s largest African elephant population

Honestly, is there anything better than watching elephants in the wild? Especially babies?

Nope, didn’t think so.

botswana travel

botswana travel

6. It’s not a cheap tourist destination

Botswana is by far the most expensive country to go on safari in Africa.

Botswana is not the cheapest tourist destination to travel to. However, their policy is “High quality, low impact,” reducing visitor numbers by bringing in those willing to shell out for it. Appealing to those who want to enjoy a wildlife safari without the tourist crowds that are so common in many other national parks, Botswana is worth every dollar.

Conservation is vital in Botswana, and it’s been a global leader in a national commitment to protecting wild spaces. Approximately 38% of Botswana’s territory is protected as national parks, sanctuaries, reserves, and wildlife management areas.

Botswana has one of the highest conservation land ratios in Africa, with more than 25% of the land area set aside for parks and reserves to conserve the national heritage.

botswana travel

botswana travel

7. Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa

Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa, according to the findings of the annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. Ranking 34 out of 180 countries, Botswana has consistently ranked high in terms of least corruption, outpacing even countries in Europe.

botswana travel

botswana travel

8. The value of diamonds in Botswana is both ethical and priceless

Diamonds represent up to a third of Botswana’s GDP and are an inevitable fact of life here. Botswana is peaceful, and all diamonds mined here are conflict-free.

Around 13,000 people in Botswana are employed directly through the partnership between De Beers Group and the Government of Botswana. With tens of thousands more supported through the supply chain of diamonds, and through the spending on employees and suppliers within the economy. In fact, around one in every 20 jobs in Botswana stem back to De Beers Group’s partnership with the government.

Even the first lady of Botswana was once an employee of Debswana, De Beers Group’s mining partnership with the government.

botswana travel

botswana travel

9. Zebras are Botswana’s national animal

Zebras were chosen as the national animal of Botswana for the most beautiful reasons. Seemingly harmless and lovable, they’re popular with the people of Botswana and are full of symbols for this unique country.

Zebras, with their iconic black and white stripes, signify the racial harmony in Botswana. These stripes join on the face of the zebra to form a diamond shape – remarkable given the role diamonds have played in Botswana’s development.

When Botswana became independent in 1966, the black and white stripes on the new flag were primarily influenced by the zebra, and the stripes were meant to represent the harmony between people of different races and ethnicities in Botswana.

botswana travel

botswana travel

10. Though maybe termites should be the national animal

Back in the ‘60s and ’70s, scientists discovered minerals from kimberlite, a type of rock that hosts diamonds, on the surface of the Kalahari Desert. But how did diamond minerals that dwell 40 meters below the surface of the earth come to see the light of day?

Termites dug them up while looking for water, building large mounds they call home. Termites led to the discovery of the Jwaneng mine – considered to be the richest diamond mine in the world.

Team Termite!

botswana travel

botswana travel

11. There’s no room for tribalism in Botswana

As I was flying from Botswana, editing photos, and listening to podcasts, This American Life started to share the most exciting story about Botswana’s progressive democracy. To combat tribalism, Botswana requires all civil servants to move to a different tribal area from their own for a few years. Holy crap! I’ve never heard anything like this.

While I’m far from educated enough to A. have an opinion on this and B. fully understand the nuances of something so complicated as tribalism in Africa, here’s the gist of what I’ve learned.

Post-colonial Africa is complicated, and a standard narrative is that after independence, ethnic violence ensues. When Botswana became independent 50 years ago, they were afraid that tribalism would rip the new nation apart so they did everything they could to create a feeling of one country and to avoid the patriotism of tribes, even forcing civil servants and teachers to live outside of their “tribal” areas.

botswana travel

botswana travel

12. Botswana is home to some of the kindest people

While in Botswana, I was always impressed by the kindness and friendliness of locals.

I saw and heard firsthand so many compelling stories from the people that live there. I learned so much about how diamonds have changed lives here. I could really see how De Beers Group has spent decades working on building a long-term positive legacy and creating a future for the people of Botswana.

The story of Botswana is fascinating, and the people are amazing. Now, when can I come back?

Did you know any of this about Botswana? What did you know about diamonds before? Are you Team Termite too? Spill!

botswana travel

botswana travel

Many thanks to De Beers Group for hosting me in Botswana, like always I’m keeping it real. All opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post 12 surprising things I learned while in Botswana appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

12 surprising things I learned while in Botswana


For the past couple of years, I’ve had the word “Botswana” scribbled on a note above my desk, a place that I’ve been longing to visit for as long as I can remember.

Ever since I was a little girl, I would rip out pages from my parent’s National Geographics depicting lions on the hunt or Jane Goodall with the chimps, my curiosity piqued; even then, I had the desire to travel to these places and experience their wonders for myself. A few years ago, I visited South Africa for the first time, and I was hooked.

I have been counting down until I could return to Africa.

My curiosity was and is immense for Africa, and was fizzing with excitement to return, this time traveling to Botswana with De Beers Group. Yes, those De Beers. The diamond ones.

botswana travel

botswana travel

While going on safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana had been a dream of mine since I was little, deep down, I knew there was much more to learn about this unique part of Africa. I’ve been itching to dig deeper on my travels, and share stories and cover beyond the expected.

We all know that Africa is so much more than lions and gazelle. A complex and profound part of the world, I was eager to explore it through an entirely new lens – community, people, economics.

Almost as soon as I stepped off the plane in Gaborone, I realized that nearly all of my preconceptions about Botswana were off-base. But that’s why we travel, and I never forget that.

botswana travel

botswana travel

Botswana is special. Really special. And its uniqueness comes directly from something you might not expect – diamonds.

The cradle of humankind, the ancestral home of humanity, is right here in Botswana, and it is the people here who have made all the difference. Kind and welcoming, they have moved me tremendously. As I listened to their stories of how many opportunities they’ve had (thanks, in part, to De Beers Group and its partnership with the government of Botswana), I could feel the sand shifting beneath my feet of everything I thought I knew.

Botswana taught me so many things, and now it’ll sit firmly in my psyche as a place of exceptional education for me. Here are some of the most surprising things I learned while exploring Botswana – enjoy!

botswana travel

botswana travel

1.  Botswana is one of the world’s biggest producers of diamonds

While diamonds have been discovered all over the world, from South Africa to Russia, Botswana is undoubtedly at the heart of the diamond world. In fact, Botswana is one of the world’s largest producer of diamonds by value, contributing around 20% of the total world production of diamonds.

Botswana also contributes 60-70% of De Beers Group’s total diamonds, and diamonds count for nearly half of the government’s value.

Did you know that diamond revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13?

botswana travel

botswana travel

2. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world.

The Okavango Delta has topped the bucket lists of most travelers enamored with wildlife who dream of safaris in Africa.

Perched at the geographical heart of southern Africa, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the closest thing to Eden left on the planet.

As crystal clear waters trickle down thousands of kilometers from wet highlands of Angola, they disperse almost finger-like out into the hot sands of the famous Kalahari desert. Here, classic Africa wildlife thrives in the largest wetland in the world.

Though right now the Delta is sitting in a drought, which is why it looks so dry.

botswana travel

botswana travel

3. The growing economy of Botswana is powerful

Fifty years ago, Botswana was one of the poorest places on the planet.

With only a couple of kilometers of paved roads, three secondary schools nationwide, and only one doctor for every 48,000 people, you don’t need me to tell you that the future seemed tough, and the outlook for many was bleak.

Then in 1967, a year after gaining independence, the first diamonds were discovered in Botswana, and everything changed. Instead of descending into chaos like you might have imagined (me), Botswana flourished.

De Beers Group partnered with the people of Botswana, setting up a 50/50 partnership called Debswana to mine diamonds. Not only that, but 15% of the whole company is now owned by the government of Botswana too – wow! So for the past 50 years, billions of dollars have been invested back into the economy here.

81 cents of every dollar from the partnership with De Beers Group in Botswana goes straight back to the country’s economy. In effect, the people of Botswana own part of De Beers Group. Let that sink in for a second.

Now, Botswana is considered to be an upper-middle-income country with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its GDP has grown 500 times since 1960, and Botswana is in the top 5 countries with the highest increasing GDPs per capita. 

botswana travel

botswana travel

4. Botswana’s currency means rain

When 84% of a country is covered in a sandy desert, there is one word that reigns above the rest – rain or pula.

Pula is so significant to the people of Botswana that it also is the currency. After all, what is more critical here than rain?

Pula is also used as a greeting that means welcome, farewell, blessings, and cheers, among other uses. 

botswana travel

botswana travel

5. Botswana is home to the world’s largest African elephant population

Honestly, is there anything better than watching elephants in the wild? Especially babies?

Nope, didn’t think so.

botswana travel

botswana travel

6. It’s not a cheap tourist destination

Botswana is by far the most expensive country to go on safari in Africa.

Botswana is not the cheapest tourist destination to travel to. However, their policy is “High quality, low impact,” reducing visitor numbers by bringing in those willing to shell out for it. Appealing to those who want to enjoy a wildlife safari without the tourist crowds that are so common in many other national parks, Botswana is worth every dollar.

Conservation is vital in Botswana, and it’s been a global leader in a national commitment to protecting wild spaces. Approximately 38% of Botswana’s territory is protected as national parks, sanctuaries, reserves, and wildlife management areas.

Botswana has one of the highest conservation land ratios in Africa, with more than 25% of the land area set aside for parks and reserves to conserve the national heritage.

botswana travel

botswana travel

7. Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa

Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa, according to the findings of the annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. Ranking 34 out of 180 countries, Botswana has consistently ranked high in terms of least corruption, outpacing even countries in Europe.

botswana travel

botswana travel

8. The value of diamonds in Botswana is both ethical and priceless

Diamonds represent up to a third of Botswana’s GDP and are an inevitable fact of life here. Botswana is peaceful, and all diamonds mined here are conflict-free.

Around 13,000 people in Botswana are employed directly through the partnership between De Beers Group and the Government of Botswana. With tens of thousands more supported through the supply chain of diamonds, and through the spending on employees and suppliers within the economy. In fact, around one in every 20 jobs in Botswana stem back to De Beers Group’s partnership with the government.

Even the first lady of Botswana was once an employee of Debswana, De Beers Group’s mining partnership with the government.

botswana travel

botswana travel

9. Zebras are Botswana’s national animal

Zebras were chosen as the national animal of Botswana for the most beautiful reasons. Seemingly harmless and lovable, they’re popular with the people of Botswana and are full of symbols for this unique country.

Zebras, with their iconic black and white stripes, signify the racial harmony in Botswana. These stripes join on the face of the zebra to form a diamond shape – remarkable given the role diamonds have played in Botswana’s development.

When Botswana became independent in 1966, the black and white stripes on the new flag were primarily influenced by the zebra, and the stripes were meant to represent the harmony between people of different races and ethnicities in Botswana.

botswana travel

botswana travel

10. Though maybe termites should be the national animal

Back in the ‘60s and ’70s, scientists discovered minerals from kimberlite, a type of rock that hosts diamonds, on the surface of the Kalahari Desert. But how did diamond minerals that dwell 40 meters below the surface of the earth come to see the light of day?

Termites dug them up while looking for water, building large mounds they call home. Termites led to the discovery of the Jwaneng mine – considered to be the richest diamond mine in the world.

Team Termite!

botswana travel

botswana travel

11. There’s no room for tribalism in Botswana

As I was flying from Botswana, editing photos, and listening to podcasts, This American Life started to share the most exciting story about Botswana’s progressive democracy. To combat tribalism, Botswana requires all civil servants to move to a different tribal area from their own for a few years. Holy crap! I’ve never heard anything like this.

While I’m far from educated enough to A. have an opinion on this and B. fully understand the nuances of something so complicated as tribalism in Africa, here’s the gist of what I’ve learned.

Post-colonial Africa is complicated, and a standard narrative is that after independence, ethnic violence ensues. When Botswana became independent 50 years ago, they were afraid that tribalism would rip the new nation apart so they did everything they could to create a feeling of one country and to avoid the patriotism of tribes, even forcing civil servants and teachers to live outside of their “tribal” areas.

botswana travel

botswana travel

12. Botswana is home to some of the kindest people

While in Botswana, I was always impressed by the kindness and friendliness of locals.

I saw and heard firsthand so many compelling stories from the people that live there. I learned so much about how diamonds have changed lives here. I could really see how De Beers Group has spent decades working on building a long-term positive legacy and creating a future for the people of Botswana.

The story of Botswana is fascinating, and the people are amazing. Now, when can I come back?

Did you know any of this about Botswana? What did you know about diamonds before? Are you Team Termite too? Spill!

botswana travel

botswana travel

Many thanks to De Beers Group for hosting me in Botswana, like always I’m keeping it real. All opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post 12 surprising things I learned while in Botswana appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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How to be an adventurous traveler when you’re not all that hardcore


The older I get, the more self-aware I become, and the more comfortable I get in my skin. About. Damn. Time.

And after a decade of world adventures, I’ve come to realize quite a few things about my style of travel in particular. While I love adventure and exploring and trying new things, I’m not all that hardcore. Not remotely.

Sure, go ahead and laugh. The original “Adventuress” isn’t that much of an adventurer in the literal sense anymore. You won’t find me taking skydiving lessons, skiing off cliffs, or biking around the world. That’s not my style, and it’s definitely not been since I hit my 30’s.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

world adventures

world adventures

While the extreme world adventures that you might imagine don’t appeal to me anymore, that doesn’t mean I don’t love adventure travel. My definition of experience has just changed quite a bit the more I grow up.

It’s funny, to my hardcore adventurous friends, I’m super vanilla, but to a lot of people, I seem extreme. It’s all about perception!

Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is that adventure travel doesn’t have to be hardcore – it could just mean trying something new and exciting.

world adventures

world adventures

To me, adventure travel is for everyone, and it’s all about how you define it.

For me, I find much more purpose these days in taking on a big challenge on my travels, to test myself and sense of adventure, and then revel in achieving it. I’m not one for any big adrenaline rushes anymore or looking for quick thrills.

Give me a good old hike or session in the snow and call me happy. My world adventures are not stopping any time soon.

Here are some of my best tips for adventure travel when you’re like me, and you’re not really all that hardcore – enjoy!

How to be an adventuress

world adventures

world adventures

Take the plunge

Scuba diving can be a fantastic excuse to visit some of the globe’s best most scenic destinations. Recreational diving is one of my favorite past times, and I’ve been diving around the world, from right here in New Zealand to Bali and the Maldives. 

But if diving’s not your thing, snorkeling is a great alternative, and often heaps cheaper.

There are loads of tropical spots that offer boat trips to reefs and islands where you can see spectacular fish and reefs – just for inspiration, check out the Phi Phi islands and Koh Tao in Thailand. There’s the Yasawa Islands in Fiji, so many places in the Seychelles, and Hawaii, and last but not least, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands. 

world adventures

world adventures

Sign up for a safari

If you’re a fan of wildlife like me, there is nothing better than going on safari. 

Traveling to safari lodges in Africa tops the bucket list of many and with good reason – it’s pretty damn amazing. The ultimate “softcore” adventure, most safaris take you around in a 4WD vehicle for game viewings, not requiring any serious physical strengths.

Of course, there are self-drive, walking, boating, and riding safaris, too, but the traditional way is usually in an old tricked out Landrover.

Having just returned from a few days of safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, my mind has been blown away again.

world adventures

world adventures

Catch a wave

If you’ve never surfed and thought you couldn’t, why not give it a whirl with some surf lessons. It’s quite the workout but super fun. 

Don’t worry about feeling silly – you’re bound to be learning alongside other first-timers.

Or, if you’re committed, consider a women’s surf camp – a great bonding experience and a different way to see a country. Good options include Bali, Australia, Hawaii, Portugal, India, Nicaragua, and Morocco. Women’s surf camps and retreats are becoming increasingly popular. 

world adventures

world adventures

Sail into the sunset

The very friendly sport of sailing is open to all levels of ability and can be done in so many areas around the globe.

For instance, in Australia, there’s a tradition on Wednesday afternoons where many yacht clubs invite would-be sailors to join them for a sail and possibly a race, usually for free.

Or if you’ve dreamed of sailing around gorgeous coastlines and dropping anchor at deserted islands, there are plenty of sailing holidays where you can do as much or as little as you like – check out the Greek islands, Croatia, Australia’s Whitsundays, the Caribbean, and New Zealand. 

world adventures

world adventures

Guided adventure trips

It’s one thing to have an idea for an adventure, then go out and acquire all of the necessary skills to be able to do it safely. For me, I much prefer to go on guided adventures with an expert, someone who has certified guiding experience, which can both show me a fantastic time and keep me safe as.

From rafting the mighty Landsborough River here in New Zealand to guided via ferratas in the Dolomites in Italy, there’s always a guided adventure to be had!

world adventures

world adventures

Stand up paddle-boarding somewhere special

Stand-up paddling, or SUP as it’s known, is one of the fastest-growing watersports.

After some initial wobbles, most people find they can stand up and begin paddling on calm waters – surf may take a little extra mastery. It’s a great way to get fit and explore a landscape (coastal and rivers) on water.

Doing it in a group makes it friendly, too, and I’ve often joined in on guided SUP missions while traveling. Check out your options in Australia, the Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Slovenia.

Here in New Zealand, you’ll find me out on the lake and coast on my Moana inflatable SUP board, which I love to take out and about.

world adventures

world adventures

Take a hike

Walking holidays are graded for all levels of fitness. Above all, hiking is great for solo travelers as you can get to know people in a relaxed setting.

The possibilities are endless from short hikes just about anywhere to more extended expeditions such as the Camino Trail that passes through France, Spain, and Portugal.

In addition to other hotspots include hiking New Zealand, Peru, Japan, and Iceland.

Active Adventures runs guided hiking adventures around the most beautiful parts of New Zealand.

world adventures

world adventures

It’s snow time

Never tried skiing or snowboarding, never fear – that’s what ski school is for.

Prepare to have fun and a few tumbles, with days punctuated with hot chocolate and spectacular winter scenery. It’s always ski season somewhere in the world. The US, Canada, Japan, Europe are all exceptional during the northern hemisphere’s winter, while New Zealand is the place to go from June to September.

If skiing or snowboarding isn’t up your alley, consider cross-country skiing in Scandinavia or Austria.

world adventures

world adventures

Hop on your bike!

Not fit, but love to pedal? No worries. Cycling opens up the world adventures to all.

There are cycling trips for all levels, from touring vineyards in France to meandering through the rice paddies in Vietnam. From tackling hilly rides in Sri Lanka, cycling is a great way to see the country and boosts your fitness levels too.

Some cities are bike-friendly too. Check out bike hire or have an urban cycling adventure on one of the free bikes offered in places like Geneva and Zurich. You can also take part in bike-sharing schemes in Paris, London, Dublin, Melbourne, and Mexico City. 

Now with the popularity of e-bikes, cycling holidays have never been more accessible – phew!

world adventures

world adventures

Guided expedition trips

If you don’t want to stick to one kind of activity, there are adventure tours that combine it all. From trekking, kayaking, cycling, temples, and wildlife, even with accommodation ranging from camping to homestays to luxury lodges. 

One of my favorite guided expeditions was to ride horses in Mongolia, a trip that truly changed my life.

A week in Cuba could see you hiking to waterfalls, taking salsas lessons, and soaking up the atmosphere in Havana. Or, if exploring markets, beaches, and temples is your thing, Cambodia or Thailand could be the go. Intrepid Travel has some great options, including trips just for women. 

Join an expedition ship to Svalbard, the Antarctic, or even New Zealand’s subantarctic.

world adventures

world adventures

There are so many world adventures waiting for you out there. In fact, there is something for everyone and every budget. It all depends on you.

From easy hikes in your backyard to a holiday spent on the high seas, adventure travel is out there. Rewarding and life-changing, I can’t get enough of it, and I enjoy watching my travels evolve as I grow older.

For me, the only question is, what’s next?

How do you define adventure travel? Are you a fan of getting out and challenging yourself when on the road too? What are your favorite world adventures – spill!

world adventures

The post How to be an adventurous traveler when you’re not all that hardcore appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Meet this season’s kākāpō chicks


What’s chubby and feathered but can’t fly? Nocturnal with booming calls and can live for almost a century? Green and fluffy with the cutest muppet faces but super rare, and you probably won’t ever see?

If you guessed the kākāpō, you are exactly right! I’m so proud! You guys have paid attention to all my years of yarning on about odd native New Zealand birds! Anyone? Anyone? *crickets* just my mom and me then!

Well, if the kākāpō perhaps wasn’t what immediately springs to mind AND/OR you have never heard of my favorite creature on earth, well, you’re in for a treat!

Get ready for a bombardment of adorable baby kākāpō photos and stories!

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Kākāpō claim the somewhat unique title of being both one of the weirdest and rarest birds on the planet. Only found in New Zealand, kākāpō are nocturnal, flightless forest parrots who can live up to 100 years, and look kind of like an avocado and an owl had a baby.

There are only 211 total kākāpō alive today, thanks to the biggest breeding season on record this year, 2019 and the tireless hard work of the fantastic Kākāpō Recovery team. And guess who got to hang out with the new chicks?

In short, kākāpō are special. Really special, and they need our help. Read on, dear ones!

The Story of the Kākāpō

kakapo chicks
Hoki at her nest by Dr. Andrew Digby here

kakapo chicks

Before humans came to New Zealand (and ruined everything in terms of biodiversity – jokes, jokes, but not really), there were no native mammals on this tiny island nation in the South Pacific. No cats, nothing furry, no rats, nothing. Only two types of bats.

It was indeed a land of birds, all of whom evolved without any predators. The only thing that hunted them were other birds. Then humans came and brought with them all of the nasty mammals we hate here today, like possums, stoats (ferrets), cats, rats, etc. Around 50 species of birds went extinct after humans arrived here.

We’ve got some making up to do, am I right?

**Follow kākāpō scientist Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter for the most up-to-date info around these marvelous birds


Our poor unique native birds had no defenses – it was a veritable slaughter.

Nowadays, more than 80% of New Zealand’s native birds are in serious trouble, many facing extinction. And it’s estimated that rats, possums, and stoats kill 25 million birds a year here in New Zealand. Let that sink in for a moment.

However, New Zealand is committed to restoring the ecosystems to how they once were, even launching an ambitious campaign Predator Free 2050 to remove pests from NZ.

The story of wildlife in New Zealand is a tragic one, but one also full of hope too. Let’s look at the kākāpō, a bird by all accounts should not have survived.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Once the third most common bird in New Zealand, the charming kākāpō didn’t stand a chance once mammals entered the scene. Flightless but well camouflaged, their primary defense mechanism was to freeze and avoid being seen. This worked well when eagles hunted them but didn’t stand up once mammals arrived and hunted by smell.

Another quirky fact about kākāpō is that they have a strong scent to them – super weird, right!

You often can get a whiff of them on the breeze before you see them (if you can see them at all), and the rangers who lovingly tend these parrots have described it to me as the smell of the inside of an old violin case. Musty, sweet and old, rather like these creatures.

Pungent, chubby birds who can’t fly and stand still when scared? Well, I do believe we call that easy prey. The kākāpō didn’t stand a chance.

kakapo chicks
Sinbad kākāpō

kakapo chicks

By the 1970’s century, kākāpō were thought to be extinct, before a handful of old males were living at the very top of some of the steepest mountains in Fiordland. A while later, another population was found living on Stewart Island, though feral cats were decimating them.

The kākāpō weren’t going to survive much longer, and from the ’70s to the mid-’90s, all of the birds were moved to predator-free islands. Then the Kākāpō Recovery Programme was established in 1995.

Now, kākāpō are lovingly tended by a dedicated team of rangers, scientists, vet, volunteers, and donors who are doing everything possible to try to bring back these incredible birds from the very brink of extinction. They’re funded in large part on donations and sponsorships from DOC and Meridian Energy.

Donate to Kākāpō Recovery. All donations make a difference

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

The majority of kākāpō these days live on a few predator-free islands, like Anchor Island and on Codfish Island / Whenua Hou, which I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago.

One reason that kākāpō have struggled to bounce back from the brink of extinction is that they only breed every two to four years when Rimu tree’s fruit grows abundantly – the period is known as a “mast year.” Because they are so inbred, genetic diversity is a big problem, and more than half of their eggs are infertile.

It’s an uphill battle.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

But lucky for us, 2019 was shaping up to be a bumper breeding year for kākāpō with an overwhelming abundance of fruit.

Time for all hands on deck!

A great podcast by RNZ called the Kākāpō Files was released this year

kakapo chicks
Hoki on the nest looking like a proud mum, photo by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter
kakapo chicks
Rakiura-1-A-2019 in Rakiura’s nest, 3 days old by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter

2019 was a kākāpō breeding season full of highs and lows.

The somewhat quiet offshore islands where they call home quickly become extremely busy throughout the summer as teams of rangers, volunteers and scientists travel down to do everything they can to make it the most successful breeding season possible.

2019 biggest ever on record after a mast year leads to unprecedented amounts of rimu fruit, which is necessary for kākāpō to breed and hatch chicks successfully.

A record of 71 chicks survived through to juvenile age; the previous record was 32.


For many reasons, some chicks were taken off the islands to be hand-reread in special facilities on the mainland, which doesn’t impact them at all if they are raised together – and not alone like Sirocco was – the kākāpō who thinks he’s human.

Later the chicks are released into the wild, tagged with a transmitter.

I was lucky enough to visit some of this year’s chicks down in Invercargill as they were being raised, and it was a life-changing experience, as you might imagine. Making do with limited resources, people, and budget, it’s compelling to see what the kākāpō recovery team can manage.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Every time I visit them, I dream of the day I am a millionaire so I can adequately fund all of the conservation projects I care deeply about. Sigh. I know it’s a big dream, but one day guys!

In the meantime, if there are any millionaires out there with idly bank accounts looking to support birds, do get in touch.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

The steps taken to look after the chicks are immense, and I can’t even begin to say thank you to the incredibly hard-working kākāpō team who run around like crazy for a year during a breeding season doing everything they can to ensure these birds survive.

It’s dedication and passion that inspires me to my core. These birds wouldn’t have a chance without them.

Suitably sterilized, zipped up, and croc-ed out, I was able to weave my way through the facility to meet this year’s kākāpō chicks.

kakapo chicks
by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter

kakapo chicks

Greeted by a gaggle of kākāpō in a pen, snorting and chortling their way around a makeshift indoor forest, I let out an audible sigh of deep contentment.

How amazing to see such rare creatures come back from the abyss?

And also, they are seriously so cute. How could you not love them? They literally make snorting noises like a little pig.

I spent hours observing the new chicks, watching them come out and learn how to climb on the branches, try and eat berries and get it all over their faces, and interact with each other. It was such an exceptional experience, and I felt so honored to be part of their story.

I left Invercargill the next day filled with hope and inspiration, but we all know that what goes up must come down, right?

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

It felt like almost as soon as I left, we were hit with the devastating news of a fungal outbreak that was killing kākāpō.

Aspergillosis is a fungal infection threatening kākāpō on Codfish Island / Whenua Hou and can be extremely deadly to birds. Luckily with swift action, many of the infected birds have been hospitalized and treated on the mainland and have survived, though a few have died as well.

Two more kākāpō chicks just died from aspergillosis, and the threat isn’t over yet, with two more chicks dying last month.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

2019 has definitely been a year of ups and downs for kākāpō in New Zealand, and even after some hard times and trials, things are looking up as this year’s chicks make it through the first months of their long lives.

But now the question is, where are they going to live? We’re running out of space!

Ultimately the big goal is to get kākāpō back on mainland New Zealand. With so many more kākāpō, it means we’re running out of pest-free places where we can keep them safe.

What an exciting new problem to have!

Have you heard of the kākāpō? Are they your new favorite bird? Share!

Donate to Kākāpō Recovery. All donations make a difference

kakapo chicks

The post Meet this season’s kākāpō chicks appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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How to be an adventurous traveler when you’re not all that hardcore


The older I get, the more self-aware I become, and the more comfortable I get in my skin. About. Damn. Time.

And after a decade of world adventures, I’ve come to realize quite a few things about my style of travel in particular. While I love adventure and exploring and trying new things, I’m not all that hardcore. Not remotely.

Sure, go ahead and laugh. The original “Adventuress” isn’t that much of an adventurer in the literal sense anymore. You won’t find me taking skydiving lessons, skiing off cliffs, or biking around the world. That’s not my style, and it’s definitely not been since I hit my 30’s.

What no one tells you about adventure travel

world adventures

world adventures

While the extreme world adventures that you might imagine don’t appeal to me anymore, that doesn’t mean I don’t love adventure travel. My definition of experience has just changed quite a bit the more I grow up.

It’s funny, to my hardcore adventurous friends, I’m super vanilla, but to a lot of people, I seem extreme. It’s all about perception!

Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is that adventure travel doesn’t have to be hardcore – it could just mean trying something new and exciting.

world adventures

world adventures

To me, adventure travel is for everyone, and it’s all about how you define it.

For me, I find much more purpose these days in taking on a big challenge on my travels, to test myself and sense of adventure, and then revel in achieving it. I’m not one for any big adrenaline rushes anymore or looking for quick thrills.

Give me a good old hike or session in the snow and call me happy. My world adventures are not stopping any time soon.

Here are some of my best tips for adventure travel when you’re like me, and you’re not really all that hardcore – enjoy!

How to be an adventuress

world adventures

world adventures

Take the plunge

Scuba diving can be a fantastic excuse to visit some of the globe’s best most scenic destinations. Recreational diving is one of my favorite past times, and I’ve been diving around the world, from right here in New Zealand to Bali and the Maldives. 

But if diving’s not your thing, snorkeling is a great alternative, and often heaps cheaper.

There are loads of tropical spots that offer boat trips to reefs and islands where you can see spectacular fish and reefs – just for inspiration, check out the Phi Phi islands and Koh Tao in Thailand. There’s the Yasawa Islands in Fiji, so many places in the Seychelles, and Hawaii, and last but not least, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands. 

world adventures

world adventures

Sign up for a safari

If you’re a fan of wildlife like me, there is nothing better than going on safari. 

Traveling to safari lodges in Africa tops the bucket list of many and with good reason – it’s pretty damn amazing. The ultimate “softcore” adventure, most safaris take you around in a 4WD vehicle for game viewings, not requiring any serious physical strengths.

Of course, there are self-drive, walking, boating, and riding safaris, too, but the traditional way is usually in an old tricked out Landrover.

Having just returned from a few days of safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, my mind has been blown away again.

world adventures

world adventures

Catch a wave

If you’ve never surfed and thought you couldn’t, why not give it a whirl with some surf lessons. It’s quite the workout but super fun. 

Don’t worry about feeling silly – you’re bound to be learning alongside other first-timers.

Or, if you’re committed, consider a women’s surf camp – a great bonding experience and a different way to see a country. Good options include Bali, Australia, Hawaii, Portugal, India, Nicaragua, and Morocco. Women’s surf camps and retreats are becoming increasingly popular. 

world adventures

world adventures

Sail into the sunset

The very friendly sport of sailing is open to all levels of ability and can be done in so many areas around the globe.

For instance, in Australia, there’s a tradition on Wednesday afternoons where many yacht clubs invite would-be sailors to join them for a sail and possibly a race, usually for free.

Or if you’ve dreamed of sailing around gorgeous coastlines and dropping anchor at deserted islands, there are plenty of sailing holidays where you can do as much or as little as you like – check out the Greek islands, Croatia, Australia’s Whitsundays, the Caribbean, and New Zealand. 

world adventures

world adventures

Guided adventure trips

It’s one thing to have an idea for an adventure, then go out and acquire all of the necessary skills to be able to do it safely. For me, I much prefer to go on guided adventures with an expert, someone who has certified guiding experience, which can both show me a fantastic time and keep me safe as.

From rafting the mighty Landsborough River here in New Zealand to guided via ferratas in the Dolomites in Italy, there’s always a guided adventure to be had!

world adventures

world adventures

Stand up paddle-boarding somewhere special

Stand-up paddling, or SUP as it’s known, is one of the fastest-growing watersports.

After some initial wobbles, most people find they can stand up and begin paddling on calm waters – surf may take a little extra mastery. It’s a great way to get fit and explore a landscape (coastal and rivers) on water.

Doing it in a group makes it friendly, too, and I’ve often joined in on guided SUP missions while traveling. Check out your options in Australia, the Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Slovenia.

Here in New Zealand, you’ll find me out on the lake and coast on my Moana inflatable SUP board, which I love to take out and about.

world adventures

world adventures

Take a hike

Walking holidays are graded for all levels of fitness. Above all, hiking is great for solo travelers as you can get to know people in a relaxed setting.

The possibilities are endless from short hikes just about anywhere to more extended expeditions such as the Camino Trail that passes through France, Spain, and Portugal.

In addition to other hotspots include hiking New Zealand, Peru, Japan, and Iceland.

Active Adventures runs guided hiking adventures around the most beautiful parts of New Zealand.

world adventures

world adventures

It’s snow time

Never tried skiing or snowboarding, never fear – that’s what ski school is for.

Prepare to have fun and a few tumbles, with days punctuated with hot chocolate and spectacular winter scenery. It’s always ski season somewhere in the world. The US, Canada, Japan, Europe are all exceptional during the northern hemisphere’s winter, while New Zealand is the place to go from June to September.

If skiing or snowboarding isn’t up your alley, consider cross-country skiing in Scandinavia or Austria.

world adventures

world adventures

Hop on your bike!

Not fit, but love to pedal? No worries. Cycling opens up the world adventures to all.

There are cycling trips for all levels, from touring vineyards in France to meandering through the rice paddies in Vietnam. From tackling hilly rides in Sri Lanka, cycling is a great way to see the country and boosts your fitness levels too.

Some cities are bike-friendly too. Check out bike hire or have an urban cycling adventure on one of the free bikes offered in places like Geneva and Zurich. You can also take part in bike-sharing schemes in Paris, London, Dublin, Melbourne, and Mexico City. 

Now with the popularity of e-bikes, cycling holidays have never been more accessible – phew!

world adventures

world adventures

Guided expedition trips

If you don’t want to stick to one kind of activity, there are adventure tours that combine it all. From trekking, kayaking, cycling, temples, and wildlife, even with accommodation ranging from camping to homestays to luxury lodges. 

One of my favorite guided expeditions was to ride horses in Mongolia, a trip that truly changed my life.

A week in Cuba could see you hiking to waterfalls, taking salsas lessons, and soaking up the atmosphere in Havana. Or, if exploring markets, beaches, and temples is your thing, Cambodia or Thailand could be the go. Intrepid Travel has some great options, including trips just for women. 

Join an expedition ship to Svalbard, the Antarctic, or even New Zealand’s subantarctic.

world adventures

world adventures

There are so many world adventures waiting for you out there. In fact, there is something for everyone and every budget. It all depends on you.

From easy hikes in your backyard to a holiday spent on the high seas, adventure travel is out there. Rewarding and life-changing, I can’t get enough of it, and I enjoy watching my travels evolve as I grow older.

For me, the only question is, what’s next?

How do you define adventure travel? Are you a fan of getting out and challenging yourself when on the road too? What are your favorite world adventures – spill!

world adventures

The post How to be an adventurous traveler when you’re not all that hardcore appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Meet this season’s kākāpō chicks


What’s chubby and feathered but can’t fly? Nocturnal with booming calls and can live for almost a century? Green and fluffy with the cutest muppet faces but super rare, and you probably won’t ever see?

If you guessed the kākāpō, you are exactly right! I’m so proud! You guys have paid attention to all my years of yarning on about odd native New Zealand birds! Anyone? Anyone? *crickets* just my mom and me then!

Well, if the kākāpō perhaps wasn’t what immediately springs to mind AND/OR you have never heard of my favorite creature on earth, well, you’re in for a treat!

Get ready for a bombardment of adorable baby kākāpō photos and stories!

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Kākāpō claim the somewhat unique title of being both one of the weirdest and rarest birds on the planet. Only found in New Zealand, kākāpō are nocturnal, flightless forest parrots who can live up to 100 years, and look kind of like an avocado and an owl had a baby.

There are only 211 total kākāpō alive today, thanks to the biggest breeding season on record this year, 2019 and the tireless hard work of the fantastic Kākāpō Recovery team. And guess who got to hang out with the new chicks?

In short, kākāpō are special. Really special, and they need our help. Read on, dear ones!

The Story of the Kākāpō

kakapo chicks
Hoki at her nest by Dr. Andrew Digby here

kakapo chicks

Before humans came to New Zealand (and ruined everything in terms of biodiversity – jokes, jokes, but not really), there were no native mammals on this tiny island nation in the South Pacific. No cats, nothing furry, no rats, nothing. Only two types of bats.

It was indeed a land of birds, all of whom evolved without any predators. The only thing that hunted them were other birds. Then humans came and brought with them all of the nasty mammals we hate here today, like possums, stoats (ferrets), cats, rats, etc. Around 50 species of birds went extinct after humans arrived here.

We’ve got some making up to do, am I right?

**Follow kākāpō scientist Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter for the most up-to-date info around these marvelous birds


Our poor unique native birds had no defenses – it was a veritable slaughter.

Nowadays, more than 80% of New Zealand’s native birds are in serious trouble, many facing extinction. And it’s estimated that rats, possums, and stoats kill 25 million birds a year here in New Zealand. Let that sink in for a moment.

However, New Zealand is committed to restoring the ecosystems to how they once were, even launching an ambitious campaign Predator Free 2050 to remove pests from NZ.

The story of wildlife in New Zealand is a tragic one, but one also full of hope too. Let’s look at the kākāpō, a bird by all accounts should not have survived.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Once the third most common bird in New Zealand, the charming kākāpō didn’t stand a chance once mammals entered the scene. Flightless but well camouflaged, their primary defense mechanism was to freeze and avoid being seen. This worked well when eagles hunted them but didn’t stand up once mammals arrived and hunted by smell.

Another quirky fact about kākāpō is that they have a strong scent to them – super weird, right!

You often can get a whiff of them on the breeze before you see them (if you can see them at all), and the rangers who lovingly tend these parrots have described it to me as the smell of the inside of an old violin case. Musty, sweet and old, rather like these creatures.

Pungent, chubby birds who can’t fly and stand still when scared? Well, I do believe we call that easy prey. The kākāpō didn’t stand a chance.

kakapo chicks
Sinbad kākāpō

kakapo chicks

By the 1970’s century, kākāpō were thought to be extinct, before a handful of old males were living at the very top of some of the steepest mountains in Fiordland. A while later, another population was found living on Stewart Island, though feral cats were decimating them.

The kākāpō weren’t going to survive much longer, and from the ’70s to the mid-’90s, all of the birds were moved to predator-free islands. Then the Kākāpō Recovery Programme was established in 1995.

Now, kākāpō are lovingly tended by a dedicated team of rangers, scientists, vet, volunteers, and donors who are doing everything possible to try to bring back these incredible birds from the very brink of extinction. They’re funded in large part on donations and sponsorships from DOC and Meridian Energy.

Donate to Kākāpō Recovery. All donations make a difference

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

The majority of kākāpō these days live on a few predator-free islands, like Anchor Island and on Codfish Island / Whenua Hou, which I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago.

One reason that kākāpō have struggled to bounce back from the brink of extinction is that they only breed every two to four years when Rimu tree’s fruit grows abundantly – the period is known as a “mast year.” Because they are so inbred, genetic diversity is a big problem, and more than half of their eggs are infertile.

It’s an uphill battle.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

But lucky for us, 2019 was shaping up to be a bumper breeding year for kākāpō with an overwhelming abundance of fruit.

Time for all hands on deck!

A great podcast by RNZ called the Kākāpō Files was released this year

kakapo chicks
Hoki on the nest looking like a proud mum, photo by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter
kakapo chicks
Rakiura-1-A-2019 in Rakiura’s nest, 3 days old by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter

2019 was a kākāpō breeding season full of highs and lows.

The somewhat quiet offshore islands where they call home quickly become extremely busy throughout the summer as teams of rangers, volunteers and scientists travel down to do everything they can to make it the most successful breeding season possible.

2019 biggest ever on record after a mast year leads to unprecedented amounts of rimu fruit, which is necessary for kākāpō to breed and hatch chicks successfully.

A record of 71 chicks survived through to juvenile age; the previous record was 32.


For many reasons, some chicks were taken off the islands to be hand-reread in special facilities on the mainland, which doesn’t impact them at all if they are raised together – and not alone like Sirocco was – the kākāpō who thinks he’s human.

Later the chicks are released into the wild, tagged with a transmitter.

I was lucky enough to visit some of this year’s chicks down in Invercargill as they were being raised, and it was a life-changing experience, as you might imagine. Making do with limited resources, people, and budget, it’s compelling to see what the kākāpō recovery team can manage.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

Every time I visit them, I dream of the day I am a millionaire so I can adequately fund all of the conservation projects I care deeply about. Sigh. I know it’s a big dream, but one day guys!

In the meantime, if there are any millionaires out there with idly bank accounts looking to support birds, do get in touch.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

The steps taken to look after the chicks are immense, and I can’t even begin to say thank you to the incredibly hard-working kākāpō team who run around like crazy for a year during a breeding season doing everything they can to ensure these birds survive.

It’s dedication and passion that inspires me to my core. These birds wouldn’t have a chance without them.

Suitably sterilized, zipped up, and croc-ed out, I was able to weave my way through the facility to meet this year’s kākāpō chicks.

kakapo chicks
by Dr. Andrew Digby on Twitter

kakapo chicks

Greeted by a gaggle of kākāpō in a pen, snorting and chortling their way around a makeshift indoor forest, I let out an audible sigh of deep contentment.

How amazing to see such rare creatures come back from the abyss?

And also, they are seriously so cute. How could you not love them? They literally make snorting noises like a little pig.

I spent hours observing the new chicks, watching them come out and learn how to climb on the branches, try and eat berries and get it all over their faces, and interact with each other. It was such an exceptional experience, and I felt so honored to be part of their story.

I left Invercargill the next day filled with hope and inspiration, but we all know that what goes up must come down, right?

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

It felt like almost as soon as I left, we were hit with the devastating news of a fungal outbreak that was killing kākāpō.

Aspergillosis is a fungal infection threatening kākāpō on Codfish Island / Whenua Hou and can be extremely deadly to birds. Luckily with swift action, many of the infected birds have been hospitalized and treated on the mainland and have survived, though a few have died as well.

Two more kākāpō chicks just died from aspergillosis, and the threat isn’t over yet, with two more chicks dying last month.

kakapo chicks

kakapo chicks

2019 has definitely been a year of ups and downs for kākāpō in New Zealand, and even after some hard times and trials, things are looking up as this year’s chicks make it through the first months of their long lives.

But now the question is, where are they going to live? We’re running out of space!

Ultimately the big goal is to get kākāpō back on mainland New Zealand. With so many more kākāpō, it means we’re running out of pest-free places where we can keep them safe.

What an exciting new problem to have!

Have you heard of the kākāpō? Are they your new favorite bird? Share!

Donate to Kākāpō Recovery. All donations make a difference

kakapo chicks

The post Meet this season’s kākāpō chicks appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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