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.



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An expat’s guide to fitting in with New Zealand locals


Let’s be clear; there’s usually nothing easy about picking up your life and moving to a new foreign country and fitting in with New Zealand locals? There’s a lot to learn.

The food is different, and the language is (often) changed, the culture is different. It takes some serious guts to pick up and become an expat, but with a bit of perseverance, it can be one of the most rewarding moves of your life.

When I first decided to move to New Zealand, I stupidly assumed that because it was a westernized country where English was spoken, I’d have no trouble fitting it. But, as it turns out, life and culture in Chicago are vastly different than life on an Island Nation.

There are some things I wish I knew before moving that would have made my transition a little easier. Here are my best tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals

How to move to New Zealand as an American

fitting in with new zealand locals

1. Keep it casual

Kiwis live a relaxed lifestyle from the clothes they wear to how they address their superiors.

Dressing up for Kiwis often means donning their fanciest pair of jandals and their cleanest pair of stubbies. If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry, it will eventually. Even in the workplace, the dress is usually reasonably casual. Unless you’re in a bank, you probably won’t see suits and ties.

When addressing superiors and colleagues, Kiwis prefer to use first names and often even nicknames. They like to treat everyone the same and often see their bosses and superiors as friends, doctors too.

fitting in with new zealand locals

2. Keep that work-life balance in check

Kiwis are famous for maintaining an excellent work-life balance.

They believe in putting in some hard hours at work but also respect their free time. Hell, the best coffee spot in town is famous for closing their doors over the Christmas break, the busiest two weeks of the year. Could they be making lots of money over that time? Sure, but is it worth the stress? Nah.

Kiwis know when to draw the line and make sure they have time to relax, and best of all, they don’t feel guilty for it. If you want to fit in with the locals, make sure you take some holiday time and respect others when they’re doing the same.

fitting in with new zealand locals

3. Sarcasm reigns supreme

Keen on fitting in with New Zealand? Learn to speak sarcasm.

If English and Māori share the title for the common language in New Zealand, sarcasm would undoubtedly be the second.

Kiwi humor is often described and dark and utterly dry, but if you can pick up on it, you’ll soon find yourself laughing along. A shortcut to understanding Kiwi humor is to assume the opposite for everything they say immediately.

For example, if someone calls you a winner, you’re most certainly not.

fitting in with new zealand locals

4. Stay humble

A quick way to get an eye roll out of a kiwi is to start talking about your most recent accomplishments. Start yarning on about all the things you’ve done, and you’ll be met with silence or a quick change of subject.

This is because Kiwis embrace the tall poppy syndrome, where people who brag about how great they are are resented and criticized. If you’re going to talk about your success, do so carefully and try to elevate those who helped you reach that success.

10 times I realized I’d gone totally Kiwi

fitting in with new zealand locals

5. Nix the small chat

Love it or hate it, Kiwis are genuine.

They don’t mince words, and if they ask you how you’re going, they genuinely want to know.

A quick way to piss off a Kiwi is to say, “Hey mate, how are ya” and then immediately move onto the next sentence without giving them a chance to answer. It may seem like a common language to you, but to Kiwis, they find it rude and insincere.

If you’re going to ask them questions, they’re going to want to answer. Kiwis don’t mind a bit of awkward silence, so they’d much rather sit in silence then fill the air with a frivolous chat about the weather.

fitting in with new zealand locals

6. But don’t get too personal

Here’s another goodie for fitting in with New Zealand locals  – don’t also get up in their business.

When you’re asking them questions, be sure not to cross the line by asking them super personal questions. Don’t ask them how much money they make, how much their house costs, or who they’re voting for in the next elections.

In my experience, I’ve found that Kiwis generally tend to keep their personal business to themselves and a select few friends, so when integrating into a Kiwi friend group, tread carefully with the deep questions.

fitting in with new zealand locals

7. Adopt the can-do attitude

Kiwis are famous for the #8 wire attitude. The old saying goes that on remote farms, Kiwis would often have long rolls of number 8 wire, which they would use to fix practically any mechanical or structural problem. The wire became synonymous with the ingenuity and resourcefulness of New Zealanders and is a common cultural characteristic still to this day.

Perhaps part of it is because they are an island nation that has historically had to be self-reliant for a long time. If something is broken, New Zealanders will always give it a crack to try and fix it before buying new.

They’ll go to great lengths to solve the issue on their own, and if you’re trying to fit in, you should too. Kiwis wear their old duct-taped puffer jackets with pride here.

fitting in with new zealand locals

8. Respect the environment

Speaking of not buying new, most Kiwis hold the state of the environment near and dear to their hearts.

Perhaps because they live in a literal paradise, when you get to see pure beauty every day and the risks that beauty faces, you appreciate it, maybe it’s because they have a small population. Here it’s easier to enact change on a large scale.

Whatever it is, Kiwis give a hoot about the rivers and mountains and air. If you want to fit in, ditch your single-use plastic. You’ll quickly be ostracized for getting a plastic fork with your takeaway or forgetting your reusable coffee cup. Recycle when you can, but more than anything, if you want to fit in with the Kiwis, start with reducing the amount you consume, to begin with.

What do you think? Any tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals? Share!

fitting in with new zealand locals

The post An expat’s guide to fitting in with New Zealand locals appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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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.



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Learning to be quiet in a noisy world


This originally appeared here on my Instagram which I’ve expanded below:

These days we live in a crazy, busy, hectic, noisy world, and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sick of it. Learning to be quiet was no longer important to me. 

Can’t we just slow down? Stop and smell the metaphorical roses?

Ping. Ding. Buzz. Beep. Ping again.

It feels like every minute of every hour of every day; I’m bombarded with something online. And then, the final strike hit me when my phone had the grace to notify me that I was averaging 5 hours and 18 minutes of screen time daily. 

Oh my fucking god, don’t tell me that!

learning to be quiet

I suppose that was the beginning of a blinding epiphany. Learning to be quiet is something I’ve completely forgotten about.

How much time do I spend per day, aimlessly liking photos, watching cat video after cat video, drafting emails, getting calendar reminders, watching people watch me online?

Creepy and zombie-like doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I’ve always been reasonably good about disconnecting. Still, as I slowly slipped downhill into a deep depression and burnout over the past year AGAIN, I think my addiction to my phone began to consume me.

learning to be quiet

As every year went by, I realized I had become more and more uncomfortable with silence and reflection. I needed a distraction in the form of technology, entertainment for my brain 24/7.

I’d come home and put tv shows on; I’d check into a hotel and turn on a podcast. I listen to music every time I’m in the car. I get on a plane and read. I couldn’t just sit still and be quiet and be alone with my thoughts; I needed background noise to function.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that that stimulation 24/7 can’t be good for you. I was like that rat pushing the button for cheese until it died.

learning to be quiet

Somehow without realizing it, I’ve slipped into a person who had become uncomfortable with her thoughts. Considering I’m a massive introvert who usually loves to sit and stare at a wall and think, this is quite a personality shift!

It’s like I needed the comfort of technology to make me feel good. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

I wasn’t always this way, and it’s not where I want to be in the future.

learning to be quiet

I do my best thinking when I’m quiet and alone in a beautiful and comfortable space; for me, that’s when those creative, crazy ideas come, not when I’m busy.

But it’s easy to be busy; it’s hard to let your mind flourish.

In addition to this, I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on my childhood, even dreaming about it regularly.

I have great nostalgia for when I was a kid; in the days before iPhones and laptops. Where we wrote on chalkboards at school, and I would daydream all day in the garden. Where you learned all your friend’s phone numbers by heart, and we talked in person. You know the days where you never canceled anything last minute because no one had cell phones, so you just had to show up.

I miss that time of my life.

learning to be quiet

When I think about my creativity in my teens and earlier twenties, it was monumental compared to what I feel now. Time stood still for me, and the days blended together, affording me all the time in the world to let my mind roam freely.

I dreamed and dreamed of travel, but now that I finally have achieved that dream, it’s like that part of me who was a dreamer has disappeared. Learning to be quiet was gone.

Nowadays, amid a burnout, I feel confined and caged, especially around my international trips. I have to do all my creative thinking before I get on a plane to Singapore in 11 days and 3 hours.

Somehow in my mind, travel and creative thinking are mutually exclusive. How did that happen?

I would suspect a total lack of boundaries on my end, as well as traveling way too much.

learning to be quiet

So I’ve slowly been working the past few months on becoming comfortable being quiet again, to sit and be alone with just me, myself and I, and NOT with the company of the entire internet.

This sounds so dumb to write out, but I needed to say it; I make myself do things without any background noise. Sometimes I cook dinner in silence. Now I wake up naturally in the morning and don’t reach for my phone for an hour.

I even turned off all the notifications on my phone (shivers!), and I log into my email only twice a day (instead of leaving it open and pinging all day and night). These little steps have already made a massive difference for me. I don’t have any international trips booked!

Yay boundaries and better work/life balance!

learning to be quiet

I’ve even started meditating (honestly, who am I?) I hope I don’t become one of those annoying preachy people telling you how to live your best life while showing off my seemingly perfect one.

Because it’s not, it never has been, and even trying to work on being quiet and reflecting is hard; but damn has it not been a good balm. I am already surprised by my thoughts and ideas in just a few short weeks of silence. I feel more precise and thoughtful with what I say, and I have slowed down quite a bit.

The downside is whenever I venture back into the real world with other people; everyone else seems so loud, fast, and in a hurry. Learning to be quiet is for everyone!

Here’s to doing sweet fuck all and staring out the window, just thinking! 

How do you slow down? Can you relate? How do you cope with a noisy world? Spill!

learning to be quiet

The post Learning to be quiet in a noisy world appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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An expat’s guide to fitting in with New Zealand locals


Let’s be clear; there’s usually nothing easy about picking up your life and moving to a new foreign country and fitting in with New Zealand locals? There’s a lot to learn.

The food is different, and the language is (often) changed, the culture is different. It takes some serious guts to pick up and become an expat, but with a bit of perseverance, it can be one of the most rewarding moves of your life.

When I first decided to move to New Zealand, I stupidly assumed that because it was a westernized country where English was spoken, I’d have no trouble fitting it. But, as it turns out, life and culture in Chicago are vastly different than life on an Island Nation.

There are some things I wish I knew before moving that would have made my transition a little easier. Here are my best tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals

How to move to New Zealand as an American

fitting in with new zealand locals

1. Keep it casual

Kiwis live a relaxed lifestyle from the clothes they wear to how they address their superiors.

Dressing up for Kiwis often means donning their fanciest pair of jandals and their cleanest pair of stubbies. If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry, it will eventually. Even in the workplace, the dress is usually reasonably casual. Unless you’re in a bank, you probably won’t see suits and ties.

When addressing superiors and colleagues, Kiwis prefer to use first names and often even nicknames. They like to treat everyone the same and often see their bosses and superiors as friends, doctors too.

fitting in with new zealand locals

2. Keep that work-life balance in check

Kiwis are famous for maintaining an excellent work-life balance.

They believe in putting in some hard hours at work but also respect their free time. Hell, the best coffee spot in town is famous for closing their doors over the Christmas break, the busiest two weeks of the year. Could they be making lots of money over that time? Sure, but is it worth the stress? Nah.

Kiwis know when to draw the line and make sure they have time to relax, and best of all, they don’t feel guilty for it. If you want to fit in with the locals, make sure you take some holiday time and respect others when they’re doing the same.

fitting in with new zealand locals

3. Sarcasm reigns supreme

Keen on fitting in with New Zealand? Learn to speak sarcasm.

If English and Māori share the title for the common language in New Zealand, sarcasm would undoubtedly be the second.

Kiwi humor is often described and dark and utterly dry, but if you can pick up on it, you’ll soon find yourself laughing along. A shortcut to understanding Kiwi humor is to assume the opposite for everything they say immediately.

For example, if someone calls you a winner, you’re most certainly not.

fitting in with new zealand locals

4. Stay humble

A quick way to get an eye roll out of a kiwi is to start talking about your most recent accomplishments. Start yarning on about all the things you’ve done, and you’ll be met with silence or a quick change of subject.

This is because Kiwis embrace the tall poppy syndrome, where people who brag about how great they are are resented and criticized. If you’re going to talk about your success, do so carefully and try to elevate those who helped you reach that success.

10 times I realized I’d gone totally Kiwi

fitting in with new zealand locals

5. Nix the small chat

Love it or hate it, Kiwis are genuine.

They don’t mince words, and if they ask you how you’re going, they genuinely want to know.

A quick way to piss off a Kiwi is to say, “Hey mate, how are ya” and then immediately move onto the next sentence without giving them a chance to answer. It may seem like a common language to you, but to Kiwis, they find it rude and insincere.

If you’re going to ask them questions, they’re going to want to answer. Kiwis don’t mind a bit of awkward silence, so they’d much rather sit in silence then fill the air with a frivolous chat about the weather.

fitting in with new zealand locals

6. But don’t get too personal

Here’s another goodie for fitting in with New Zealand locals  – don’t also get up in their business.

When you’re asking them questions, be sure not to cross the line by asking them super personal questions. Don’t ask them how much money they make, how much their house costs, or who they’re voting for in the next elections.

In my experience, I’ve found that Kiwis generally tend to keep their personal business to themselves and a select few friends, so when integrating into a Kiwi friend group, tread carefully with the deep questions.

fitting in with new zealand locals

7. Adopt the can-do attitude

Kiwis are famous for the #8 wire attitude. The old saying goes that on remote farms, Kiwis would often have long rolls of number 8 wire, which they would use to fix practically any mechanical or structural problem. The wire became synonymous with the ingenuity and resourcefulness of New Zealanders and is a common cultural characteristic still to this day.

Perhaps part of it is because they are an island nation that has historically had to be self-reliant for a long time. If something is broken, New Zealanders will always give it a crack to try and fix it before buying new.

They’ll go to great lengths to solve the issue on their own, and if you’re trying to fit in, you should too. Kiwis wear their old duct-taped puffer jackets with pride here.

fitting in with new zealand locals

8. Respect the environment

Speaking of not buying new, most Kiwis hold the state of the environment near and dear to their hearts.

Perhaps because they live in a literal paradise, when you get to see pure beauty every day and the risks that beauty faces, you appreciate it, maybe it’s because they have a small population. Here it’s easier to enact change on a large scale.

Whatever it is, Kiwis give a hoot about the rivers and mountains and air. If you want to fit in, ditch your single-use plastic. You’ll quickly be ostracized for getting a plastic fork with your takeaway or forgetting your reusable coffee cup. Recycle when you can, but more than anything, if you want to fit in with the Kiwis, start with reducing the amount you consume, to begin with.

What do you think? Any tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals? Share!

fitting in with new zealand locals

The post An expat’s guide to fitting in with New Zealand locals appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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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.

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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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Learning to be quiet in a noisy world


This originally appeared here on my Instagram which I’ve expanded below:

These days we live in a crazy, busy, hectic, noisy world, and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sick of it. Learning to be quiet was no longer important to me. 

Can’t we just slow down? Stop and smell the metaphorical roses?

Ping. Ding. Buzz. Beep. Ping again.

It feels like every minute of every hour of every day; I’m bombarded with something online. And then, the final strike hit me when my phone had the grace to notify me that I was averaging 5 hours and 18 minutes of screen time daily. 

Oh my fucking god, don’t tell me that!

learning to be quiet

I suppose that was the beginning of a blinding epiphany. Learning to be quiet is something I’ve completely forgotten about.

How much time do I spend per day, aimlessly liking photos, watching cat video after cat video, drafting emails, getting calendar reminders, watching people watch me online?

Creepy and zombie-like doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I’ve always been reasonably good about disconnecting. Still, as I slowly slipped downhill into a deep depression and burnout over the past year AGAIN, I think my addiction to my phone began to consume me.

learning to be quiet

As every year went by, I realized I had become more and more uncomfortable with silence and reflection. I needed a distraction in the form of technology, entertainment for my brain 24/7.

I’d come home and put tv shows on; I’d check into a hotel and turn on a podcast. I listen to music every time I’m in the car. I get on a plane and read. I couldn’t just sit still and be quiet and be alone with my thoughts; I needed background noise to function.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that that stimulation 24/7 can’t be good for you. I was like that rat pushing the button for cheese until it died.

learning to be quiet

Somehow without realizing it, I’ve slipped into a person who had become uncomfortable with her thoughts. Considering I’m a massive introvert who usually loves to sit and stare at a wall and think, this is quite a personality shift!

It’s like I needed the comfort of technology to make me feel good. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

I wasn’t always this way, and it’s not where I want to be in the future.

learning to be quiet

I do my best thinking when I’m quiet and alone in a beautiful and comfortable space; for me, that’s when those creative, crazy ideas come, not when I’m busy.

But it’s easy to be busy; it’s hard to let your mind flourish.

In addition to this, I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on my childhood, even dreaming about it regularly.

I have great nostalgia for when I was a kid; in the days before iPhones and laptops. Where we wrote on chalkboards at school, and I would daydream all day in the garden. Where you learned all your friend’s phone numbers by heart, and we talked in person. You know the days where you never canceled anything last minute because no one had cell phones, so you just had to show up.

I miss that time of my life.

learning to be quiet

When I think about my creativity in my teens and earlier twenties, it was monumental compared to what I feel now. Time stood still for me, and the days blended together, affording me all the time in the world to let my mind roam freely.

I dreamed and dreamed of travel, but now that I finally have achieved that dream, it’s like that part of me who was a dreamer has disappeared. Learning to be quiet was gone.

Nowadays, amid a burnout, I feel confined and caged, especially around my international trips. I have to do all my creative thinking before I get on a plane to Singapore in 11 days and 3 hours.

Somehow in my mind, travel and creative thinking are mutually exclusive. How did that happen?

I would suspect a total lack of boundaries on my end, as well as traveling way too much.

learning to be quiet

So I’ve slowly been working the past few months on becoming comfortable being quiet again, to sit and be alone with just me, myself and I, and NOT with the company of the entire internet.

This sounds so dumb to write out, but I needed to say it; I make myself do things without any background noise. Sometimes I cook dinner in silence. Now I wake up naturally in the morning and don’t reach for my phone for an hour.

I even turned off all the notifications on my phone (shivers!), and I log into my email only twice a day (instead of leaving it open and pinging all day and night). These little steps have already made a massive difference for me. I don’t have any international trips booked!

Yay boundaries and better work/life balance!

learning to be quiet

I’ve even started meditating (honestly, who am I?) I hope I don’t become one of those annoying preachy people telling you how to live your best life while showing off my seemingly perfect one.

Because it’s not, it never has been, and even trying to work on being quiet and reflecting is hard; but damn has it not been a good balm. I am already surprised by my thoughts and ideas in just a few short weeks of silence. I feel more precise and thoughtful with what I say, and I have slowed down quite a bit.

The downside is whenever I venture back into the real world with other people; everyone else seems so loud, fast, and in a hurry. Learning to be quiet is for everyone!

Here’s to doing sweet fuck all and staring out the window, just thinking! 

How do you slow down? Can you relate? How do you cope with a noisy world? Spill!

learning to be quiet

The post Learning to be quiet in a noisy world appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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20 wild photos from the Wanaka flood in New Zealand


This spring in New Zealand has been a wild one, bringing on a flood in Wanaka.

Here in Wanaka, where I call home, in the heart of the Southern Alps, it’s been raining, raining and raining some more.

Considering it’s usually hot and dry and cold and dry as a general rule, this is rather unusual. Spring is generally windy but warm, teasing us for a beautiful summer ahead.

For all my fellow northern hemisphere inhabitants, spring in New Zealand runs from September to November.

With the snowmelt that feeds into the rivers, the lake level was already high.

Two weeks ago, the typically white beaches that outline our stunning Lake Wanaka were completely submerged beneath shimmering blue water, with the iconic Clutha River running high and fast.

Our mountains were bright green, lush and verdant, an unusual sight, but one that I love. Usually, a dry part of the country, come springtime our hills and valleys generally turn green with the snowmelt.

And then a week ago it began to rain properly. And I mean torrential rain for days, the likes of which we don’t usually see.

Cue the latest Wanaka flood.

Lake Wanaka has a history of flooding since the town was founded. Everyone was wondering if this year’s flood would top the 1999 flood when the lake came up so far that the New World was a meter underwater.

wanaka flood

Lucky for us, the rain has stopped just in time, as the water was spilling across the main road and lapping at the quickly stacked sandbags across the lakefront shops. Phew!

While the vibe of Wanaka is changing fast as the world catches on to how cool this wee mountain town of New Zealand is, the pride of the locals still runs deep. With everyone rallying together to protect the downtown and prep for the flood, it raised my spirits to see the community passion still alive and kicking.

Anyone who has ever visited Wanaka knows it’s unique.

wanaka flood

As the rain briefly stopped on Wednesday, December 4th, I made my way to the lakefront to have a good look at the state of affairs. The water was lapping over park benches, the jetties were gone, and the lakefront parking lot was covered in driftwood.

The clouds momentarily lifted, revealing snowcapped mountains and thundering waterfalls.

And our iconic Wanaka Tree, the infamous willow tree in the lake, looked like it needed a snorkel.

wanaka flood

Not only were all our beaches gone, but the lake was ever so slowly creeping across the grass towards the town in Wanaka.

Curious, I drove out to Treble Cone towards the Matukituki Valley, and I wasn’t disappointed.

By Glendhu Bay, the water was already spilling over onto the road. The waterfalls were thundering, much bigger than usual. The small wooden bridge in West Wanaka, which straddles the Matukituki River was shaking; brown water rushed down from the mountains into the lake.

It was terrifying, and I quickly returned home. A few hours later, the road was closed off from flooding.

wanaka flood

With the South Island doused in the rain, washing away roads and bridges this spring, it’s put it into a stark reminder that we are at the mercy of mother nature down here, especially in the mountains.

New Zealand is still a wild place, with big mountains, glacial rivers, and waterfalls galore. Hello, that’s why we all want to visit here. But it comes with a price. Mountain weather can be intense, and when it comes knocking, we have to listen.

It’s not all that uncommon for big storms to close roads and impact travel on the South Island. It’s happened a handful of times around Wanaka since I moved here six years ago.

If you’re planning to travel around New Zealand, I recommend checking NZTA’s (New Zealand Transport Agency) website for the most up-to-date maps on road closures.

wanaka flood

Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red

Usually, I’m not the kind of person who goes out to photograph something like this. When I’m home, I am not always inclined to pick up my camera. For the past few years, camera = work.

But I’m hoping to feel more inspired this year. I’m looking to challenge myself to take photos of things I might normally would otherwise. So it was time to drag my lazy bum off the sofa and have a little look at what our lake was up to. Camera in hand and with no agenda, I headed to the lake

Here are some photos from the Wanaka flood this year.

Have you ever experienced a flood on your travels? Have you seen anything like this? Any stories from the Wanaka flood to spill? Share!

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wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

The post 20 wild photos from the Wanaka flood in New Zealand appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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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.



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