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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I thought this was absolutely blog worthy

So my day has barely started and I have already started it off on the wrong foot. I don't have much to blog about but I wanted to vent about this.  So at the place I am staying now there is 4 bathrooms on our floor but only 2 showers (its a smaller hostel) and of the 2 showers only one works really well. Now I know exactly which one it is and I assume it just common knowledge to everyone which one it is.

So I was waiting for my shower this morning, for the "good" shower. While I was waiting this other guy showed up and he was waiting with me. Now by default since I was waiting longer I should have gotten the good shower right?! Well the "bad" shower opened up first...

He then said "You take it" to seem like he was being polite but I KNOW that guy KNEW he was giving me the bad shower! But, out of mutual politeness I was forced to accept it while he got the good shower even though he waited less time!

Next time this happens I will "Insist" he take it thereby securing myself the good shower :)

 I had a better day after my crappy shower. I went to Mt Eden and walked around and went to a fairly famous burger place here in Auckland called Murder Burger. (Strange name but good burgers) They weren't as good as Ferg Burger in Queenstown but they were pretty good. So I had a fairly productive day after looking for jobs all morning ( I have some good leads but, its getting close to Christmas time so everything is slowing down) :(

Later that night I went to the Language Exchange Club with CS and had a great time soon I am going to be starting my Spanish lessons so that is a good thing for me! We also all went to CS drink night and had a great time there as per usual :) now I have plans with CS'ers for Christmas so it should be great fun to have people to hang out with over the holidays!
That is all. -Tyler

Monday, November 29, 2010

One month til my birthday!

Last night I went to a free comedy show with a friend and we had a good time. There was 10 comedians from all over the world. Ireland,Scotland,England,NZ and a few others. Some of the accents were hard even for me to understand but the humour was really good. They were funny. We made the mistake of sitting front row so of course we got picked on and me being American (and Texan at that) sure gave them a lot of ammo haha. But, it was good fun!

One of my mates is leaving this weekend so we hung out yesterday and his going away party is this weekend so it should be good. I am looking forward to it. I also just had two friends leave to go back home so that was pretty sad but such is life. In about a month Ben gets here so that should be good. I am still looking for work at the moment. I am actually considering to be an "Auckland City Ambassador" basically just show new people around the city etc of course I haven't been here that long myself but, I am quite sure they train you and stuff. I am open for any kinda job!

Other than that I am just hanging out and doing my thing enjoying life. Obviously there has been some sadness in my life recently but, you can't control life you just have to roll with the punches and enjoy the time you have on this earth so that is what I am trying to do. I saw Leslie Nielsen died yesterday. Such a shame I loved Airplane and Naked Gun and all those funny movies. He was a funny guy. On a happier note I have had some great conversations via Facebook with Windee (the girl I inspired to do the skydive) and she really is a great girl and I am so glad she did it and I could help in my little way! It sure makes me feel good.I have a few things left on my to do list for today but nothing extremely major.

As you know I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit and see alot of cities all over this world. Now usually I can rate a city based on the caliber of its street performers. I have seen some really really terrible ones and some not so bad ones. Actually here in Auckland they really are not too bad as a whole. There is some fairly talented people here. I enjoy listening to their music and whatnot. Today I have seen some interesting characters haha. I saw a guy in a full length bear suit (including the head bit) and its about 26 today. For my American readers that is high 70's low 80's. I also saw a guy in a huge full length body sign (the kind you wear) and it said "GIVE ME 1 MILLION DOLLARS" in big huge letters. Then below that in little letters it said "Or a Job" haha I thought it was clever.

Today is 30 days from my birthday! :) I will be going to a friend's going away party this weekend which should be good. I am getting geared up for Christmas in summer again. I had my first Dr. Pepper in New Zealand and it was the real deal..... it was soooo good!

Ok I am really done for now :P

Yall take care,Ty

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Interesting few days for me....

Well as I blogged before I have been dealing with my friend's sudden death just recently so that has been hard on me but things have been improving since then. Yesterday I went out with a friend of a friend to a beautiful bay here in Auckland called Mission Bay and it was a great day so I really enjoyed myself! We had a great time for sure and it was also the annual Santa Parade here which I caught a bit of. It was not amazing but it seemed pretty good and there was about a million people there haha.

Recently I have been rooked out of some money due to my own fault. Luckily it hasn't been a huge amount and I have really tried to see the positive side of this and think "Glass Half Full". I bought a new backpack recently and I really like it but obviously I wanted to sell my old one since I no longer needed it. It is well used (I have had it about 5 years or more now) but it is still fully functional.

So I figured I could get at least $75 for it but I was willing to negotiate. So I listed it on Ebay as you do these days, it seems online selling is easier. I wasn't really getting any bids so I figured I would just have to give it away. I was a little disappointed but whatever. Then at the last minute someone bid. They bid $6.50. Now here is where the mistake comes in. I have bought off Ebay but never sold anything. I didn't realise until it was too late that you could set a "minimum bid" so mine was set at a dollar. So, this dude has got a $100 backpack for less than the price of a meal at Macdonald's.

But, I am trying to take this in stride and realise that I have helped out some guy get a good backpack for cheap. I also have got SOME money for it ( I have enough money for a value meal at Burger King lol) But I learned my lesson about this whole Ebay thing and I am sure this guy is really pleased with his amazing deal haha. Also, the money I spent on this was spent long long ago and its long gone so it isn't as if I am really losing a great deal of money.

I also got jipped out of 3 dollars (kinda) I was walking down the street and here in Auckland there is tons and tons of "street performers",musicians,con artists,homeless... you name it we got it here. But its always interesting. So I was walking by and this guy says to me "Everyone with those shoes gets a free gift" now of course just instinctively I looked up. (Everyone likes free stuff right?!) so this guy professes to be a monk (He is dressed like one and has a monk-ish) haircut. But then he tells me that I can have this "free gift" if I only give him enough to cover the printing cost (it was a some book on yoga or mediation etc)

I really didn't want it but, this guy was a masterful negotiator. He did everything perfectly, he made me invest MY time in him and he stalled me so all I wanted him to do was go away and even when I protested he kept it up. So he said "Any amount of money will do" and he suggested I give him 3 dollars for the book. So I did just to get rid of him but I wasn't the least bit interested in yoga or mediation or anything. So ya luckily it was only three dollars and I really hope he actually used that for some good cause.  

Hmm.... other than that I am now at a hostel and I have stopped couch surfing for the time being. I am also looking for long term work because my previous construction job was just a week long temp assignment but I know I will find long term work soon. Also, one of my best mates here (He is American) he left today to go back home via Fiji and Hawaii that lucky bastard. I will miss him he is a good guy and we had some great times together but I will be visiting him in Boston when I get home! I also gave him some tips on Fiji since I went there two years ago. So safe travels my friend and see you when I get back home :)

One last thing, I just blogged a few days ago about how I hope I have inspired someone in life and apparently I have! It is a really good feeling! Some of you may or may not know that I was born premature and I have a medical condition that required brain surgery. Well luckily I had great doctors and they managed to piece me back together again. Anyway, I joined a group on facebook with people who have had a similar surgery.

I just randomly got a message today from a girl in that group. I had made a post about skydiving and how much I love to do it even with my medical condition and she told me that it was ME who inspired her to try skydiving and she went and did it and loved it! :) I felt really honoured by that.

Late Edit: You know how I am, as I do I find other stuff I want to write about so here I go. I like that in Auckland the weather is getting warmer now finally. I also like that when you cross the major intersections they have a "countdown clock" so you exactly how long you have before the cars start to come at you! Today I had lunch at a great hole in the wall Chinese place. I love those little tiny random restaurants they always have the best food!

I found out I can take Spanish Lessons for 150 bucks for 9 weeks and I am going to finally commit and do it! I will need to know how speak Spanish for South America so this will be good for me anyway. I am excited to knocking it off my bucket list as well. Here in Auckland they have "city ambassadors" who walk around and help you find stuff when your lost. Well today I found one, a girl... and she was from Brazil. It turns out she going back to Brazil the exact time I will be there and she offered me a place to stay for free! I love randomly meeting people like this! and she showed me exactly where I needed to go so all in all a good day so far :) Oh ya, I am also considering salsa dancing lessons along with the Spanish lessons but I think I will tackle one thing at a time lol.

Ok thats it for now, I am off. -Tyler

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A very sad day for me :(

I am going to try and keep this short and too the point because I tend to ramble a lot but today I lost a friend of mine from back home she lived in Maine. She was killed by a drunk driver. I met her traveling and we weren't extremely close but, we did stay in touch on facebook and the time I spent with her was always good fun. She was a beautiful,smart,funny intelligent girl. She was only 27.

She had a family who loved her and a boyfriend and so much potential in life. Someone decided to drive drunk and take it all away in an instant. You hear this all the time but it doesn't REALLY hit you until it affects you directly. As I say we weren't best friends by any means but I knew her and spent time with her and liked her so this has really had me torn up all day. I am sad and angry that life is so fragile and it can be stolen away so easily.

This has got me thinking about my own life. You know you hear people say all the time "Live life like there will be no tomorrow" but, I know like me most of you probably hear those words and agree with them but it doesn't really impact your life. I must admit that I have been doing these travels for a slightly selfish reason. It has been for ME for MY experiences and to learn about what I want in my life. But I can only home that in my own way I have touched people's lives and I have tried to do what is good and what is right. I can only hope if I was to die tomorrow that my life has been in some way impacted others in a positive way.

I really honestly want to live my life in such a way that I can "leave something behind" when I die. Something that actually makes a difference in this world. It is so cliche and said all the time I know. But I mean it and I do hope that all of my readers aspire to lead lives that actually make a difference.

So basically I am saying with all this that life can be gone in an instant and you cannot run or hide from death. It comes for everyone at one time or another in one way or another. So make the best of your life and the time that you have. I sure am trying.

On a happier note, I had ANOTHER Thanksgiving today with more Americans here in NZ and it was great fun and the food was SO good and I had a great time! So to all the girls who cooked Thank You. :) Well that's all I got for now.Yall take care,Tyler

P.S. Go hug your family and friends today and tell them that you love them. Don't miss out on the chance to say it while you can. To all my family and friends, especially my parents and my brothers and my grand parents,aunts,uncles,cousins,everyone... I love you and I always will no matter where I am in the world.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Work work work until Thanksgiving!

So every inch of my body hurts. I have blisters on my hands and my heels. I come home filthy dirty and dusty every day. But I am learning tons of new skills. I have poured concrete,using an angle grinder and laid rebar. When I get home I am going to have a very interesting resume haha. Every day at work has gone super super fast because we stay so busy, it is really full on! There is so much to do to build a car park/parking garage! There is hundreds of workers on this site and everyone is always doing something. I used to be really afraid of heights but, since I have started skydiving and bungee jumping, all that crazy stuff my fear has got much less. I will admit though the scariest part of my day by far is climbing up a rickety scaffolding 9 storeys up to the top of this car park and starting my day!

It is on the outside of the building and quite windy! I am sure in a week are so I will be back in great shape and not so sure but right now ALL of me hurts. I don't really have to use my brain much at this job but I use my body constantly all day! It does feel good to do an honest day's mans man work lol.  I eat lunch at a shopping centre close to where I work and it is funny to walk by people they stare at me alot and recoil because I am usually so filthy by lunch time haha. I never realised how much work it took to make just a simple car park and how absolutely filthy a construction site is! The only thing that bothers me is you have to provide your own gear for EVERYTHING.

I knew I had to use my own boots and hardhat that was no problem but, I asked for a pair of gloves and they had none to give me. So I found some on the ground and they had holes in them so I have blisters all over my hands. I also asked for eye protection for when I was grinding and they had nothing to I got dust in my eyes and that really sucked. Until someone let me borrow their sunglasses. The only problem was I was indoors so I couldn't really see much at all and I still got dust in my eyes! I have been really disappointed in them not providing basic stuff like that or at least telling me I needed it! Thank god I had my own ear protection and they at least gave me a simple dust mask!

Ok enough about work. I want to talk about my Turkey Day this year! Last year I had no Thanksgiving in Australia and it was a bummer because I love Thanksgiving! Well this year I had a "family" to celebrate it with! I got together with about 30 couch surfers (Americans and non Americans) and we had a huge feast! I actually made mashed potatoes and they were a big hit! ( I will give credit where credit is due and thank Cassie, my awesome friend here who came over and helped me haha) It was really awesome to celebrate with lots of people and just have a great time. I got to hang out with my good mate Josiah and all was well in the world :)

I hope all of yall had a great Turkey Day and you take care,Tyler

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I am employed!

Well after two or three weeks of searching I got a job! Today was my first day working at a true construction site. Glad I held onto my hardhat and steel cap boots and all that stuff from Oz. Because I sure needed it today. I showed up this morning and met the site director. I thought he would ask me some questions or ask to see ID or whatever but nope, nothing.

He just said "Your number five" as in labourer number five lol. So I got matched up with the "floor boss" and he paired me with another guy. The floor boss didn't tell me what to do or anything he just said "You will work with him" Luckily the other guy knew what to do. But, it was his first day just as it was mine! So both of us had no idea where anything was haha

After a while we managed to figure out where the toilets were,when break time was etc. So it was kind of a trial by fire but our job was to clean up the floors and move concrete. We are working in a semi completed parking garage/car park. They seemed to be big on safety there but, not big on instruction, or efficiency haha. Our job was to clean the floor (picture in your mind how massive one level of a parking garage/car park is) and to move lots and lots of concrete.

So, we made lots of little piles of dust and crap (it was SO dusty there!) next to each pylon in the garage. Then about lunch time our boss finally came by and told us to sweep each one into a massive pile. Once we swept all that crap into one big pile we had to move this giant pile. Then finally after that we had to dump all the crap from this huge pile into a huge dumpster/skip bin that was hoisted up by a crane. So rather than them actually having a dumpster/skip bin on the level we were actually on we had to wait for the crane to get it so we ended up  moving the same huge damn pile of dust like four times haha

I worked 12 hours today and I am exhausted and I was so filthy when I got home but, I am pulling a paycheck now and I have no idea how long this job will last but its money for now so we will see. I am happy to have an honest day's work again and I know that soon I will be back in great shape from moving all this huge heavy concrete!

Yall take care,Tyler

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My day out

Well today I met that girl from CS I was telling you about. She is from Malaysia and really cool! Her name is Cassie and she is here on a working visa like I am. She is also studying theatre and her English is great. We ate at Denny's (The American Food Chain) and it was SO good I haven't had Denny's in 13 months! It made me home sick. Along with riding in my mate's very American Jeep Grand Cherokee. I just miss the little things about home and my Texas comfort food.

We went to a "Jazz Festival" which actually turned out to be only 4 guys, the youngest of which was like 65 haha. But, they were really good and it was free so we had a good time. I also got to talk to some kiwi's about okra and I know where to get it now! I am excited for that! In just a few days I will be having a real American Thanksgiving with real Americans (and others too) so it will be awesome!

I will also meet that German girl tomorrow and show her around the city if I don't get called in for any work. I do enjoy this whole tour guide thing even though I have only been here 3 weeks haha. Oh ya, I wanted to mention how I got ripped off of 10 bucks. It isn't that much money but, when your an unemployed backpacker it is! So I went to the transport centre to ask the best way to get to my job interview and they told me. Then I asked if I could walk there and they said it would be a 40 minute walk. I was on a time budget so I couldn't go for that. So I took a taxi. Well it ended up being MUCH MUCH shorter and I totally could have walked there!

Anyway such is life. Oh ya, I have heard there has been an explosion in a mine here in NZ so my thoughts are definitely with all those guys trapped underground and I hope they get them all out safely! It is never a good situation when stuff like this happens so hopefully everything will work out for the best. NZ has a pretty good safety record I have heard.

Unrelated late edit: I just wanted to say that I miss the "bum gun" from Thailand (well all of South East Asia really) for those of you who don't know what a bum gun is, basically its a hand held water gun you squirt water up your bum to clean it as opposed to toilet paper. Because in Asia it is a cultural thing not to use toilet paper and honestly even if they had toilet paper to use their city sewer systems are so bad I doubt they could handle it.

Now coming from an exclusively toilet paper using Western society there is a big learning curve on figuring out how to use the bum gun and not soak yourself with water but, once you learn how to use it, it is so much easier, cleaner and more sanitary! If/When I get a house I plan on installing a bum gun for myself. It is a great system. The only down side is if you don't have anything to dry yourself with or you miss and spray water everywhere haha. Just thought I would mention this!

Yall take care,Tyler

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Back at the job hunt

Well I have had two different interviews with Labour Hire companies here in Auckland. I am pretty positive I will find work with one of them soon so that is a good thing. Here lately the weather has been pretty crap but they keep telling me summer is coming so I sure hope so! I did manage to get in a swim with my new host Glenn and his mate so that was fun! Its a really nice pool close to the ocean. I swam 120 meters/360 something feet and I was dying haha so I am way out of shape but it was still fun.

There is a lot of festivals and such going on here lately since we are coming into summer/Christmas season and soon it will be my birthday! CS is having a Thanksgiving soon (in 5 days) all American style and it is going to be great I can't wait! I still need to figure out what I am going to bring though :(

Other than my interview I haven't done too terribly much today I decided to just relax and take it easy and not be so full on. So it has been a good day even though we have had bad weather. I did manage to catch up with Josiah and some other friends though so it was good. Tomorrow I am being a tour guide even though I have only been here 2.5 weeks haha. I am meeting a girl who just got in Auckland I am going to show her around the city and what not. I also have another girl to meet in  2 days for the same thing so it should be good.

Drink night is on Wednesday again and soon CS is going on a camping trip which I want to go on so I will be pretty full on soon! I met a guy on the street today who was from Seattle, we had a good chat while walking to our respective designations. Tomorrow I think I will go for another swim. There is also a jazz festival I want to go too and a "Taste of Auckland" but it is really expensive! So I don't think I will go : (

All is well in Tyler Land though so I will talk to yall later. Take care,Tyler

Thursday, November 18, 2010

On and on we go

Since I have been here in Auckland I have met some interesting characters and seen some interesting stuff. I haven't taken any pictures of Auckland yet but I need to get too it! There is some pretty cool outdoor stuff here. Lots of sculptures and things. Just today I saw a HUGE "walkable" map of the earth and it was neat to jump from place to place (literally) and see where I have been and where I want to go.

There is also a lot of interesting street performers here. I have seen a mime, various guitar playing people and I even got a free balloon animal from a traveling balloon guy haha it was awesome! and he gave me free cotton candy/fairy floss (that's what they call it over here) but, the biggest ones that stick out in my mind are this "magician" guy I see on the street almost everyday in same spot teaching basic card tricks and what not to people. It is only interesting because he is ALWAYS teaching women lol.

Never guys ever, just girls. I think he likes the attention haha. I always hear the girls go "ohhhhh how did you do that!" I can always see him smile that sneaky guy :P The other street performers that really stick out in my mind is these 2 guys playing guitar/harmonica. They were terrible haha! just horrible, off pitch and everything! But they were SO into it haha it just made me laugh but they were going so full on and having such a good time it just made you have a good time too!

Last night I went out again for CS drink night and it was really good as usual, not as many people this Wednesday though but, a fellow CS'er is also a musician and she was singing last night at a club for free. She did cover songs and even some of her own and she has a beautiful voice and the body to match! I had a great time. I have moved to a new couch surfer's place for the time being and he is awesome too! I am still looking for work but had a good interview and I have some more lined up for labour hire etc. I got a new backpack today too :) Its pretty awesome!

The Christmas season is upon us here even though its rocking into summer. Most of the stores have their stuff out already and I am slowly hearing Christmas Music already! It was about 26 degrees today and for my American readers that is getting into the 80's! So no white Christmas for us haha. I guess I am used to having Christmas in summer now since I did it last year but it is still an adjustment. Last year I missed Thanksgiving but this year I wont! I am going to have a real American style Turkey Day and I can't wait! I am meeting up with some other Americans in Auckland and we are going to do it up!

Ok last thing I wanted to mention, I was trying to find the club where my friend was singing but I couldn't find it. Rather than be stubborn and wander all around I asked some random dude. Never met him before just saw him on the street corner. Not only did this guy ( I never got his name) tell me where it was at, he personally showed me where it was! It was super nice of him! We had a good chat on the way about life and whatever. He was a good guy, I am sure I will never see him again but he was really helpful and I get that all the time! There still is good people in this world :)

So to all my readers wherever you are, here is my challenge: Tomorrow talk to a stranger. Any stranger anywhere, I don't care what you say or who you meet but at least say hello to a stranger. You might just get a lifelong friend. So get to it! Its fun! :)

P.S. I just got off the phone with customer service about my phone. Now I hate customer service with a passion and I think for good reason just like most of you. A lot of the time they can't speak English, they don't help you and its just generally easier and less frustrating to just do it yourself!

Well this guy was from Egypt and I am in Auckland so obviously that is a huge difference but, his English was perfect and I had no idea until he told me! He was super helpful and totally got everything done that I needed. We even chatted about The Pyramids and stuff like that. He told me some great places to go when I visit Egypt in the next two years. So to the random techie guy thanks a lot mate! It just shows they aren't all bad :)

Well I am off for now. Yall take care,Tyler

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Job interview

Well my job interview went well! It was with a labour hire company as per usual for me. ( I seem to be doing a lot of that here in this part of the world but I like it) They dont promise work but, when anything comes up they call you and say hey can you work (insert place here) at (insert time here) then you say yes or no.

So it is at least something. I also have another interview on Sat. so things are looking up :) Last night I went to the birthday party of one of my roommates here, He is Russian and here learning English. I am teaching him and a Chinese couple at the moment just on the side non professionally but I enjoy it. We went out for dinner and drinks and we had Korean food.

What I am about to say may surprise many of my readers who know me well. But, when we went out for Korean I ordered what I assumed wasn't crazy spicy because I like hot stuff but usually Korean is TOO hot for me so I got Beef w/ rice and some kind of non spicy sauce. When it was delivered to the table it was covered in onions!

I hate onions. flat out. But this dish was seriously covered with them and cabbage too! So I reasoned with myself, I knew it would take way too long to pick thru all that stuff I just couldn't do it. I said "Tyler you have sky dived from 15,000 feet,bungee jumped,hang glided,cliff jumped and a lot of other crazy stuff, you can do this!"

I looked at that plate overflowing with onions and cabbage and I just went for it! I dived right in and chomped away and to my surprise it was actually pretty good. I made it thru that entire freakin' plate of food and I didn't die and the world didn't end! Now before I end this story I need to issue a disclaimer to my mother or anyone else who is getting excited by the thought of loading my food with onions and cabbage from now on. It will be a no go! That was a one time exception lol

I have been couch surfing recently with a Russian,an Indian and a Chinese Couple as I said and the Chinese Guy is a chef! His food is really really good and I have been eating an amazing amount of Asian food lately and I am starting to learn how to use chop sticks! I have eaten some crazy stuff like lamb brains and stuff but its been all good :)

I got a free haircut and a training school yesterday which was awesome. Tonight I am going out for CS Drink Night again so it should be a great time! After that I will be going to see a friend of mine sing in a club and soon I will be moving to a host's house so it should be good. All is well in the world :)

Yall take care,Tyler

Monday, November 15, 2010

My 30 list

Here is my list of 30 things I took this idea from my mother on Facebook actually haha. As you can tell most of my list revolves around travel because it is my true passion in life but here ya go.

1. I had a massage by a blind woman in Cambodia. I haven't had a better massage anywhere! It was amazing and it only cost me 6 American dollars for a whole hour. Her name is Nika check her out on Youtube. The place is called Seeing Hands Massage in Phnom Penh.

2. I have drank Kava with the chief of a traditional Fijian village that didn't even have electricity!

3. I have celebrated St Paddy's Day in Dublin Ireland.

4. I have been thru the Panama Canal and managed to fall asleep haha (it was slow and boring)

5. I have been in -42 degree weather in Canada.

6. I have been to the last club Jimi Hendrix played before he died (it was in London)

7. I have eaten Blood Sausage in Germany.

8. I have been to Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam.

9. I have been to the place where they filmed the movie "The Beach" and a James Bond Movie, in Thailand.

10. I have been a millionaire. In Laos I had 1 million Kip (their currency) in my wallet!

11. I have eaten lamb brains in New Zealand.

12. I have sky dived,bungee jumped,canyon swinged,hang glided,bridge walked,cliff jumped and just about anything else crazy you can imagine haha (and to think I used to be afraid of heights)

13. I have walked up and over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia

14. I have had 5+ surgeries in my life.

15. I will be going to South America and by the time I get home from these travels I will have been gone for over 18 months and seen over 12 countries in this trip alone!

16. By the time I get home the only continent I will have not been too is Africa (its on the list) and Antarctica.

17. My favourite food is my mom's homemade chicken noodle soup.

18. The thing I miss most besides my friends and family is Texas food like fried okra and biscuits and gravy and a good Texas steak and Dr Pepper to go with it.

19. I have amazing friends and an amazing family I wouldn't trade for the world. My parents are pretty much the coolest parents ever and I have a very supportive family and friends all over the world!

20. Since I have been here my language has become totally distorted. I spell and use Australian/Kiwi/British lingo now. But I will never stop saying yall haha

21. I weighed just over 2 pounds/1 kilo when I was born. I was barely bigger than my dad's hand, if that.

22. I was born 3 months premature.

23. I have an amazing memory for trivia and/or movie related facts. (great for bar trivia games but useless for anything else haha)

24. My passport will be just about full when I make it back home.

 25. It took me 25 years to realise ice cream on the cone really is the best way to eat it.

26. I have been told I look like Brad Pitt multiple times by people all over the world.

27. My favourite song is Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks. I want it played at my funeral and I want to donate all my organs to others in need along with donating my brain to science. I want to be buried in a bio degradable coffin.

28. My favourite movie is The Untouchables.

29. My goal is to travel until I have seen enough of the world to feel like I can call it quits.

30. I met my best travel mate (who is traveling with me now) on the bus.  (You never know where you will meet life long friends)


Thursday, November 11, 2010


I really thought I should blog about this because it is actually important too me so at least the first part of this blog today won't be my usual blah blah blah. Because today my friends I am blogging about freedom. You might think that is an odd topic to blog about but, I was just reminded how lucky I am to have freedom and I definitely count my blessings! Because not everyone in this world has it.

Right now I am couch surfing with an Indian,a Russian and a Chinese couple. As you can imagine the Russian and Chinese Governments are not the most liberal free governments in the world. They (my roommates at the moment) have left their respective countries because they don't have the God given right to express their own views on life nor do they have the right to information. They have told me many stories about life in their countries and how people are so oppressed. They struggle against their governments but nothing changes. When the government can control information (i.e. The Internet/TV) they can effectively control the people. They are only told what the government wants them to hear and nothing else.  No one should have to live like that especially in 2010!

Basically what I am saying is no matter where you are reading this from, if it is in the civilised western world consider yourself lucky. I can spew on here basically whatever I want and it is called Freedom of Speech. Freedom to have my own damn opinion about whatever I please. You have the Freedom to read it or not to read it. So consider yourself lucky. I am sure your country isn't perfect, I know mine isn't but at least we are free and freedom is a privilege that can sadly be taken away it isn't a right in some countries. Just remember that please. I definitely try too.

Ok Rant over :) back to your normal programming haha

I walked around and had a city tour with a CS'er as I said earlier and we stumbled upon an outdoor art exhibit. Some famous photographer had taken a lot of photos and enlarged them then put captions under them. As I was walking around viewing them I realised I have actually been in person to many of the famous places around the world that he photographed. Places most people can only dream about and I have done it all before 30. I have seen and experienced so much in such a short time sometimes it is hard to keep in all in perspective but, I really try hard not to be "snobbish" about it and just consider myself very lucky!

I have spoken before about the confusing bus system here. Soon I am going to go down to the transport centre and try and get some help figuring it out. Because as I said there is like 4 to 5 different bus companies and they all go different places and don't talk to each other. I have never seen anything like it! It is very complicated and I have found so far it is easier for me to just figure out on my own than to ask a driver.

In my 12 months in Australia I didn't meet very many Americans at all. Americans just don't seem to travel as much as other nationalities but, thru Couch Surfing I have actually met quite a few here and I hope to have a real American thanksgiving this year since I missed mine last year! You know what else I miss about America? Subway prices. Let me explain. In America you can get the 5 dollar foot long sub. In Australia it was 6.50 and in New Zealand it is 7.90! I just wish it was back to 5 dollars haha. So, Americans consider yourself lucky when you go to Subway.

You know I have traveled quite extensively and I think the only countries in the world that I have been too that HAVEN'T had a Macdonald's were Laos and Cambodia. Maccas is everywhere! You can really judge a country by the quality and prices at its Macdonald's. I dont eat their much, I was just never a fan but I find it kind of like a barometer for any country I go too because they have a certain standard of quality even if all the menu items aren't exactly the same.

I wanted to mention was how I think I got a little lazy once Ben and I moved to Brisbane. Because we didn't have to do much walking, just take the train everywhere. Well here there is no functional train as far as I know and I can't figure out the bus system so I walk. Man my legs have been killing me lately! haha. But, a weekly bus fairly expensive I think so I am at least keeping my transport costs down and getting back in some sort of shape.

So as I said before right now I am living with an Indian,a Russian and a Chinese couple. I am going to start teaching them English lessons soon. That will be interesting for sure haha. Because not only have I never done it but, now due to being in Australia for so long I speak a mixture of American/Australian/British English with some Kiwi thrown in! haha so we will have to see how it goes. But, I have some very good "students" and I look forward to it considering that I may want to actually do this professionally one day in Thailand.

I always find it interesting that people from other countries choose English sounding names. Bernd chose Ben, and my Chinese couple they choose Raymond and Angela even though that is nothing close to what their actual names are haha. I am hoping I can do well with this though and Angela actually convinced me to apply at her English school so maybe just maybe I will work there. I will keep yall posted, and keep you posted on my job/living situation.

Late Edit: I really wanted to mention my new Russian friend is really into Classic Rock. I was amazed at how much he knew and how much he loves the music on my computer haha. I am helping him with his English skills and we both share a love of great classic rock. His favourite band of all time is Foreigner so while we are studying I usually have that pumping :) I am still constantly amazed at how much American music/culture has spread all over the world and this is just one good example.

Yall take care,Tyler

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meeting new people and enjoying life!

So since I have been here (one week already!) I have been hosted by three different people so far thru CS (couch surfing) and everyone has been great! I haven't spent a penny on accommodation so far and met tons and tons of Couch Surfer's at the gatherings so far. Just last night I went to CS Drink Night and met about 80 new friends! There was even some Americans there :) (fairly rare for this part of the world).

I took my new CS host and his roommate along and introduced them as well. He lives with a Russian guy and a Chinese couple. Everyone is really cool. Actually the Chinese couple and the Russian have asked me to teach them English! haha it was be interesting for sure but I am going to give it a go! I have had a great time so far meeting new people and having fun.

I am still on the job hunt at the moment but, I am going to look at place long term to rent here in city and the guy renting the place I think has offered me a job so we will see how it goes. There was also a CS guy offering work too so either way I hope to have some work and a long term place to stay soon.

CS does tons of exciting stuff around the city and I love talking and meeting new people. They are even organizing a road trip/camping trip which I plan on going too! I was meeting my CS host (the current one) for the first time, we had a beer at a local outdoor pub.

I saw a girl across the way from us and she had the most stunning eyes I have ever seen. I could not take my eyes off her! I realised that quickly that could get awkward haha. So, even though I have never done this in my life I wrote my number on a piece of paper and I walked over to her and excused myself for interrupting her dinner with her friend but I said You look interesting and I want to get to know you, if you want to get to know me here is my number. Then I walked away. I didn't even wait for her response. So far she hasn't called and frankly I am doubtful that she will but it felt really good just to take the chance. I don't even know her name but it was worth it for me.

Well that's all I got for now. I did have a great city tour with a CS'er yesterday he showed me all over the city and I really enjoyed that. Yall take care,Tyler

Monday, November 08, 2010

Just a little update so far

Well today has been an interesting day so far. My first Monday in Auckland. I am busy tying up some loose ends, this and that. I should have a job interview soon which will be good! Today at the bus stop I met a really neat old guy. I love talking to old people. See the key is just to shut up and listen. They have so much to say and so much knowledge to pass on if you only listen!

He was 86 years old and born in England. He moved to New Zealand in 1956! Long before I was born haha. He was married for 57 years until his wife passed away. He has three kids and seven grandkids. Sadly he said he doesn't see his kids or grandkids much because he actually recently remarried and his family was very angry about that. I met his wife and she seemed very nice but looked to be 20-30 years younger than him. Not a 20 year old gold digger by any means but definitely younger than him. It really was a shame he was just doing what made him happy in life and his family got so angry over it they won't even speak to him :(

I saw a really interesting street performer too! He was a Mime. He only had one arm and he had the prosthetic claw thing on the other arm. So immediately he caught my eye of course. His sign said he stands there totally still all day and only moves if you give him money. For silver coins (less money) he will move and for gold coins (1,2 dollar coins) he will sing! Well I decided to give him some silver and sure enough he did move. It was interesting to say the least.

I have only been here three days so far but, surprisingly I am homesick for Australia. I miss it. The money is weird here and I am having to adjust too it. I knows its only a few days and I will get over it but I do miss Oz. But, NZ isn't a bad place to be. Change just doesn't come quick and easy sometimes. I will be fine though :) Vodafone (my phone company in Australia and here) is a little more frustrating here in New Zealand, their system works totally different and independent from Australia. You get much less value for your money here and it seems to be more expensive but, what can you do? Such is life and you just gotta roll with the punches.

I saw yet another street performer (they seem to be everywhere!) this time it was a guy playing a flute while standing on a box haha. He was good but, it just didn't seem worthy of my money. It was just unusual to see a man playing a flute I guess. Here in New Zealand the two dollar coin is the larger coin and the one dollar coin is the smaller coin (which is logical right) but, in Australia it is reversed. Since I just spent 12 months in Australia I am just having to adjust to the money over here. All of the bills and coinage are different but I think after a week or so I will get it.

I have found some more of those uncontrolled intersections that I loved so much in Australia, here in Auckland! Which is great because it means I can cross the street diagonally from all four directions and save myself a lot of time. I do love those :) I also went to the eye doctor to get myself a backup pair of glasses ( I wear contacts) and two separate guys who worked there both told me I looked like Brad Pitt. Honestly I don't see the resemblance a whole lot myself but I think it may be in the jaw line. Well in any case I will take it! haha. You would be surprised how many times I get told I look like Brad Pitt ( Yes that means you Leonie and Kay :P ) I find it complementary but amusing at the same time.

One last thing  I wanted to mention was I hate when you are told something/sold something and you are mislead. I am sure this happens all over the world all the time but I had it happen to me twice so far here in New Zealand. It is just frustrating to pay for something and be clearly told this is what you will get and then you get something totally not what you were expecting yet you still have to pay for it! As I say, I am quite sure it happens all over the world it is just frustrating!

Well I hope my blog today didn't sound too complain-ish because so far I have had a good time and things have gone well its just the little things that trip you up when you first move to a new country. Like trying to figure out their transport system ( I have no car here) Auckland has four different bus companies that run all over the city and around it and they don't seem to work together so it is complicated! I wish it were simpler but I will get it eventually.

Well thats all I got for now. Take care,Tyler

Saturday, November 06, 2010

My alone day

Well my CS host was out for the day so I was left to my own devices. I had a fairly lazy but good day. You know I started my travels alone but, I haven't been truly alone in a long time now. I have been traveling with Ben for over eight months now but currently he is in Asia and he wont be here until January. So honestly it was nice to have a day just to myself to do what I want when I want and just be with myself. Some people hate that but I don't mind it every now and again. It is strange not having Ben here though.

After traveling together for so long now we obviously grew close to each other. In a way it was like a marriage haha. I mean we worked together, and spent a lot of time together along with traveling together so its an adjustment not having him here. We have a lot in common so it was nice to meet someone on my level and be able to travel with him. But, its not like I NEED to be with someone all the time. Obviously I came on these travels alone and I can do just fine for myself.

I spent my day tying up various bits and pieces and site seeing in the city I also saw a movie alone for the first time in a long time. I saw Red (an action/thriller/comedy with Bruce Willis and company) it was actually really good. I give it 4/5 stars. The movie tickets are crazy expensive here even with student prices I paid 14 dollars! But it was worth it just to go out and treat myself once in a while.For dinner I decided to get some ethnic food so I chose  a Korean restaurant and I was literally the only white person in there.

The only English I heard my entire meal was from my waiter haha. But, it was really good and cheap and  an interesting experience to change culture so rapidly like that. Before dinner and the movie I spent my time exploring the city so all in all a good day! I have a job interview on monday hopefully and I am looking for a cheap place to get long term accommodation and I might have found one. So wish me luck!

One last thing I thought I would mention/confess too. For as long as I can remember I have hated ice cream cones. I just never liked them and I always got my ice cream in a cup. For years and years. Well just recently in Australia I decided to go wild and get outside my comfort zone and try a cone. Not a really huge thing but, it was big for me haha. So I did. Too my surprise I really liked them! All these years I have been missing out on the deliciousness of the cone! and now the only mess I have to throw away is the napkin and the rest of it is edible :) Epic. 

Talk at yall later,Ty

Friday, November 05, 2010

My first night in Auckland

Well here in am in Auckland finally! After I slept that night in the airport (it wasn't too bad actually) I went into the city and met my couch surfing host. He showed me the place and went thru the basics etc. Then I went to the bank, opened an account, filed for my tax number you know all that boring stuff you have to do when you move to a new city.

Later that night we ended up going to a couch surfing party which was really fun and I met a ton of new great people already! It was also Guy Fawkes Day here which meant lots of fireworks. But, New Zealand is much colder than Australia and I am hating that! :( other than that everything else has been great so far though. After the party ended it was fairly late, 2am-ish I decided to go to Maccas with a couple of people from the party. When we were in there we saw a man who was clearly homeless.

He was all ragged and looked like he hadn't bathed in a week with a huge beard. But, we felt bad so we invited him over and started chatting him up. To my surprise he was extremely smart! we talked American politics and life and a whole ton of stuff. It was really neat and just goes to show that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

I actually have a job interview with a guy from CS (couch surfing) sometime monday so we will see how it goes. Because I do need a job! I am also looking for a permanent place to stay that is hopefully pretty cheap. I also need to go get  new pair of glasses from the eye doctor and go see a travel doctor about what shots I need for South America I am sure there is still a  few other loose ends but, I am doing fine here so far. I am also trying hard to adjust to this kiwi accent haha. It is TOTALLY different from the Aussie one. Fush and Cheeps anyone? :P Life is pretty good though :)

Take care yall,Tyler

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I made it alive to Auckland

So I made it alive to AKL. My flight was actually EARLY which is really rare! I have flown hundreds of thousands of miles and so far only a few times have I actually been early. I had big drama's leaving Australia though. They just could not be convinced that I had a proper work visa for New Zealand when I did! It was frustrating for me because I was just trying to figure out why they should even care! I was leaving their country not staying haha. Of course per usual (because I seem to put off the drug dealer vibe for some reason) I was "randomly" searched and checked for explosives.

Once I actually got to New Zealand I had zero dramas at the airport. They didn't search me or ask me any questions I just breezed right thru. Considering how late it was (midnight) I just slept at the airport. I slept in a booth at a closed maccas restaurant haha. about 7am some Macdonald employees woke me up and kicked me out but I slept pretty well actually.

After that, I took a shuttle bus into the city and got started on getting a bank account set up (done) getting accommodation set up (done) getting a job (I have an interview on monday already!) I went to get my tax number so I can work here legally and had huge dramas! You can only apply for it at the post office but because my passport has the "R" in Tyler dropped off and none of my other forms on ID it caused them big problems. I explained the situation but I ended up having to get photo copies of ALL my ID (luckily it was only 20 cents a pop) and FINALLY after speaking to some immigration guy on the phone I got it all sorted. Now lets just hope the suitcase I shipped over here is actually here!

It is 16 degrees C and I left Cairns where it was 33 degrees C so that is a big drop!  I hate this cold! but today is a holiday so it should be fun tonight with fireworks etc. I am going out with some couch surfers so it should be good. So all in all I am doing ok so far :) thats all I got for now. Yall take care and I will have more later. -Tyler

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Goodbye Australia, Hello New Zealand

This is it really the next time I blog for you I will be in New Zealand. I have been here 364 days now (minus) my 3 months in Asia. I have loved pretty much every minute here and Australia is a great country. I am really not wanting to leave and wish I could stay but legally I can't so tomorrow by midnight I will be in New Zealand for five months starting over. It will be good but I will really miss Australia a lot (especially Brisbane and Airlie Beach) I could go on and on about all this stuff but really I have covered everything I wanted to say in my previous blogs. I did manage to travel roughly 2000 kilometers or 4000 miles in a camper van made in 1979 and do it with Ben and Heiner and we all survived so that is quite the feat :)

I did want to give a special mention to Frank our current host for Couch Surfing. He has been totally awesome! He is quite the prolific host, he has hosted over 150 couch surfers and I can see why! He has been totally open and giving to us taking good care of us and he is also an environmentalist and a vegetarian so he has really opened my mind and my eyes to different perspectives in life. I would still very much consider myself a carnivore but, I can now say at least I have eaten Zucchini and realised there is more to eat than just meat haha. It has been great and Ben and I will miss our time here!

So goodbye Australia. I will miss you. Hello New Zealand.

Edit: It sucks that I got sick 2 days ago. Now I have a full blown typical head cold 24 hours before I leave but I am going to the chemist and I will live.

Take care,Tyler

Cape Trib and Various

First and foremost I want to tell yall about the best lunch I have had in month's and month's! It was here in Cairns at a place called The Raw Prawn. We Ben and I just walked up on this place knowing nothing about it but, we saw you could get a two course lunch and a beer for 22 bucks (that is a really good deal for Australia) so we both had the steak and chips with ice cream for dessert and a beer. I know you are probably thinking that steak and French Fries doesn't sound that amazing but everything was just perfect!

We had absolutely perfect weather,looking right at the ocean on the esplanade and just had a super relaxing great lunch. The service was great,the food was amazing... my steak was cooked to perfection and the cut of meat was great! The beers were chilled just right and went down SO good it was all great! Not to mention even the chips and ice cream were awesome!

Now on to my Cape Trib trip....

 So Ben and I decided to book a little 2 day 1 night tour up to Cape Tribulation in the Daintree Tropical Rain Forest (the oldest continual rain forest on earth). Now I have done the exact tour we booked two years ok so I was debating whether or not to do it again but I just said go for it and I did it with Ben anyway. I am really glad I did! Last time I went it was the "wet" season and this time it was the dry season so it was two totally different experiences for sure. We had a beautiful drive up there and a great guide named Jo. She was awesome!

Once we got there they dropped us off and basically told us they would pick us up at 1:30pm the next day. You could choose to book optional "extras" such as zip lining thru the jungle,white water rafting etc but, I did all that 2 years ago and we wanted to save money so we just relaxed pure and simple. Most of the waters around where we were staying are inhibited by croc's big enough to eat you alive or jelly fish that can kill you in under 5 minutes so you  really don't want to swim there haha. Luckily, they had a great swimming hole with a rope swing and everything that had nothing in it that could kill you other than big rocks lol.

The only things we majorly had to worry about was spiders and Taipan's. The Taipan (there are like 3 different species in Australia) are in the top three most venomous snakes in the world. One bite from them can kill over 10,000 mice and actually kill a human in roughly 15 minutes. Not to mention they bite more than once sometimes. There is anti venom for them but you are usually so far from a hospital and in the rain forest there is no cell phone reception so it is generally a death sentence. Ben thought he saw one (thank god he didn't!) what he actually saw just one meter (about 3 feet) in front of him was a tree snake.

It looked like a Taipan and was actually poisonous we later found out but, it had fangs at the BACK of it's mouth so very unlikely you would get bit by it. Anyway he survived and I survived no worries. Nor did we get bit by any spiders that can kill you. Lots can kill you here in Oz, it seems everything is deadly lol. But, I have been here almost 12 months now and I haven't run across a single deadly thing anywhere I have been so far. Luckily they generally don't like people.

We also went on a "Croc cruise" in the Daintree River and managed to see a two meter (6 foot) croc and a baby one. Neither of those are big enough to kill you but, the six foot one could take a good nimble out of you if he wanted. We were told there was croc's in that river that were up to 10 meters long and 2 tons in weight! For my American readers, 10 meters is about 30 feet! Those guys could kill you easily. They routinely eat ENTIRE COWS. They also said that in winter you may be able to swim around in that river for hours and not have any problems but, in the warmer months as it is now as soon as you get in the water the croc's know it and if you are in the territory of a big boy you have a good chance of being killed. There was just recently a 6 year old little boy who ran into the river to rescue his dog and was himself eaten :(

So to rap this up and move on, we had great weather,beautiful scenery and just generally a relaxing time in the oldest rain forest on the planet and I loved every minute of it. Soon I will have pictures up on facebook for yall. It was a great way to end my time here in Australia as I leave for New Zealand in two days! So I will just kill time here in Cairns and enjoy what little time I have left in Oz. I will really miss it here... :( especially the weather. But, I have no choice but to move on so I will just do it.

Take care,Tyler