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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

The Year Of My Life: Travelling Aotearoa New Zealand. Today: Work & Adventures!


Travel With Locals, Worldwide, New Zealand, Oceania, Travel Blog 0

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Is it possible for a distant, exotic and breathtakingly beautiful country such as New Zealand to produce something like an “everyday life rhythm”? Looking back, my answer today is YES, although you have to say that everyday life down under is always going remain distinctively special. It starts with the immensely open-mindedness of the Kiwis and ends with their natural way of accommodating foreigners and newcomers to Aotearoa New Zealand. Eight weeks into my new home and I have already travelled the northern half of the country, learned how to kayak, bought a car and experienced the fascination of my very first creative travel experiences.

Alltagsgenuss pur in der neuen Heimat: Der nächste "Hausstrand" ist nur rund 20 Minuten mit dem Auto entfernt. Hier entspanne ich und lese meine nächsten Reiseziele auf Neuseelands faszinierender Südinsel nach.

Everyday life in my new home New Zealand: The next beach is only about 20 minutes by car from the house. Amazing for a land-locked Austrian like myself! Here, I relax and read more about my upcoming South Island trip destinations.

"Fotografier mich!" Ich weiß nicht mehr, wer die junge Dame auf dem Foto ist, aber wir kamen sehr schnell ins Gespräch. ;)

“Take my picture, please!” I do not remember the name of this young lady (nor her boyfriend in the back), but I do remember that we got to talk real easy. 😉

Alltag in Neuseeland bedeutet auch, (fast) jeden Tag Neues zu entdecken: Hier luge ich Mitte Ende Februar unter die Netze eines Weingutes und freue mich auf die bevorstehende Traubenernte.

Everday life in New Zealand does mean discovering something new almost each and every day. Here, I check out the nets at the wineries I visit, thinking that the birds must be really hungry around here if the grapes are so well wrapped up!

 

First pleasure, then work … Or was it the other way round? “Down under”, a lot of things appear to be different.

The leading singer of an open-air concert is a lady with the beautiful Maori name Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and has a tattoo all around her mouth. It is only later that I learn that his kind of tattoo traditionally worn exclusively by women is called “moko” and is part of their Maori cultural heritage. Next to her is a white “pakeha” musician (that’s how Maori call white settlers to Aotearoa New Zealand), who is able to produce unearthly, rhythmic sounds from a large piece of bone. I stand, mesmerised, in the centre of a sports ground in the city of Nelson that on this day serves as the concert venue. It is here, too, that I first listen to the cool sounds of the Dub / Drum’n’Bass / Reggae Band Salmonella Dub, whose songs are yet to join me on many road trips around the country.

Coole Konzertatmosphäre in Nelson, Neuseeland.

Cool concert location in Nelson, New Zealand.

Die ungewöhnliche Band- und Sound-Komposition fasziniert mich an jenem Tag.

The strange and very different sound & band composition fascinates me all through the concert. A very unique experience indeed!

Parallel dazu unternehme ich mit meinen charmanten Gastgebern, Denise & Crispin Raymond, Ausflüge am Wochenende. Sehr paradiesisch, das Ganze ;)

Parallel to this, Denise & Crispin Raymond my charming hosts for the first few months, take me around their home for Sunday afternoon trips, including large home-made ice cream. Nice! 😉

Doch schon wenig später ruft die Arbeit und ich werde ...

A little later however, work calls …

… kurzerhand, um mir knapp $ 1.000 neuseeländische Dollar zusätzlich für meine nächste Reise auf der Südinsel zu verdienen, zur "second cousin from Europe" einer ursprünglich aus Holland eingewanderten Familie, der ich bei der Birnenernte helfe. Ja wirklich!

… and I become “second cousin from Europe” of this Motueka family, who has originally migrated from the Netherlands, earning some money on the side picking pears for my next trip around New Zealand’s South Island. Yes, dear readers – a true adventure!

In meinen Pausen und rund um die Arbeit lerne ich meine neuen Kollegen kennen und schätzen. Rund zwei bis drei Wochen helfe ich hier jeden Nachmittag schweißtreibend und muskelbepackt aus - ein Erlebnis!

During break times, I chat with and get to know my new colleagues. We always dish up large amounts of food, as we are all really hungry after a day’s work. I get to help out here for about two to three weeks during the harvest season.

Kennen gelernt habe ich die Familie beim Birnenpflücken übrigens durch die Besitzer dieses Weinguts im Motueka Valley, welches hier romantisch auf einem kleinen Hügel mit Blick in diese Landschaft thront. Hier müsst

Here is where I met the family, friends of the winegrowers located in this picturesque spot that is Motueka Valley.

 

Last but not least a (secret) tip for you: Check out the day walks at Lake Rotoiti in Nelson Lakes National Park

From my new little house, it takes me about one and a half hours drive to reach the heart of the northern parts of the South Island from the Motueka Valley. Here, about another hour’s drive from the city of Nelson, is where you will find Nelson Lakes National Park, 100.000 hectares large and managed, together with 13 others by the Department of Conservation called “DOC”. Their visitor information centres are packed with interesting information, their staff have always and without exception been extremely nice and helpful. After a while, I make up my mind and decide for a day walk of about three hours, hiking up half a mountain for some spectacular views of the lake district at my feet. Wow … “100% Pure New Zealand”, the message of the country’s national tourism marketing, resonates with me here. This country does hold a lot of magic that is best felt and experienced out in the nature.

Aussichten wie diese sind die Belohnung für den Schweiß des Aufstieges: Unterwegs im Nelson Lakes National Park, am Lake Rotoiti.

Views like these make up for all the sweat of hiking: Taking a rest in Nelson Lakes National Park, overlooking Lake Rotoiti.

Zu meinen Füßen blüht die Natur ...

At my feet, nature boasts all its shades of lush green …

… und auch abends herrscht hier eine ganz eigene, besondere Stimmung.

… and it is also in the evening, that a special sense of magic, peace and quiet befalls this place.

Wunderschön. Hier gefällt es mir!

Beautiful! I really like it here. – Aotearoa New Zealand, turning more and more into a second home base for me.

 

My friend & co-author Anna Zell has also recently been to New Zealand and fallen for the beauty of this country: She writes about her trip together with her boyfriend Jacob in this article “Couple Trip Kiwi-Style: Exploring Aotearoa New Zealand!

Angekommen in Waiotapo, können wir unser Glück ob der Sommersonne und der schönen Landschaft kaum fassen! / Foto: Anna Zell

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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