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Blat through the Baltics: Warsaw
24 Sep 2015

Blat through the Baltics: Warsaw

It all started last Monday at the Ausländerbehörde. At approximately 7.30am, in exchange for a stack of meticulously-prepared paperwork, I received something I had long coveted: A two-year freelance working visa extension. This led me to where I am now, writing this post while sitting in the front row of a double-decker Polskibus, just about to the cross the border from Poland to Lithuania. You see, as soon as the visa came through, I set into motion a trip which...

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Things that no longer surprise.
5 Sep 2015

Things that no longer surprise.

After more than three years living in Europe, it’s happened. Things that would quite easily have turned my head when I first arrived, now simply fail to surprise me. Fill me with wonder, sadness, confusion, admiration and falafel, yes; but surprise, no. I guess an incident on Thursday got me thinking about this: Waiting for the traffic lights on my bike at Oberbaumbrücke, a man pulled up next to me. He was wearing a white pair of Zalando brand headphones...

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The Second Berlinniversary.
4 Aug 2015

The Second Berlinniversary.

“What in the name of ‘Hoff is a Berlinniversary?”, I hear you ask. It’s a milestone I am truly happy to have been able to reach. Berlin leaves many traps for unwary newcomers, many of whom leave brokenhearted. Those, who caught up in the city’s myriad distractions, ‘forget’ to work and go home broke, those who would love to work but cannot get the visa, those who underestimate its winter or the transience of its flighty inhabitants. So last weekend,...

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On Britain and family
23 Jul 2015

On Britain and family

Britain, Britain, Britain. My thoughts on visiting the country of our colonial forefathers are still mixed. Given all of the opportunities to travel anywhere in the world, why would a New Zealander choose to head there, a land with a very similar culture, but higher expenses, stodgier food and ‘orrible weather? Nevertheless, there I stood in London, several weeks back, watching fighter planes streak over Buckingham Palace while the Queen, Kate and Wills and potty-mouthed Prince Philip appeared on the...

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Responsible Travel? What the…?
15 Jun 2015

Responsible Travel? What the…?

To some, the idea of responsible travel is an oxymoron. Travel requires energy, mass travel requires mass energy, mass energy is currently  produced unsustainably. The world would be a sad place if, in the name of travelling sustainably, we must simply daydream from our armchairs. To promote this would also be madness: who would listen? People will travel. People should travel. But we’re going to be in trouble if we don’t do it sustainably. So what on earth is responsible...

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The Taipei Stopover
1 Jun 2015

The Taipei Stopover

Despite having visited Taipei on the to-and-fro of my 2014/2015 Christmas trip to New Zealand, the nature of print media means the travel feature I wrote back then has only just now been published. I managed to break up the long haul Frankfurt-Auckland flights with two, day-long stopovers to explore the sights and tastes of this fascinating city. You can read about it here, on the Otago Daily Times website. Although I had a blast exploring Taipei, I’m still a newbie...

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Lessons from Bootstrap Backpacking

The title of this post may conjure up images of a sun-seasoned traveller. He strides down a dirt road somewhere exotic: sure steps in a double-knotted pair of sturdy leather boots that have, and will continue to take him,  down many paths in many lands. However, ‘Bootstrapping’ is a term one comes across often in Berlin, and many other metropolitan hubs. The word comes from the 19th century saying  ‘to lift oneself up by one’s own bootstraps’, or in other...

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Good Things Come in Threes
16 Apr 2015

Good Things Come in Threes

At the risk of sounding like a corporate engagement fanatic, I believe a good milestone is grounds to celebrate. Things have been rather busy since a particular milestone I celebrated earlier this month, but the lack of any written material around this has not been due to a lack of excitement. Excitement at realising I’ve now been abroad for three years. What? No… That can’t be right. Three entire years? I had to break that period down to make sense...

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The Amsterdamned
25 Mar 2015

The Amsterdamned

It’s curious that my first visit back to the Netherlands in almost two years should begin in Amsterdam. My thoughts on the city were divided when I arrived on Friday. The city itself is undeniably gorgeous; all of those canals lined with golden age townhouses, tall and narrow, with their ornate facades ever-so-slightly leaning out over sauntering tourists and bicycle traffic. Those bikers have their thumbs hovering over their handlebar bells in readiness, for they know the tourists will unwittingly...

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Like a Kiwi Part 4 – Christchurch
17 Mar 2015

Like a Kiwi Part 4 – Christchurch

After three weeks of traversing New Zealand from east to west, from north to south, I finally reached the beautiful but scarred city of Christchurch. I won’t go into details, but the bus ride between Queenstown and Christchurch was stunning. It’s a road every New Zealander and visitor should travel, if only to catch a glimpse of our tallest mountain Aoraki/ Mount Cook reflected in the glacial waters of Lake Pukaki. As the bus detoured through the southern suburbs of...

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