Alps2Ocean Cycle Trail

ToNZ #4 – There are several biking trails in New Zealand, the so called Alps2Ocean trail is the longest one, opened in 2013, consisting of more than 300 km, going from the Mount Cook National Park to Oamaru’s penguins. The reason I’m mentioning these infos is that going through this trail was the next thing to do after leaving Alexandra. The journey has been made on the last week of March, took almost a week, consisting of the days as follows.

Day 0: Cromwell – Aoraki

The starting point of the trail is the tiny town of Aoraki. The shortest way to go there from Alexandra was changing buses twice: first in Cromwell, then in Twizel. Since the connections were not designed for people from Alexandra to Aoraki, we had to stay in Cromwell for a night, and then also wait for a couple of hours in Twizel on the next day.
Aoraki is not really a town, it’s just a collection of hostels, far away from the civilization, between Lake Pukaki and the Mount Cook National Park. People usually spend here one or two nights, and walk on the local walking trails, so they can get some scenery that is worth to take a few photos of. We arrived there at around 4pm so we could go through the trail called Hooker Valley Trail in a perfect time, after most of the Asian tourist groups left, but before it was getting too dark.
The Hooker Valley is an about 5 km long walk along the Hooker River, leading to the Hooker Lake. The lake is surrounded by glaciers, you can see the Mount Cook on its other side, which is New Zealand’s highest mountain (3724 m). There were some kea birds hanging around next to the lake, collecting the trash of the previous tourists, and they were happy to pose for the camera too.
Dear blog reader, if you ever visit New Zealand for just one single day, the thing that you have to do on that day is walking through the Hooker Valley. It had a very special atmosphere, huge mountains, cold glaciers, blue rivers and lakes, fresh air, posing keas – it seemed to be a nice summary of the countries natural features. A must.

Day 1: Aoraki – Twizel (77 km)

The first day was promised to be flat. And on the scale where 100 meters difference equals 1 cm, it really is. But the more you zoom in, the more you can see the tiny little ups and downs that might drive you crazy after almost 80 km of biking on them.
The first five kilometers were okay, until we arrived to the helicopter landing place. We booked a helicopter flight to cross the Tasman River. It’s not because we are so fancy but because that’s the only possible way to cross the river. Since the sky was too cloudy, we had to wait an hour to get on the helicopter which landed about 1,5 minutes later on the other side. It’s a common dirty trick of the New Zealand bike trails to include some unavoidable but quite expensive transport vehicles in the middle of the trail that you have to use if you want to continue your journey. That’s exactly what we wanted. Hence the helicopter.
The sign on the other side of the river said that there is only 300 km left to Oamaru. We were ready to decrease the distance. On the first day we mainly headed south along the Lake Pukaki, with the small but extremely annoying little ups and downs under the wheels. The trail quality was horrible, it was gravel road with really big stones, it was the second worst suffering for the whole trail (after the last day). One moment (next to the Tekapo Power Station, to be precise) we suddenly found ourselves on the highway and then the road problems didn’t come back again. The bike road was finally well built, the ups and downs weren’t that intense, the way to Twizel stopped being a torture.

Day 2: Twizel – Lake Ohau (38 km)

The second day was quite short, and considering the difficulties of the following day, it was a very good decision. Since there were no bike roads built, we had to bike on a really boring highway from Twizel next to a canal, until we reached Lake Ohau. The Ohau Lodge was on the other side of the lake, which meant a few extra kilometers along the lake. It was really pretty section and the road there was made of gravel that usual everyday bikers like me usually wish for themselves: not as hard as concrete but not as soft that your wheel is drowning in it.
The Ohau Lodge had a good location both from practical (just before the trail starts to climb the hill) and from aesthetic (looking at the Lake Ohau) points of view. We booked a cheap accommodation (it was still the most expensive one from the whole trail) but we were allowed to go to the restaurant where the rich people were hanging out, have some free tea and coffee and watch the lake from the lodge balcony. We also had time for some walk, since, as I already mentioned, the day was quite short.

Day 3: Lake Ohau – Omarama (59 km)

This was the day which I was afraid of from the very beginning: the one with a 10 km long and 330 m high climbing. At the very beginning of the day. The climb took about two hours with a lots of breaks, sweat and suffering up until the summit. And ironically, it was the only time when we had rain, just to make the situation even more depressive. It was not easy, but unlike the annoying gravel road on the first day and the unexpected uphills on the last one, it was something I was mentally preparing myself before.
The climbing was followed by something refreshing, namely the rolling down the hill. It was the most memorable part of the whole 300 km. After reaching the summit at 900 meters we had a really steep part until down to 400 meters. There were some big stones that hit my bike, there were some small creeks that made my feet wet, there was the rain that made my eyes blind and my back muddy – still, I had a few minutes there where I felt like a real tough mountain biker.
On the bottom of the hill there was a car and a guy. The guy was selling coffee from the car for the bikers. Of course we bought one. And of course everybody’s buying one after climbing up and rolling down. And everybody’s paying that 5 dollars to the guy. Because there is nothing else around. The next town is 30 km ahead, the previous lodge is one hill behind. The guy said that he has about 40-60 customers per day in average. Which is 200-300 dollars income. That guy is a quite good money maker. And the coffee was great as well.
Before reaching the next town called Omarama, Katja had the weird idea of making a 14 km long detour to see the clay cliffs. The clay cliffs are cliffs made of clay. It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? No, actually it was really just a few simple rocks, and a gravel road led to them, almost as bad as on the first day. It wasn’t a good idea, to be honest. I wouldn’t go there again, if you ask me, dear blog reader.

Day 4: Omarama – Kurow (69 km)

The next day was alright. First we were biking along a lake next to Omarama which was quite large but still, google maps is unable to show me what was its name. After leaving it, we had a mean hill, I had to stop about three times because I couldn’t bike up. But the way down was really nice, it was a 5 km long downhill on the luckily empty highway, I almost reached 60 km/h pedaling down. At the bottom of the hill Otematata was waiting for us where we had an ice cream.
The second part of the day started with the Benmore Dam, the biggest dam of the country. Then Lake Aviemore, then another dam, then Lake Waitaki, then another dam, then arriving to Kurow. To reach the accommodation, we had to bike 5 more kilometers where a lady met us and brought us to her farm with her car. She gave us some dinner with real food (meat, mashed potatoes and various vegetables) which we didn’t really have in the last days.

Day 5: Kurow – Oamaru (78 km)

Arriving to Oamaru after more than 300 km of biking is a huge pleasure for everyone who’s doing the Alps2Ocean trail. Arriving to Oamaru after more than 300 km of biking and more than 2 months of being a receptionist there before adds some nice old memories to that huge pleasure. We biked to the end of the trail which was not the end of the trail for us but the corner next to the ocean where we went to watch the little blue penguins, walked to when we visited the Steampunk Museum, or were just wondering, seeing the sign saying that this is the end point of the Als2Ocean Trail, what the hell is this so called Alps2Ocean Trail.
During the 78 km on that day that we had much more uphills than we were expecting based on the altitude showing graph, which made me extremely annoyed, I really wanted to arrive finally. At one of those uphills my chain even jammed pretty hard so we stayed there to repair it for about 20 minutes. That was the moment when I had completely enough of the whole trail for a while. But after we arrived to Oamaru, I didn’t care that much about the struggles. We went back to Chillawhile and spent some free nights there for the sake of our receptionist times. Since almost everybody from the staff was new there, we didn’t have many social moments but we had time to rest and that was definitely on the top of my priority list.
Later we took the bus from Oamaru and after a while we arrived to the next station, to Nelson. Since I left my laptop charger on the bus, I couldn’t write my blog post earlier. I hope that you, dear warm-hearted blog reader can forgive me that I let you wait so long for it.
If this description of the trail was so exciting that it’s still not enough for you, then good news: Katja, my previously mentioned receptionist-apricot-biking colleague wrote a post about it as well. I haven’t read it yet but I dare to assume that it’s worth to link here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


One Month in Alexandra

ToNZ #3 – After almost 3 months I stopped being a receptionist in the Chillawhile. I was planning to write a whole post about my life there because I felt that it deserves that but I was too lazy and life just kept going on. Let’s see, how.

Getting Horticultural

Being a receptionist in Oamaru helped me a lot to hear people talking about various things which sometimes included some handy information about my future plans as well. The most relevant one was that if I’m working for three months in the horticultural industry, I can extend my working holiday visa in New Zealand by 3 months. Since the receptionist work has about nothing to do with horticulture, I started to look for jobs like fruit picking, packhouse work, because staying a bit longer in New Zealand is something I wouldn’t mind at all.
The Chillawhile usually accepts volunteers, little helpers who can stay for free if they clean the toilets, and a few of them went to the town called Alexandra after finishing their volunteering life in the hostel, to actually earn some money. They told me that there are many horticultural jobs in that area. So I started to think that my next station will be that area.
Katja, my previously mentioned receptionist colleague heard my secret plan and since we started and finished our receptionist jobs at the same time and she was also thinking about extending her visa, she suggested to go there together. Through the Central Otago Rail Trail. By bike. Which will take 3 days.
First this idea sounded way too extreme to me but she said that she will do everything: rent the bikes, book the accommodation and then find a job in Alexandra at the end. It would have been hard to say no, after all.
We left the Chillawhile on February 17th, then hitchhiked from Oamaru to Dunedin (my first time hitchhiking!!), stayed in Dunedin to surf (my first time surfing!!)(okay, I wouldn’t call it surfing but my first attempt!!), then went to Middlemarch, which is the first town of the trail and where our rented bikes were already waiting for us. We took them and after 190 kilometers of biking we arrived to the hostel in Alexandra.
When Katja said that she will find a job in Alexandra, she wasn’t kidding. On the evening of our arrival a woman called Linda came to us to the hostel and told us that she will be our boss in the apricot packhouse, and we will start tomorrow at 8am. So that’s where we were working for the next 2 weeks. Splitting, stoning and spreading the apricots. A horribly monotone job for about 8 hours a day. After finishing it, we found some other jobs on the local vineyards for about 2 weeks as well. On the vineyards we could listen to our personal music which made the 8 hours fly away relatively quickly. I usually started the morning with some chilling music, then continued with presentations in Hungarian and finally turned off my brain for the last few hours.
The vineyard job was finished a bit earlier than we expected so we had a few free days at the end. This had some financial disadvantages but still, it didn’t hurt to have some time to look around.

Today’s Lesson

In the beginning I wasn’t too enthusiastic to go to Alexandra together with Katja but now I’m pretty far from regretting that decision. I was going to come here, start my three months in the horticultural universe, collect some money and then keep going to another city. Now that she came with me I still started my three months and I also collected some money but having somebody around all the time made me feel that it’s not enough. Katja said that she wants to keep her work-life balance, and working and sleeping only is not what she meant by that.
One time, when we were having break in the packhouse, she looked very excited. Why are you so very excited, I asked. Because this is the last break for today. And after this she will go biking with the bike that she just bought. And it’s hot so she might go and swim in the river as well.
And am I excited for anything, she asked. Yeah, I said, that there is already less than 3 months to do to my extension. That I will have a nice time in the summer when I go back to Asia. And that I will have a lot of money after finishing all my horticultural jobs. That’s not good, she said, it sounds that I’m living in the future. I should try to enjoy the present too. Because the present days go away anyway, but it also matters, how they do that. She convinced me to buy a bicycle too so we could bike together. And she gave me her professional headphone so I could listen to my music on a next level during work. And she said that we should find something for every day to look forward to after the work. Buy a pizza. Bake a pizza. Watch a movie. Play some game. And things like that.
This whole idea made me think a little bit. In about my last 15 years I was living in the future, always looking forward to better times to come, without even realizing it. The only time when I was able to enjoy what I’m doing for a longer period was during my Asia trip. When I didn’t daydream about the upcoming part of my life, just paid attention to my closer surroundings. And now, looking backwards, I can confidently state that my Asia trip was the best time of my life so far. I’m not quite sure yet how exactly but that must have some correlation with not keeping my eyes on the future all the time.
It looks at the moment that our ways with Katja will split soon but if I learned only one feature from her that I could build into my “how to live life”-repertoire, it’s the one of trying to enjoy the present days a bit more.

Back to the Future

As you might know, dear blog reader, the real world summer equals winter in New Zealand. Which means, among others, cold weather and less jobs. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I’m going to go back to Asia, concentrating on the two countries where I had my best experiences last time: Taiwan and Korea. I’m going to spend a few weeks in places that I found on workaway, one in Taipei and one in Busan. Between those countries I’ll make a short detour to Hong Kong, to check out Áfonya and to Chengdu, to check out Nina.
I already made my plan back in Oamaru but now that I actually made some money in Alexandra, I also bought my flying tickets. I will depart from Auckland to Taipei on June 13th. And I haven’t bought a return ticket so it remains a surprise when will I arrive back and from where.
Despite of my new skill of living in the present, I’m absolutely looking forward to this trip – especially after spending my next two months in the horticulture.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What’s in Oamaru?

ToNZ #2 – I think I’ve spent enough time in Oamaru to confirm that the two main attractions in the town are the little blue penguins and the Steampunk Museum. Here is a review about those.


There are two penguin colonies living in south of Oamaru: the little blue penguins and the yellow eyed penguins. They come to the shore from the sea every evening and you can observe them while it’s happening. The yellow eyed ones are more difficult to catch. They are really shy, their colony is a bit too far from the city and there are only a few pieces of them. The little blue ones are the real tourist magnets. They have an arrival schedule and they follow it very strictly. In the second half of December they come at 9pm, in June, when it’s getting dark earlier, they come at around 6pm. There are two observation points, the one where you have to pay, it’s mainly for Chinese tourists who always arrive in big groups with organized buses, and the free ones, which is for the ones who think that paying 30 dollars to see them (I mean the penguins) is not a smart way to spend their money.
First I went to the little blue penguins. These are the smallest penguins in the world and I was far away from them because I chose the free observation point. And my camera is not that good at zooming. So I didn’t take much photos. I could recognize that they are supposed to be penguins because of their cute way of walking but still, it was a bit disappointing. They just walked a few meters and disappeared behind the rocks.
Another day I biked to the yellow ones but I didn’t see any. Some people were waiting there for 2 hours and they told me that they already saw 7. Since the yellow eyed penguins don’t have a schedule, it’s not that easy to find out when they come.
Later I heard that I could go to the little blue penguins in the night and hang out with them. So I biked there with a Korean guest of the hostel at 11pm and indeed, a lot of them were chilling at the shore. When we went closer, some of them ran away, some of them stayed. Photos have been made.
If you want to see penguins in Oamaru, the best choice is the little blue ones in the late evening, about two hours after their official arrival time.

Steampunk Museum

When I arrived to Oamaru, the first sign I saw was that it’s the steampunk capital of New Zealand. Some flyers said that it’s even the steampunk capital of the world! I’m not sure if the so called Steampunk Museum in the downtown is the reason or the consequence of this title. Anyway, I took a look there.
Steampunk is modern technology powered by steam and set in the 1800’s, says my recent google search result. So the “steam” part is obvious, and as for the “punk” part, it “comes from going against convention that, through creativity and declaration of one’s individuality be it through style, gadgets, or attitude, sets one apart.” Okay, I don’t want to go deeper because it doesn’t look too exciting to me, the point is that I went there and saw a lot of creatively constructed metal statues, some of them doing weird things. Like an organ making stupid noises.
There was only 2 rooms in the museum and an outdoor area (plus the portal, which was a small room with walls made of mirrors that made it look like a huge room) with around 20 smaller and bigger constructions. The ticket was 5$ which is more or less the highest price that I’d pay for such an exhibition.
But if you, dear blog reader have a secret perversion towards steampunk, this is definitely your place!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Working Holiday Visa, New Zealand

ToNZ #1 – Now that I arrived to New Zealand, I could start what I originally departed from Europe for: my so called Working Holiday. This here is a short overview about my adventures with the visa so far.

Getting It

There are 42 lucky countries in the world whose inhabitants have the possibility to apply for a Working Holiday visa to New Zealand. They usually do it because New Zealand is pretty, it’s a perfect place for a bunch of exciting looking activities, a smart choice to make some money and in addition it’s far away from every other part of the world. These adventure-hungry inhabitants have to register on the proper website, fill in the application form, pay the application fee and boom, they can start their 12 months there.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, actually it is. Most of these lucky countries have a highly limited luckiness, and there is a certain amount of inhabitants who are allowed to receive the visa. In Hungary it’s 100 person per year. For 10 000 000 people. It’s only 0,001% of the population. But it’s still better than China where the limit is 1000 person per year, for 1 357 000 000 people. Can you guess how much is it? Yes, exactly, it’s only 7.36919676e-6 percent!!
The actual number of the countries that don’t have a quota is 11. The ones in Western and Northern Europe plus USA, Canada and Japan. The rest has a specific day every year when they can start to send the application form and it’s open until the limit is reached. Usually it happens still on the same day. In the case of Hungary, it was open for 9 minutes: from April 20, 00:00 to April 20, 00:09.
I finished my application form at 00:06. A lot of preparation have been made before, both on mental and on practical points of view. I started to collect money about one year before and got a credit card. Before the big day I watched some youtube videos of someone filling out the application form and I saved my answers in a text file. Short before midnight I was frequently clicking on the refresh button of my browser and when the application site finally opened, I used my quick, yet not nervous style to put every answer to the right place. In the last step they accepted my payment and after that the endorphins suddenly occupied my whole body for a few minutes.
I could finally start making my plans. I wrote to the people in Sapporo. I registered to Couchsurfing. I found the mysterious website called workaway.
The rest is history.

Using It

Let’s skip the how did I get here part, you, dear blog reader, already know this better than anyone else. First I went to Japan instead and didn’t really care much about what I’ll do in New Zealand. They wrote on the immigration website that I’ll have to prove on the New Zealand border that I own a specific amount of money which I didn’t know that they won’t check when I enter the country and so I took it really serious. It meant that I knew that I’ll have enough money when I arrive so I didn’t stress about finding a job there for a long time.
The first time I was searching for backpackers jobs in New Zealand was in Pattaya. After a while I started to check only two websites frequently, this and this. But the jobs there weren’t too interesting. Mainly some agriculture stuff.
When I was in Malaysia, I read the advertisement of the Chillawhile Backpacker Gallery, they offered a “paid internship”. Which was good because it’s not common that a hostel provides anything else than free accommodation. And I saw the photos and there was a piano right next to the reception. At this moment I couldn’t control myself and wrote to the hostel. Kelly, the owner wrote me back when I was in Jakarta and told me that she watched my epic youtube video and she definitely wants me, we can skip the interview and all the other bureaucratic nonsenses. So that escalated quickly. And I think none of us regretted their decisions. The money I get is not much but enough to cover the daily expenses, especially because it excludes the accommodation. The job is great. I’m not complaining.
So that’s how I started my working holiday in New Zealand. Now I work in the Chillawhile as a receptionist. Kelly always has two receptionists, me and a German girl called Katja arrived almost at the same time. Katja prefers the morning shift because she’s free after that, I prefer the afternoon shift because then I can sleep all day, so there is no dissension between us.
That’s it for now. I’m having good times at the moment but not much is happening. So I probably cannot keep writing something every week. We’ll see how it goes.

Just so nobody can say that I didn’t put here any photos, there is one here of Oamaru North.


Expenses And Incomes

TotW #20 – How much did I spend on flights, accommodation and food? And was it worth the money? Scroll down and check it out.


I was flying 13 times, here are some details.

Date From To Airlines Cost (EUR)
Jul25 Budapest, Hungary Sapporo, Japan Qatar 378
Aug13 Tokyo Seoul T’way 154
Aug22 Seoul Taipei T’way 137
Sep25 Taipei Shanghai China Southern 91
Sep27 Shanghai Hong Kong Hongkong 64
Oct02 Hong Kong Da Nang HK Express 131
Okt10 Da Nang Bangkok VietJet 64
Nov02 Pattaya Kuala Lumpur AirAsia 56
Nov10 Singapore Jakarta LionAir 41
Nov17 Bandung Pekanbaru AirAsia 46
Dec01 Pekanbaru Kuala Lumpur AirAsia 49
Dec01 Kuala Lumpur Auckland AirAsia 271
Dec03 Auckland Christchurch JetStar 102

It’s 1584 EUR altogether.

If you’re a visual type, this picture will be helpful:


I have one big lesson for my future flights: there is no need for a check-in baggage! The promo prices you can see at the first place in “lowest price first” mode usually mean tickets that allow you only a carry-on backpack, with the max. weight of 7-10 kg. If you have a baggage, you should add about 30% to the promo price so it won’t be that promo anymore. I made a lot of thoughts while pulling my useless baggage behind me, if a backpack alone would be enough. My final answer is absolutely yes.


My travel consisted of 132 nights, spent as follows:

City Place Nights Cost (EUR)
Doha, Qatar Hamad International Airport 1 0
Tokyo, Japan Haneda Internationa Airport 1 0
Sapporo, Japan Spa Hotel SOLE Susukino 2 60
Sapporo, Japan Keizo’s Place 3 0
Sapporo, Japan AirBnB 6 111
Hakodate, Japan Guesthouse Hakodate Bay 1 27
Tokyo, Japan Thao’s Place 1 0
Fuji, Japan Goraikoukan 1 70
Tokyo, Japan Thao’s Place 3 0
Seoul, South Korea AirBnB 7 64
Suwon, South Korea Couchsurfing (Minji) 1 0
Suwon, South Korea Jjimjilbang 1 8
Taipei, Taiwan Workaway @ Duckstay Hostel 24 0
Nantou, Taiwan Jack’s Place 3 0
Taitung, Taiwan Robert’s Place 3 0
Kaohsiung, Taiwan Single Inn 1 13
Kaohsiung, Taiwan Couchsurfing (Andrew) 1 0
Tainan, Taiwan Yenling’s Place 2 0
Shanghai, China Shanghai Hostel International Youth Hostel 1 14
Shanghai, China Pudong International Airport 1 0
Hong Kong Castle Inn 2 17
Hong Kong Pui O Campsite 1 0
Hong Kong Nam Sham Campsite 1 0
Hong Kong Hong Kong International Airport 1 0
Da Nang, Vietnam Hi Da Nang Beach Hostel 1 14
Da Nang, Vietnam Workaway @ Glocal Beachside Hostel 7 0
Saigon, Vietnam AirBnB 1 15
Pattaya, Thailand Workaway @ Eelswamp 22 0
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Homie KL 1 14
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Agosto Guest House 3 29
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Raizzy’s Guesthouse 2 10
Singapore Betel Box Backpackers Hostel 2 16
Jakarta, Indonesia The Packer Lodge 1 10
Bogor, Indonesia Some Traveloka Room 1 0
Bogor, Indonesia Some Traveloka Room 1 10
Bogor, Indonesia Ria’s Place 1 0
Bandung, Indonesia Dipo’s Place 3 0
Pekanbaru, Indonesia Workaway @ UIB School 14 0
International Area Airplane from KL to Auckland 1 0
Auckland, New Zealand Auckland Airport 1 0
Oamaru, New Zealand Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery 1 0

Which was 502 EUR – 3,8 EUR per night in average.

Here is a nice graph about the expenses:


My absolute winner for stay is workaway. Very easy: first pick a country, then pick a place there, choose a time interval, write the owner and you’re good to go. Accommodation is guaranteed, meals as well if you’re lucky, and there is no need for extra visa because it’s volunteering, you don’t get any money. If I make a similar journey again, workaway will play a role in the first round of the planning process.


Shame on me but I didn’t record every single sushi, kimchi, stinky tofu, goi cuon, pad thai, laksa and martabak I bought. Wherever I stayed for longer, I set up a daily limit for food. It was 1200 yen in Sapporo (10 EUR), 200 NTD in Taipei (6 EUR) and 0 rupiah in Pekanbaru (0 EUR). I always felt that I spend too much for food and at the same time I always felt hungry as well. A workaway place with free food is a jackpot, that could solve both of these problems.
Summary: all the money I spent from buying the first flying ticket until setting my feet on Oamaru’s rocks was somewhere between 2800 and 3000 EUR.
Yeah well, could have been better, could have been worst.



Originally I didn’t plan to write this section but going through those flights and beds just brought up so many memories that I thought it’s time for a short summary.
So I picked up one most memorable element from each country.

Japan – A Great Place to Start

The first station of my trip was Sapporo, a city where I already spent an exchange semester two years before. Sapporo is the northern point of Asia anyway so it could have been a reasonable first choice even without that. But after arriving to a familiar place and meet the familiar people there I felt so comfortable that I never began to doubt if this long journey I just started and cannot even see the end of yet was really a good idea. Those impressions I got there gave me confidence to keep going on.

Korea – Time To Socialize

When I came to Korea, I had my flying tickets and my accommodation booked for one week, but no schedule at all. Then I met a tour guide who introduced me to her friends and her friends introduced me to their friends. Besides I also had some spontaneous meetings which I didn’t really experience anywhere else. So I met some new people almost every day and my time in Seoul was getting better and better. Too bad that I left so early.
Plus it’s not just I liked South Korea, South Korea liked me too: in the last month 47% of all my youtube channel‘s watching time came from that country (Japan is the second with 19%).

Taiwan – The Best Company

I really liked working with my colleagues in the Duckstay Hostel. There were four volunteers working there. Eastern European migrants were overrepresented – a Polish girl living in Denmark, a Romanian boy living in Sweden and a Hungarian boy living in Germany. Together with the local employees we had a common goal: try to kill our free time. Sometimes everyone did it their own way, sometimes we did it together. The mission was finally always accomplished somehow. It was the only time that I was part of a community – not as a retarded foreigner but as a full member.

Shanghai – Planning for One Day

My first visit in mainland China lasted for one day only. I wanted to spend it in a way so I won’t regret later that I paid almost 100 extra Euros for a ticket that allowed me to actually go to the city with a transfer visa. Finally Nina from Chengdu city organized me three volunteers who all wanted to show me around so at the end we had to arrange a strict schedule so everyone has enough time. I’m not saying that this was the best way to spend the day in Shanghai but considering the other possible options, I think I cannot complain.

Hong Kong – Days in the Nature

If someone told me that I’ll spend two days camping in one of the countries I visit, Hong Kong would have been one of my last guesses. But when it turned out in the Duckstay that Valentin (“a Romanian boy living in Sweden”) will be in Hong Kong at the same time as me, that’s what he recommended. There are many camping places in Hong Kong, only 30% of its area is the actual city so it was a very good idea. We were hiking on one of Hong Kong’s biggest island for two days. It was a bit exhausting but it was nice to see only trees, mountains and small villages for a while.

Vietnam – Áfonya

The Glocal Beachside Hostel in Da Nang accepted me as a volunteer but when I came there, the boss told me that he’s not sure what he could give me for one single week. So I bored most of the time until Áfonya showed up. Then boredom suddenly disappeared. We had a few days there to spend together and we enjoyed them a lot. Chitting and chatting, going here and there, doing this and that, exploring an unknown city in an unknown country – it was a great adventure.

Thailand – The Best Accommodation

My very best (and very cheapest) room with an unbeatable private bathroom lasted only for two weeks. But the farm in Pattaya wasn’t just about my room. Gardeners were working every day there to keep it pretty, and Mr. Burton, the rich Australian lawyer built there everything as he wished: the piano room where the temperature was always 24 degrees, the pool in the middle of the garden, the gym on the top of the piano room. He sent his Thai wife to a one year long cooking school and as the result the food there was also the best I’ve had during my travelling months.

Malaysia – Sitting And Waiting

In Kuala Lumpur I spent my days in my hostel, and I had nothing to do, just waiting to leave. This wasn’t the first place where I arrived with no big plans to but this was the only one where things didn’t turn better even after my arrival. It could have happened in Seoul, could have happened in Da Nang, but I was lucky in those cities. I guess Kuala Lumpur helped me to realize that. Spending some days in a new city won’t necessarily result a great story. Especially not by sitting and waiting.

Singapore – Meeting Up

My visit in Singapore was special because I agreed already in April to meet someone seven months later. Back in Germany I was very excited that I have a guide somewhere in a mysterious Far East country. But the truth is that when I already arrived in November, I’ve had so many other meetings behind me and so many plans for the future that Singapore reduced to a list item to be checked. Still, the storyline itself is unique and it was worth to try. It will probably remain a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Indonesia – Growing a Branch

Not literally. But metaphorically. It was the first time that some people gathered together with the purpose of learning something from me. One of my students there told me that after learning English at the institute she wants to become and English teacher herself. Because if you have a knowledge but you don’t share it with others, she said, you’re like a tree that has only roots but no leaves and branches. Nice motivation. I assume that after spending two weeks at the school I do deserve a tiny little branch on the top of my big fat root.



Dear blog reader, if you want me to love you even more than I do now, please take a look at this postal address and then listen to your heart.
I’ll stay here for 3 months.

Szabó Dániel
Frome St. 1
Oamaru North
Oamaru 9400
New Zealand


Well, that’s it for now. I saved all the posts in a pdf file for offline pleasures. You can Download Here.