• Travel experiences

    Huka Falls, softly fierce

    When I saw Huka Falls before the trip to New Zealand, I knew we had to go there. I have a thing for waterfalls and this one looked promising. However, it seemed like we wouldn’t have time for it. After the challenges of  Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the 19.4 km long hiking trail, we head back to Taupo. I don’t give up on the hope of seeing Huka Falls – we came from the other side of the world, let’s just do it! Waikato River, the longest river in New Zealand, winds lazily in emerald green and blue until we are overwhelmed by a powerful roar. From serene, the river here…

  • Stripped

    Be yourself? The adventures of an introvert.

    Social expectations are well known to the introvert: one is expected to be confident during public speaking, comfortable around people, outgoing, and cheerful. Shyness is retro. Companies look for extroverted individuals. While I’m not an extrovert to meet these expectations, I’ve found my own ways to navigate the extroverted world. Adrenaline Christmas celebration in the kindergarten. The room was full of proud parents waiting with excitement to hear their kids praise Santa Claus. We were standing in a row and each kid stepped up to chirp about the holiday spirit. It was my turn and I felt a tsunami of shyness falling over me. I couldn’t do it! I hid…

  • Travel experiences

    Tongariro Alpine Crossing: a step into Mordor

    Wind, fog, and volcanic ash We arrive in Taupo on a night bus from Rotorua and get 3 hours of sleep before embarking early in the morning on a self-guided hike: Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park. The Maori guy at the reception is kind enough to let us stay in the lobby and wait half-asleep for the bus.  Taupo is famous for trout and we ask where we can try it. The fish is protected and it’s not offered at restaurants, however, the guy says that he could have arranged something for us via local fishermen. Unfortunately, we have to skip the fish this time. Tongariro Alpine Crossing…

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