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It’s Been A While

It’s been a while

Butterfly Editions Blog Krabi

Oh, hi there!

Gosh I’ve missed this place.

It’s been 18 months since I’ve written here. Sure, I’ve visited it from time to time, scrolling back through the archives with a sensation of faint familiarity. Sometimes I remember the things we got up to like it was yesterday, other times I wonder if this life we had was all but a dream.

I stopped writing for a few reasons. I was going through some tough stuff last year. I felt disillusioned with social media, with this social obsession of portraying this perfect online version of yourself. I took a step back.

I struggled with comparison and worried that my little piece of the internet looked like a platform just to boast about all these cool things I was doing, when all I wished was for it to be a place of inspiration.

And I felt like I’d failed - here I was set out on this incredible adventure, then suddenly I was home living with my parents - which was lovely, though generally living with your parents at 25 isn't perceived as the epitome of success!

But here we are. December 2016 is upon us (whaaaat!?!), I’ve just turned the ripe old age of 27 (whaaaat!?!) and decided now is the time to stop pondering and overthinking and actually do it. Blow off the dust if you will. Write it out.

I’ve become a consumer rather than a creator and that needs to change. I’m a little out of practice, but I love writing, creating, sharing and connecting - and I’ve really missed how the Butterfly Editions helped provide all of those things for me.

I’m not exactly sure about where we're going with the blog just yet. Let’s not worry too much and just see where we go, aye?

But hey, how about an update? Here’s a few fun things that have been happening.

Travel

On the travel front, I’m grateful that work has taken me a few places in the last year: San Diego, Los Angeles, Melbourne, NSW’s Hunter Valley and Adelaide.

Outside of work-related travel, my mum and I went on our dream girls’ trip to San Fransisco and New York, just last month!

Of course, there's always more adventures on the horizon, and Alan and I have a few ideas up our sleeve about where we'd like to head to next!

Home

However, home is now Nelson, New Zealand - my hometown. I lived away from Nelson for seven years and love living back here. It's small, it's (somewhat) relaxed, and it takes pretty much five minutes to go anywhere or do anything.

Speaking of home….we bought one! We’ve basically put our lives on hold to renovate - Alan’s been proving his worth and we know our way around our local hardware stores like the back of our hands. I’ll be sharing a fair few stories of this whole rewarding, exhausting, challenging, relationship-testing, crazy process on the blog.

Oh look, here we are on the very first evening we collected the keys to our house!

And this is how that same spot somewhat looks now (in progress!). Who knew those amazing wooden floors were lying beneath that circa 1960's orange and brown textured carpet?

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Fitness

If you followed along our adventure through Asia, do you remember how Alan and I trained Muay Thai on Koh Samui? I really wanted to train when we decided to stay in Nelson, but couldn’t find a local club here. However, I’ve been training boxing a couple of times a week for over a year now and love it. Perhaps there’ll be a fight in future….who knows?!

Alan manages an outdoor adventure shop here, so we’ve also been getting into a bit of mountain biking. Nelson is an epic place to live if you love mountain biking! Alan's pretty good and I’m slowly improving…it's a work in progress.

That's probably enough updates to go on with! It's strange, being back here, yet...comforting. I'm so pleased to be back.

A heartfelt thank you to those of you that followed our adventures, which came to an unexpectedly abrupt end early last year. I hope you'll follow along on this new adventure, too.

Christie xx

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Challenges And Changes – What’s Going On?

Challenges and Changes – What’s Going On?

The Butterfly Editions Cable Bay - 1Oh hey there! How's it going? Good, I hope.

I guess its about time for a little update. If you have still been popping by, you might have noticed that I haven’t been hanging around here lately.

Where on earth am I? What happened? What's going on?

I really didn’t expect to ever have to write a post like this, and to be honest, I’ve been putting it off tremendously. But, I feel like these words simply have to come out before I can carry on.

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When you last heard from me, Alan and I were happily exploring Cambodia - then all of a sudden I seem to have fallen off the blogging radar. I haven’t posted on my blog, have barely looked at my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and all those things we seem to think are so important - but that I’ve quickly come to realise at a time like this they are right at the very bottom of my priorities…and actually make me feel worse.

I had to return home for health reasons, requiring an unexpected and fairly major surgery. By the time I arrived home I remember saying that I’d cried so much that I’d literally run out of tears. I think most of the tears are for my travel dream, that now feels like its been shattered into a million pieces just out of my reach.

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I left my spirit in Asia. Thats the best way I’ve been able to describe how I feel right now.

I gave up so much to follow this dream and I guess I just feel cheated. I gave up a stable job, a decent income and my comfortable home to chase this dream I’d had for as long as I can remember - and to have returned this much earlier than planned feels like...failure.

Deep down, I know that I’m very lucky. I could have had long-term health implications. I could have had no “home” to return to. For goodness sake, I travelled through Asia for more than six months - a continent where many will never leave their own village, let alone their country. I’m indescribably privileged to be able to consider travel as an option, not to mention be freely on the move constantly for as long as Alan and I did.

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I’ve taken a long break from my blog. The honest truth? It's been too upsetting for me to reflect on our travels, too difficult to write these words, too many tears escaping every time my mind revisits my incomplete travels.

However, it's time to carry on with what I started. I'm digging deep into my dreams, adapting my plans, moving onwards and upwards. There are plenty of posts to come here on the Butterfly Editions, along with some exciting changes over the next few months.

So, there's the simplified version of the story. For the time being, Alan and I are living in my hometown of Nelson, New Zealand. It hasn’t been an easy few months, and I’m still not quite finished dealing with what happened yet. Fake it till you make it, right? But hey, we all get there in the end, don’t we!

Some life changes look negative and painful on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new and beautiful to emerge.

- Eckhart Tolle

For those of you that continue to follow along with my journey - thank you. I sure hope you stick around for whats to come!

Christie xx

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Off To China – And A Happy New Year!

Off to China – and a Happy New Year!

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After two incredible months in Thailand its time to say good bye to South East Asia...just for a few weeks!

At the crack of dawn tomorrow we will be jet-setting off to China for three weeks of adventure - The Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and Shao-Lin Temple await. Not to mention the #1 reason we are braving the bone-chilling temperatures of China's winter: to attend a great friend's wedding, I can't wait!

This will be the first time I have visited China, so I am full of nervous excitement. There is no doubt it will be a challenge, but will be very worth it I am sure!

I'll be offline while in China, so I wanted to get in before the new year rings through and wish you all the best for the remainder of 2014, and pass on a huge thank you for following along with my blog these last few months. I appreciate all of your views and comments so much!

Of course, Alan and I are nowhere near done with Southeast Asia yet! After cooling down in China we will be headed to Vietnam to top up our tans in just a few weeks time. I'll be back in 2015 (whaaaat!) with lots of stories all about our two months in Thailand plus our Chinese adventures.

Thailand, its been a blast.

See you next year!


Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on BloglovinInstagram & Twitter to stay up to date with The Butterfly Editions!

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Missing my family back home today (hi, mum & dad!), but feeling incredibly blessed to be living my dream of travelling the world.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

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Why yes, that is Snoopy inside of a giant Christmas tree!

 


Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on BloglovinInstagram & Twitter to stay up to date with The Butterfly Editions!

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My ABCs Of Travel

My ABCs of Travel

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We’ve arrived in Thailand, and after spending a few days beaching (yes, I’m sure thats a word!), eating copious amounts of delicious Thai food and celebrating Alan’s birthday, we have arrived in our home for the next month. A home which is very, very far out of my comfort zone - Superpro Samui, a Muay Thai gym on the tropical island of Koh Samui.

We are just two days in and my body is screaming at me! Aches, pains, bruises and bleeding knuckles seem to be becoming the norm. Between training sessions, I’ll be working hard to update the blog with stories from our six-week journey through Malaysia and Singapore, along with my personal experiences, reflections and learnings from this upcoming month of intense Muay Thai training. Stay tuned!

However, today (Sunday) is our one day per week of no training, and I’m in the mood to write something a bit different. I’ve seen the ABC’s of travel floating around on some of my favourite travel blogs and thought I would join in with a little reminiscing on my own travel experiences. I hope you enjoy!

A / Age you went on your first international trip?

I am blessed with parents that love to travel, and had my first passport at the ripe age of three. I first went to Australia’s Sunshine Coast at that age, and Fiji when I was four, but because I was so young unfortunately I don’t have very many memories from these trips. When I was seven years old I was lucky enough to travel to Singapore and Malaysia on a family holiday - two countries I have spent time in again recently, and will be writing about soon!

B / Best foreign beer you’ve had and where?

My favourite beer of all time has to be Belgium's Leffe Blond, despite the fact that I haven't yet travelled to the country itself to drink it. I usually drink my beloved Leffe Blond at my local Belgian bar, accompanied by a compulsory pot of steaming mussels and fries.

Best foreign beer in the budget category has got to be Vietnam’s Bia Hoy (Fresh Beer). I recall evenings spent chugging multiple glasses of this delicious liquid in picturesque Hoi An a couple of years ago. At less than NZ 40c a glass, it can’t be beat!

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About three dollars worth of Bia Hoy - winning!

C / Cuisine. Favourite?

You know what, I ask myself this question every single day, and my verdict is that its got to be a tie between Thai and Italian. I could possibly narrow it down even further and say its a tie between Pad Thai and Spaghetti Bolognese (how predictable am I!), but I won’t go quite that far. Do any other cuisines even come close to being as delicious?

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Eating pasta in Yogyakarta - coz it rhymes, right?

D / Destinations. Favourite and least favourite? Why?

Favourite: Oh gosh, there are so many incredible places in this world, how am I going to choose? I’m yet to write about it on the blog, but I recently spent 9 blissful days in Malaysia’s beautiful Langkawi island, and I’m fairly certain it was paradise! Other frontrunners for the favourite destinations accolade are Ubud (Bali), Hoi An (Vietnam) and El Nido (Philippines).

Least Favourite: Surprisingly, I seem to be the type of person who likes the places others don’t, or at least find something to love about them. I’ve heard negative opinions on many, many places I’ve been, so often I’m naturally surprised when I get there and love it! Probably my least favourite destination I’ve visited recently would be Jakarta, we got ripped off by a taxi driver, had the smallest room possible, and didn’t have long enough there to figure out the city.

E / Event you’ve experienced abroad that made you say “WOW!”?

Hand’s down, my answer to this is the annual Uttarayan Kite Festival in Ahmedabad, in India’s state of Gujarat. I spent a week in Gujarat with my brother in January 2013 and we were fortunate enough to be in Ahmedabad over the time of Uttarayan. I wasn’t expecting much, but it turned out to be blow-my-mind incredible!

By day, the clear blue skies were filled with thousands upon thousands of colourful kites, the rooftops of every building as far as the eye could see brimming with smiling people. My brother and I were taken wonderful care of by a local couchsurfing host and were treated like royalty all day, hanging out on rooftops with his family and friends, indulging in Indian sweets and snacks, and being shown how to kite fight (i.e. cut other peoples kite strings with your own)! I wasn’t much good at that, though I did a splendid job of eating the aforementioned snacks.

My highlight of the whole festival was the evening on the second day, where everybody (and I mean everybody in this city of more than 3.5 million people!) released lanterns into the air. The sky was filled with hundreds of thousands of lanterns drifting up into the sky and flickering into the distance. It was probably the most spectacular sight I’ve ever seen.

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My photos don't even begin to do it justice, there were kites for miles!

F / Favourite mode of transportation?

The most fun I’ve ever had on public transport was riding on the roof of a jeepney in the Philippines. We rode the couple of hours from Sabang back to Puerto Princesa, on the island of Palawan. The only worry was that we had to be sure to duck our heads every time we saw power lines dangling from one side of the road to the other, to avoid any nasty accidents!

G / Greatest feeling while travelling?

Travelling creates so many great feelings that is is very difficult to narrow it down to just one! Possibly my favourite feeling would be that anticipation of exploring when I very first arrive somewhere new - I like to get my bearings as quickly as I possibly can. The feeling of arriving somewhere new is made 10x better when you check into your accommodation and realise its much nicer than you were expecting! That makes for one happy Christie.

H / Hottest place you’ve ever travelled to?

Arizona, USA - it was 110 degrees fahrenheit in the shade (more than 43 celsius!). In fact that whole holiday was hot! When we were kids, my brother and I had the extraordinary fortune of winning a family trip from little New Zealand to Disneyland, California. My parents had the foresight to extend our holiday and we spent a phenomenal couple of weeks road-tripping around USA’s South-western states. I recall it being so hot at Disneyland there were multiple visitors fainting!

I / Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?

While in Costa Rica, we stayed for a few nights in a guesthouse in Heredia, within the country’s Central Valley. Their service was fantastic, collecting us from the airport late at night, dropping us off in the early hours of the morning, helping us to organise transport, serving tasty breakfasts every morning, the list goes on. The best part was that everything was always with a friendly, genuine smile. The guesthouse was Vista Los Volcanes and I’d highly recommend it. I don’t think incredible service has to be restricted to 5-star hotels!

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Playing with frogs in Costa Rica

J / Journey that took the longest?

New Zealand is a long way from anywhere, so most journeys tend to take a long time! By air, my longest journey would be from my hometown of Nelson, New Zealand, to Madrid, Spain. Two places that are on the exact opposite side of the world to each other, and I did the whole journey in one go - as a solo 17-year-old, might I add! Nelson - Auckland - Singapore - Frankfurt - Madrid —> the journey took 36 hours if I remember correctly.

By land, my longest journey would be the series of busses I recently took in Indonesia between Lovina, Bali and Yogyakarta, Java. I blogged about that mega-journey here!

K / Keepsake from your travels?

I don’t buy a lot when I’m travelling. I prefer to spend my money on experiences and take photos as my keepsakes. Especially when I’m travelling long-term, like I am currently, I don’t want to carry anything extra on my back that I don’t need!

L / Let-down sight. Where and why?

I have no regrets from any of my travels - ever, but possibly my best answer for this question is India’s majestic Taj Mahal. Don’t get me wrong, the Taj Mahal itself was not a let-down, in fact it was more beautiful in real life than I could have ever imagined! The let down was the weather - it was so foggy that we could barely see a couple of metres in front of us, let alone the Taj Mahal itself. It was such a disappointment to leave Agra without truly seeing the Taj in all its glory. Luckily, I had a few days on my own in Delhi a few days later, so I took another trip back to see it, with more luck that time - phew!

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Taj Mahal attempt #1

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And attempt #2, a few days later. Oh it is there, after all!

M / Moment where you fell in love with travelling?

I don’t think I ever had a choice about whether or not I would love travelling, I’m positive its an inherited trait! Both of my parents love travelling the world, as did both sets of their parents. I'm sure I fell in love with travelling before I even knew what it was, as a kid I loved poring through photo albums and hearing mum and dad tell stories of their travels.

Though, its safe to say that if I hadn’t already, I definitely picked up the travel bug when I travelled to Singapore and Malaysia at the age of seven. It was my first foray into Asia, into eating restaurant food other than chicken nuggets and chips, into an unknown language and my first memories of learning about a lifestyle so different from my life back home.

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Exploring markets and catching the travel bug in Malaysia

N / Nicest hotel you’ve ever stayed in?

Last year one of my best friends and I had a girls’ long weekend away together in Auckland and stayed at The Langham, one of Auckland’s fanciest hotels, for four glorious nights! We splurged on the buffet breakfast, eating ourselves silly with something like four courses each, and spent much of our days lazing beside the rooftop pool and enjoying the spa’s facilities. It was a total dream and while I don’t tend to travel at that expense when I’m travelling internationally, The Langham was absolutely worth every penny!

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Lounging poolside at The Langham, Auckland

O / Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking photos of while travelling?

I’m a pretty amateur photographer, and sometimes I’m too lazy to lug my camera around with me. But, when I do bring it I tend to snap photos of everything and anything! I’m currently working on trying to take more photos that tell a story and capture moments - rather than just the standard tourist shots, i.e. Alan in front of this, me in front of that.

P / Passport stamps. How many and from where?

I think I’m currently on my fifth passport, though only from old ones expiring, not from filling the entire passport up! My current passport has stamps from Costa Rica, USA, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Thailand (twice), Indonesia, Malaysia (twice) and Singapore.

It also has an Australia stamp that has been stamped over with a bold “Stamped in error”! Fortunately that is not as exciting/scary as it sounds, we simply had some incorrect transit instructions when we checked right through in Dallas, so had to rewind our way back through security in Brisbane. Oops!

Q / Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where?

Not an attraction so much as a quirky experience, when I was in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, a couple of years ago, one night we had a few drinks and hit up one of the local clubs, Tiki Bar. Being just about the only foreigners there, we were called up to dance on stage (to Gangam Style, of course!) multiple times throughout the night, we were bought a bucket of beers by an old dude who claimed to be the town’s Mayor, and later were invited backstage for a ‘meet and greet’ with the band!

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Rubbing shoulders with celebs...apparently the band was quite famous in SEA?

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It was one wild night! Jollibees' fries were essential as we made our way back to our guesthouse early the next morning.

R / Really frightening. One place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy?

Despite feeling safe the majority of my two months in India last year, there were a couple of unfortunate exceptions. One uneasy moment happened to be at the Kite Market, the night before Uttarayan (Gujarat’s annual Kite Festival I mentioned earlier). This was the most chocca-block market I have ever seen, and there were very few females. Gujarat is not a heavily-touristed state either, so to be foreign and to be female is apparently quite a sight at the Kite Market. I was there with a couchsurfing group made up of a few girls and a few guys, so the guys of our group sort of surrounded us to keep us safe from inevitable gropes and stares. Lets just say a few prying hands still managed to slip through and attempted boob/bum grabs. It wasn’t my favourite experience.

S / Splurge. Something you have no problem spending money on while travelling?

As a general rule, I’m happy to splurge on memorable and/or once in a lifetime experiences. I value experiences more than things and have no problem spending a few extra dollars on something that I’m going to remember forever!

Uh, apparently I also don’t mind splurging on bowls of pasta, either.

T / Touristy thing you’ve done?

Despite preferring to call myself a traveller, rather than a tourist, I have done plenty of ‘touristy’ things everywhere I’ve been, and will continue to do so!

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One of the many touristy things I've done, a Junk Boat cruise in Halong Bay, Vietnam. Loved it!

U / Unforgettable travel memory?

Oh, so many! One particular memory that sparks in my mind is a few years ago when Mum, Dad and I travelled to Japan to visit my brother who was living and studying in Tokyo at the time. We spent a white Christmas (which is very unusual for us in New Zealand as Christmas for us falls at the height of summer!) in Nagano and when we sat down in a restaurant to have lunch on Christmas Day, Mum pulled out four Christmas crackers from her handbag. We sat their happily munching away on our soba noodles, wearing our colourful paper crowns, sharing the silly christmas cracker jokes. Later that day we purchased a “Christmas cake” which, rather than your typical dense fruitcake, turned out to be a heavily frosted chocolate sponge cake. A deliciously non-traditional family Christmas!

V / Visas. How many and for where?

I’ve had tourist visas for Vietnam, India (twice), Thailand (twice, I’m currently on my second 60-day visa) and a transit visa for the US when I spent a few days in Dallas en route to Costa Rica in May - I think thats all? I’m too lazy to grab my passport and check. We Kiwi’s are very lucky that we don’t need pre-organised visas for many countries.

When we head to Bangkok in a month or so I have to get a tourist visa for China, here's hoping that isn’t going to be too difficult!

W / Wine. Best glass while travelling?

My love for wine is another trait that I’m sure is genetic, which is currently a problem for me since I am travelling through Asia, the land of cheap beer! Luckily I also love beer, right?

While in France with my family a few years back, I took a tour of the Mumm Champagne factory, which ended with some tastings. Surely nothing beats drinking champagne, in Champagne itself!

But of course, I have to be a little bias and mention my favourite wine in the whole world - Neudorf Maggie’s Block Pinot Gris. Grown on my parents’ section just outside of Nelson, New Zealand and named after my mum!

X / eXcellent view and where from?

Though I could think of hundreds, the first excellent view that sprang to mind is this one from the other day, in Langkawi, Malaysia. We took the cable car to one of Langkawi's popular viewing platforms, where we lucked out with a magnificent day (sometimes it can be a little cloudy). I love this view towards Thailand’s islands. Seriously, have you ever seen sea and sky so blue? It looks like they are just about merging into one!

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So many perfect hues of blue

Y / Years spent travelling?

Honestly, I think this question is silly. Travelling is not a competition! In my opinion it is not important how long you have been travelling for, the important thing is that if travel makes you happy - do it!

Z / Zealous sports fans and where?

I’ve never seen anything like Auckland’s Queen Street after the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup in 2011. At the time I was living in Auckland, in a small inner-city apartment across the road from The Cloud, which was where much of the action was at. We had a whole lot of friends over to watch the final and like much of the rest of Auckland, ran out onto the streets after the AB’s won, jumping for joy and hugging everyone around us. I’m not even a very big rugby fan, but the patriotism took over that night - it was awesome!

Auckland's Queen Street post RWC victory!

Auckland's Queen Street post RWC victory!

I'd love to know your ABCs of travel - share them with me in the comments below!


Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on BloglovinInstagram & Twitter to stay up to date with The Butterfly Editions!

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Volunteering At A Dog Rescue In Ubud, Bali

Volunteering at a Dog Rescue in Ubud, Bali

A huge part of the reason Ubud had me captivated was because we spent much of our time at a dog rescue shelter, where they rescue street dogs (and cats, and sometimes even monkeys), sterilise them, bring them back to health and work to adopt them out.

A friend of ours is currently volunteering there, and it is no secret that I love dogs, so we took advantage of her invitation to pop in one afternoon and see what it is all about. We ended up spending much of the next couple of days there - washing puppies, playing with the sick little puppies, feeding the animals (including bottle feeding tiny little newborn puppies!), and playing with the bigger dogs.

The second I stepped in the gate, I left a piece of my heart at this place. Even though I had only known them for mere hours, I love all of those dogs to bits!

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Some of the dogs are, sadly, disabled. There are many whose back legs don’t work and have become a little bit deformed because of this.

One of the dog’s back legs had become almost bat-like which made it easier for him to walk on his front legs. Another had just had his back legs amputated and was recovering from this surgery, yet still managed to bound around on its front legs - quite incredible!

There were two blind dogs, one with cataracts and another that had both of its eyes removed. There was a dog that had a gash in his head from a machete, as he unknowingly tried to eat a farmer’s chicken. This dog was nick-named 'Maggot-head' so I'm sure you can imagine the condition he was in when he first arrived to the dog rescue shelter.

There was a dog that had been kicked in the mouth and could no longer open it, he had to eat his dinner through the only small gap he could open in the side of his mouth and slowly slurp his food in. There were dogs that were so sick they could barely lift their heads.

There were puppies who were so sick that had no hair and skin of scabs, plus dogs with all sorts of skin conditions, that just needed some love and care.

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There were some of the happiest dogs you've ever seen, yet it was still such a sad and upsetting sight to see. The minute you took a sick little puppy out of its cage, had lots of playtime and cuddles and tummy rubs with it, their eyes would light up and you could see the happiness and love just absorbing into its body!

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Its such a challenging, dirty and tiring (physically and emotionally) job the volunteers at these shelters do. One dog came in with problems with its back legs and the vet had said the legs either had to be amputated or the dog be put down. They persevered, initially he was able to drag his back legs along, and now he is learning to walk again! He can walk on all fours now, sometimes his back legs get a bit tangled and he trips over himself, but hey, that happens to the best of us!

There are so many dogs, and I wonder with a very heavy heart what is going to happen to them all - they need loving adoptive homes!!! I did consider adopting 20 or so and sending them back to New Zealand, but unfortunately I’m not a millionaire 🙁

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It just really reinforces the point, no matter where you are in the world, please rescue dogs instead of buying them! There are so, sooooo many dogs needing homes, not only in Bali but all over the world. And, if you can afford it, please come to Bali and rescue a dog from one of the many animal rehabilitation centres - they are the most loving, beautiful animals!!

There are a lot of great animal shelters doing great things in Bali. We spent our time at BARC.

Have you ever spent time an animal rescue shelter? I would love to hear your stories!


Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on BloglovinInstagram & Twitter to stay up to date with The Butterfly Editions!

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Long-Term Travel – How I’m Feeling

Long-Term Travel – How I’m Feeling

I have a giant list of post ideas for my little blog, and sat down this afternoon with the intention of working through just that, but with our long-term travel adventure looming my brain has other ideas and this candid snapshot of thoughts came out instead!

Our adventure begins in about three weeks time, so it has been a hectic few weeks of organisation, finishing up projects at work, and managing to sell most of our stuff - and as to be expected not all has gone smoothly and easily. Last night was the first night I have slept for 8 hours in a looong time, and man, it felt good!

The best way I can describe my brain at the moment is like a blender on the pulse function - a mixture of feelings all whizzed up together in go-go-go mode! Every now and then though, I find myself completely calm with this content feeling that everything is going to work out fine. Which it will, of course, but there is plenty to do before then! My mind is playing tricks on me and it is all rather confusing!

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I thought it might be a good practice to write down what's on my mind now so that hopefully, in a year or so, I can look back and laugh/reminisce about the silly things I was worried about at the time. Here goes my random brain dump...

I'm going to miss this place, and everybody that comes with it. I seem to have this problem that the minute I feel comfortable somewhere I have this urge to shake it up and do something outside my comfort zone. I love change, but it also terrifies me. I'm going to miss my perfect little house, my car (I had to say goodbye to it yesterday), my family, my friends, earning money, my part-time dog...at least I don't have to say goodbye to Alan!

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Going to miss playing with this guy in our backyard!

What if I don't like travelling? I've backpacked for 3 months through Asia before, but never any longer than that. And I talk about travelling ALL the time. Will we come crawling back with our tails between our legs after just a month or so? Gosh, I hope not.

Will we get our to-do lists done before we go? I sure hope so! Aaaah brain overload, so much to do.

I am so excited to own hardly anything. We have sold SO much stuff. Our cars, all of our whiteware, furniture, plus lots of clothes and nick-nacky things. And it feels good! I'm worried about when we come back (will we come back?) how we will afford to buy the things we need, but for now it feels wonderful, and I am inspired to live a more minimalistic life. Hopefully this mindset lasts!

Everybody else is starting to spend money on responsible things, and I'm about to splurge my entire savings on travel. My Facebook feed is filled with friends buying homes, getting married, having babies, buying new pets, engagement rings and new cars. These are all things I want, but not just yet. Should I want that right now? Am I going to regret spending all of this money on adventuring through the unknown rather than a downpayment on a mortgage? Gosh, that sounds so serious. I'm confident in our decision to travel and I'm positive that we won't regret it - but my Facebook feed certainly doesn't agree with me!

I'm proud of how I've retrained myself in regards to my money. I used to never have a second thought about spending a day at the mall and purchasing essentially a new wardrobe, buying a takeaway coffee at the office each morning, or spending $10 or more on my lunch nearly every single day. Since January this year when I began saving for our holiday to Costa Rica, I have been so strict on myself when it comes to money. I haven't bought new clothes in months, nor a coffee, nor lunch. I pack my lunch every single day. I drink coffee that is provided for free in our staffroom. And I repeat outfits often. So what? I've managed to save a truckload of money! In this process I have also become great at budgeting, become a lot closer to my money and understand my financial position a lot better including my gigantic student loan and Kiwisaver.

Philippines Beach Travel

Can't wait for views like this, and warm temperatures!

I'm dying of anticipation! I'm eager to board that plane and turn all of my travel dreams into reality. This long-term trip has been in the back of my mind for more than 10 years, and I'm SO excited that the timing has finally fallen into place. We have a very basic plan, and I just can't wait to see how our adventures evolve as we discover new opportunities, meet new people, and become comfortable with life on the road.

Have you ever set off for a long-term adventure? What were your thoughts going into it?


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A Travel Announcement: Life’s Next Big Adventure!

A Travel Announcement: Life’s Next Big Adventure!

“Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”

- Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye

I LOVE this quote. I've had it jotted in notebooks, etched in my mind, and even stuck to the fridge, ever since I discovered it more than a year ago.

Perhaps I love it because it explains how I feel about life.

It explains why I have no problem moving from place to place, and never settle (hang on, I'm only 24, who says I need to settle yet!). From Nelson, to Wellington, to Auckland, to Christchurch, to where am I going next...with plenty of excursions dotted between - a month in Thailand, another month in Vietnam & The Philippines, a couple more months in India, back to Nelson...

My beautiful hometown of sunny Nelson

My beautiful hometown of sunny Nelson

I feel like I leave a piece of my heart in every place I travel to and live in. And I take with me moments, that build together exactly like the quote says, like bricks. Bricks in my mind that are the building blocks of me, of my whole being.

Wow, thats getting a bit deep. I just love travelling, okay!

With that said, I'm going to have to take that quote off the fridge. But why?!

Because we're selling the fridge. Actually, we're selling everything. Well, except for our beloved KitchenAid Food Processor and my beautiful giant elephant painting, and whatever other little treasures we can convince our parents and friends to find space for in their garage for who-knows-how-long.

Because, we're packing up and going travelling!

Yup, thats right, Alan and I have resigned from our jobs, we're packing up our house and we're leaving our comfortable little bubble that we have created here in Christchurch.

We're off to see the world, to create more memories, and to build more bricks of life, together.

A 'no-plan' plan of backpacking Asia until our wallets are dry...

1st stop: Bali, August 26th.

The countdown is on - I can't wait!

Any advice to share for a soon-to-be nomad?


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5 tips to stay healthy when you have a desk job

Like many of you, I have a desk job, which means that I sit in front of a computer for the majority of my day. It is easy to fall into bad habits with a desk job, which not only means that the pounds can pile on quickly, but your attitude can take a dive bomb and you can end the day feeling completely exhausted.

Here are my five top tips to stay healthy when you have a desk job!

1. Go for a walk on your break. It is so important to get outside during the day, for some fresh air and a shot of Vitamin D. Vitamin D, combined with a little movement will do wonders not only for your physical health but also your attitude and mind set for the afternoon. I aim for 30 minutes walking in my lunch break every day – which adds up to 2.5 hours of walking a week!

2. Hold back on the coffee. Don’t let yourself become addicted to coffee! And if you are, wean yourself off it. Coffee will dehydrate you and eventually leave you feeling even more tired. That’s not to say don’t have any coffee at all – I love (and look forward to) my coffee first thing in the morning to ease myself into the day, but limit yourself to no more than two a day. When you do have your coffee, sip away at it slowly and savour the taste. It is meant to be enjoyed, not gulped down in five seconds flat!

3. Keep a water bottle at your desk. And actually drink it. Aim for 1.5 litres during the work day.

4. Eat right. Guys, this is not new news. Pack a balanced lunch (my favourite is to bring leftovers from the night before), and bring a couple of snacks – maybe a piece of fruit and some nuts. Stay away from the vending machine!

5. Make time for yourself after work. Being happy at work is not only about being at work. What you do to maximise your happiness outside work hours will positively impact your mood overall. I often think about what I have planned after work and it puts me in a good mood all day. Plan to meet a friend for a drink on the way home, plan a date night to look forward to, or imagine how nice it is going to be when you get home and can make some cheese & crackers, plant yourself on the couch watching the Ellen Show…or whatever!

6. Smile. Even if it’s the day from hell, just smile. Having a positive attitude can make such a difference. Fake it til you make it, right?

Are you also a desk-dweller? Do you have any further tips to stay healthy when you have a desk job?


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This is your Life

Its the weekend!

Check out this amazing and video of the Holstee Manifesto. A wonderfully inspiring watch to kick your weekend off on the right foot.

 

This is your life! So get out there and do what you love this weekend, and forever.


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