Home > Friends, Travel > Backpacking buddies – 1

Backpacking buddies – 1

I love backpacking. To be honest, I did not know much after backpacking as long as I was in India. My 3day solo Goa trip in May 2004 could be called my first attempt at backpacking. But the world is so different. Travel seems to mean backpacking for most of the guys I met in NZ. Is it the costs or the convenience? India certainly has a long way to offer in terms of backpacking infrastructure. There is no question about the fantastic facilities that other countries have, especially NZ. The huge bags that guys bring in preparation reminds me that backpacking is THE way of travel. Of course, I get to meet several interesting personalities. These passing acquaintances seem perfect illustrations of the temporal nature of life. Here I try and remember some of them.

In my first trip, I was so reserved. I am the only brown guy on the bus and every one seems to have a partner or content being alone. It takes me a day to get used to the new environment. On the second night in Taupo, I met a Dutch man Grenardo (or some such name). He happens to have worked in Vietnam for a long time. The LP guide book is a bible to him, just like to so many people. I had the internet and I never really used any book. That is the advantage of travelling in a developed nation. My numismatic interests come into play and he gives me a Vietnamese coin to kick off the process. That’s all I remember about him. An interesting German I met on my Auckland orientation tour collected signatures from all the guys he met for his sister back home. What a memorable way to start her birthday!

On the second day in Taupo, I met two Americans of Danish origin from California. The girl Daphne had a nice webpage on philosophy and the guy was into IT hardware on his own. They almost dragged me to the local pub and the movie house for the night, but I had to politely decline their invites. They were the 1st guys to talk to me for a longer length of time. That was my first multi-sex dorm too. But I delay to email them, though I visit her webpage which I unfortunately do not remember now.

On my next trip north of Auckland, I meet two amazing people. The first is Jess, a cute English lawyer who also had learnt history. Making people feel nicer comes easily to her, I think. She chats with almost every one in the tour. There is a quiet Austrian doctor, who also happens to be friendly. It takes time to follow her heavy German accent. I book myself on my first barbecue for the night. I neither liked the steak nor the other food. But I stayed late talking with, rather listening to Jess, the Austrian and an English couple. This is where I get to know of gap years and round-the-world trips, which so fascinate me. I should hope to do it at some stage in my life.

The next day we travel to the northern tip of NZ Cape Reinga. Jess is remarkable company for today too. The surprise is I meet a fellow Indian Naveen. He has been in North Carolina for a longer part of his life. He is a Mallu doctor, who’s doing his gap year (he calls it a working holiday) in Wellington. He offers me stay at his home when I will go south the following week, which I accept graciously. Jess takes notes painstakingly. Naveen and I cook up a story in good spirit that Jess is a British spy šŸ™‚

On my first South Island trip, I meet a Kannada family at Picton just as I board the TranzCoastal to Christchurch. The father happens to be a professor from IIMK on exchange to NZ. How coincidental that across the seas, we happen to travel on the same day and end up meeting each other! The whole train trip, I did not for once sit in my assigned seat and spent talking to his kids (in Class 8 and Class 3). They tell me they have an awesome time studying in NZ as the load is so light. Just like me! So if you’ve the dough, study in NZ. As for jobs, you can always come back to India or go to America. šŸ˜‰

My next interesting person is an Aussie lady doctor, Sheryl from Adelaide. She is on her way to a conference in Auckland and she has a 3day break in one of the off-beat stops, Punakaiki. Both of us are on the same bus to Nelson. I see her meticulously noting down details of her trip so she can later email it to her friends. I appreciate her. It takes me quite an effort to start the conversation, but any connection with letters and words boosts my attempts greatly. I recommend her blogger and wordpress so that she can save on email. Being a doctor, she questions me on how it means to be in India, with such a large divide between the rich and the poor. This is one major question most Indians will conveniently ignore. She also tells me about her bad experience with an Indian junior, who could not somehow accept the idea of a female boss. I tell her times are changing in India and one visit here could change her perspective.

My post is already getting bigger. So I will continue on another one…

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Categories: Friends, Travel
  1. A
    5 January 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Looks like you have mets lots of interesting people! Hmm, I usually never start conversations of my own accord with strangers while travelling – too shy for that. But have had quite a few interesting exchanges once some conversation did start!

    Next part, please!

  2. 6 January 2007 at 9:52 pm

    oh well, that’s the pleasure of travelling alone. when you feel like, you can converse and otherwise enjoy your solitude! this post was started with two lines last month. so i don’t know when i’ll do the next. so much travel pending.

  1. 10 January 2007 at 9:10 am

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