Food

April 2015

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Finally made it to the South Island. With the flip of a coin, we decided to take the west coast. Driving through wineries was beautiful, little did we know, we would be returning to these wineries later, on our exploration. The road to Nelson was wild, through a winding pass and some many drop offs. After making it to Nelson, we decided to stay, it was also the first place we found with a shower after 5 days. The town was pretty big for New Zealand, located on the coast with stunning sunsets. We stayed one night, as our goal was to make it as far south as possible before the winter set in.

We found a job lead online, using backpackerboard. The job was doing housekeeping at the Rainforest Retreat in Franz Joseph. We thought it would take us two weeks to get there from Nelson, it took us 3 days. The drive on the west coast of New Zealands South Island is absolutely breathtaking. Towering cliffs leading to rainy beaches with huge surf on one side and dense rainforest on the other. Definitely one of the top most beautifully unique roads to drive on. We stopped at the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki, funky looking rocks located off the coast. Made it all the way to Greymouth, a small town but it had a Countdown and The Warehouse, which was always good for free wifi and cheap bread. After camping in the industrial area of the town, we headed further down the West Coast. We chilled in Hokitika to see the Hokitika Gorge and all the strange drift wood sculptures on the beach. The teal glacial water of the Gorge made you thirsty. Of course the sandflies were around to distract you from the beauty. Finally, we drove through a few more small towns before making it to Franz Joseph.

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This town was tiny, it was located in the Glacier Country but surrounded by rainforest. We signed up to wwoof(World Wide Opportunities on Organic farms) for two weeks. The work we did was pretty easy stuff, mostly cleaning up the rooms after the Kiwi Experience and Contiki backpackers wrecked them. Only 4 hours a day and we got free accommodation, laundry coins, a free meal, and 2 free drinks at the bar, called Monsoon. This gave us a reason to go to Monsoon every night. There was always something to celebrate: someones birthday, a wwoofer is leaving, it was Tuesday.

Two weeks passed working the Rainforest Retreat, and one of the workers asked what’s our plan. We had none. So our coworker told us to bring our laptops and be prepared with a resume (CV), they called it. She had also traveled for a few years already and knew how to make money while traveling. There we were, all on computers and she sent us multiple job links of all sorts. Random, one was at a ski resort. Snow, cold, winter, everything we were avoiding with, but we applied. Our two weeks came up but decided to stay a few more days.

Oddly after leaving Franz Josef for more exploration, we got an email back for the ski resort job. So there we were in this amazing small town, Wanaka. We got mentioned about it but being there, it felt incredible. A small town with a main road less than a quarter mile. One side, the shops the other Lake Wanaka with mountains in the background. Breathtaking. And the best part about it, we did an interview with Cardrona Alpine Resort. We actually did a duo interview. It was a match, we felt good about our chances just had wait for the email conformation.

In need of a shower, we listened to a friend and snuck into a hostel. It was a bigger one so all we had to do was act normal. We found the shower room and took care of business and all of a sudden the fire alarm went off. Thought to myself, this can’t be true maybe its just to scare us since we didn’t belong there. Shouted out to Ben and agreed to just finish quickly. Next thing a worker knocks on the door and tells everyone to exit, there’s a fire. Not wanting to get caught we changed as fast as possible, it was a moment to fend for yourself. At the main exit, the employees were lining up everyone but since we shouldn’t be there at all, I took a sharp left to the car park. We all met at the van and laughed at the whole situation. All we wanted to do was shower.

We stayed in the town for 3 days and moved further south to Queenstown, and before I forget we had a hitchhiker with us, sort of. They had also worked at the Rainforest Retreat with us. The drive was simply impeccable, giant mountain ranges on both sides, the trees were beaming with the Autumn colors. The drive had multiple stops, just to take it in. Finally we made it to Queenstown which was our Original goal. Another small town with a bigger Main Street. We had a friend there waiting to meet up and gives a tour of the pub scene. It included mechanical bulls, giant liter beers, burgers and agreeing to bungee jump.

Somehow we said yes. Next morning bright and early Ben and I met up with the friend who happened to be celebrating the birthday. We bought our tickets at the hostel, it was slightly cheaper. *Travel tip check with your hostels/hotels/resort about trips before going to storefronts. * After getting settled with our tickets it was a waiting game before the bus came. The site of the bungee jump was 45 mins out the town and into a canyon. The set up was cable wires attached on both sides of the canyon and a pod hanging in the middle. You have to ride a cart above the canyon to get to the jumping spot. Its a enclosed room where you are properly secured by your legs and just wait for your name.

The room fit about 20 people with the workers, the floors were glass so you can see down 500 feet. It was my turn, you literally walk the plank, smile at the camera and jump on three. Wow! What a feeling that was! 440 feet on downfall.  Before you know it, you bounce a few more times and have to pull a latch to sit upwards. The ride up was a lot longer but you get to see the grandness of it all. I suggest to any thrill seeker to checkout the Nevis Bungee Jump in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Talk about jitters, after all that adrenaline, we were ready to eat and have some drinks. Queenstown is thought to be a party city of New Zealand but on a micro scale. Everything is overly priced and some of it over hyped. Overall it was a great time in Queenstown.

It took a weeks worth of waiting but we got the email for the job at Cardrona Ski Resort based out of Wanaka. We made our way back there in search for a flat. No luck and no money, the job was still a month away. Instead we decided to head back north to volunteer at the Rainforest Retreat.

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Time Just Marches On.

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Ben (left), Junior (right) NewKind

Wow. Unfortunately it’s been a while since the last post. Its so easy to get stuck in a routine. Life has sort of been that since arriving back into The States. Seeing old friends and family then learning they haven’t even left their state would make me cringe. Two and a half years later it makes me appreciate the jump into the unknown with Ben. We learned it takes a lot of courage.

Not knowing anyone who’s left the country on a one way ticket before, made it a pioneering type of trip. Then just doing it became a thrill. We made a deadline when to buy the ticket. Did it. Next, figure the date to leave, didn’t want to wait too long. Early February 2015, we said. Soon it all played out as planned and the months went by, our date came 12 February 2015. After living, working, adventuring in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei then coming back to the United States of America, one can only speculate why traveling after grade school isn’t promoted.

Now I want to share our adventure from the past two years on 15 March. In 2016 it was leaving our home in Blenhiem, New Zealand, we rode the ferry from the town Picton to Wellington and slept in the airport. An earlier landing than expecting into Melbourne Tullamarine Airport caught us off guard. So we took the shuttle bus to the city centre and met up with our friend Audrey whom we met in New Zealand.

Next stop hostel check in and the spectacular Wilson Promontory National Park. Seeing these beautiful, bright colour parakeets, wombats, blue water, endless ocean horizon. How could this be. Is it true. Ben and I would ask ourselves that often, how did we get here. Do we deserve this. And looking back its by DOING, not being afraid of jumping into the unknown. You have nothing to lose. Landing into a new country on the other side of the world and having a friend there waiting for you, who by the way is French and met her in the country we just left.

By keeping in contact often, we organized to meet this particular day. When is the last time your friend picked you in another country in a rented car by the way? Traveling helps you meet some of the kindest people. In the U.S. we forget about this, staying in touch with loved ones. It doesn’t have to be every day or every week but often. To keep that bond strong especially if you live in the same town or country.

Soon the next days we spent with Audrey and her friends, also going to the Formula 1 series. On St. Patrick’s Day we could not find anything popping. We were quite disappointed and ended up at the park with cheap wine. Compare that to St. Paddy’s Day a year before in Auckland, New Zealand. That was a blast, we danced with a few 96 year’s young ladies know as the Golden Girls.

March 15, 2017 at the NewKind Festival site in Little Swansport, Tasmania Australia. NewKind was more of a social gathering rather than festival. It was full of workshops of all sorts; farming, solar energy, composting, healing, with sustainability being the number one goal. It was a recreation on how we can and should thrive towards living. Having one of these in the U.S. can help us become more of community. You build these amazing connections with like minded people and open minded people.

The view and beach helped ease the task of being responsible for feeding 400 people, 3 X’s a day, for 4 days. That’s 1,600 meals, a mission Ben and I didn’t expect to be doing while traveling. With our amazing team though, we did and did it well. You know it was surprising to everyone there that we were just two Californian guys exploring the world and on an expired visa. We decided to not follow the same track everyone else is doing. The best way to see change is to be the change.

They say follow your heart and I say connect with your soul first. Take time from your every day busy schedule. Remember its a blessing to be alive. All that electronic, social stuff can be put on hold for a while. Use that time to get in touch with your mind, body and soul. Success should be judged on happiness not your bank account. If you do what you love, karma and balance will soon follow.

TRAVEL INTO THE UNKNOWN!

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Queenstown, New Zealand
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Hokitika Gorge, South Island, New Zealand

April 2017 Borneo and Tasmania

Apologies. It’s been quite some time since we’ve updated this, quick recap though. Now in the U.S. of A. Ben is living in California, I Junior am living in Georgia. Life has been wild. Now its time to make some money because that’s what we have to do.

So after a stupendous, wild, wonderful at the Kinabatangan River, we hopped on the shuttle bus back to Sandakan. It was one bumpy ride, a helmet would have been nice for the ride, you couldn’t even take a nap. Alice, Louis, Ben and I went back to the same hostel we stayed at before the river cruise. At the hostel we had to wait for the rooms to be cleaned so we just chilled in the living room area, used some of that WeeFee drug. We heard of a market, so on a search we went. It was just around the corner but we went the long way, amazing fruits and vegetables that are not found in your everyday supermarkets. Smells in the fish section that make you glad its not in your everyday supermarket. Its a whole other kind of market than you’re used to.

Later that night, Ben and I hit up the local pub cafe, where they have a server constantly filling up your glass with your beer even though you don’t want them to. But hey, its their culture. After a few beers, and some monsoon like showers we were getting ready to leave when two local looking guys said to join them. And with that Fuck It mentality we joined them, only to learn that that they don’t speak English. They were also brothers from Indonesia. They were on that Cowabunga Wave, with Good Vibes only. It was a game of charades, it went on for a couple hours of non stop laughing, They kept buying drinks and by the end of the night Ben was from Thailand and I was Malaysian. One of the best nights. Along the way home, we stopped for a late night Roti. It always hits the spot.

The next day we went to the nearby Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. It’s a beautiful thing they’re doing there. There’s NO fence, wall, guards stopping the orangutans from leaving. Its all within the jungle so some come and go as they please. They are such astonishing creatures, very human like maybe even smarter and wiser. Very much more relaxed. The youngsters are a bit more rambunctious. They’re in a separate area, free to play in a playground that helps build their confidence and get them ready for the Wild Life. The workers remind them they are not allowed to walk on the ground and you might think why not. And I thought this for a second and remembered they are creatures that live the majority if not all their life up in the trees, swinging with such ease. Right next door is the Sun Bear sanctuary, if not for this place the bears would be extinct. These are the smallest bears in world and know how to climb trees better than Winnie The Pooh. Thanks to us human, and our conquering of all lands, these tee nee weenie little bears are no longer found in the wild. But there’s hope as some homo sapiens still think about nature and animals.

A new day, a new town. Made it to Semporna after a hectic bus ride of seven hours. The scenery sadly the same of Palm Oil Plantations as far as you can see. At the bus port in Semporna before we knew it, there was a bamboozler on board offering its taxi service. They said they’d take us to a HOSTEL, but ended up at the port five minutes down the road. But they way he took us was the long way and made it seem further. We ended up in the town centre looking for a backpacker, hostel. Our friend Google Maps, found us one. We decided to walk to it, only a fifteen minute walk. No biggy. It led us through the back way, it was a nice neighborhood then turned into an rundown looking water village. We were definitely not in the right place. A nice local guy saw two alien looking people, that seemed to be lost and offered them a ride into town. It was just what we needed because it was hot and we were walking in circles. The guy even found us a hostel. People are amazing, Random Acts of Kindness help out so much.

Soon, we made it to a hostel, grab some food and on a quest to find a dive company. Uncle Chang Dive Company gave us the best deal. We caught the first boat out the next morning to Mabul Island where we would be staying on a water village. On this boat ride, was Michael US guy, about our age who had been living in China the past three years. He has now learn to speak Mandarin and was giving us insight on the culture in China. He sold us on the idea of working in Macau, China. A trip for another time.

As we made it to Mabul, passing other water villages. Something so unreal to witness, houses out in the sea in the middle of no where. Spectacular. It was lunch time at Uncle Chang’s, now ready to go on the first dive, with our awesome local guide named Sam. It wasn’t the best in equipment but had so much culture and hospitality. Our first dives were without dry suits and the water was so warm it didn’t matter. The food the first dinner was great, they made us a plant friendly option but that lasted one meal. After it was the usual white steamed rice and fried noodles with meat or eggs.

The first night included many bottles of Filipino Rum and meeting other divers. The next day woke up a bit funky, knew I was going to get sick soon. We did our morning dive, then afternoon and was losing energy. At night the sickness started coming in, the next morning brother Ben was feeling the same. He slept all morning and afternoon past check out time but its no worries at Uncle Chang’s. The final day was just us chilling out and thinking where to go next. The boat came and soon we went back to Semporna. Booked a night at the hostel, thought we’d wake up feeling back to normal on the quest to Tawau.

Tawau was a two and a half hour drive south, we had been told this town has the best food. So we were excited. After being dropped off in the beginning of the town, we went on a walk in search for a hostel or backpackers. Finally, we found a hotel for a decent price but had the most wonky bathrooms ever. Now that we stored our bags at the hotel, the search for bomb food began. We settled at an Indian Restaurant, not bad but wasn’t what we were after. Then we went to see the bus terminal, after walking around we decided to leave Tawau. Although we booked a hotel, we still bought overnight tickets to Kota Kinabalu, a ten hour night bus ride. With our Cowabunga Life Style, we didn’t care too much that we wasted a whole day in Tawau. We were excited to leave.

Now it was nearly six in the morning at the same bus terminal we were a week ago. Even though it was morning we just wanted to sleep on a real bed. Trying to find the best deal near the town centre, we booked a random hostel. They didn’t allow us in the room for another five hours. So away we went, trying to sleep at parks, mall, massage chairs. We just needed a bit of rest. The most exciting part of being back in KK was the Banana Leaf meal from the Indian Shop. Bomb.com/Malay

At this hostel, we took time to get rid of our sickness and work on our blog/Facebook. Wanting to see a bit of the Western side of Malaysia, Sarawak. We booked a flight to Miri in hope to visit Mulu National Park. Our last full day in KK was a rainy one. Known for its spectacle of islands near KK, we booked a boat to the nearby Mandaka. The storm passed the port before we got there and we thought we were escaping it only to find out it was coming to us. The boat ride was bouncy to say the least and the captain was laughing as we were the only two on the boat.

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The first hour was sunny, cruised around the island a bit and soon it was a full on monsoon rain. To kill time, we bought drinks in a coconut. On the way to catch the boat back, we couldn’t resist going in the water so we just jumped off the pier into clear, warm water. It was a great cap off to KK. This might have been the place with the best food. Along the way to the hostel with drinks in our hand found a noodle bar that made fresh noodles to order. The best noodles of my life. The next morning it was a trip to the airport and a quick hour flight to Miri. That flight was the first of six flights in four days. Getting to fly over Kota Kinabalu was an eyegasm. The view of the islands and clear water along with some reefs was amazing.

 

Now in Miri at a homestay, we booked a flight the next day to Mulu National Park. It was in a small plane, maybe thirty seats. The flight was quick as well, with just enough time to pass out drinks and a rubbish run. The National Park is very secluded and many stay with locals or at the one big hotel, to have a more authentic experience we booked a homestay. At the Park we checked out the famous Deer and Lang Caves, both unbelievable. Our guide was a local, derived from the people who lived there before it became a National Park. Many of our guides throughout our time in Malaysia were native locals, it gives that extra bond and knowledge of the place.

Just behind homestay was the river and  it was refreshing with the hot weather, we were like two kids covering our bodies with clay. To top off the stay, we did some caving in the Clearwater Cave. Darkness, Crevasses, Birds Echo-Locating, Fresh Cool Air, Being deep inside a cave is an experience all should try. Finally we were glad to leave only because we needed to find better food.

 

After three weeks, our time in Borneo was coming to an end. Back in Miri for a night, luckily for our last meal we found this flavourful Afghan restaraunt that had rotis and curry. Just what we were looking for. The morning was the beginning of a long journey back to Tasmania a thirty plus hour experience. We got a taxi to the bus terminal, the driver wanted a selfie with these weird Californian brothers. As soon as we get off the car, a man comes up to us and says, “Do you need a ride to Brunei?” The country we were flying out of. This is a usual thing, someone coming up and offering a better deal. Seemed like a great ideal so we took it. Four hours later we made it the Brunei, I don’t suggest flying into or out of here. It was nearly midday as we got there and soon it was Salah Time, praying. Everything in the airport closes for an hour, we couldn’t even check in.

Once it was over, we were the first in line to check in. Air Asia has very strict rules in Brunei anything over seven kilos you Have to check in for the small price of a hundred Brunei Dollars maybe equivalent $80 USD. Expensive! Now it was time to fly to Kuala Lumpur and wait for the next flight. Next Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne eight hours with no food or drinks. Don’t fly Air Asia! So close yet so far, in Melbourne we had to wait thirteen hours. The things we do, to say a few dollar bills. It was now time, a quick flight over the Bass Strait to Tasmania. No phone service, no ride out the airport, late at night. What do you do? Well we just stood around got in a line and made friends with others in same situation and shared a taxi to Hobart City Centre.

As we got to our hostel, there was a group of students from Malaysia. A couple were from towns we just visited. They invited us to the casino and as enticing as it sound, we did not join. However it was nearly midnight and we were on a hunt for kebabs, no luck. The next day though, we got our kebabs and some snacks. We took this time to rest and re-energize and get ready for the next adventure.

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Longley Organic Farm! Its time to get down and dirty to learn the process of growing vegetables. James the homie from NewKind Festival who hooked it up with all the produce, let us volunteer on his farm in exchange for food & accommodation. At the farm was our friend Rose. We did a couple of days of work before meeting up with cousin Andy who lend us his van to drive up to Launceston to collect the rest of our shit we left at Dave’s farm. It took longer than expected and we had more unnecessary shit than we thought. By the time we made back down the island it was dark and time to rest.

It was one more day of work at Longley before headed to Bruny Island for the Nairi Nayra Culture Festival. We went with the others from the farm and also met Andy there, we were all volunteering. Ben and I signed up for cooking, we thought it’d be better than our last experience cooking for a festival. Most of our time was just chillin‘ trying to figure out what’s the next move. The best part of the festival was the presence of the Elders from different parts of Australia. There was a group of Elder Ladies from the Kimberly’s of Western Australia, they said I reminded them of a nephew. That was one of my favorite moments of all Australia. These native people are so special and unique, the only thing is, I wish they got more attention to help save their culture.

Ben and I had duties to cook for the pack down crew. Our friends left and now it felt like, What the Fuck are we doing in life. The weather got gloomy, our tents were shit, we just wanted to leave. Though, we are men of our words and cooked all the meals we planned. Now it was a matter of, how are we getting off this island? Another awesome volunteer, Natalie gave Ben a ride and I found one that was leaving in the evening. Not wanting to be there I hopped on the back of the truck Ben was in and booked it with them. We caught the ferry back to Tasmania. The month of April was filled with island hopping, we counted and came out to be eight different islands we visited.

Back to potato digging at James’ farm. Not the most fun job, but we did. The best part was hearing and seeing Black Cockatoos every morning. This got our brains thinking about California and the fact that its going to be summer there. And here in Tasmania Winter was coming soon. The perks of being at Longley was that James had a variety of friends and they’d come over and have workshops of what they do. On Sundays it was Yoga in the Paddock. It felt great to be outside early morning, listening to the animals sing, crispness in the air made it magical. It was a sense of empowerment of oneself all by doing yoga. This gave me the motivation to do a Fruitarian Diet, eating only fruits. I went two days strong and then decided to fast for the next two days.

Its unbelievable how these diets can teach you about your eating habits. I learned by being at home you snack more often, or you tend to overeat. These diets are not for everyone but worth a try once a week or month. Makes you appreciate the food you eat, many people in this world go to bed hungry.

Ben and I have spoke about having our own cafe or food truck and produce bomb food with no waste. Composting all the scraps and leftovers, turn it into fertilizer for the plants. We have many ideals and if any one out there is great with numbers and technology, lets create the new way of eating.

To top of an unbelievable month, James had his friends teach us how Tree Climb. We used simple gear; ropes, harness, helmet, clips. Soon one by one we all climb the so effortlessly. You take a step, push the rope knot up, step up, repeat. If you’re tired you can even take a seat, dangling in the tree. Ben made it quite high something like thirty five metres. I got near but didn’t have enough strength since I had not eaten an actual meal in four days. It was breathtaking experience. Started with going deep in the ocean at the beginning of the month and going high up in tree at the end.

Life is great and the world is bigger than you think. Everyone should leave their small town and explore. All you do is share Good Vibes and they just bounce back to you.

Two California Guys in Borneo

 

Our journey through the third largest island in the world, Borneo. We flew from Tasmania, Australia to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Within 3 weeks we explored the Malaysian states of Sabah & Sarawak and the country of Brunei. We encountered many different species of insects, mammals, and plants along our journey. With nothing booked more than a day in advance, this is our adventure. Featuring Ben and Junior, two California guys.

 

Summer Time Summer Vibes 2017

Now it’s the start of 2017 and still feels the same, actually maybe feel the aftermath of such a magical day. The crew woke up at all different times. For the last part of volunteering we had to collect to bags of cans to enjoy the staff party. An amazing concept and you get to find cool random shit or food. Yummy. Knowing we had to work the next day, Ben and I said we’ll leave somewhat early. We all went to the party and got food. The drinks were unlimited but was only after water. The rain came as usual, what a summer. It was getting late and Lily offered to stay over at hers, so we did. This meant we had to wake up and hit the road by 5:45 am to work at 8. Ben had the day off and we made it there on time. It seemed to be busy and Ben later got called in.

We got off early, much needed my eyes were burning out of tiredness. The car was filthy so drove to town for some internet and gave the truck a clean out. At the library we learned that NewKind Festival was interested in us and our taco project. The festival was told to us by Victoria our flat mate from Darwin. The festival was about sustainability, no waste, a new society and a bunch of other shit that seemed our style. Over the next days, called them up and got a spot to do a workshop, the tricky thing is the festival was a week after our visa expires. So now it was a game to see how we can extend our stay.

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Work was now full on, and we took advantage of getting knock off drinks. The rules were soon changed to just weekends for drinks. Rules tend to change at many places once we come around for some odd reason. After work we spent our time in Evandale living at the market grounds. We found a flat but never finished early enough to check it out. During this time it was also Beth’s our workmates last day and we went out for drinks. It was great to mingle with the workmates outside of work. Friday we finished early enough to check out this flat at a farm near Evandale, where we were living. The guy’s name was Dave an old, grey, bastard as he said to describe himself. We had to find him in the pub. It was this pub that we went looking for accommodation as there wasn’t anything for us in town.

The lady gave us a card and said to call the owner, the owner then gave us Dave’s number saying he was a regular and had a self-contained unit. And this was a start to an amazing friendship/connection. So Friday after work we checked it out, Dave then told us how to get to Hobart as we were headed there to meet up with the Falls Festival family. We had the weekend off. The drive was in the country and so exquisite. The first night was in Hobart and the next day drove down to Cygnet where the others were staying at Lily’s parents place. It was the Folk Festival weekend, the biggest thing in the town all year. We wanted to cook tacos by the festival but ended up doing a private catering to the homies. It was a night of smiles and laughs. The next day though was an early start, a three hour trip to Launceston for an 8am start again.

Work was going well, both of us getting the hang of it. Soon it was Ben’s birthday and we cooked up a bomb curry with some Josef Chromy Merlot to pair with it. Just a normal day in our life down at the Evandale market, it would be our last night there. The next day after some staff drinks a few of us continued down at the river and later to Michelle’s house. After a wild and wild as in the place we went had weird vibes and we ran as fast as we could to the town not knowing where we were. Still to this day neither of us know where the house was because we ran so fast. Michelle was so nice, we stayed at her house for nearly a week before moving into the farm. In return we painted some doors, she’s renovating her house. During our stay here and knowing there was a Beer Festival going on, we did some taco prep at Michelle’s. This time we made blue tortillas and set out to feed the happy people.

Now that we were settled into a place after living out of the truck the past three months, it felt peaceful to just get home and relax. It also sparked new ideas, we came up with doing a Raw week. Not cooking or buying anything that was cook. We found a bulk store, our favorite and bought a bunch of ingredients to create our meals for the week. Funny thing on the walk back to the car, there’s a person running through the street turns out to be Theresa. Our friend from Darwin and whom we met up with in Brisbane, small world. Chatted for a bit and knew we’d meet up again. Towards the end of the week we were ready to be done with it just because we knew we can have something even better if only we cooked one item. It was a challenge though that we accomplished, it led to us soaking and sprouting our own beans and seeds.

During this time was also Triple J’s Hottest 100, which they spoke about for the whole month leading to the countdown. We listened to the start of it at work and later in our truck at the farm like weirdos that we are. Tom, Dave’s son saw us and said to join the barbecue, so we did. It was great to hang out with the others on the farm, especially Georgie who gave us some tea. Georgie’s the daughter of Dave and Sally the owners. That night she also gave us some of her home brew. This was summer, the days were nice and hot but the nights and mornings were chilly. We were using electric blankets to heat the bed up before sleeping like weenies.

 

 

The days off for both of us were never together anymore and we paid visits to the library for internet. Eventually we got library cards and started a book collection at home. The days were also spent creating a menu for the festival as somehow we were told to be the head chefs for the entire festival. One day after work and chilling in the back seat, we called Erfan to check in and he said the hospitality coordinator step down and now we’re in charge without asking if we wanted. It didn’t bother us as we thought everything would be ordered and organized and all we had to do was show up and make food for 400 people. Soon we learned absolutely the opposite.

It was crazy, we had to make the menu and change it many times as they didn’t want items in packaging. We had to source everything, and try to get it for free. It was shit but we believed in the cause of the festival. This was all done while living on a farm, no internet and not so good phone signal to go along with working full time. The days were just flying, it was now February and it seemed like all we were doing was working.

 

Theresa had scored a job at Josef Chromy and moved in with us. During this time we organized to cook dinner for the farm family. Dave was blown away that it was plant based, he ate three bowls of the pasta we made. Theresa though didn’t enjoy the work, said it wasn’t her style. She came at a time when Ben and I were empty in the brain and just needed to get away. It also happened to be the Super Bowl on a Monday since we’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Before the game, we went our own way and Theresa went to a friends. After the game, we bought the biggest size of wedges and drove far away, ended up at a beach. This is just what we needed.

 

The weekend before, we made it to the Evandale market, the place we used to sleep. It was a great market though only made it 60 metres in before getting drawn into a stand with these incredible marbles. Theses marbles were captivating, so much that we were late to work. It was an art master piece in the marble, some were dubbed the Universe and lived up to their name. They were filled with planets, nebula, galaxies and just awesomeness. We were sold and bought a few.

Meanwhile at work all was well, but then I thought I was crazy and thinking work had strange vibes. I convinced myself I was making it up, during this time Ben and I didn’t work many of the same days. Finally it reached a point where I didn’t want to work there anymore, which was bad because the place was incredible. With this feeling, I spoke to the bro and he said he felt the same. Not sure why but the vibes were out of tune and we didn’t know how to tune them back. But since we’re just two happy California guys, we brushed it off and made it fun anyway.

Needing to see some familiar faces, the Falls Festival family came over for a visit. Since Ben and I had the day off, we chose to make a camping trip to Liffy Falls. It turned out great, we spent the night there celebrating life and the following day went out for dinner with work. The dinner, strange as we eat plants only and the concept was a shared dinner with several courses. After this we said we will no longer join people for dinner because it seems to be that eating a plant based diet can be a weird concept for people. Often times they just make the atmosphere uncomfortable.

It was now a month until the festival, and it seemed every few days or so a new bomb would be dropped on us of what they wanted. It was getting to a point where we didn’t want to be a part of it. We had to figure out the visa situation as well since we were set to expire in a few weeks. Finally though, the menu was finalized and said no more changes. Andy came back to Launceston and asked for a job at Josef Chromy and got one, simple as that. His company is comforting and told him to stay with us since we had an extra bed. He’s on the same vibe channel as us.

Wanting to learn about farming and just wanting to do something different, we gave Sally a hand on the farm. We were also hanging out with Georgie a lot and just soaking up the farm life. It was getting towards the end of summer and the sunsets were incredible. There was now two weeks left of work and three to go for Borneo. Nearly forgot to mention, the wonderful package Ben’s mom sent. A munchie box as we referred to it. During our time at the farm it made us recall junk food we ate back in the states. We started writing a list and told family back home if they can collect some goodies for us. Ben’s mom came through with the munchies. There were Hot Cheetos, Captain Crunch, Funyuns, and much more. The Hot Cheetos hit the spot and devoured the first bag on the first day.

 

Keep Marching On!

A month filled with celebration and devastation.
March began with a pine cone blast to our windshield that left the passenger side looking like a pond full of ripples. With our time coming to an end soon at Josef Chromy, we went out for the night with our work mate Declan, Andy joined as well. It was a mini pub crawl that led to meeting a few other work mates by the end of the night. Ben decided to stay out longer, Andy and I went home. The next day Ben and I had to work but wasn’t sure if he was going to make, we also planned to drive down to Hobart in the evening. Knowing him, he was bound to be waiting for me at work. Sure enough as I pull in to the car park there he was lying on the ground. Once I parked he got up like a scene from a zombie movie, after a quick change it was time for work. As we finished so did Andy, he was working for Josef Chromy as well but on the vineyard. We convoyed home, Erfan from Newkind Festival called to meet up. Finally he made it to our house, it was great to finally put a face to the person organizing the festival and giving us these tasks that drove us crazy.
After a chat and some heavy rains, we decided to drive to the festival site then Hobart the following day. It was yet another beautiful drive down south. All was well until the truck started making funky noises up the hill. As I pulled over the truck turned off on its own, stranded in the middle of nowhere we called RACT for help. After a couple of hours we got towed to a town towards Hobart in what turned out to be a mistake. The driver was nice enough to drop us off at a campsite but the morning came the realization that the truck was fucked. We were dumbfounded and in the ultimate boondoggle, we waited a few hours for another tow truck to take us back to Launceston.

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We took it to the same mechanic that fixed it back in December and Andy waited for us there to take us home. Feeling distraught and devastated, we got home to explore our minds. The next day the farm family knew something was wrong by our faces and offered help. To go with our truck breaking down, our visa was also set to expire soon and needed to apply for a new one. Dave let us use his car and we set out for the library to use the WiFi and apply for a visa. The visa application took hours and was a process that took several hours. At one point I refused to finish it as I knew we would get rejected. In theory this is what we wanted to happen. With a ticket booked for March 22 to Borneo, we just needed an extra week for Newkind Festival. Now that the application was complete we felt a bit relieved and drove back to farm, as for the truck it was a waiting game to see what the mechanic’s diagnostics was.

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Wonderful Dave drove us to work the next morning and had to find our own way home after. Work was simple, a few functions were going on and washed dishes for most of the day. It was fun, I was on one set of dishes and Ben on the other. It was a mindless job, just what we needed. Got our knock off drink and enjoyed them with the beautiful scenery. Now it was time to figure out how to get home, we figured it was best to hitchhike. After 40 minutes or so, a couple who were there enjoying their friend’s wedding gave us a ride. They were lovely as they lived in the opposite direction yet they drove us all the way home. Funny thing is they knew Dave and Sally, the owners of the farm. Small world.

Tuesday was the day off for both us; Dave lent us his car and decided to drive down to Hobart to meet James the farmer donating produce for the festival. His farm was so unbelievable, clean cut and so organized, also certified organic. The way he farmed was to maximize the space he had available and rotated the crops to put nutrients back into the soil. We hope to learn more from him when we get back from Borneo. It was a day of meetings, next was Michelle who we got some dry goods from. It was a mission to meet her, we drove past the street several times. After meeting her, we finally got a response from the mechanic who said the bottom end bearing had disintegrated and that it wasn’t worth fixing. That left us feeling delusional and sick. To cap off our trip in Hobart, we met up with our friend Lily and went out for some pizza and wine. It was time to drive back to our farm 2 hours away.

 

 

The next days were spent figuring out what were our options. On my day off, I spent the afternoon helping Sally and Mary on the farm planting trees. It felt relaxing being outside and getting the mind off of life’s challenges. Dave again was so optimistic for us, he drove us to work every day. The talks on the way were inspiring and uplifting. We decided to get the truck towed to the farm, Andy lent us his van and it was a game of hide and seek to find him on the vineyard. It took nearly an hour to find him, finally made it to town and organized a tow truck to take the truck away. Waited nearly 3 hours for a tow truck that never showed up, drove back to the winery to collect Ben. On the way home we each got a call from immigration stating we should withdraw our visa applications as the result would be a denial and look bad on our record.

The tow truck driver came through the next day and delivered our truck to the farm. He happened to know Dave. With work slowing down, it was perfect time for our departure. Saturday was again both our day off and the last chance to pack all our shit and store it away as we wanted to travel light to the festival and Borneo. Dave did us a great favor and purchased our truck off us and let us leave our belongings on the farm. It was also the day where we all helped to wrangle up the sheep. Erfan the festival director told us to hire a ute and he’d pay for it to get us to the festival site. Again it was a trip to library which was closed, to use internet and book our hostel in Borneo and find a ute to hire. To celebrate our last days on the farm we purchased what the doctor prescribed, a bottle of whiskey. That night we played cards and enjoyed the evening with Georgie and Frank.

It was Sunday and the last day of work, we were excited to see our work mates one last time. Of course though it wasn’t that simple, the work said they only need one of us that day. This is what I don’t understand about places, if you schedule someone they should work that day not get told a few hours before that they are not needed. In the end we both got to work and dropped off by Papa Dave. Following a few hours, work at Josef Chromy Winery was done. We got our final knock off drink said our salutations to the workmates and savored the moment of getting to work at such prestigious place. And to cap off working there we bought a dozen bottles of wine to send back home as we got a 40% discount. Also in need of a ride home and Georgie wanting wine, we got her 15 bottles at a discounted price and she came to pick us up. Life was moving to the next chapter.

Dave took Ben to get our new ride, a hired ute. But again nothing is that simple for us as we were told we can hire the truck and drop it off at a town closer to where we would be staying. Once he got there, he was told it has to come back to the same location which was a waste of time. With all are stuff packed for the festival and our trip to Borneo we departed the farm. Dave, Sally and Georgie were so much help and it was saddening to leave them but knew we would see them again since half our stuff was left behind. It was time for Newkind Festival. We did the drive to the south for the third time in a week in as many different vehicles.

The drive was strange as we knew there was much more to figure out after the festival and Borneo trip. Just before the festival site, we met up with other festival workers at a café. There was also one big problem we need pots to cook in for the festival. And not just any pots, we needed titanic size pots, we were after 150L plus size pots. Eventually we made it to the site and it looked unready for a festival. There was so much work to be done. Arriving there was overwhelming; everyone was talking to us, asking questions, giving suggestions. James the farmer was there and seemed to feel the same, he was telling us that the produce might not be enough to fulfill the needs of the whole weekends cooking. Wanting to just escape and eat, Ben and I snuck away and talked to Andy. He had been there for the weekend. Even as we snuck away to have a bowl of cereal people kept fogging our brains, we knew it was going to be a long week.

We spent the next days finalizing our menu with the quantity of foods we ordered. Did a trip to Hobart, which was stunning and were able to sneak away and chat. We expected to relax a few days before the start of the festival but no, they wanted us to cook for the volunteers and workers on the days leading up to the festival. To make it even better, we were sleeping in a small tent that Andy lent us. There was barely enough space for Ben and I, let alone our stuff. We only had sleeping bags to sleep on and felt it the next morning after sleeping over stones and twigs. On one afternoon, we went down to the beach to wash potatoes in the ocean. The kitchen was coming along well and quick, thanks in part to Daimen. He was coordinating the building aspects of the festival and felt the same as we did. Thursday was going smooth, until all the produce came, then the dry goods to go with Ben leaving to take back this ute. Returning the truck was a 5 hour process as the drive was long. The amazing Andy was in Launceston waiting to bring Ben back.

Finally, it was Friday and the first day of the festival. The morning threw off our organization as we had to make breakfast with only being told the day before. These weeks were filled with bombs just like in a mine field and everyday something in life made us walk over one sometimes multiple in a day. The day was field with meeting so many amazing people and our kitchen crew began showing up and smashing out lunch and dinner prep. It was also a day for learning to properly use a rocket stove made of bricks and earth. Ben and I were trying to organize the kitchen in the way we wanted it.

All was smooth leading to lunch and it being served. Dinner was brewing up and the next round of helpers came through. We took this time to go through the initiation part of the festival and that came with getting a new name. Ben was Pepper, Junior was Salt. This was our only time away from the kitchen that day. The process was great though, it was a time to meet more people and shared our marbles and kaleidoscope. The parents of Erfan made some dahl and basmati rice to go with dinner. Soon dinner was getting served and the first day of cooking was coming to an end.

Everyone ate and it was time to go the main stage for the opening ceremony that was filled with a lot of theatrics. Ben and I couldn’t get a grip on the theatrical story part of the festival. The first night was the coldest of the week. To cap off the ceremony was an Australian based Electronic group that played some good shit. Many gathered around the different fire pits and chatted away. Breakfast went smoothly and with the kitchen crew, we smashed the prep out for lunch and dinner. Again, we were in the kitchen until midday. Lunch got served and explained to the crew what was going on for dinner as we wanted to take time to visit some workshops.

We were able to sneak away for a bit and checked out our new home the Paul built, it also had a bed. It was a much more comforting place to sleep in than the tent. I went for a dip in the ocean and Ben stayed at camp. Getting back to the kitchen I knew something wasn’t right from the get go, dinner should have been getting served since it was ready. Ben wasn’t there which was uncanny and found him walking to the house. Turns out the parents started cooking an overload of food that affected our menu plan. They wanted to feed the people to the point where they felt stuffed, where as we wanted to fill the hunger and have no waste as that was the concept of the festival. After a one-to-one between us, we knew we would need more supplies to just drop from the sky. It was the halfway point and couldn’t let this beat us down so we made our way back to the kitchen to take control.

As we got back in the kitchen, only the festival crew were getting served and seemed to know something was wrong. We stayed calm, cool and collective. Our kitchen crew understood the style we set in place for the kitchen and meals. With the parents having different views and portion sizes we asked them to leave the kitchen. So many people were offering help in the kitchen. The festival had a great atmosphere and we didn’t want to ruin it. It was a situation that Ben or myself have gone through nor want to go through it again. Finally dinner was served, learned what more we needed of food to be bought. Now it was time to dance our brains out to the Formidable Vegetable Sound System. Funny thing is we got see them perform at a small pub while living in Wanaka, New Zealand.

 

Sunday was the day of our workshop, which was organized to do down in the mud pits. It started with an experimental breakfast of flour porridge that turned out delicious, just flour water and some spice. Our workshop was at 4pm so we organized the meals for the day in a way to be finished after lunch and enjoy the rest of the day. The kitchen had a good vibes atmosphere from the start, music was going, smiles on everyone’s faces. Before long lunch was served, it was time to escape a bit and take a dip in the ocean. With our friend Laura, we took a few sacks of potatoes and went down to the beach to wash them. Feeling refreshed, Ben and I planned our setup and began cooking the beans for our tacos. We chilled at our house and Daimen was next door so we joined him. It was time to start making the tortillas and redo our sign. Jamie another amazing Novalander had a taco costume and was set to be our mascot. With about an hour to go we got help taking our modular kitchen and supplies over to the mud pits.

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Interview with Jamie

The mud pits was chosen as the location because Jaime was working down with David teaching people the greatness of mud, clay and earth. Besides it was different from all other workshop spots. On the way, one of the head festival goers said to change our workshop time and said okay but in reality we we’re still going to do as we planned. No one can stop us! With everything set up plus a fresh amazing sign made by Lorin, and blue tortillas heating up, it was time to share our story with everyone. The crowd was building up. Since the tortillas were fresh they took time to cook that gave us the opportunity to tell people what we’re about.

The tacos are gluten free, vegan, free of charge, authentic and most of all delicious. It was like a celebration of life, we had Mark playing mandolin, Jamie with a taco outfit, some people full of mud, people recording and interviewing us. In the end we made about 50 tacos and others joined the process of making tortillas with the tortilla press. It was time to pack down after a successful outing and took a minute to look around and savor this moment. Ben and I have come a long way from working at Beach House Tacos in California to have now traveled/worked in New Zealand and Australia, now being the chefs for this festival.

We found a group kicking the futbol around and joined them, it was so relaxing to kick the ball and forget about cooking. The kitchen was under control for dinner so Ben and I walked to this half built teepee and sat under it for some time and chatted away. This is a moment where our teepee would have fit in so perfectly. The night soon came along with chilly weather. Monday was here, last breakfast that went out smoothly. Half the kitchen crew began leaving and realized we should pack our shit up as well. Cecilia offered us a ride and to stay at her house, it was a relief to know we had somewhere to go. Midday was filled with getting contacts and salutations but knowing we will meet up again.

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Andy, the great Andy took our shit up to Launceston to the farm. With our ride ready, we did a quick run to see our new friends and tell them cheerio. This was a bittersweet moment. In the car was Cecilia, Eva both helped in the kitchen, Nardine, Ben and myself. The scenery was spectacular and the conversations meaningful. Halfway the car overheated and waited for the wonderful RACT, it was the smoothest breakdown and just prolonged the delightful talk we were having. Eva has a voice that was soothing, journalist like and the questions she asked, diverse and got you thinking.

By the time we got to Cecilia’s, it felt like we got back from some crazy marathon or so, the mind and body so tired. The morning she made us a wonderful breakfast of scrambled tofu and vegetables, she left to work and took this time to chill. With others from the festival also in Hobart, we tried to meet up with as many as possible. First we took a walk to the Botanical Gardens to meet Nico, stunning garden, there was even an Antarctica section. She mentioned a talk by James Aspey who spoke at the festival and that was the goal for the evening to visit. A walk to town led to bumping into Bethan and Shantel who joined us on our adventure. Saw a few other Novalanders from a distance and started making our way to the venue. There we met up with Devi another kitchen crew member. At the talk were quite a few other Novalanders. The talk was great, it was about how he became Vegan after never imagining in doing so and how it was positive life changing experience. He mentioned of few things that Ben and I do already and believe in, also some new things that interested us. The talk took away from eating dinner, starving and nothing around we just walked him and slept our hunger away.

It was finally time to visit MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), we’ve been wanting to go since December. To describe it, a museum that is state of the art, pushes boundaries and makes new ones. Others from the day before also joined. You start off by going three stories underground and there are four main rooms that have many more rooms in them. The art was funky, mind blowing, puzzling and interactive. If ever in Hobart, Tasmania visit MONA. It then goes up two more levels that keep you wanting more. After seeing everything it was time to head to the airport. Again we ran into more Novalanders and learned our plane was delayed though it didn’t matter as we had to wait at the next airport as well. The day was filled with waiting and sitting. Hobart airport 4.5hours -> 1.5 hour plane ride->Melbourne airport 5hours->8hour plane ride->Kuala Lumpur airport 7hours->1.5hour plane ride to Brunei.

We were greeted by Bel whose house we were staying at, he took us on a quick tour around the centre. The weather was warm felt Darwin like, at the house he offered us drinks and relaxed. Later he took us out for dinner. The following days we explored the city which was a strange place. We took a stroll through the water village and hung out with the local kids who taught us a bit of Malay. Then wanting food we rode the bus to the night market, later we learned buses stop at 6 so we had to catch a taxi home. After a couple days we set out for Kota Kinabalu on journey that required several bus rides and couple of ferries. It was Sunday morning and we learned that in Brunei on this day they close the roads in the centre as it is the day for exercise and sure enough plenty of people were out and about. We originally thought to also hop on a 5 hour bus to the next town but decided to stay in Kota Kinabalu.

Filled with hunger, we went out to the night market for some food. We took the morning to rest a bit and booked a half day river cruise. That day we had the best food, Bana Leaf Vegetable for lunch. Its rice, a few curries and sauces that you dump all onto the leaf then munch away. The drive to the river was the first glimpse of Palm Oil Plantations. The guide was awesome, he grew up in a village in the jungle and had a lot of knowledge. A highlight of the trip was at dusk when the fireflies lit up the mangrove trees like a Christmas tree. At the hostel we booked another tour to Kinabalu National Park and some hot springs with a canopy walk up in the jungle.

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We were headed to Sandakan next and found a three day river cruise and booked it. While leaving the hostel two others Alice and Louis were headed to the bus terminal as well and joined us. The bus was five hours and the scenery mostly Palm Oil Plantations for miles and miles. It was depressing. Finally we arrived to a hostel and Alice & Louis were able to book the same tour for the next days. We went out for some food and drinks. Pubs are hard to come by and we found this café style pub that had table service and after a few sips they filled your glass back up. A bit strange but it must be their culture.

All four of us walked up the road to the van waiting for us. There were two others Mischa and Kim, it felt something like a scene from MTV’s Real World. A couple hours later we were at the lodge right next to the Kinabatangan River. Everything was built about a metre and a half above ground including the walkways. It was an incredible place in the jungle. On the first boat ride, we saw macaque and proboscis monkeys, also a big male orang utan. It was incredible to witness one in the wild. At night we went on a very muddy jungle walk that included many mosquitos.

The following day started with an early morning cruise and a couple others during the day. This day we saw a mother and baby orang utan chilling in the trees. The way they move in the trees looks so majestic and easy. The bodies are round with long arms and legs but they are shorter than you think. Back at camp the macaques try to eat anything they can get a hold of, they are some cheeky animals. There were a few different hornbill birds along the river which are unique to the island and heavily threatened. On the final day we saw a couple of crocodiles and sea eagles. The time here was remarkable and peaceful. It was time to head back to the city.

Peace Out 2016!

December, the start of Summer. It began with us doing our Photosynthesize Taco setup at the Esplanade in Byron Bay. It was a success and learned of schoolies, the time where you go for a trip after high school and celebrate in the real world. After giving out all the tacos, we quickly packed up as we wanted to drive out to Nimbin before the darkness. The drive there was quick but stunning; it was cloudy, sunny, and rainy all at the same time. The timing was great as we got to our camp site the sun was setting. It was a majestic sunset as it set twice, first behind the clouds then reappeared and set behind the mountains. The following day explored the town, it was a superbly hot that day. After did another successful Photosythesize Taco outing and hit the road again.


After Nimbin, we passed through a cloudy yet beautiful area known as Gold Coast but only got there by mistake. Off the highway, there was a water park that was calling us but didn’t act soon enough for the exit. We then took the next exit that took us for an hour ride of being lost and never made it to the water park. Somewhere along the way there was a vegetable/macadamia stand and as usual we pulled over. The owner, Bobby, saw us in the drive way and came running out, asking if that was a teepee on our truck. She was thrilled and we then told her about our free tacos. So she told us to check out her garden and soon started packing us fresh vegetables and tomatillos (green tomatoes). We have been searching for these tomatillos over a year, they make bomb salsas. Bobby and her husband were wonderful people and said take anything from the stand for free, furthermore she busted out what’s called spaghetti squash. We wouldn’t use it for some months. That’s why we enjoy buying from these stands even if we don’t need anything as the people behind them are so great.


After much driving and not knowing where to stop, we ended up in Southwest Rocks. It’s a fine-looking small beach town that offers public showers so we took advantage. It wasn’t the sunniest day but still a great day to make tacos for the people. We did our setup at the entrance of the beach carpark and met some incredible people who really appreciated what we were doing. Had great conversations and the last ones to come happen to be a vegan family and were surprised that they could enjoy them. We were told about some good beaches around the corner so after packing up we went to check them out. One beach had such calm water and was at low tide thus Ben and I played Frisbee in the water. The next day drove out to Nambucca Heads, a place recommended to us, a beautiful beach park. Again did our Photosythesize project and got donated some goodies. Towards the end, we got invited to give our tacos out in front of a Takeaway shop.


Did as usual, drove south along the coast landing just outside of Sydney and decided to visit the Blue Mountains. The drive there was full with traffic and along the highway were some bicyclist commuting back home moving faster than the vehicles. There was also another water park that we were determined to visit. It was a windy, unpaved road to the campsite we decided to stay at, upon arriving walked around and started cooking dinner. The next morning many people asked to check out our rooftop tent as they’ve never seen one before. We also found out that this place is full of flies from morning to night, they were such a nuisance. We were able to catch them with jars and began collecting them with ants. During this time, we gave our truck a deep clean and took everything out, did some back seat chilling. After a few days here we set out for the water park, Wet n’ Wild and along the way we found a free bicycle so we strapped it to the roof on top of the teepee on top of the tent. We enjoy strapping stuff to the roof. The water park was just what we needed and the ques for the rides were short so we got to ride all the slides.


The next day was another Taco giveaway at Manly Beach and soon drove towards Sydney to meet up Audray, our sister. We booked a hostel where she lived and celebrated life later that night. The next day explored a bit of the city and the beaches. Andy joined us at the beach and relaxed there after not finding a good spot to do our Tacos. Later Josh, Audray’s friend came and said we can crash at his place so we cooked his housemate’s tacos and celebrated Josh’s birthday. Back to driving, this time it was a trio road trip to Melbourne, Andy joined us, he was also going to Tasmania but by plane.


The first day we made a quick stop to Royal National Park for a swim and then drove inland towards the capital, Canberra. An interesting location for a countries capital, there was nothing then suddenly a small city. We visited the National Museum; there we learned you need shoes to enter a museum. After had a munch fest and back to driving. It was less than a week we had to be in Melbourne for a ferry ride. Much of the ride was through small ranges and beach towns, the weather also cooler. One night we camped at 90 mile beach that was full a mosquitos at all times, even worse in the day. After another couple of days driving we made it to Melbourne the place we escaped from 8 months ago. It was one of our best Tacos outings on Chapel St, a busy street in St Kilda. Later, booked a hostel for the night and had a visit from another Darwin flat mate, Victoria. She came by the hostel for a visit; it was great to see a familiar face.


The morning left early for the ferry, Andy stayed behind as he was flying to Tasmania. We waited behind a line of cars moving little by little for nearly 2 hours, it was ridiculous. And once we got to the check in they took our teepee away since they don’t allow timber to be taken into Tasmania. They also took our bonsai tree and succulents. It was a strange feeling, we felt like they took our family. It was a sad day. The ferry was a 9 hour ride; they announced bingo so we went to join. Turned out to be Disco Bingo, instead of numbers its songs and the host was the best, she had disco attire. While playing I noticed a guy walking by and wanted to call him over but didn’t. Later he passed again. This time I called him over and he joined, we started chatting, the host explained to everyone about our Taco Truck and he turned out to be a chef and told us to stop by his work as they’re in need of chefs.


Finally we ported, starving we were and bought the biggest serving of wedges we can find. The next morning each of us had a missed called, it was the head chef to Josef Chromy Winery. Funny thing is that we applied just before leaving Darwin, with no response. He said to come in a few days to meet. That gave us time to drive a bit of Tasmania. The first thing was buying new plants for our dashboard but it wasn’t the same. The beaches were incredible, for some reason we didn’t thing of Tasmania having stunning beaches. Made it all the way west and stayed a night, gave the bike a test drive, the next day drove down the West Coast. Tasmania was unsuspectingly cold and soon started searching for the little warm clothes we had left. We got rid of most our clothes in Darwin. The views were unbelievable, there was even a bit of snow on the tip of the mountains during summer.


Next, we made it to Launceston to meet the chef, played a bit at the park and got futbol stuck in tree. Time to meet our new job, it was a 15 minute drive out of town. Upon arriving we knew this place was going to great. Nick was the head chef, straight away he was already telling us what days he wanted us to work. It went great. We chatted turns out he’s from New Zealand and seemed interested in us. He said come in tomorrow for a few hours. With the day still young, we drove up the Tamar River to the tip and then back down. Not too long our car broke down, not knowing what was wrong we got a jump start but only made it a few kilometres before breaking down again. This time we learned of RACT, road side assistance, they towed us back to town. The driver was so nice and told us we can camp in the car park of the mechanic but have to leave early before they open, he even gave us the code to get in. The next day we had to find a ride to work and the head chef Nick got one of the chefs to pick us up. That was unbelievably generous. The work was great and the people even better. After working at Cloudy Bay Vineyards in New Zealand, we made it our goal to work at a winery in Australia and there we were doing it. Make a goal not a plan and strive towards it. The truck just needed a new alternator and was fixed by the time we finished work.

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Feeling hungry we bought wedges once again and drove to a river side camp site, where we met Kristine. Kristine would later join us to Falls Festival. Ben and I had the day off to explore the town a bit. Christmas was around the corner and wanted to meet with Maud a friend from work at the Ski Resort in New Zealand and Andy the homie. So our job scheduled us three days before Christmas which we did about 28 hours and on December 24 drove out to the Bay of Fires on the East Coast to meet up with our friends and celebrate with wine from our new job. It was great meeting up with them, a celebration with delicious food and mimosas to go with the spectacular beach views. After a couple of days Maud went back to work, Andy, Ben and I went to Freycinet National Park then to Hobart the next days.

 


In Hobart we met up with Kristine and a new friend Marius, who signed up to be volunteers at the festival. The next day drove to Port Arthur to check out Maud’s job at the Lavender Farm and in search for a shower. No luck on showers so we drove to the festival site and checked in. Fate told us where to park and met Emily and Riannon our new neighbors who were super cool. Andy set up his van and we with our truck made a patio type set up. Later Kristine and Marius came and set their tent up. This was the crew for New Years. It was just introduction the first day and time to meet the people you’ll work with. Ben and I ended up in Vehicle Inspection which turned out to the best I reckon. It was the first two days with an early star but also finished before any performances.


Vehicle Inspection was simple and easy, you get to see the crowd coming in and many were high school graduates. The first night highlight was Grand Master Flash who lit the crowd up. The night was stupendous. We all danced in the mud like wild animals. Our crew pushed its way to the front stage. Next was Hot Dub Time Machine who might I say made the crowd go to that next level. The following morning included a few hours of Vehicle Inspection and then a nap to cap of the work and now we were free to enjoy the festival. Ben and I made some sushi as we waited for Andy to explore the festival, played some Frisbee by the stage and met up with the supervisors of the festival. Watched it rain as it did a few times during the festival then made our way to camp to enjoy some delicious sushi. Did a little more exploring and dancing as we waited for the others to finish working.


We were able to gather up and Maud came and joined for the night again. The night was popping, filled with dancing, making new friends, losing each other then finding each other. Snaked our way to the front once again. Went to camp to re-up on drinks and had some munchies. After that we lost each other until the morning. With no work, Ben and I got to sleep in, though he for some reason chose to sleep in the back seat of the truck. I went to check out the beach and walked through the slums of the festival. Back at camp the rest were either working or barely waking up. It was New Year’s Eve and started with a whiskey Mark gave me for my birthday. All of us told our stories from the night before of what we remembered and later a few of us walked down to the beach again to toss the Frisbee around. Soon it was time to see some performances, later back to camp and then a hide and seek game for Ben who went looking for an old friend. After a few hours we found him and also made new friends along the way. Maud made it back to the festival and we all gathered up for the night activities and performances.


The evening was magical, it was just what we needed after driving around the past 3 months. There was a couple of hours until midnight and the rest were about to finish their last shift. At camp we waited and one by one the crew gathered along with a new friend Lily. We stayed at camp for a few drinks and chatted, soon it was the countdown. We were having too much fun to make it to the stage for the countdown. From our work Josef Chromy, we brought a bottle of sparkling wine for the introduction to 2017. POP! And just like that another year of amazing people, wild adventures and more stories to share.

Noovember! 2016

SPLASH! A beautiful boat ride to another boat that we would be living on for the next three days, is how November started, out in the stupendous Coral Sea off the coast of Cairns. Once on the Live Aboard Boat that we would be on for the next three days, we got a quick briefing and then ate some lunch. Lunch was followed by another briefing and talk to our instructor as we were diving in the historical Great Barrier Reef for our Advance Level Certification. The ocean water was flat, calm and pristine. It was now time for our first of many dives, it was to get back in the grove, and later on we did our first night dive. It was eerie to jump into darkness but there wasn’t any other choice. When in the water, it was so peaceful and tranquil; the night brings different life in the waters. On the dive there were reef sharks, a sleeping green turtle, shrimp, and jelly fish among many more animals.


After each dive it’s a countdown to the next which was a sunrise dive the next morning. The fish and sea life wake up just as we do with the bright star lighting up the day. After a series of dives with an instructor, Ben and I were able to dive alone which led to us exploring without any limits. The Great Barrier Reef has coral as big as a car and others connecting that make it extraordinary. The connections make intricate crevasses and tunnels that test your breathing. As you have to control each breath because if not you rub against the sharp coral and hurt yourself, even more the coral. It was an experience of a lifetime. Go out there before we destroy it to the point of no return.
Upon returning to the mainland, we took a shower at the local Waterfront as showers don’t come often. A quick munch on some mangos as we still had two bags worth, then we cruised out of Cairns a couple of hours to figure out what to do next…..


The next days were spent cruising down the coast, enjoying the spectacular views of mountains and sugar cane. Fun fact: Sugar Cane is grown in Australia and a lot of it, we saw it from Port Douglas and as far south as Brisbane. That’s a shit load of sugar cane. With that being said there were also many delicious vegetables growing as well. Every time we saw a stand off the highway we’d stop and buy random stuff. This led to our back seat being occupied by a surplus of fruits and vegetables. We even had a box for our munchies, often times we made driving our job from 8am until 5pm with random stops in between but hardly ever to make a proper lunch. Good Times and Great Munch.


After stopping by many Waterfalls and Waterholes, we made it to the small town of Bowen. Our friend Magdalena was living there so we paid a visit and got recommended to this incredible beach that you can snorkel off. Horseshoe Bay, you just get your snorkeling gear and Alien Suit if you fear jelly fish, and swim a few minutes to the coral. The beach offers a lot of beautiful fish without the need of a boat taking you far out sea.


The next big stop was Airlie Beach, the gateway to the stupendous archipelago of Whitsundays. The town was small, beautiful and full of travel agencies. The first one was overwhelming and then went into a second, the lady made it easy to understand and we booked our day cruise. The morning started with talk of who will become president of the USA, as morning here was midday in back in the states. It was blue skies and finally made it to the popular Whitehaven Beach, the sand was very fine and bright. Looking at the sand was as looking at the sun, it even squeaked when you walked on it. That was just the beginning, the water so clear the boats looked as they were floating and you can open your eyes underwater. Later, we went snorkeling on the reef and tested our lungs with free diving. A beautiful day, full of many adventures and ended with the news that US got Trumped. What a shame.

Ben stayed in Mackay and I time traveled to meet up with Egle a friend in Sydney. This was also the time of the “Super Moon”, which was shadowed by a sky of clouds. We spent time exploring Kings Cross, the Opera House and Bondi Beach. We even walked the Harbour Bridge a couple of times, did the walk from Bondi to Coogee. This walk offers nothing but incredible coastline views. While in Mackay, Ben witnessed a real life platypus and close view of the beautiful Rainbow Lorikeet.


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Now back in Mackay for the night and off to our next adventure Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. We made it to Hervey Bay and booked three nights on Fraser Island. Once on the boat, we can hear the air getting released from all the cars. We weren’t sure what PSI to drop them to nor did we have something to measure them with. So, we simply released enough air to make them look similar to the other’s tires. It worked; we were on the island driving with no problem. The first hour or so is through a rain forest which makes you realize that the Earth is incredible place. How it is possible for these huge trees to grow in sand? I learned that Plants are incredible organisms, using the power of Photosynthesis to grow nearly everywhere.

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One of the first stop was at the incredible Lake Mackenzie, a fresh water lake that again had this crystal clear water with incredibly fine sand. Soon after, we made it to the beach, driving there was fun and tricky. While looking for a sweet camp spot we got ourselves in boondoggle, so we dug out sand and put wood to build traction. A few attempts of this worked and drove to another spot. We cooked up some bomb nachos and set up the teepee with the alien beds, at the end of the night we both passed out in the teepee.


The next days we explored as much of the island as possible, even got ourselves stuck again. This time was worse; there was a trail of trucks behind us that rescued us. At one point our truck looked ready to flip over but the guys knew what they were doing and got us out of that mess. The next day at our campsite we did our first Photosynthesize Tacos setup, which was a success. People came and asked why we were giving free tacos, in return we got donations, drinks, even dessert. Soon it was back onto a ferry en route to the mainland.

 


After the ferry, we pumped our tires back up and drove a couple of hours to a campsite. Everything had sand, our tent, the truck, clothes. It started a search for a car washing place, it was also Thanksgiving in a few days. It’s the day where you have to make a feast but we had no one to share with so we aimed to make it to Brisbane to meet a friend. The mangos were also finishing, luckily. There does come a moment when you have eaten to many mangos. We got to that point and began giving them out. The drive to Brisbane was through the beautiful coastal town of Noosa, many incredible beaches. It seemed very touristic and fancy, and then became overwhelming so we just drove through it. We explored it with our eyes while driving away. For our Thanksgiving we went out to eat at a Pizzeria in Bribie Island, bought some beers and drove to a campground.
Eventually, the highway turned to a speedway that made up the city of Brisbane. There was construction and many options of turning that led to us getting a bit lost. Soon we found our grove and met up with our friend Theresa at her job. The owner was in need of a chef so Ben worked there for a couple of days. While waiting for Theresa to finish, we decided to look up ferry tickets to Tasmania. All booked up, so gave them a ring and the lady found us space and now it was a countdown to Tasmania for December 17, 2016. Later, Theresa hooked it up with Mark, a great person and father of three awesome kids. Mark let us stay at his house for the next few days and we cooked food for the family. It was a bit strange living in a house again but felt great to be surrounded by a wonderful family. Mark took us on a cruise of the city and to the beach. While out one night with cousins of Mark they told us of the festival in Tasmania we heard about but didn’t know the name, Falls Festival.


Soon it was Tuesday and happened to be my birthday, we drove out to the Tamborine Mountains. A beautiful wilderness, saw glow worms, tasted wine and most importantly had some Whiskey, as tradition for celebrations. The most exciting part was cooking mung bean burgers for the family. Mark tried the whiskey and gave me another bottle of whiskey as a gift. Later, Andy our cousin from Darwin came for a visit, it was great to see him. The next morning we applied as volunteers for the Falls Festival, used the last bit of internet and hit the road. The goal was to drive to Nimbin but only drove a few hours to Byron Bay and camped next to a fellow who finally tuned my banjo. The town of Byron was bursting with people everywhere; the town centre, neighborhoods, campsites, it was very strange. Later we will figure out why.

Raw Spaghetti (Vegan, Raw)

Junior and I did one week of eating only raw foods. We find that changing your diet can spark new ideas with cooking. With a raw diet, nothing can be heated past 35 degrees Celsius. Growing sprouts and beans is a method used within the raw diet. Also, drying out vegetables in the sun. I believe only the Australian sun will be good for this, and you will need a lot of patience. Here is a recipe we came up with while on the diet.

There is three parts to this recipe: The Sauce, the Spaghetti, and the Veg.

The Sauce:

  • 1 cup Peas
  • 10 small Basil leaves
  • Splash of Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower seeds
  • Salt + Pepper

    Blend everything until it turns into a tasty pasty.

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The Spaghetti:

Shred:

  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Courgette

We have a peeler that creates these noodles. You can find them at almost any market in Australia, possibly the states too. There’s always an overenthusiastic guy shaving away at a pumpkin or carrot, launching noodles around like confetti. We got ours from an apartment we lived at in Melbourne. I think they cost around $20 or so.

The Veg:

Chop:

  • 4 Shittake mushrooms
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • A few leaves of Cos lettuce
  • 1 bunch of Chives
  •  A few sun dried Tomatoes

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Throw in the Tasty Paste and mix that bad boy around. We used a wok because that was the closest thing to a bowl we had.

OkToBeEr 2016

October came and left with our trip from Indonesia, back to Darwin and finally hitting up the East Coast of Australia. It started with a bang and splash, jump jump on a Water Rafting trip down a Balinese River. Our tour guide was great; he did the 2 hour rafting trip 3-4 times a day. He had so much enthusiasm and happiness. Ben noticed he was wearing two different sandals, that shows the dedication and hard work these young Balinese people do to make a living with tourism. The people from Bali were so welcoming, nice, and helpful. The Bintang Beers were such a great deal for 3500 Rupees, which is equivalent to about $3.

After a few days in the Villa, and coordinating our trip to Gili Trawangan whilst a bit on the drunk side, a taxi came early morning to take us to the port. It was quite time consuming as we left at 7am and got to the island at 1pm but was well worth the hassle. Checked into our hostel, run by local, awesome Indonesian guys and grabbed some food. The island was small, no cars just walking, bicycles and cidomos (horse carriages). Ben and I went to work straight away in pursuit of our Open Water Diving Certification and the next days we were diving with sea turtles, colourful fishes, sea enmities and the peacefulness of the ocean. Being under water was an extraordinary experience in which I suggest everyone try at some point in their life, the sooner the better. There’s life down there that’s indescribable. Later we all cruised on a speed boat to Lombok and met a family working for Google Maps, and did a snorkeling trip to Gili Air. There we had lunch in a tree house setup made with palm tree and bamboo. On the snorkeling trip was a couple from California near us, Camarillo and Thousand Oaks, what are the odds.

Our time came to an end at Gili Trawangan, the speed boat trip was a hot, wet, and sauna like experience. Excitingly we got off the speed boat and there was a taxi man with a sign “Junior”, waiting for us. It was a couple of hours drive to the Mid North part of the island, passed through tall mountain ranges, many temples and ate fresh fruit along the way. The following morning agreed to go on a dolphin tour with Egle and Hannah which was not the best decision, thinking we’d just cruise out a bit in the ocean to see the dolphins, it was a bit more extreme than that we thought. There were about 50 small boats constantly harassing these dolphins as soon as the group was spotted, all so the tourist can get pictures, below is the only picture I took. It shows the amount of boats that morning.

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Boats Chasing Dolphins

 

Later in the day another taxi drive to this spectacular, grand waterfall later to a temple built on a lake. The days were flying, we made trips to the beach, many Vegan Cafes in particular Earth Café (Highly suggest visiting if ever in Bali). On the last days, we checked out this unique 3D Museum that had mind blowing paintings that you posed with and took pictures to make you apart of the art work. After a couple of weeks in Indonesia our time came to an end, Ben and I went back to Darwin, Egle and Hannah back to New Zealand.

While waiting to check in at the airport in Bali, we ran into a workmate of Ben’s that happen to be living with our friend’s Clo and Ziggy, the house we were going to. Small world, hey! Friday morning, back in Darwin a quick nap and to work trying to register our truck that included trips to the mechanics, stores and wreckers. It was time, we went to the MVR only to get told we need a certificate for LPG and so we went and failed. The next day not knowing what to do, we made magic with the receipt and a copying machine. Skeptical if it’d work we tried it and finally got our Northern Territory plates now we were ready to hit up the East Coast of Australia. The company at our friends Clo and Ziggy’s was great, cooked every night watched some documentaries. It was enough time to meet up with some friends at Oktober Fest in Darwin and buying the supply for our food truck a 25KG bag of pinto beans, also a last visit to the local farmers market as we got to know many of the workers.

It was Thursday October 20; finally we were on the road, drove a few hours and made a second visit to the Mataranka Hot Springs, we visited them back in April. The next day’s driving became our job. We took the Savannah Way which runs from Broome to Cairns which includes stretches of gravel road. A few days of driving made it to the state of Queensland, though in the middle of the outback it doesn’t make much of a difference. The roads were empty, we saw a car every few hours but always spectacular cumulus clouds in the sky. It rained quite a bit before our trip so we got to drive through many creeks and could see some turning to rivers as the wet season was soon looming. One particular river crossing we stopped at was Bynoe River near Normantown, QLD. There was absolutely nothing for hours then we drove through a road that closes during heavy rains, the rocks there had gold like shine to them.

As we got to Queensland, the mango trees started popping up everywhere. So as everyone should do when there’s a fruit tree, we picked as many as we can, and the first tree had a long stick purposely for grabbing the ones up high. Mango picking went on for a month; I reckon we ate something like 200 mangos together maybe more. It was as a safari type trip, got see wild kangaroos, wallabies, guanas, horses, the freakiest looking cows ever.

The closer we got to Cairns, mountain ranges replaced the flat, dry lands of the outback. We found a beautiful campsite right next to a creek. The following day made it to Cairns, restocked on food, found the best deal $6 for a big box of bananas. In the town centre, we got information on diving out in the Great Barrier Reef. And with the goal of reaching Cape York Town, we quickly left Cairns. We stayed a night at one of world’s oldest Tropical Rainforest, Daintree National Park. The size of the trees there were ginormous and something special. The trip continued north, up steep gravel roads that shook our plants out their soil. At times we second guessed ourselves of the potential of our 4WD, for reasons we don’t know, now we know that it’s one badass truck.

The road now turned into a developmental highway that went from paved to gravel to dust holes heaven to dirt back to gravel to pave. It makes your brain tired but along the way there were still many mango trees that needed it picking so we stocked up. We had boxes, bags and containers all from different towns and everyday a new batch got ripe. It was a mango munch feast that was magical. Who doesn’t love mangos? The goal was to make it back to Cairns for Halloween and with the road still being exhausting we turned off to Chili Beach, Northeast of Cape York Peninsula. After sleeping in different places the past week, we stayed at the beach for a couple of days trying to organize our set up of our Photosynthesize project. The beach was beautiful and deserted just what we needed to relax our minds also figure out the best way to serve and give out free tacos.

Back on the road and picking mangos. We made a stop to fill our water bottles and decided to make it a mango break, we ate a dozen mangos together just on the side of the dirt highway. It was one of my favorite moments. What doesn’t get spoken about so much is the bird wildlife in Australia, going up to towards Cape York, Laura town in particular had so many vibrant coloured Rainbow Lorikeets that just munched on mangos in the trees. Not a bad life. We also got to see a huge Wedge Tailed Eagle, it was massive.

With a few days until Halloween we were on schedule to party it up in Cairns. Along the way back, we made stops at two Mango Wineries. The taste of them, interesting and sweet, regular wine is better. Still we bought a bottle and some plant based Cream Liqueurs. Once in Cairns, our favorite store BCF was waiting for us. With a stock coupons we got two gas cookers to complete our taco setup. The next day after a sleep in the bush with these sand flies and mosquitos, they were devil. We went in search of a shower after not having a proper one since Darwin. It felt so great; clean car, clean us now we were a bit urbanized so we walked around town to see the best deal for diving and book our Advance Level in Diving out in the Great Barrier Reef. To kill time hung around the water front, threw the Frisbee, kicked the futbol , two young girls took us on a tour of the playground. The playgrounds here are a step up from the ones we grew up playing on. The next day was Halloween so we dressed up and hit the town but not for long, the town wasn’t popping as we thought. With food on our minds, we got Kebabs that were on point, and then drove to our campsite only to be woken up the police. Lost in my dreams I didn’t hear anything but Ben did and woke me up. They asked our names and what we were up to, obviously sleep. As a person traveling into big towns the campsites are way over priced so we chose to use 4WD to get us near a creek and not too far from a campsite, fortunately the police said don’t do it again and we went back to sleep.