My #1 Epic Fail in New Zealand


As I travelled through Asia, I got my Working Holiday visa for New Zealand. I couldn’t believe this was happening. 100 places for Latvians each year and I got one of them.

I didn’t really have a plan. It was time to leave Asia because I thought I was running out of money. I wasn’t really. I just still had that ‘you-need-tons-of-money-travel’ mindset.

In Auckland I met this guy who was selling his car with a surfboard. Deamn. That was the moment of enlightenment. I should have gone home, gotten my driver’s licence and return to NZ.  But I was on the other side of the world! Fail.

Taking the bus was not cool. I wanted the freedom. I was still under the illusion I could learn how to surf. But New Zealand is not Thailand- packed full of people, making a living out of getting you from A to B. It’s remote. It’s the furthest place on the earth from anywhere. Who would wanna live on an island full of beautiful beaches, volcanoes and nice people anyways?

I had the money to buy a car but NO driver’s licence in a country peeerfect for your first van-life experience. Epic fail. Going to Gisborne rather than Raglan was a fail as well.

Then I met this super nice American chick who suggested I try hitch-hiking. So I stuck out the thumb for my first ever 15-minute lift.. Two seconds later a car full of three big kiwi guys pulls over..

Seriously? Wasn’t it supposed to be a nice old lady? Is this the moment where you say ‘thank you. But no thank you.’? But I suck at saying no. So I got into the car. Facepalm. And then these guys ended sick worried for me as I  got dropped off at this super dodgy hippy hostel. The irony.

Turns out hitch-hiking is dead easy.

And so I continued to travel New Zealand in other peoples’ cars. Hitchin throughout the country. Thanks to super friendly kiwis, other travellers and one very interesting hippy, who decided to make a stop at the top of Takaka hill. Get his guitar out and sing a song or two. That was the beginning of the best summer of my life.But that’s another story.

By the time I reached New Zealand’s third largest city – Wellington (I think) it was clear, that it would be stupid to get an office job and live the same kind of life just on the other side of the world.

One month passed by on the North Island and I decided- OK South Island, show me what you got..?!


Winter is coming. World famous Queenstown surrounded by beautiful mountains will be the place where I’ll settle for a while. And then, going to Queenstown, full off wanna-be teenage snowboarders, dodgy rooms and crappy jobs, turned out to be another epic fail.

So I stuck my thumb out again. A car full of Argentineans heading to Nelson pulled over.


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