what to pack and what to leave

What to pack or not to pack that is the question.

  • Maud Parrish (1878-1976) in her book, Nine Pounds Of Luggage, said she travelled the world with approx. 4 kilo of luggage and a banjo.
  • I travel for a year with less luggage than my friends take for a weekend!
  • Carrying possessions on my back ensures I pare the weight down to the least possible and still have a change of clothes.
  • It’s the necessary extras that weigh so much – toilet-gear, books, glasses/contact lens, footwear.

So what can a woman with a passion for travel and adventure tell you about what to take?

  • Travel lightly, in spirit as well as in luggage; wear the world like a loose garment as an old saying suggests but pack lots and lots of enthusiasm.
  • Take less rather than more – a lot less, there very few places that you cannot improvise or buy a needed item of clothing. Remember, most of the people you meet will never cross your path again so there is no need to impress with different clothes each day.
  • So what can you jettison – everything you take ‘for just in case’. Soap is on the out list; body shampoo works well on hair too and saves carrying two items. Disposable shavers will keep your legs just as silky as the designer ones and half empty containers of toothpaste and deodorant from home last for ages. Old film canisters are great for keeping things such as hair gel rather than carry big containers.
  • I love BIG bath towels! However travel has taught me to dry myself on a well-worn, soft, small one.
  • Think about where you are going when you pack your clothes.
  • Be respectful in your clothing, even if you don’t approve of, or understand the cultural norms that require you to cover up.
  • Remember you went to that place because of it’s difference, if it was the same as home you may as well stay at home, it would be easier and cheaper!
  • Jewellery, take the absolute minimum as insurance cover is expensive, and looking after them is just one more worry. I wear small earrings and a gold chain, and of course, like most travelling Kiwis, my bone carving or greenstone.
  • Sometimes I buy a couple of cheap fun pieces in the county I’m in for a change.
  • Bank cards are my way of travelling, with a few small travellers’ cheques and a little cash, hidden away for emergencies. Most airports have an ATM ensuring that as soon as I arrive I can get some local currency.  Only once did I have a problem with using a card – leaving Zimbabwe
  • On a practical level, check with your bank about charges. It may pay to put your credit card into credit then use it as a debit card to reduce charges. I carry two different cards that I keep separate in case of loss or theft and make sure the expiry date doesn’t fall in the middle of your holiday!
  • Traveller cheques (get rid of the covers) are still  used by lots of people so check the exchange rate, often those offering no commission pay a lower exchange rate. Once again, talk with your bank to get current, and correct, advice.
  • Soft covered journals weigh less than others, swap your reading material along the way, send photos home once they have been developed (negatives in a separate letter for safety)
  • Most of all throw out all your worries and problems about yesterday and tomorrow, they weigh far too much to be of any use to you today.

FINALLY:  if it’s in your bag for –  “just in case” –  leave it at home!

freedom campers in new zealand

Freedom campers asked to assume nothing

2010 NOTE: you can, and likely will be, be given an instant fine for parking in places specifically marked “no overnight camping”  Camping includes – campervans, caravans, mobile homes, tent etc.

16 Sep 2009 New Zealand’s wide open spaces and unique environment provide a mecca for freedom campers but tourists are being advised to check with the locals before pitching a tent or parking their campervan.

“Assume nothing – always ask a local” is the message being touted by authorities keen to tidy up the presumption that anyone can camp anywhere in New Zealand.

In a united campaign, holidaymakers are being encouraged to check with i-SITEs, the Department of Conservation (DOC) Visitor Centres and Holiday Parks for local camping information to minimise any negative impacts.

And a recently launched website ‘camping our way, love NZ’ has become a one stop shop for campers seeking information on eco-wise practices, keeping safe, facilities, regional camping, what to do and where to stay in New Zealand.

Freedom camping
Freedom camping has become a popular way to enjoy New Zealand and sums up the practice of camping away from recognised camp sites.

It includes holidaymakers camping in caravans, buses, cars, tents or campervans and staying over in rest areas or reserves, at beaches, in car parks or at the side of the road.

While there are no statistics available to cover the number of people who freedom camp, it is recognised as a popular pursuit with both New Zealanders and international visitors.

Regional restrictions
Restrictions on freedom camping vary in each region. In some areas people can camp with relative freedom but in other places freedom camping is restricted to selected areas.

Each community tends to manage freedom camping in ways that are appropriate for them and many councils have bylaws to control the practice.

While freedom camping is seen as a way of bringing visitors into an area and adding value to the local economy, authorities believe it needs to be managed to care for New Zealand’s natural environment to preserve it for future generations.

Ask a local
The new “assume nothing, always ask a local” tourism initiative is the first time there has been a unified stance on how best to manage freedom camping.

Education helping campers to embrace the principle of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and ‘camping our way’ is seen as the best way to get the message across and will be advertised at DOC visitor centres, i-SITE information centres around the country and at holiday parks.

Rental vehicle companies have also been asked to link to the ‘camping our way’ website and promote the message during their booking process.

NZ Freedom Camping Forum
The New Zealand Freedom Camping Forum (NZFCF) was formed in 2007 by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) and is developing a number of initiatives to help communities better manage freedom camping in their areas.

“Freedom camping is a popular way to enjoy New Zealand and we don’t want to prohibit people from travelling that way, but we do want to minimise the negative impacts,” said TIA advocacy manager Geoff Ensor.

Kaitiakitanga
The message echoes New Zealand tourism industry’s guiding principle of kaitiakitanga – guardianship and sustainable management of natural, built and cultural resources for the collective benefit of current and future generations.

“New Zealand is a beautiful country. Help keep our towns, cities, parks, beaches and native bush free from pollution and waste. Please also respect our unique flora and fauna. Be active and get involved in caring for the environment. It is everyone’s responsibility,” the ‘camping our way’ website reminds visitors.

These topics may also be of interest to you

check this warning out too …http://www.newzealand.com/travel/media/press-releases/2009/11/nature_curios-campers-beware-of-wildlife_press-release.cfm

Related Links
i-SITE Visitor Information Centres
The official New Zealand information centres for travellers.
Other Sites
DOC Campsites
Camping Our Way website

// //

pechakucha is alive and well in New Zealand

©Heather Hapeta 2009

Pecha Kucha Nights are a rapid fire presentation format that’s sort of speed dating about the work, ideas and passions of creative people.

Travelling virus-like around the world – not quite at the speed of SARS or swine flu – the nights started in 2003 by a couple of ex-pat designers Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Kein-Dytham Architecture in Tokyo, Japan. They devised a format that kept presentations concise in order to encourage audience attention and increase the number of presenters in the one night.

The format consists of a data slide-show of 20 images, each of which is shown for only 20 seconds, moving onto the next image whether the presenter is ready or not.It’s a great way to get lots of information to the audience without boring them: even if it’s a topic that of no interest to some of the audience, don’t worry, its all over in 6 minutes 40 seconds.

AQ on its blog (aqworks.com) says “The beauty of Pecha Kucha Night lies in the tension between the chaos of a full-blown party and the politeness of an art school critic, with the snappy pace holding it all together. Like any open-mic night, this is an intense fight for attention. In the red corner, the presenter “selling” his work to the audience, in the blue corner, the bar selling beer to the same audience. The better your presentation, the less beer the bar sells, and vice-versa!”

If you want to present at a PK evening I can guarantee their blog helps us creative people talk about creative things and avoid “death by Powerpoint.

Most nights have about 14 presenters, most of who are (and much of the audience too) from the design, architecture, photography, art, music, and other creative fields

Some presenters in Christchurch (and their topics) have included

  • David Read  Photographer and publisher talking about being a skateboard photographer;
  • Adi Tait  tells us about The Burning Man experience
  • Bill de Friez, film maker among other skills,  is the man who nearly died of embarrassment
  • Cara Gouvea  a student here in Christchurch gives us a love letter to Saint Petersburg  her city
  • Flip Grater musician and writer, just back from her Cookbook Tour of Europe — takes us on a food and music trip across the continent.
  • Heather Hapeta aka The Passionate Nomad, author, blogger, and photographer tells how she helped create 79 Buddhist monks,
  • and Seth Wagoner had us ‘pimping your Firefox’ while immigrant Keinyo White, painter and illustrator shows us Aotearoa from an Af-Am perspective.

I go because I love passionate people talking about their passions: others tell me they look forward the evenings as they find out what others artists are doing; being introduced to new ideas; and of course supporting friends who are presenting.

The name derives from a Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit-chat”). A Pecha Kucha Night is a non-profit orientated event that is now part of an international network. According to Wikipedia, Pecha Kucha is usually pronounced in three syllables like “pe-chak-cha” but here in Christchurch we all seem to be saying it as two words each with two syllables!

It’s estimated that around 15,000 people in 200 cities –  from Aarhus, Adelaide, Amsterdam, Athens, Atlanta, Auckland, to Wellington, Worcester, Zagreb, Zaragoza, Zilina, and Zürich – attend Pecha Kucha nights each month, (in New Zealand its in Christchurch, Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Nelson) making this one of the world’s biggest creative networks. As they say – Pecha Kucha is for content not profit, so, join the conversation!

See photos from the first Christchurch Pecha Kucha night http://www.flickr.com/photos/pechakuchanightchristchurch/sets/72157605889795110/

Other sites to check out:

http://pecha-kucha.org/

http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/commentary/

http://www.pechakucha.co.nz/

http://twitter.com/pechakuchanight