15 Minutes of Fame

I just checked; It seems a bit ridiculous that the last post was published back in October; I found more time to do such things whilst being without a computer, Internet connection, and indeed a home.Weird.

Now, it’s April and the/my world hast changed a few times over since then. I occupy a full-time job now (oh maybe that’s why). There has been an incredible winter to do all sorts of snow activities. There … oh, so many million things nobody but me is interested in; Busy, to say the least. To fill the void, I’m going to post this instead:

To give it a try, I’ve submitted my first picture to my the desktop wallpaper site of my choice, interfacelift.com. And guess what? It got voted! Psyched.

Here’s the link to ‘Morning Heart‘.

But the real thing to be psyched about is that the wallpaper received almost 20,000 (!) downloads within just four days. Although living is all about enjoying the moment, it’s for some reason a great feeling to know that you’ve just shared one tiny moment with so many other human beings. But of course, not a single one will ever know how great it really felt to actually be there to live that moment.

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Off The Road

‘What are you going to do with yourself, Ed?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know’, he said, ‘I just go along. I dig life.’
– Jack Kerouac, On The Road

I think it was Alexander Huber who infested my with this idea of viewing ones life as a big book, every single day represented by a blank page that is yet to be filled. Some pages will display only a few words scratched on them, some are more like a whole magnificent book by themselves, featuring coloured illustrations and all. I still like to live and think by and with this analogy, it’s a beautiful one; And accordingly, I’m about to close a big chapter, 206 pages long and a hell of a read.

Flicking through it, one can read of snow-covered peaks, of real-life dragons, of endless road-trips, of those miseries of packing up a wet tent in the morning and putting it up again in the evening, of insightful conversations with total strangers that are about to become respected friends in just a minute’s time, of days filled with the longing for a home, of endless and empty beaches, of the best sunset imaginable, yes, one will even be advised to absolutely never leave the selling of a van to the very day prior to your departure. In short, I’ve done my best to fill each and every of those blank pages as colourful and vivid as I could. That was my mission – I think I did pretty well.

People will continue to ask, ‘So, tell me, what’s your favourite place of all?’ Well, there is no such place. It’s neither A nor B that matter, it’s everything in between. It was proven once again that flexibility is a traveller’s very best friend. In a nutshell, Nepal was a beautiful culture shock, still vivid in my mind. Thailand was a holiday from Nepal, a delight for all senses. Singapore a huge, modern city (yes, and it still is, in face I’m writing those lines whilst patiently waiting for my final connection at Singapore International Airport and, as it turned out, they offer public Internet kiosks free of charge; brilliant). Indonesia an adventure for its own, featuring a paradise of a millions islands and day-long delayed ferry rides. Australia a big and exciting road trip and a lot of deep blue. New Zealand an even bigger road trip (6349 km, in fact), a lot of magnificent rock and even more magnificent people. But you shouldn’t put anything in a nutshell, frankly – go ahead and write a book.

So, even seven month of intense travelling around the globe have to come to an end, eventually. It will be a whole new idea to work through those memories – there were simply too many to be processed instantly. Doubtless to say, those seven month were the most adventurous and exciting of my life. Of course. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Of course. I would do it again. Of course.
But now, I’m off the road, I’m coming home. And I’m glad to.

If there is one sole conclusion that has to be drawn from my first extended trip around the world, than this is it: It surely hasn’t been my last one.

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Rock Deluxe

Now, New Zealand isn’t Europe, but it still got some quite decent rock. And, that’s for sure, some very, very decent scenery to play in.
After not climbing for a whole month in Indonesia (imagine that!), I just had to pin the climbing mission high on my flags for New Zealand. Could not help it. What followed was an epic two-month road trip throughout the South Island, chasing the sun and the crags. For some reason, we had five days of straight sunshine down in the Fiordlands, a place with an annual rainfall of 6000+mm. The regions around Queenstown entertain you with some Schist that actually holds your body weight and lovely Wanaka had us come back three times.

Bouldering in world-famous Castle Hill is, of course, a must-do. This magical place offers some 10000+ boulder problems. Literally. But those weird rock formations make sure what you won’t find a single one of them since you won’t be able to spot a single hand- or foothold. But running into some local-pro’s helps a lot to get you psyched for the day. “So how are you supposed to get up there?!”, a common phrase.
New Zealand’s sport-climbing Mecca Paynes Ford got me bound for three weeks (it happens to everyone). But who could possibly defy days of two-hour break-feasts, perfect sport climbing, and legendary campfire-circles nursed by the conversations of beautiful and strange climbing bums? Right. Might as well stay another day. But now, unmistakeably, winter is creeping in, slowly but surely, so I have to flee to the North, counting the days. Counting the days!

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Instant Kiwi

So apparently, it has been two month now since I arrived here, virtually at the other side of the globe. No one really knows how that happened. But, I guess, living life as an Abligo [Abligo (n.): One who prides himself on not even knowing what day of the week it is] while chasing the sun and the best climbing crags just makes time fly. Especially, chasing about anything with my own (!) ride (my very first car was even easier to purchase than I imagined, which was already pretty easy) is heaps fun (picked up that kiwi slang) and a definite upgrade in luxury compared to the month of tent camping and floor sleeping in Australia. I can now store things! I do have a home! The home has four wheels, even, which makes it all the better.

So, New Zealand, aye? The one place I was always looking forward to visit, the paradise of my dreams. Well indeed, as it turned out, reality matches those dreams pretty closely. To fly into the Nations second largest city a few days after it got severely destructed by an epic once-in-a-century (so we all hope) earthquake made for quite a special situation. The following weeks were strongly characterized by this event. But one thing struck me above all: How whole New Zealand united in an almost inconceivable way, their spirits raising higher than ever, ready to rebuild what got destroyed.

(four landscapes? really?)

Kiwis spell ‘colour’ and say ‘bro’ quite frequently. They are hostile, humble, and surprisingly friendly, it a very honest way. They are proud of their little nation, but without waiving a flag to show it. And I’m not even talking about those wildly varied, unspoiled landscapes that appear in a beauty beyond my words to describe. An endless autumn. I’ve just added a few pictures therefore, judge by yourself. Sometimes, I get reminded of home, the mountains and cows and all, just that those here are surrounded by an ocean. To make a long story short, this place really appears as a kind of paradise. As a place that makes you feel welcome, that makes you feel home. An Instant Kiwi.

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