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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life… (Day 125)

We meet such wonderful people on our travels, some new and some we have met before. Our travels are not just about the places we go to, also about learning from the people we meet and connecting with them. Wonderful.

We met Paul the Plumber in the morning again and shared experiences around NZ. He’d done a lot more around Abel Tasman than us and it sounded amazing. I noticed some stiffness in his body and he shared that he had just found out that he had a medical condition. We chatted about this and his attitude was so positive – the three of us ended up singing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. We really do meet extraordinary people.

Our focus for the day was to get over to the east coast to see our friend Anna, who we met two years ago in India. We stopped off at a lovely roadside café called The Barking Zebra. The décor was very simple yet effective with aluminium corrugated sheeting below the wood dado rail and black paint above. We had a coffee and cake (Dear me – I really am getting a bit of a rubber ring round my stomach!) and hopped onto wifi catching up on emails etc. The young lady who served us originated from South Africa, her family moving to Cambridge, England when she was three. She had arrived in NZ 3 weeks ago and had been travelling around South Africa for a few months. As we will be going there in September, I asked her what top 3 places she’d recommend. Tim quickly made a note of these in preparation for later in the year.

Our journey was uneventful. I wrote a new blog for Glows Coaching. We stopped off and made lunch and eventually arrived in Whangaparaoa. Before meeting Anna, we found a laundrette, Tim was running out of pants, did our washing and popped into another café. The owner was a very friendly and smiley man originating from Pune near Mumbai. He was looking through CVs for part-time staff and I asked him what his criteria was for knowing who to pick. It was all about customer service, they smile and greet people warmly despite what personal issues they may have. Tim remembered an interview question that our brother-in-law had heard once – “Are you more like your Mum or your Dad?” and then whoever they choose, get them to describe that parent. A great question as they are then indirectly talking about themselves.

The clothes were clean and dry, 5 minutes later we found the Housesitting abode where Anna is staying and she warming greeted us. It really is so lovely to catch up with people we know. We ended up staying in, chatting away ten to the dozen and compiling a meal from our leftover food and salad from the garden. So much fun reminiscing on our time in India together, our journey so far and hearing a small amount of Anna’s most adventurous and exciting career in China, Burma, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, and New Zealand. On 30th May it will be her 25 years of leaving The Netherlands, her home country. Anna has done such fascinating work; with the UN, advising governments how to eradicate opium farming, building capacities and enabling local people to run development programmes themselves plus in recent years, moving from an advisory role to coaching and has developed a coaching culture and community in Sri Lanka. I have so valued our time together and getting to know Anna more. An amazing lady.

We were going to move onto a campsite a few miles away. Luckily Tim called them and there was a function there so fully booked. Anna phoned the owners of where she is staying and asked permission if this bright coloured campervan could be parked outside their house. They were fine with this as was her neighbour, who in fact thought it was very groovy and reminded her of her great times in the 60s.

We watched Michael Moore’s film “Where to Invade Next” – he visits a variety of mainly European countries to find out what they do well to take these ideas back to the USA. Ideas such as a supportive prison system in Norway, paid holiday time in Italy, amazing school dinners in France and excellent education in Finland. Sadly UK and The Netherlands were not chosen in the film. It is very much looking at life from a rosy tinted viewpoint, however that is the point – looking at the excellence….always looking on the bright side of life!

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