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Hey all,

Forgot to include the new itinerary…Here it is:

Departure dates are for plane flights and are more or less fixed,
although we can and may fudge some of them around a day or so. The
other dates are a little flexible.

***If any of you is still interested in meeting us in any of these
places, please do email us again. In the weeks up to the wedding we
were not able to keep track of who was interested in what.

-Depart Nov 20 Auckland to Bangkok (via Sydney)

Nov 20-Dec 15 Thailand
Dec 15-Jan 5 Laos
Jan 5-Jan 29 Vietnam
Jan 30 return via land to Bangkok

-Depart Jan 30 Bangkok to Delhi (via Hong Kong)

Jan 31-March 15 India (we’ll head south first and then return north)
March 15-April 15 Nepal
April 15-May 1 Tibet
May 1-3 Return to Delhi (via land and air???)

-Depart May 3 Delhi to Athens (via London)

Sail around the Greek isles and visit Athens

-Depart May 25 Athens to Sau Paulo, Brazil

Travel around southern Brazil and make our way up the Amazon by boat
and cross over into Bolivia (by land, boat or bush plane)

Maybe do a mountaineering trip on some big fat mountain near La Paz

-Depart June 25 La Paz, Bolivia to Santiago, Chile

Hang out in Chile for several weeks, hike in Patagonia

-Depart July 15 Santiago to Chicago

Hang out with family for several days

-Depart July 20 Chicago to Seattle

Pick up car from Roger’s step brother David in Seattle and drive it
south to San Francisco, perhaps after a visit to Vancouver

Lots of hugs,

Jen and Rog


Hey all,

Here’s the next update from Rog and Jen in New Zealand. Pictures are
being processed, and we’ll send the link ASAP! By the way, we’re
finally putting the “green” into this global trek thing!

This one is a bit long, so we’ve included a synopsis/table of
contents:

1. Backpacking in Tongariro
2. Backpacking/kayaking in Abel Tasman
3. Rog and Jen get our fingers in the dirt on an organic farm
4. We’re doing a Permaculture course (with background info)
5. New itinerary

1. Backpacking in Tongariro
After skydiving near Lake Taupo on the North Island, we headed into
Tongariro National Park for some hut-to-hut backpacking (or tramping
as it’s called here). On the first day, we hiked about 11 miles (we
thinK: all the trails give estimated time of walking, instead of km
or mi), and crossed the park between two volcanoes — Ngaurahoe and
Ruapehu. We had stellar views of Ruapehu, which is the larger of the
two and mostly snow-covered at this time of year. The day began with
less than auspicious weather, but then it cleared and ended up being
a fairly nice day.

The second day was our biggie: we hiked probably around 14 miles and
did the famous Tongariro Crossing in reverse, which meant that we saw
almost no people. The weather was sorta cloudy again, but as we
ascended the east side of the Ngaurahoe/Tongariro saddle, it cleared
up for us. We first came upon smelly sulfury thermals spouting out
the side of one of the craters, and then climbed a little further and
found ourselves alongside a beautiful blue-green crater lake, where
we had lunch. We could see our entire trail and the eastern plain
below. GORGEOUS! Then we hiked around and checked out a couple
other of the Emerald Lakes and up to the red crater. It was a hairy
scrabble up scree and loose dirt with sharp drops on either side ( on
the left, BIG crater) — picture Jen getting pretty freaked out, with
Rog trying (vainly) to keep her calm.

The red crater was pretty incredible: there were big charred areas
swirled in with red lava rocks, and small snow patches here and
there. After passing the red crater, we went down the back side,
which wasn’t nearly so bad. All this, of course, was on the “trail,”
but I have to say that track maintenance left something to be
desired. We passed Ngaurahoe, which one can climb, but we decided
we’d had enough scree slopes for one day, and continued on down to
the next hut. While that sounds easy, once again, we were faced with
a pretty undefined trail. Our theory was that they just stuck big
trail markers in the rocks and hoped for the best.

When we arrived at the hut, we almost decided to spend the night in
our tent, which we’d schlepped along, but we then got lazy. We were
soon glad that laziness won out, as that night we endured a wildly
windy and rainy night, which kept us awake a lot of the night,
despite being in a solid hut.

The huts, by the way, are pretty darn nice. They usually have two or
three sleeping rooms with bunks, and then a main room with sinks and
counters. Until the high season, you have to bring your own stove,
but there is usually a pretty good gas heater for the main room.

The last day was fairly soggy, but we were in really good spirits, as
we’d had the best weather to see the craters and all the views from
up top. It could have been worse! We only had to hike about 2 hours
or so back to the main visitors area where we were picked up and
taken directly to the nicest backpackers hostel we’ve found yet:
really clean, great kitchen with ALL the utensils, spices, etc., a
nice courtyard, laundry.

Despite our longing to stay at this great backpackers (that’s what
they call hostels here), we hit the road again the next morning and
headed to Wellington to catch the ferry to the South Island. We were
able to get great views again of both volcanoes along the road. On
one of the rest stops, we met a nice Austrian man, Hans, and soon
became buddies with him. He spoke practically no English, so in a
matter of hours, we’d become his translators as well. For the next
two days, we managed to get all of us to Nelson, one of the main
gateways to the Abel Tasman coast and National Park. The hostel
here, the Paradiso, vyed for best backpackers, as it also came with
free breakfast and veggie soup at dinner time.

2. Backpacking/kayaking in Abel Tasman
Rog and I made plans to kayak and backpack through the Abel Tasman,
and headed out way too early in the morning to find our sea kayaking
outfitter. We rented our own double, and managed to cram all our
belongings into the three holds, and then headed out. It was pretty
overcast, but the water was beautifully calm. We enjoyed going in
and out of inlets and estuaries most of the day. The last hour of
the day brought us to the “Mad Mile” which is a not-so-fun area that
wasn’t very protected, just as the wind kicked in and the sky opened
up. We made it fine, of course, but glad to see the inlet where our
hut awaited us. We were glad to have reserved a space in the hut
that morning, as the rain beat down all night long.

3. Rog and Jen get our fingers in the dirt on an organic farm
For the last several days we’ve been WWOOFing (Willing Workers On
Organic Farms) on a lovely little piece of paradise in the Golden
Bay, which is not too far up the coast from Abel Tasman. Our host,
Fiona Balfour is starting her own organic permaculture farm on a bit
of coastal land. The views of the tidal marshes out our bedroom
window are fantastic. We’ve been planting some seedlings, creating
new terraced garden beds on the hill below the house and putting in
some steps up to the pasture above the house.

4. We’re doing a Permaculture course (with background info)
After this we’ll continue around the South Island and then we’ll go
back up to the North Island and spend ten days doing an introductory
course on permaculture with an emphasis on Maori land use concepts.
For the uninitated, permaculture is a design system for creating
sustainable human environments by looking at agriculture and our
interactions with nature as a whole system. Every element in a
permaculture system has intakes and output to other parts of the
system and with careful planning you can minimize the amount of work
that humans do and maximize the work that the plants and animals in
the system do for themselves. It also focuses on Reduce, Reuse,
Recycle concepts that create an ecologically friendly, economically
viable living space that doesn’t pollute or exploit any element of
the system and is totally self supporting in the long term.

Some small examples: Rainwater could be collected right off the roof
into barrels for use in the house. Greywater (from sinks and
showers, not toilets) in the house would be routed to the veggie
patch outside instead of wasting that liquid by sending it to a
municipal treatment plant. Orchard trees are planted next to
leguminous (bean) trees or plants so that the droppings from each are
naturally composted into the soil and replenish it with the different
things without the need for fertilizers. In concept, every element
of the system serves two or more jobs and interdependance is created
that removes the need for extra intervention.

We’ll be glad to tell you more about it after the course, which
should be fantastic from all the reports that we’ve heard about the
facilitators.

5. We’ve got a new itinerary: Africa is out, South America and Greece
are in, but the rest remains pretty much the same. Here it is again,
but eventually we’ll stick it up on our yahoogroups site.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Rog and Jen

BTW, it has been seven weeks since we got married and we’re still
super in love with each other (even when grungy).


Hey all,

We had a few days of great weather in Auckland tooling around with
Jen’s sister, Julie. We also caught the Auckland vs. Wellington
rugby match (Go Auckland!). Quite a cultural experience, watching
very large somewhat daft seeming men pummel each other. Whew!

We also spent a *very wet* day “canyoning”, which for the uninitiated
involved following a steep river downstream, jumping from pool to
pool, over waterfalls and rappelling down some of them. Generally
it’s like flopping your way like a fish out of water down a canyon
(with a wetsuit and helmet on for protection). Good fun!

Next it was time to head east to the Coromandel Peninsula where we
met some fun Canadians. The last few days have mostly consisted of
trying to find good hot thermal pools to soak in, while getting
rained on most of the time. We managed to sneek in a few good Maori
cultural exhibits and shows.

Next up was a trip to the central north island to a town called Taupo near a
large lake. for the last few days, we’ve been staying with a Servas family who
live close to the town center. It’s been a unique experience. They were former
beef and sheep farmers, but have been quite open minded towards our
environmental and vegetarian sensibilities. Today we had quite an amazing day.
We hooked up with a ropes course company, and did some crazy high-wire acts.
Imagine 20 meter-high telephone poles with tight ropes, logs and trapezes, with
Jen and Rog dangling around from hefty harnasses. There were some really hairy
ones — but it was all very safely managed by a great Kiwi named Paul. There
were several that I (Jen) didn’t even want to attempt, but according to Paul,
“no” and “can’t” are super-dirty words, so yes, I did climb to the top of a
telephone pole, stand on top, and jump out to a trapeze in the air. NUTS, but
that was actually my fave. (Rog agrees.)

So, just for another adrenaline rush for your happy junkies, we’re going to take
up skydiving tomorrow (this one’s on you Chris and Amity — thanks!). We’re
psyched!! Apparently heart-stopping 20 meter drops weren’t enough — ha!

Then, we’re headed for tamer adventures — we’re gonna hike around a volcano for
three days. Tongariro Circuit — send us your good weather thoughts.

More later!

Regards,

Rog and Jen


Hey all,

Welcome to the first edition of the Jen and Rog Update-o-matic.
After much consternation and plenty of snafus, we are finally in
Auckland…and so is our luggage.

Our last several days in stateside were hectic to say the least,
since we wound up leaving several days earlier than our anticipated
Oct 4th departure date. We planned to fly to Auckland cheap using
some “Friends and Family Companion Passes” from Jen’s sister who
works for United Airlines, however, the company decided to suspend
using them effective October 1st. We scrambled a bit to rearrange
plans and wound up driving from San Diego straight up to SF on Sept
29th after a lovely morning wedding of our friend Ellen’s. (Best
wishes Ellen and Gabe!)

Sunday Sept 30th was a day to pack and repack our bags and our
storage unit, both of which were haphazardly thrown together (because
we believed that we’d have more time to straighten everything out),
go back to pick up and drug the cat, fly to LA, drop off said cat
with Jen’s sister and brother-in-law and jump on a flight to
Auckland. Everything went flawlessly…except that crucial flight to
Auckland part.

We were pretty confident that we’d get on the flight and get business
class seats to boot until 20 minutes prior to departure, when they
announced that they weren’t taking any more standby passengers.
Whoops! So we ran over to the Sydney gate which was leaving a few
minutes later, chatted up the ticket agent who Julie (Jen’s sister)
had happened to introduce us to a few hours before, and hopped on
that flight. Business class, baby. Ka-ching! Wonderful flight,
lotsa pampering.

Everything was grand until we hit customs. Oops, no visa, leave the
country or AUD $10,000 fine. Call us wimps, we backed down. So
officially, we never stepped foot on aussie soil, and snagged the
next flight to Auckland. Nice flight, nice customs officers, but
alas no luggage.

It arrived at our hostel late last night, thankfully. Today is
planning day, tomorrow we meet up with Julie, who happened to snag a
trip down here and then it’s off to see the country.

We’ll get more updates to ya on all our crazy adventures (think
bungee jumping, caving, canyoneering and mountaineering).

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Big hugs,

Jen and Rog

Rog and Jen’s travels – some old stuff, some new stuff

This blog has a collection of the travel update emails that Jen and Rog compiled during our 2001-2002 round the world trip. We're off to do a bit more trekking around, and thought it would be nice import those old emails. Enjoy!

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