Fat Cat Backpackers...
Updated: Oct 20, 2019
My mentors... this place (Fat Cat Backpackers outside of Auckland, NZ) is full of what I will call true hard core young travelers from around the world. Ellie the Dane, Craig from South Africa, Helen from Germany, Ricardo from Portugal, Coel and Claire from Canada.... All of the accents.
So many voices from around the world, each with a story, and the connecting point is that each one has listened to their internal voice.
These are the people from the “other world” that I’d been told about. These “kids” have been traveling for years and for many of them, there is no end in sight. They work hard either here on site or at home saving money for their next adventure. Today Martha from the UK said she will often go to a hostel and volunteer just so she can have a group of friends that she can call on if anything goes wrong during her travels in the respective country. Smart.
“We travel, some of us forever, to see other states, other lives, other souls.” Anais Nin
I am learning to play in the kitchen. That sounds a bit silly as I have had to cook for a family for years and love to entertain, but somehow this feels vastly different. To walk into the food storage area and see what vegetables are on the shelf and what leftovers might be in the refrigerator and figure out how to feed 30 people. I’ve yet to see a recipe book used, though on occasion google is called upon to figure out a translation or conversion for metrics to cups. I was the assistant to Sebastian the other night, and we made Indian street food called Pav Bhaji.... Mashed potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions and lots of spices. Amazingly creative people I’m living with... And their environmental ethic is something that we don’t even have to talk about...
And very little goes to waste!
This hostel is home base for a fruit selling business which sells ripe fruit on the side of the road and at the moment we are loaded with over ripe avocados and plums. Avocados are worked into almost every meal (sans chips), but I was most proud of my plum jam! Ripe fruit pushed through a sieve and then heated on the stove with just a bit of sugar. It’s used on pancakes in the morning, toast in the afternoon and over apples for dinner. Little sugar is used in anything, so my taste buds have become so much more aware and sensitive to sweet. Less is more.
What I am finding most interesting about this stay is that I now have time in the afternoons to do those things I have always thought about... My daily spiritual practices have floated away, though my daily karma yoga is now my practice, and I am finding my zen in almost everything I do. (I got a little grumpy last night when I pulled the card that said I had to clean all the pots and pans from dinner - lol). My day starts at 7am when I teach a 30 minute yoga class out on the wooden deck next to the chicken coop. I then move to the kitchen and help prepare a breakfast consisting of pancake batter (self serve), porridge, guacamole and whatever fruit is available for those that are staying at the hostel. My partner for the day and I then head to strip the beds of the hostel guests that have checked out, laundry, cleaning bathrooms, floors and showers. I smile at myself when I notice how much pride I take in little things. Making the communal bathroom sparkle is one of them, oh and the composting shower. Yup. An outdoor shower that runs the water line through the compost pile to gather warmth. Ingenuity at its best! The back story of the showers is a bit comical... The composting shower has great pressure, but the warm water runs out by the end of the day. The indoor shower has HOT water, but it comes out in a dribble... Water pressure or warmth - pick one - lol!
The other night Martes (a kind, funny amazing singer from Slovenia) showed me where the ukulele is stored and two apps. One app for tuning and the other for cords and simple songs... I had the notion of playing the ukulele before I left, and after watching many of these young woofers pick up instruments and teach themselves how to play during their stint here, has motivated me! My finger tips are sore..............
The journey continues.