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Meet the Gypsies : Christie of The Butterfly Editions
1. Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you now?
Hi! I’m Christie, a 25 year old travel-obsessed Kiwi who writes a travel blog at The Butterfly Editions. Thanks for having me here, Ashley!
I’ve recently relocated back to my beautiful hometown of Nelson, New Zealand after backpacking through Asia since August 2014. I love New Zealand but am already planning my next adventure – I can’t keep still!
2. What’s your packing strategy? Heavy or light packer? Backpack or suitcase?
My packing strategy is “let’s try and fit my entire wardrobe into my bag”…so not really much of a strategy! I made a few packing mistakes on my last travels, mainly by packing a lot of clothes that I liked but didn’t necessarily match with each other. Next time I will be a lot more careful about selecting clothes that can easily be mixed and matched! My biggest tip is using packing cubes, in my opinion they are an absolute essential and I’d never travel without them again.
I wouldn’t say I’m a heavy packer but I’m definitely not a light one – carry-on luggage is not my strength! I typically take my 55 litre backpack for overseas trips, or a small suitcase if I’m whizzing somewhere in New Zealand. My luggage weighed only 13kg on my Asia travels, which was quite an achievement for me!
3. How do you afford your travels? Budget traveler or lean more towards luxury?
My partner and I simply save like crazy to be able to afford our travels. Before we left for Asia, we cut back on as many non-essential expenses as possible. We were both terrible at buying lunch on workdays instead of packing it from home. I also stopped buying fancy coffees (costing me $4 each a day!) and would drink free coffee that work provided instead. Changing habits like these were surprisingly easy and saved us SO much money.
I like to call myself a “value traveller.” I fit into the budget traveller category and like to make a little money go a long way, but I prefer a little more privacy than a dorm room. I generally go for private, air-conditioned rooms in hostels and budget hotels, and very occasionally splurge on a good deal at a fancier hotel – like the luxurious 5-star hotel we stayed in Huangshi, China which cost us just $100 per night including the biggest buffet breakfast spread I’d ever laid eyes on!
4. If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
Laos and Myanmar. These were the next two countries on our itinerary for our Asia backpacking trip. Unfortunately, while we were in Cambodia I had a health scare and had to return to New Zealand for surgery. It was so upsetting to return home before completing our trip, and these were two countries I had never visited before and was so excited to explore! Hopefully I will be able to make it back to Southeast Asia sometime really soon.
5. Is there anywhere you won’t travel to and why?
I like to think I’m pretty adventurous and enjoy getting off the beaten track. That said, I probably wouldn’t choose to visit a war zone or somewhere there was a high risk of danger. But in general, I think I’d like to travel just about anywhere!
6. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve eaten?
In Da Lat, Vietnam we visited a cricket farm and were served up a plate of crispy fried crickets. They weren’t as bad as I was anticipating, provided they were heavily coated in chilli sauce! On the same day in Vietnam I also unknowingly ate rat (eurgh, I know!!) and in China ate stinky tofu, which just tasted like mould – the Chinese equivalent of blue cheese I guess!
7. You’re from and have lived all over New Zealand. What are the ‘must sees’ for first time visitors?
I’m so lucky to be from New Zealand and I love my home country to bits. I grew up in Nelson which is right in the middle of the country at the top of the South Island, but have also lived in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Just around the corner from where I live is a hill called “The Centre of New Zealand”, which although it isn’t geographically quite the centre, has beautiful views over the bay from the top.
It is so difficult to narrow down New Zealand to the “must-sees,” however Rotorua, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Queenstown and Milford Sound would be on my list for sure! Together those places provide a great combination of nature, cities, culture and adrenaline activities.
8. You and your other half are currently traveling through Asia – what’s been your favorite Asian country so far?
Unfortunately we are no longer travelling through Asia, but we had an incredible time! I loved just about everywhere that we visited, though Vietnam certainly has a big piece of my heart – I’ve already backpacked the length of Vietnam twice and would do so again in a heartbeat! I love the delicious food, the friendly people, the diverse scenery, the range of activities….oh, and the cheap Bia Hoy (fresh beer)!
9. Do y’all have plans to head somewhere else after Asia or do you plan on going back to NZ?
We are already back in New Zealand, but to be honest that wasn’t really part of the plan! We had thought we might work in Australia for a while to save up some more money before continuing our travels, perhaps into Central Asia and Eastern Europe. I have a feeling we are not quite ready to be back in New Zealand permanently just yet, though it is pretty good to be home and it is wonderful being able to spend lots of time with our families and friends again.
10. What’s the #1 item on your bucket list?
The Rickshaw Run in India! You team up with a group and drive a rickety old rickshaw the length of India over about three weeks. It sounds crazy and ridiculous and wild and challenging but I think it would be so much fun!
11. Most importantly, where to next?
For now we are staying in New Zealand but I have a lot of travel dreams and plenty more plans in the works! Can everywhere be my answer?!