The Canterbury Tales: Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs

“Shit!” the Kiwi yelped along with the echoes of awe by the others watching when I successfully shot the clay target with the shotgun. “Have you done this before?” I smiled quietly, acting cool despite the pain in my shoulder when the handle recoiled back into it that later left a terrible bruise. It was exhilarating watching the clay blast into bits in the air over Waiau River, but also disturbing that – as a pacifist who has never held a gun before – how good I actually was with a weapon. Read More

South of the Nile Delta

I think I have made a serious mistake, I thought to myself as I was crammed into a mini-van on my way through the Sinai Peninsula with two other women, both from South America. It was deep into the evening and there he stood at the van entrance, his eyes gleaming at me suspiciously as he held my passport in one hand and an AK47 in the other. My heart was racing, my mind thinking about the reality that it was just three girls surrounded by all these men. We could get dragged into the desert, raped and murdered and no one would ever know. Kidnapped, maybe sold into sexual slavery! Read More

The Rose City

“Make sure,” he said, pointing out into the middle of the bus, “to not give in, okay!” He was one of those tour guides where I was not entirely sure if he was honest or just believable because he spoke with confidence about things we knew nothing about. It seemed as though anything he said – even if it was absurd – must be true only because he said it loudly and with a firm expression. He was the expert after all. “No one in Jordan steals!” was one such comment. Read More

Sarah Bernhardt in Copenhagen?

An early morning terminal, a bleak sight as I walked not-so-quietly with my suitcase clank-clanking down the empty hallway. It was only moments ago that I waited for my luggage to appear on the baggage carousel, the last person standing with me sighed gleefully after his black suitcase with a blue ribbon suddenly appeared on the conveyor belt. I quickly whispered to myself, “what am I going to do?” Even the lost property office was closed. Read More

Aloha ‘āina Hawai’i

Aloha. Welcome to Hawai’i,” the taxi driver said as he approached me with a warm smile at the airport, stretching out his right hand before he gently placed his left over mine as if to solidify his sincerity.

He slowly placed my luggage into the trunk as I nervously tried to find the Airbnb apartment address in my wallet.

“I’m sure you’ll find it,” he smiled, “no need to worry.” Read More

An Aussie Intern in Israel

From the soundless alarm made from the gentle, orange sunrise piercing through the giant tree outside my bedroom window that form shapes on the wall to the random crazy man shouting for no apparent reason on the side of the street. The impolite service, the politics, history, feeling lost in the maze of an unknown language as I stand in shock as people ride hand-made motorised bicycles in the middle of a busy, disorganised road. The combination of young, perfectly tanned girls wearing short dresses that expose their tattoos to women dressed modestly in long skirts and shirts with a scarf over their heads. The dilapidated buildings and infrastructure that is nevertheless functional and the sudden silence during shabbat. On one end I see an overweight, bearded man wearing a payos and hat with a gun strapped around his thigh and on the other I see young, attractive men sipping beers in their board shorts. I am lost in the chaos, overwhelmed by the constant honking of the horns, the failure to understand where to go or what bus to catch. And I love every minute of it. Read More