Monday, December 28, 2009

Headed North

On November 6 I was headed North again. Thankfully three friends from the ‘southbus’ were accompanying me all the way up to Auckland. The four of us got cozy on the near empty Kiwi bus and made the best of our time.

In Kaikoura, a sea-side town, Dan and Jen drank away their sorrows after saying farewell to Ash, a holiday romance and travel buddy. Paddy and I made new friends and cooked dinner for our new friends, Charlotte and some Irish boys. Thanks to Polly, I can know cook a few delicious dishes and enjoy the cooking part of it as much as the eating part.

This is the town where most people choose to go whale-wathing and swim with dolphins. The weather was a bit chilly and the price to go out with a guided tour was a bit steep. I choose to sit this one out. So, to answer an often asked question: No, I did not see any whales. However, I did see a few dolphins in New Zealand jumping about as I took the ferry between Wellington and Picton. Australia also provided amazing sea life, but that’s later.

After Kaikoura, we left the beautiful South Island on the ferry headed North to Wellington. Wellington entertained us with its free four-story museum that houses the world’s largest squid. It was there that I had a personal guide, an elderly gentleman that taught me all about the squid and fun facts about whales. Ever need to know information about a blue whale? I’m your girl.

Leaving the South Island was a hard one because we left so many dear friends and wonderful memories were made there. All good things come to an end though. What kind of a saying is that really? All good things should last in my opinion. No worries, mate. The North Island had a few tricks up its sleeves. I was in for many more good days in Northern New Zealand.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Next Stop: Christchurch. The English settled Christchurch years ago and its evident everywhere you turn. The street names seem have all been named after English townships, the buildings resemble that of England’s architecture. Even the church of Christchurch attempts to have the facade of that of English churches.

Christchurch was the end of most of my friends’ trip. There’s a main airport there and sadly, a lot of people said their farewells to New Zealand and to me right there. I had spent nearly three weeks with these people: making many memories, hearing their life stories and getting to know them and beginning to call them friends. Thankfully my last night in Christchurch happened to Guy Fawke’s Night. “Remember, remember the fifth of November…” This English holiday celebrates the fact that Guy Fawkes was burned at the stake after being caught for his attempt to burn down the Queen’s house. Moral of the story: Don’t try to burn down the Queen’s or you will get burned.

Surprisingly, Christchurch played it up really big with a carnival and fireworks at the pier. It was a good way to end a great trip with great people.

Here my friends Anna, Roz and Philli are taking in the sights to be seen in the city. Then a beautiful day was spent at the lovely Christchurch Botanical Gardens. It was a fun-filled day of picture taking. The garden was free and really pretty. Two thumbs up, Christchurch.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Home sweet home. A red slipper wearing Kansan gal once said, “there’s no place like home,” and she might have been onto something. I have been over the big blue and back. I’ve ventured down under and still made it back to good ol’ Kansas. I didn’t tap my heels together while abroad, but I’m sure if I had, I would have ended right back where I started: Kansas.

So, here I am in Kansas sitting at my beloved Mac reminiscing about my time away. It’s a bit overwhelming to be honest. I left my house May 25th, 2009 and have basically been on the move since.

My European adventures were amazing, but only the beginning. My backpack (aka my rucksack) has seen better days, but it’s still holding up. The list of lost items has reached a record breaking thirty-plus items. I don’t even want to write them all down; it’s quite ridiculous. However, no lost cameras (okay, one, but that’s still pretty good), no lost iPods, cell phones, credit cards, and thankfully no lost passports. I think I came out pretty well if I do say so myself.

I apologize to those of you who were hoping to follow me on this here blog. I failed. I will be the first to admit that I failed. I did not to update my facebook status. I hardly kept in touch with friends and family. I failed to blog. I apologize. However, I plan on making it up to you all. I will obnoxiously update my facebook status from here on out. I will obsessively text, skype and ring my friends and family. Now that I have free internet access and unlimited text messaging on my beloved blackberry, I’ll be so well-connected it will possibly make up for my lack of entries.

I will now begin to recall my craziest times and overseas endeavors. So, these entries will most likely not be in chronological order, but heck how will any of you ever know? Exactly. So, sit back and enjoy as I recall my adventures one blog entry at a time.

Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. Considering New Zealand is one of the leading producers of adventure sports, Queenstown is just something off the map for adventure lovers. The town has a ski resort feel. Its main road is lined with shops where you can buy anything from souvenirs to snow boards. There’s travel agencies around every corner where you can book anything from paragliding to bungy jumping. The town is buzzing at all hours of the day. The town has grown exponentially over the past few years. We were told that just twenty years ago, Queenstown resembled Wanaka, which was a quiet lake-side town just an hour or so away. Now Queenstown has two high seasons due to its allure of year-round adventure.

Before arriving in Queenstown, the Kiwi Bus, which is the hop-on, hop-off travel bus I traveled New Zealand on, stopped at the AJ Hackett Bridge. AJ Hackett is a man known for his love of adrenalin, but what really put his name in the books was his invention of the bungy. Yes, this man thought to himself one day, “Hmm… I wonder what would happen if we tied ourselves to a rope made from the same material as a rubber band and then threw ourselves off of a bridge.” Waa-la. The Bungy Jump was born. If anyone questions this man’s sanity… all I have to say is “Don’t knock it ‘till you try it.” Because I sure did.

At the AJ Hackett bridge we watched an educational video that had my arm hair standing on end. It showed the history of the bungy, and then showed AJ Hackett himself bungy jumping off the Effiel Tower! He jumped down in the middle of it. It only took minuets before he was arrested by the Parisian police, but from that moment on word was out. Bungy Jumping became a world-wide phenomenon. Yet, New Zealand is still the leading bungy jump site, and it is my personal opinion that it’s the best place in the world to have a jump.

After witnessing the terrifying act of bungy jumping, some travel buddies and I signed right up. Not for the ledge bungy or the bridge bungy, but for the Nevis Bungy – the highest jump of them all at a death defying 134 meters! (For those not on the metric system, that’s nearly 350 feet.) Our jump date: Halloween.

Queenstown provided us with wowing nights out and beautiful scenery by day. The town is surrounded by breath-taking views from every angle. Mountains here and there as well as Lake Wakatipu. Think green and I’m not talking about this new ‘be green’ wanna-be eco-friendly trend. I am talking about actual green. New Zealand is simply beautiful, full of lush vegetation and green scenery everywhere. I loved looking outside and having my breath taken away nearly every time, but heck who wouldn’t?

My time in Queenstown can be summed up in one word: extreme. When we went out, we went out bigger than ever. There were prizes to be won every night. There were teapots to be drank at World Bar. There were Jäger Trains to be started and of course finished. There were luges to be ridden. There were ice hockey games to be won. There were bungys to be jumped (not quite sure that has the right ring to it, but you get the point). Basically, Queenstown was to be conquered, but I am pretty sure it conquered me. I would have loved to have stayed there for weeks, but physically and financially I needed to move on.

Moving on is a hard thing to do when traveling about freely. You find somewhere that you love and everything seems to be going right. You think to yourself, “Whoa, I could stay here forever,” but No. You cannot stay forever. You are a traveler. You have to move on. Take things for what they are. Queenstown was good to me and I left it on a high note, and that’s the best thing to do—leave on a high note.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Here I am in Brisbane, Australia trying to find some Americans to cook a turkey dinner with tonight. If all else fails I'm going to celebrate with some Aussies, Germans and English people. Heck everyone should be thankful (and celebrate America! Okay, that might be a stretch for some foreigners. Oh well). I am so freaking Thankful to be doing what I am at this point in my life. I could burst, I'm so thankful. Haha.

I left New Zealand yesterday, which to my surprise was super sad. I mean I knew I loved the country and my time there, but I didn't know I'd feel real sadness leaving it all behind. But I did. However, like most things lately, the sadness lasted about ten min. On the plane I met two great Kiwis. Mom and son who ended up feeding me and housing me my first night here in Brisbane. The world is full of great people.

Now I am waiting to meet up with a friend I met in the Bay of Islands. Life is good.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Know that I am thankful to be here, BUT also equally thankful to have such wonderful people back home to return to. Yes, you heard me correctly, I am returning to the States. No worries, mate.

No worries is exactly right.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In Christchurch

I left Queenstown on Tuesday, which was hard to do because that town is full of fun people and fun things to do 24/7. Financially and physically I needed to move on though. So, here I am in the quiet city of Christchurch. For New Zealand’s 2nd biggest city, it is decently calm city.

In Queenstown I went bungy jumping, ice skating (where I dominated in ice hockey), on a gondola ride up a mountain and at the top of the mountain a big group of us raced down a luge track. What a great trip! I ate too many Fergburgers and loved every one of them!

Everyone I have been travelling with for the best two weeks is leaving to Australia, Asia or England this weekend. I leave Friday for Kaikora, where I hope to swim with dolphins and go whale watching. Yup, life is hard. In all seriousness though, I am so excited to be moving North again and for my next adventures. I mean really... dolphins and can I complain? But, I am sad all my new friends are already leaving. Most of them are heading to Oz, where the “weather is hot and I’m in my drop top.” Lucky them.

New Zealand has been warming up slowy, but nothing like Australia. I’m sure I will make all new friends in the North Island. Of course I will, but not after having the same conversation that I have had for the past seven months:

“Where are you from?”
“How long have you been in ________”
“Where were you before _____”
“Where are you going after ______”
“So, how long have you been travelling for?”
“Oh, what’s your name by the way?”
Yup, that’s about it.

I can’t complain though. I love meeting new people. Travelling has been amazing in that sense. However, it’s really nice to feel comfortable with people and be able to be yourself 100 percent. I have been truely blessed because the people I am with now in Christchurch and the some I left in Queenstown are some of the greatest bunch of people. They have been really fun and light-hearted while being extremely considerate and kind. Basically, I have been really lucky thus far.

Oh, I have an announcement. As of now, I have no plans to jump out of things or off of things for a while. I need to stick a little closer to a budget and bungy jumping and jumping out of planes is a bit pricey. Did you hear that everyone? I have no plans to jump out of planes any time soon. Haha. Note that I deliver this news with a saddened heart. I really enjoy jumping out of things. The rush really is unlike anything else I have ever experienced. Plus, when it’s over you are overwhelmed with the fact that you just did something so incredibly insane and lived to tell about.

Well, this is enough for now. I have the day to explore the city. Yesterday we went to the Botanical Gardens and I took a lot of fun photos. Today I think I am going to try to sneak into a rugby stadium, check out an art gallery and a museum. What a fun filled day ahead of me! As usual, life is wonderful and I’m so happy to be doing what I am doing. Wish every one of you could join me on this great adventure. Sending my love!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Survived Bungy Jump and Halloween in Queenstown

I think surviving both of those two things all in one day is an accomplishment. I bungy jumped off a 134 meter jump called the Nevis in Queenstown. AJ Hackett invented bungy jumping and I did my jump through the AJ Hackett Bungy Jumping Company. Pretty legit. They have a 100 percent success rate, so that was comforting.

It was the greatest feeling ever. Honestly doesn't feel like I went bungy jumping yesterday. Feels like a dream. I loved it. I want to do it again and again.

Halloween was epic. We wore bright colors and looked silly with face paint. Everyone went out and showed their best dance moves. I had a great time.

Today we ate Subway down by the lake. It was beautiful. Then we went ice skating at an ice rink here in town. To my surprise, I'm awesome! Okay, not awesome, but Im not a bad skater or a bad ice hockey player! There was about ten of us playing a pick up game and then these local guys invited us to a game. So, here we are playing ice hockey with guys who are really good at it. I scored three goals! No joke, I wasn't too shabby. It was a blast. I was nervous I would fall, but I only feel once. Once was enough. I had just scored a goal, so everyone was gathering up in the middle. I look at the guys and saw, "Hey, I have a confession to make. I played ice hockey for four years in high school." They were like are you serious? "No, no Im just kidding. I have never even seen ice hockey played before," and BAM! My feet slip out from under me and I land right on my butt. Everyone burst out laughing because the timing was perfect. I had all attention on me and the game wasn't even being played and BAM I land on my behind. Ouch. It was a really good time.

I am loving Queenstown and I am not quite sure when I am going to leave. As of now, I have a month to make it back up to Auckland, but there is talk about moving my flight to Sydney up a bit. Who knows? I hate making decisions. Most likely, I will be in Christchurch by Thursday at the latest and then I head North from there. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wanaka at Last

The long trek to Wanaka today was accompanied by some small injuries I have accumlated in the last week. My nose is brusied and hurting because someone decided to build a shelf right where my face wanted to go yesterday. As well a bum nose, I now have a bum toe that didn't get along with some gravel roads a few nights ago.

Other than the bleeding and the swelling, I am wonderful! Life honestly is wonderful.

I am traveling on the Kiwi Experience bus (google it to find out lots). I can hop on and hop off it all over NZ. Now I am in the south island and arrived to Wanaka today. I will be here three nights. It is funny to think that three nights sounds like a long time. I can unpack my bag for a night without having to rush to throw it all back in the next morning and catch the bus.

The bus is amazing. We watched movies today actually which was a nice change from the aweful music people have on their ipods. The people on the bus are amazing. I am sad to be leaving my new friends who are not staying here three nights. Lizzy and Ellie from the UK as well as Eliza who is Dutch are leaving me, but I will catch up with them in Queenstown which thankfully is my next destination. QT will be amazing! I plan on doing a bungee jump (Mom, dont worry no one has died in New Zealand doing this). Then there will be a day trip to Millford Sound which is meant to be beautiful. However, what isn't beautiful in this country? We have been driving down the West Coast of the South Island and I'm sorry California, but this drive gives Highway One a run for its money.

We stopped to see yet another waterfall today, which granted was beautiful but things are already starting to look the same. How sad is that?

Yesterday I was in Franz Josef and paid the big bucks to have this amazing tour guide take six of us on a glacier hike. Amazing! Plus his name was Jono and I have yet to meet a Jono that I don't just love and adore with all my heart. (Hi, Jono Bowles! I miss you. Hope you are surviving in Lawrence without me.) The glacier was amazing and now I know all these fun facts about it. What a great day it was! I am now sore, but have the best pictures. We were silly on the glacier taking tons of photos.

Seriously, I could sit on here for hours typing about my times, but I just can't. One, internet is so pricey and two, I cant waste anytime here in New Zealand. There's an adventure around every corner. Even going to the supermarket is fun here. I am picking up tons of English words because nearly half our bus is from the UK. Their accents are funny. The boys love to joke about how much Americans love it. I told the boys they have to come visit me in my sorority and they about fell off their chairs. Everyone thinks America is so funny with its "uni" (what they call 'college' ) and Greek life. I get asked tons of questions about America and its funny to have little things questioned. I like it. It is funny that I have almost learned as much about England as I have New Zealand if not more.

I wish that everyone could see New Zealand. The views are completely breathetaking everywhere we go! I love it here. I want to wake up everyday and see the scenery from New Zealand. Thankfully, I do just that everyday here!

Plans are always changing, but I will be in Queenstown for Halloween with everyone here from Kiwi Experience. What fun! I need costume ideas! Please send some. Know that I am on a tight budget and backpacking- meaning I have nothing and sadly nothing in life is free. There is talk about changing my flight to Australia to a bit sooner because I want more time there. I do wish I had months to explore. Someday I will. People here have been traveling for up to seven months. Well, some have been gone for two years, but they are working places and staying in random places like Thailand for months at a time. The traveling world is a crazy one. Everyone has a different story and it is fun to hear everyones. I could type a 10 page entry about all the people I have met. Wish I could, but there is not the time.

Tonight we are making 'jacket potatoes' and there is karaoke at the pub below our hostel, so I will be showing NZ my best Aretha Franklin! That is a joke. No singing for me :)

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to proofread this entry, so let's hope I did an alright job the first time. Cheerio Mate!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leaving Picton

I am in Picton which is on the South Island. I stayed in a hostel owned by a crazy American lady who sailed to New Zealand. Last night was chill night and I was in bed before 11. Good thing because I was up before eight o'clock trying to figure out my life. I got it! I am catching a bus in thirty min to Nelson and beginning my Kiwi Experience bus tour! Yahoo.

Life is so good. I have met tons of travelers all with a different exciting life story. All is well.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Zealand: Week Three

It has been over two weeks here in New Zealand. I am in Cambridge right now about to hop on a bus to Wellington to hopefully meet up with some lovely English girls for some more travel. Bible School was unfortunately not for me. There are about a thousand good and bad things I could say about my time there, but I do not have the time. Everything in this cute little town closes at five and that gives me 10min on the internet. Oh what a sad internet-less life I live. Kidding! I love it! I hate paying for internet, but I like that it keeps me off facebook a bit.

So, I am starting a new chapter in my life: traveling New Zealand. After a few road blocks, I am on my way South. I have a night bus to Wellington tonight where I hope to meet up with a girl I met in Auckland. I won't arrive in Wellington until 7am Tuesday. If all goes well, I will travel the South Island next week into November. What a wonderful plan.

I do hope God is not mad at me for hating my time at Bible School. I can't really imagine so. Well, there's a lot to tell about my time at ABS. I did a lot of fun things! I can't pretend that I didn't. It just wasn't for me. Enough said.

My first week traveling the Northlands was delightful. The English girls were wonderful and the German boys we met were great, too. I enjoyed my time a lot. I hope the rest of my travels can be as exciting and adventurous as my first week here in NZ.

My plan after conquering the South Island is to head back up to the North Island and travel around a bit. As of now, my flight to Sydney, Australia is Dec 1, but that could change. Plans can always change. That is what makes things so exciting! My flight from Sydney to LA is Dec 12 as of now as well. Then back to Kansas on the 16th of December for a few days before heading to Iowa for family time and Key West, Florida for Christmas. Wow. It's like I like to travel or something. Yup, something like that.

Oh news: I have no plans for New Years. So, if anyone has any fabulous ideas let me know. I am thinking young life reunion at my place in Kansas City! Mom and Dad would love to have me home for once, I'm sure.

Well, I am off to travel New Zealand. Today is October 19th and I have almost two months until I will be in Iowa. I can only day dream about all the things that I will see and do during that time.

I miss all my friends and family very much, but I am really proud of myself for taking this time to explore the world. I learn more everyday than I every thought I would. I wake up every morning hoping to learn and explore. I do just that every single hour of the day. I wish I could sit on here and tell you all the fun facts I learn about different countries, cultures, people, but I just do not have the money to pay for internet time. Haha. Also, I don't know if my words could ever really capture all the knowledge I have gained during my travels. I learn so much about myself as well.

Well, friends, I am off. Know that I love you and miss you very much. Keep me in mind. I know traveling wears on me and some times will be tough, but most times will be amazing! Don't have time to spell check, so hope all is well in this one.

Comment often and much please!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day Five: Cape Reinga

We had a bit of late start considering we are all catching a cold of some sort. However, we managed to pack a lunch and be up at Cape Reinga by lunch time. It is the northern most tip of New Zealand and the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet there.

After lunch we headed to the Sand Dunes to do some sand boarding (which is where you 'hire' or rent a boogie board and ride down the dunes). What a wonderful idea!

It was the biggest work out for my calves because for every step you think it is going to take you have to multiply it by about seven because the and is so hard to walk in and up. My calves are sore today, but it was completely worth it. After a few goes on the 'family friendly' dune, I was the only one up for trying what they call 'Psycho Hill.' Yes, it was quite nuts. Even I was a bit scared, but had the time of my life flying down a hill on a board made for water.

After that aventure, we sat sandy in the car as we drove back to Peppertree in Paihia where we were welcomed by friends and a fun night out in the small beach town.

Day Four: Drive to Pukenui

We had an early start two days ago. Our 10am snorkling was amazing. Our boat driver took us four girls out to Robinson Island in the Bay of Islands. It was just the four of us on the boat and he literally pulled into the island and dropped us off with gear and left. It was our own island!! We only saw about five other people there within four hours. There was a lookout point where you could the Bay of Islands in all directions including a house hiden atop one of the islands. I want to live there! We all wanted to live there, start up a cookie stand right there on the island and live happily ever after or something like that.

Our snorkling attempt was funny at best. I did manage to get the wet suit on and see some stones, but no fish. Only Polly and I even made it that far. I will have to give it another go sometime.

We then drove up to Pukenui, which is further up north toawrds Cape Regina. Everyone is feeling a bit under the weather considering the weather changes more than it does in Kansas, which is a heck of a lot. So, we called it an early night at Pukenui Lodge and I was thankfully in bed by eight o'clock.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day Three: Paihia

Yesterday the girls and I drove up to Paihia where the Bay of Islands are. We had a nice relaxing day at our hostel, Peppertree, which has been an amazing hostel- great people and we have cooked a mean dinner the last two nights.

Today we went to Haruru Falls, where we went on a two hour hike, had a picnic on a golf coure, took many silly pictures, and saw a waterfall.

Last night we watched Hannibal, which is quite a gross film; however, it is filmed in Florence. I was beyond excited about this. Hannibal Lecter is sitting on a bench on the very street that I lived on! He later is on the phone at a pay phone closest to the Gelato place I ate at. Later he is buying a magazine at the very vender that I walked past everyday to go from home to school. He lived above the Hospital of the Innocent and he murders people in the Uffizi. This may all sound so very silly, but I couldn't be happy to see Firenze on TV and know exactly where things are.

Traveling has been an amazing experience. I hope to never stop in all honesty. As always I am already planning my next move.

As for this very instant, I am signing off to join the English girls and some other backpackers for a game of cards. Life is just simply wonderful and even more beautiful here.

Tomorrow we are headed to the Cape Regina, which is the northern-most part of New Zealand. Before we leave we have a 10am snorkeling tour tomorrow morning. What an exciting day planned for tomorrow.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day Two: Leaving Auckland

I am already on the road once again. After a nice night on the town here in Auckland, I am joining three cute English girls: Polly, Emily and Kelly. We are hiring a car and heading North to the Bay of Islands. It is the top-most part of New Zealand. I pray the weather is a bit better up that way. Here it is still overcast and a bit chilly at best.

I have already met the nicest people here in New Zealand. Yesterday I had a nice cappuccino with a boy from Holland. Last night the girls and I were on quite the little pub crawl visiting some high class places before settling at a hole in the wall focused on accomidating to backpackers. It was a fun place to meet lots of fellow travelers.

Yesterday after the rain ended I was able to see some of this decently big city. It is very busy and modern. I like the feel of the city. With cars zooming past me on the opposite side of the street than I am used to, I have to pay extra attention. This city is neat because there is a beautiful harbor as well as a big forest-type park in the middle of the city. I wasn't able to hike around anywhere, but plan to do so when I have time another time. The people here do not have a distinct look, so it is quite difficult to determine where people are from without speaking with them. I feel as though Kiwi's dress similar to West Coast folks (or should I say blokes), but yet have a much more low key look. I enjoy meeting them all.

Today should be a great day full of a nice 3-hour road trip North and camping out with these new friends of mine. I am happy to have met them already. Especially because I am too young to hire a car myself. Oh the joys of being nineteen. What a wonderful time I am having.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

First Day in New Zealand

My flight was long but somehow enjoyable. No problem there.

It is rainy but so beautiful! Green aas Ireland but even more various scenery. Everything is green. There is palm trees in the city of Auckland as well as huge houses.

The city seems really nice. I walked around in the rain with a nice Dutch boy trying to figure out what tour I want to join this week. I have yet to figure out what I am going to do this week, but I have a long list of To-Do's.

I am in a hostel tonight in Auckland. I met three nice English girls who will be staying in my room. Meeting people is my favorite part of traveling, well at least one of my favorite things.

No pictures yet because of the rain, but no worries many pictures to come.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Google for Good Information

As my trip quickly approaches, I am here waiting patiently at my computer for my flight. Yes, I still have a few days, but I am getting so excited.

Many of you may know that Kiwi's (name for people of New Zealand) speak with a different accent and often times use different words. So, I have taken the liberty to look up some New Zealand slag.

This here website was quite educational. I am laughing as I read most of these. I thought about practicing some of them, but I just laughed thinking of what to type. Here is another funny website.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do. I'm learning a lot already. Not all too clean though.

Also I heard there are more sheep than people in New Zealand. True? I'm not sure. Guess I will have to do some research while I am there.

I did some online searching. Know that if you google "New Zealand sheep population," many worried blogs and news reports come up speaking of the dwindling sheep population. Oh no!

"From the early 1980s, when NZ was home to over 70 million sheep, the population has declined to around 39 million in 2008. This means the oft-quoted statistic, that NZ has 20 sheep for each human, is wrong! Nowadays it's only about 9 to 1. This decline hasn't stopped NZ from cornering 50% of all international trade in sheepmeat. " -

Thank you internet for always educating me.

Unfortunately, I did do some research about NZ and come to find out the weather is not too hot right now. Literally. It is about fifty-sixty, which is not too bad. However, it is rainy and 80% chance it will be raining my first three days that I am there. That is unfortunate. Let's hope the weather clears up soon or at least doesn't rain all day.

NEW UPDATE: Tsunami warning in New Zealand because of an earthquake in the ocean. Dear Lord, please keep New Zealand save for my travels and the safety of everyone, Amen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

If you didn't receive the E-mail

Hello everyone!

This is a little hello from your long lost friend. I am still alive and well. And for those of you who have been keeping up with my summer through my European travels and cross-country road trips, I am still on the move.

I want to take this time to thank each and everyone of you for being a part of my life. For me, life has been a non-stop adventure, and I've been embarking on many journeys lately. Thankfully, I have people like you to share my life with. Unfortunately, I have not been able to see or speak with many of you in a long time. Thanks to technology and it now being 2009, we have group e-mails, blogs, photo importing and much much more. Now, I'm not the best at keeping up with everything and everyone, but I wanted to do my best with a big e-mail.

This very moment, I am at my parent's house in Overland Park, Kansas. However, I leave again soon. This week, I will fly all across the country and the world! On Wednesday, I fly to Los Angeles to visit my friend Kailey VanderBaan and see her new home in Santa Barbara. On Friday, I fly to Auckland, New Zealand, where I will be for the next few months.

Starting October 12th, I will be participating in a six-week Adventure Bible School (ABS) program through Capernwray Bible School. To learn more about it, feel free to visit their website: Click on the ABS link to learn about my specific program. I will be traveling after the program ends and even making my way over to the "Western Island," (a.k.a. Australia). I'll be gone a total of 75 days or so. I have a return flight to LAX on December 12. What adventures are to follow that date are still up in the air.

So, yes, I am taking a semester off from KU. I miss the University of Kansas and the lovely town of Lawrence, as well as, all my beloved friends there. If things go as planned, I will return to my studies and being a Jayhawk in January with the start of the spring semester.

I attempt to blog about my travels and such at my blog: Click Here to visit it and feel free to comment often. I appreciate all the responses I receive.

My hope is that all of you are doing well. Feel free to e-mail me any time. I would love to hear about your lives and adventures. To the families I miss babysitting for, please send pictures of your little ones. I am sure they are all so grown up since I have seen you last.
I look forward to being back in the spring and seeing all of you. Now, as winter comes your way think of me basking in the sun in the Southern Hemisphere. Oh, I am just teasing, but in all reality, I am entering spring time and summer soon after as I travel Down Under, which I am truly excited about.
Write often and I will do my best to reply even more. Now, if e-mail is too high-tech for you, here is a physical address where I can receive good old snail mail until Thanksgiving:
Capernwray Bible School
P.O. Box 702

Thank you all again for being so wonderful to me. I hope to hear from you all. Let me know if you want to be subscribed to my blog. I can put your e-mail on a list, so that you don't even have to visit my blog to read my entries. However, the blog is pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Also, there is a link on my blog connecting you to my facebook albums (even if you aren't hip enough to have a facebook or cool enough to be my fb friend), where you can see some beautiful pictures from my exciting summer.

Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and I hope to hear from you all soon.

Pray for the Philippines

Video of News Report

Pray for the rain to stop and the help to come. Over one hundred and forty people are dead and shelters are full with over one hundred thousand needing help.

Do what you can to help as September continues to bring the States beautiful weather all around. Send food, money and lots of Prayers.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I am getting super anxious to go to New Zealand. I packed tonight and put it all in my pack to make sure I did a good job. It’s not too heavy! I’m sure after lugging it around New Zealand, I will disagree with that comment. However, I have been really proud of my ability to say, “Sarah, you do not need this,” and I listen and put it away. So, I will most likely be looking quite frumpy and not so fabulous, but that’s okay.

Last week, I spent some time in the Barnes and Noble looking at New Zealand guide books trying to plan some super sweet stuff to do and see while I am there. Fortunately, I have eight days before I have to be back at the airport in Auckland to be shuttled over to the Capernwray cabins or whatnot. Eight days may sound like a lot, but I am sure they will fly by before I know what I even did.

Some things on my list are wild and adventurous while over are things like sit on the coastline. It is spring in New Zealand, but I doubt it will be bikini weather, but you never know.

I’m in Lawrence now visiting some of my friends. Tonight I hung out with some Young Life leaders and had a blast being girly: gossiping and giggling. It is great to be reminded what fun being in one place is like. I miss my friends and living a normal life (one not consumed by jet setting and craziness, even though that is some of the most fun things to do). What I am trying to say is: I am so anxious to go to New Zealand and happy to have a wonderful home to return to. Life is wonderful.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Must visit Denver for a Gelitini, a martini with gelato, at Gelazzi or someplace. I saw it on the Food Channel and I must have one. What a great idea for someone of legal drinking age.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Capernwray Address

Send Mail to:
Capernwray Bible School
P.O. Box 702

I will be there Oct 12-Nov 20th. Man, I can not wait. Sitting around my parent's house in Kansas waiting for my flight to LA has been pretty rough. Haha. I am only kidding. I have just been catching up on sleep and gathering the last of my supplies. Life is wonderful.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chicago Video

Click Here to hear about my time in Chicago.

I had a wonderful stay thanks to some dear friends, Bray, Marsh and Lauren.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"What are you doing??"

Speaking of, everyone is asking “What are you doing?” Meaning, “Sarah Weaver, what the heck are you doing with your life? Why aren’t you at KU this year? Why are your facebook statues full of things like.. ‘on the beach in Southern California,’ ‘eating crab chowder in San Fransico,’ ‘float trip in Phoenix, AZ,’ WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE???”

What I Am Doing With My Life (as of now): Right now I am in what I call transition meaning I am able to pick up with the phone at three in the morning and then pack up my car to Chicago at a drop of a hat. This transition period means I am waiting until I leave for my next BIG trip.

Earlier this year, I applied for an Adventure Bible School in New Zealand through a school called Capernwray. So, I fly to Auckland, New Zealand on Oct 2 for a six week program. Before leaving for Capernwray, I will be visiting Kailey in Santa Barbara for a week.

So, to answer the famous question, “What about college?” The plan is to return to the University of Kansas in the spring. Meaning, January 14, 2010, I should be moving into Lawrence for good to have another go at getting that valued piece of paper, also known as a degree. Because of some community college I have under my belt, I will still be on track to graduate in four years just like society pressures us to do. Happy? I sure am! Know that plans can always change, but I am excited about this plan.

The last four months, I have been to over forty-five cities, fourteen states, nine countries, and two continents. So, you could say I have done some traveling. Thankfully, the traveling is not going to end soon either. I reckon I will be non-stop until my birthday, January 13th. The only reason I will be stopping then is because KU classes stop the next day.

This is an amazing time in my life and I will never forget all the things I have seen, all the things I have done, and all the wonderful people I have met. I definitely feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to do all that I am doing. My hope is to never forget how wonderful the world really is. I will continue to embark on adventures everyday of my life regardless if I am studying in Kansas or jumping out of planes in Spain. It doesn’t matter if you are on-the-go or in a time of stationary life. What matters is how you treat everyday and what you create with the time you are given.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meeting People

Yesterday I met a boy by the name of Nick. He owns a Yo-Yo and can do tricks. His girlfriend however cannot use a Yo-Yo. She does know how to ride a unicycle. Her parents met in the circus.

Meeting people is the best part of traveling. You would not believe some of the stories I have heard. I have met people from over fifteen countries, who speak over twenty languages (I am making up these number, but I bet if I took the time to think about it; they’d be close to true).

This entry could be full of stories of the people I have met. Life has been so good to me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Islam Demopgraphics

I am not sure what to think of this, but I thought everyone should at least view it to see what they think of it. Think for yourself and don't let media influence you, but also learn to be an enlightened witness, so that you too can be educated. Try to educate yourself everyday about the world around you because like it or not everything affects you. Everything.

Click Here to view a clip on YouTube concerning the rise in Islamic religion and culture in America and Europe.

Please comment on my blog or contact me in some way to start a vital discussion about our future. I think it is so interesting to consider what our futures may hold with the influences of immigration. I would love to know more, so help me educate myself and together we can embark on a wonderful journey of education and adventures.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Full of Surprises

I successfully surprised Lauren Callison for the second time this year. The first time was when I flew to Spokane, Washington in April this year unannounced. That was an amazing trip.

I love surprises. And I really love surprising Lauren. This trip was super spontaneous and random. Yesterday Marsh and I hopped on the train from Naperville and caught the L with the brown line. Yup, I felt really cool using public transportation in Chicago. I love public transportation. Heck, that could be its own blog entry. Maybe someday it will be...

Back to surprising Lauren. I called her cute roommate Carly. I think being cute is one of Lauren's requirements for her friends because look at all her friends... Jenn and Megan from high school are gorgeous. Then here at Moody Bible School you have Braylen, who is hot, let's be honest. Then there's all the girls she lived with in Spokane; they are all beautiful. Dang it. I do not what to say about Lauren's friend picking other than - dang girl. Haha.

So, we call Carly and not only is she cute but very courteous. She met us outside the train stop, walked us up to Lauren who was a tad stressed out by the sound of it. Lauren questioned what Carly was doing and Carly told her she had a surprise for her. From the staircase, Marsh and I could hear the conversation. I hear Lauren say, "I don't want a surprise. I don't like surprises."

I laugh and enter the room by saying, "I hope you like this surprise." She was all up in arms. "You guys..." She was so shocked and hopefully, super excited. I know she is excited that we surprised her. Braylen was just as shocked when Marsh and I walked up to his dorm room. It is wonderful to see him.

Today was a really good day and there is so much to share, but Lauren and I have to go to bed early tonight because we have class and chapel in the morning. I am excited to check out the school a bit more and see what Lauren's life is like here.

My trip to Chicago

Yesterday started off sad, but ended joyfully. Unfortunately, I was up at the crack of dawn because Kailey had an eight a.m. flight. It was not a tearful goodbye at KCI because I myself will be flying from KCI to LAX in less than two weeks to stay with Kailey for a week before I ship off to New Zealand. So, thankfully, this was yet another “see you later,” for Kailey and I.

I left the airport with an empty car, well not exactly empty. “My bags were packed, and I was ready to go…” [insert song lyrics]. Surprisingly, I was off for another adventure myself. Why did I insert the word "surprisingly"? Is it a surprise to anyone these days that I am off to yet another place or embarking on some random spontaneous road trip. I just couldn’t let Kailey go home and actually head back to my house, too.

I was off to St. Louis. “Meet me in St Louie…” [insert sappy old movie title].

A mere few days before, I get a three a.m. phone call from a man by the name of Bryan Marsh. I met him this previous winter break through a friend. His adventurous spirit and outrageous humor has kept me in contact with him for the last nine months. Also, his best friend, Braylen Chandler, is dating my best friend, Lauren Callison, so, as long as the two love birds keep it going, Marsh and I are forever bonded. His adventurous spirit and outrageous humor has kept me in contact with him for the last nine months.

The Three A.M. Phone Call: It went a little something like this…

“Wanna go to Chicago?”

“I am going this coming Monday.”

“You… What?”

“Yup, let’s meet and go together.”


That may be a bit brief, but that’s how it went down. “Meet in St. Louis on Sunday.” Deal.

The drive from the airport to St. Louis was pretty minor. I was a little bored and sleepy, but managed to entertain myself with some tunes and a few phone calls. Before I knew it, I saw the arch!

Marsh and I met up outside of St. Louis to continue the journey to Chicago together in my car. The drive to Chi town is notably one of the most boring drives through Illinois, but Marsh had me laughing the whole way. Our conversations were blessed with interesting insight and lots of laughter.

Marsh and I have quite similar stories, which didn’t seem to amaze us as we drove across the plains of Illinois. He just finished his freshman year at Northern Kentucky, but already is taking some off to country hop a bit. Sound familiar? Oh, wait, it gets better. He is headed to Mexico for two months and then Africa for six months with an organization called “Adventures in Missions.”

Hmmm. And Hmmm is right. Marsh and I are both finding ourselves called to leave college and abandon everything familiar for something new and challenging. It was really comforting to talk to someone who is doing something similar to what I am doing.

Yesterday, we met in St. Louis and drove to Naperville, IL to pick up my dear friend Susheel from work. I saw his wonderful family for the third time this summer, which is almost as much as I have seen my own family. His dad drove Marsh and I to the train station, so that I could save a few bucks by not paying for parking. What an amazing guy.

Truly, the Kumar's are amazing. When their boys walk in the door, they drop everything they are doing to ask them about their day and really care to listen. Also, they love the Lord with all their hearts. When I walk into their home, they want to cater to any need they can. They offer all kinds of food or beverages. I truly feel welcomed in their home. Their sons are so lucky to have parents like them. I am blessed to have them in my life.

I am blessed to have a lot of people in my life. I am happy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Last Night at Kailey's

Friday, August 28: Leaving Berkeley was harder than I thought it would be. The town had so much to offer and there were a lot of great people to surround ourselves with. It was wonderful to see A.Jay and her cool pad. It was also great to meet Davis. He was quite the guy.

Smart Alec’s provided quite the delicious avocado burger. It was yummy and different. I am really trying to order things that I normally wouldn’t. How will I ever know what is good if I don’t order it? So, I am proud to say in the past few months I have tried a number of outrageous foods— some good, some bad and some things were the best I had ever had.

The drive down California wasn’t anything too exciting, but it really wasn’t too treacherous. I5 isn’t anything too great, but I saw some neat things and some not so neat things.

Arriving to Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, Highway 1) was the best part of the day. Seeing Huntington Beach is always a wonderful view. Finally, we made it to Steven Clark’s family vacation home. It was so close to the beach. I was taken back by it. I can’t believe his family gets to spend a vacation there every summer. I felt super blessed to be able to hang out there.

Aug 29: I woke up around noon in a beach house in Newport. Could life be much better? We got a late start, but finally made it to the beach after a shopping spree at Jack’s. The day was really hot but perfect weather to play in the freezing water. Jake, Steven, Jess and I played in the waves for a while, and the waves were big this time of year. I ate it twice, which was not a highlight of my day, yet still fun. After some intense body surfing, I dried off on the beach.

I bid my farewells to the interns and headed back North to Kailey’s. Kacie, Kailey and I watched some quality TV and bonded. It was really nice to see familiar faces and good friends.

Aug 30: Church with the VanderBaan’s is a guaranteed good time. I love hearing Tim preach. It was a fun way to start the day. Then we made a fatal mistake and paid actual money to see Post Grad, one of the worst movies I have seen in years. I did not enjoy one moment of this film. What a disappointment.

Today, Aug 31: I really cannot believe my own eyes. August is over. My summer is continuing until December to be completely honest. Try not to be too jealous, I know. But I hear the weather in Kansas is already turning to fall, which is weird, but knowing Kansas weather it will be 98 and humid by next Wednesday.

This morning Kailey and I woke up at 5:45AM and headed to Huntington Beach, one of my favorites. Something about the beach that early is so peaceful. All the surfers were out catching the morning waves while Kailey and I sat on the beach talking. Before I knew it, I was asleep. We both were passed out for a good two hours. Although, my back and neck were yelling at me for lying awkwardly on the sand, the rest of me was so happy to be sleeping on the beach.

The rest of the day was spent lounging around with an evening spent baking goodies for our trip.
Here in Southern California there is a mad heat wave. Doesn’t help that some of SoCal is on fire, literally. It’s hot here. Good thing we are on the road again soon. Oh wait, we headed even closer to the equator then over to the hottest state I have ever been to: Arizona.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The NorCal Adventures coming to an End

Aug 26: We had dinner at BJ's which was amazing. I had a Pizookie and couldn't be happier about. For those of you unfortunate enough to never experienced a Pizookie, it is a pizza-cookie (similar to a cookie cake, but even better topped with ice cream and served warm).

and I went to the California State Fair in Sacramento with Trevor and his friend, John. I realized it was my first state fair.

My Goal: to see a carnie.
Complete Success: I saw lots.

Jess had me ride a ride with her called the "Orbiter." I laughed so hard I cried. It was the fastest spinning ride I have ever been on and the scariest. I'd like to think I love thrill rides and it takes a lot to scare me, but goodness, this was so scary.

We then spent the night at Trevor's apartment in El Dorado Hills. He was sweet to have us, especially at last moment's notice and because he is in the process to moving to Elk Grove.

Aug 27: Trevor took us to a coffee shop near by for bagels. I had a delicious drink and bagel, which was a good start to our long day that we spent driving to and around San Francisco.

Jess and I checked out Sausalito, a quant coastal little town. Also known as a tourist trap. We met an Italian artist, whom I shared a breif conversation in the beautiful language Italian. I was happy with my rememberance of the wonderful language. We then ate at an Italian Ristorante, Angelino's. This was a disaster, but such a good thing to laugh about now. Jess doesn't like seafood or tomatoes, so this was an interesting situation. Now we know, no Italian.

After Sausalito, we headed to Fisherman's Wharf. We continued to check out tacky sovieners and sweatshirts, which is always a good time. Dinner was my favorite part of the day. I had "award-winning" crab chowder at Blue Mermaid. It was to die for. I want to drive back into the city today to have it again, but sadly, I will not be doing so.

Last night after dinner, we headed to Berkeley to visit more friends. I met David Paul and his good-looking roommates, Jordan and Ryan. It was a grand time. AJ Ludlow joined us at Davis'.

After 7-11 Slurpee's and Guitar Hero, we called it a night and headed to AJ's. Today Jess and I are headed to lunch at Smart Alec's and then headed south for more adventures.

Thank you to AJ and Davis for a wonderful stint in Berkeley. Hope you have a wonderful year in quite the exciting little town.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

California Dreaming

The last two days have seemed really long and crazy.

Aug 24: Jenna and I drove to Chico to visit her summer staff friends and ours. It was a blast. I really loved Chico State. We saw Missy Scudder at the info fair, which was a wonderful surprise. We had lunch at Woodstock. Yum.

A big group of us when to Bear's for dinner. This was a Chico version of Freestate Brewery. It was quaint and delicious. I had an amazing burger. I even had a bite of a burger that had peanut butter on it. Odd.

I loved Chico. I don't know what I was expecting, but it far exceeding any expectation of mine. I could see myself going there. But, no worries. I am not. However, I hope to visit again soon.

There were at least six of us from my summer staff session together for dinner. Ben Fisher, Ryan, Robby, Laura, Jenna, Karla and I were there with a few other Young Lifers. It was good to be back in civilization but be surrounded by Woodleaf people.

We stayed at Robby's place. Robby and Laura are the greatest couple. Love them both. Also, in love with Robby's roomies. He lives with three girls. How tight. What a wonderful time we had. The Grap twins and Tab hung out with us, too. Good times.

Yesterday, Aug 25: Last night we had a lovely dinner at the Eastways in downtown Sac that turned into some of the guests worst nightmare as some of us suffered from a possible food poisoning. Luckily, I am fine and dandy. Thank the Lord.

Jenna and I had a late night adventure driving to and from Andi's and the Eastway's.

I am in Sacramento now. Well, technically Elk Grove a southern suburb. Jess and I are planning on chilling out today then joining Trevor to the California State Fair. Tomorrow the plan is to check out San Francisco.

Oh, BIG NEWS - I hope that the saying "Blondes Have More Fun," isn't true because, yes, I, Sarah Weaver, now have brown hair. Hopefully, brunette's have fun too. I'm sure I will.

Life is good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sky Diving Experience

Click Here for Pictures of My Adventure

There we are enjoying ourselves in Northern Spain when good ol’ Englishman Richy mentions skydiving. Skydiving?! Jumping out of a moving plane? (Yes, Grandpa, a functioning plane). Voluntarily putting on a parachute and jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft at ten thousand feet or so? Sounds like a great idea, Richy.

“I’ve always wanted to go sky diving,” was basically the group consensus as we sat around chatting that evening in San Sebastian.

Before we knew it, Alex, Brett and I were packed into Richard’s car headed to the East Coast of Spain for a Sunset Jump the following evening.

Hours of On-The-Go playlists and sharing popular music from our homelands was really fun minus the no A/C on a hot day during Spain’s summer. As I stuck to the seat with my thigh stuck to Brett’s, I looked out the window to appreciate the mountainous view.

Spain really was beautiful. They had such an array of scenery to offer. I felt like I was in the mountains of the Rockies then the desert of Arizona then the wooded areas of Kentucky. The boys appreciated my American comparisons or at least pretended to.

After six long hot hours and a few glorious ice cream pit stops, we made it to Benicassim, which is near Castello, between Barcelona and Valencia on the East Coast. A McDonalds beckoned us in with its air condition and WiFi. In a weak moment, I ordered a Big Mac. To everyone’s surprise it was my first Big Mac . Not just my first Big Mac in Europe or Spain, which itobviously was, but my first Big Mac ever. I was decently impressed with it, I guess.

As I enjoyed my high-class meal, Richard called the sky diving place. He informed us that there was not a sunset jump that night, but they invited us out to check out the jump site. Richard happens to be a licensed skydiver, which means he can do jumps by himself. Whereas, the two Australians and I had never sky dived and in that case would be doing what they call a Tandem jump, where you are strapped to another person, who has the parachute and all the good ol’ responsibility of our lives and all.

After a fulfilling meal, we headed out to the jump site. We show up around eight as the sun begins to set. We meet the sky divers and what looked like most of their family just hanging out. A family-run sky diving business perhaps? It had a nice friendly feel regardless of the lack of English speaking that was going on. Good thing my Spanish isn’t too shabby.
Richard never fails to surprise us.

“We are jumping tonight!” he tells us with excitement. I really wish that someone could have documented Brett and I’s faces. I was shocked, but still stoked. They told us we would jump in an hour. Time flew by as we tried to find an ATM and shoes for me since I through my Sperry’s away after they were destroyed when running with the bulls. Also, there was a contract to be signed, which was 100% in Spanish. Is it bad that I find this little detail hilarious? Yup, I signed it.

Before I knew it, Brett and Alex were up in the plane with Richard and I on the ground patiently awaiting their return. When they returned, they looks like seven-year-boys on Christmas morning. Their excitement even after jumping out of the plane gave me much relief. The boys faces were precious and priceless.

When it was time, I got into the tiny little plane with five other people – one being Richy, which gave me comfort at a time of complete chaos. We ascend into the air. With broken English, the camera lady and I held a weak conversation. Carlos, who was sitting next to me, was about to do his 89th jump. How crazy!

I will never forget the view from that little plane. The plane climbed higher and higher. Out my window you could only see ocean. The other side of the plane offered a perfect view of the sun setting behind the mountains. Carlos and the camera lady agreed that this was the best time to jump— sunset jumps simply offer something that others can’t. Carlos even added that this was one of the best places to jump. Richy agrees that Benicassim is the prettiest jump he has ever done, which is upwards of forty or fifty jumps now. Without hesitation, I can say that I am so thankful that my first sky diving experience was somehow so beautiful. The view was breathtaking and I will never forget it.

When it came time to think about jumping, I hopped up on my tandem jumper’s lap. I think his name was Sabe. He didn’t speak much English. The camera lady was leaning over me hooking me up to Sabe. She seemed busy at work then all of the sudden she paused and sat back. She looked at me with utter concern and said, “You can’t jump today.” Her face screamed disappointment to the max. I am sure my face showed the same devastation. “The strap is broken,” she continued. I gave her a look that regardless of what language you speak said, “What the heck?!”

“I’m just kidding,” she said.

“Oh funny,” I replied feeling half annoyed and the half of me didn’t even care that she did kind of get me. Okay, she got me really good, but I was so stoked that my jump was still on.
We continued to have a broken-English conversation about how Spaniards are always so serious. Her sarcasm humored me.

Then we were there: thirteen thousand feet. Time to jump. They rolled up the door, which was basically just a tarp. Carlos and I did a sky diver hand shake that they taught me, and then he was gone. Carlos was out of the plane. What did that mean to me? My turn! Sabe scooted us over to the door. I was still on his lap. He was sitting on the edge of the plane with his legs dangling out of the plane. Meaning I was dangling completely out of the plane.

I love this part of the story because Sabe didn’t ask stupid questions like, “Are you ready?” I always think this is an idiotic question at this point in time because what if I wasn’t ready? What would he do sit there until I was? I am glad he didn’t ask and glad he didn’t do a stupid count down. He just went. We went. I was plummeting to the ground at a whopping speed of about 140 mph. My face was shaking. My whole body was shaking from the wind speeds. I had never felt so free. It was the most exhilarating thing I have ever done. Well at least that day. Then Sabe tapped my shoulder, which meant I needed to cross my arms again for the pulling of the parachute.

After a few moments, it wasn’t coming out. Sabe yelled all these Spanish things I didn’t understand. The ground was coming near. I started seeing white lights. My life became a blur. I’m just kidding. The chute released perfected and all was well. However, it did hurt my legs because of the strong pull of my harness. No complaints. I am happy it worked.

With the chute pulled, I was able to enjoy the beautiful view at an amazing height. The sun was perfectly setting and was peaking over the mountain range in the West. While below me the waves looked so miniscule as they crashed up against the shore. The Ocean looked endless from up there. It was the most peaceful experience I have ever had. This might sound insane being that I was falling to the ground after jumping out a plane at 13,000 feet. However, it is true. It was peaceful just floating above the city with no cares in the world. Well, except surviving thisexperience.

I did though. I survived. Greatest experience yet. I am already planning my next jump. Hope I live to tell about that one, too.Richard, the crazy camera lady and I after our jump.

A beautiful sunset jump indeed.
The plane I jumped out of. Check out the tarp door, and note that six of us fit in that tiny plane.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cliff Jumping Experience

After running with the bulls two days in a row (Thursday and Friday), I guess you could say I was on an adrenaline rush. The Australian blokes that I met in Pamplona were headed up to San Sebastian, which is off the Northern coast of Spain. Stoke Travel was the travel company (if you dare to call it that) that had campsites that we had stayed at in Pamplona, Spain. They had quite the set up. They provide tents, sleeping bags and other amenities for one low price (not really low at all actually.) But, I would highly recommend it. They follow festivals around and set up camp to provide people with a place to stay and par-tay. It was a grand time. I am all about this Stoke Travel business.

They had what they called a “Surf Safari” in San Sebastian. The campsite we stayed at was technically right outside of the lovely town of San Sebastian in a town called Zarautz. It was gorgeous. I do have pictures of this beautiful place, but they do not even dare to compare to the real thing. The pictures were taken just after sunset and I have not mastered photography to capture these photos at dusk.

On Saturday July 11, 2009 (or it could have been on Friday… I get all the days mixed up. Living a life without an agenda is the way to do it. Let me tell you.) The Kiwi boys packed into the Richard’s car with his lovely Canadian girlfriend, Leah. The Australians and I jumped into their rental car and headed north through the mountains. It was a road trip at its best. We had all the essentials: Blink 182 greatest hits CD and bread and water. Always a good time with Australians. Thank you Alex, Alex and Brett for the wonderful memories.

The drive through the mountains was just simply breathtaking. I enjoyed rocking out to Blink while road tripping through Northern Spain. That’s an experience I can check off the list.
Zarautz, Spain had a much calmer feel than Pamplona, and thank goodness. I think we all needed a little calmer anything in our lives at this point. Leah, the Australian in charge of the campsite, was so great to us. She had her stuff together and kept us very happy. Thanks Miss Leah!

That first evening at the camp, the troops rounded up for a cliff jumping adventure. I was down for anything because of my new Never-Say-No attitude. (No worries, its only a metaphor, kind of. I did and do say No to lots, okay at least some things.)

A big gang of us walked out around the campsite towards the cliff. Little did I know that a lot of people were going to stick around to watch some of us swim out about 300 meters to the jump. Turns out I was the only girl with about 12 guys who decided it’d be a good idea to swim out and cliff jump around sunset. Like I said my new attitude had my head held high as I struggled to swim through the decently choppy water out to cliff.
Alex Anderson was a sweetheart always turning back to make sure I was okay. At this point in my travels, my voice was completely gone. So, I would return his concerned look with a thumbs up and a forced smile. I was reminded of the fact that I am not a very good swimmer (and quite out of shape, at best), so this nice little swim was an adventure in its self. To my credit, there was two guys swimming behind me that turned back before we had even gotten halfway. So, I felt pretty hardcore to say the least.

The water was respectably rough and trying to cling to the rocks wasn’t the all-time easiest task known to man. After a few goes at it, I was on top of the rocks, which were covered in some type of sea creatures that were rock solid and hurt my feet. However, I didn’t really notice my feet because in the process of climbing the rocks I got my knee pretty good. There was an instant bruising and blood gushing. Okay, maybe not necessarily gushing, but there was blood streaming down my leg as I ascended up the side of the cliff.

I will never forget what Alex Anderson said to me. As I climbed in my bikini with blood running down my left leg, he turned to make sure I was still trucking.

“Excuse the saying, but Sarah, you’ve got balls.”

I grinned at him, “Thanks, I think.”

Thank you, indeed.

Finally, I made it to the top where the other 12 or so guys were already beginning to jump off the cliff. At this point I am feeling more bad a** than ever. That is until I look over the edge. “Oh Lord, what did I get myself into?” I thought to myself. The whole swim and climb, I was excited and ready to do some cliff jumping. Yet I somehow forgot that I had never jumped off a cliff before. Yet alone a 30-something-foot cliff into the Bay of Biscay off the Northern coast of Spain with a bunch of guys from around the world.

My stomach was up in my throat, but I kept a smile on my face. Before I knew it, there were only four of us left up on my cliff. I spoke up as much as my lack of voice allowed and told them that I better jump before I am the last one left up there. So, I did. I jumped. Well, actually I am told that I basically just stepped off and gave all of them a scare. But here I am: alive and well, telling all about the experience, so I did a pretty dang good job in my opinion. That thirty-something feet felt so extremely high. I had enough to think to myself as I fell, “Wow, this is high.” In my book, if you have enough time to talk to yourself coherently, that’s a long time.
I did do a second jump, where I definitely jumped. Let’s just say this jump left a lasting impression on everyone.

Needless to say, I enjoyed myself and hope to do much more cliff jumping in the future. However, I doubt any cliff jumping can top my First Cliff Jumping Experience into the Bay of Biscay. However, 30 feet does not even compare to my 13,000 feet adventure that followed that week…

Here's a picture of some of the gang at our campsite: (from right to left: Alex Smith, Brett, Geoff, Nic, Richard, Me and Joshua)

Friday, August 7, 2009


Sarah Weaver is on summer staff at Woodleaf until August 24th!

Mail to: Young Life Woodleaf Sarah Weaver - Summer Staff 11359 La Porte Rd Challenge, CA 95925

Life at camp is always great. Everyone here is so happy to be here and to be serving. It is a really positive place to be. I appreciate the opportunity to volunteer here. I do not have my cell phone as a part of a technology fast (which I am definately cheating by being online and blogging... opps.) Not having a phone is hard when trying to plan the rest of my fall plans, but not having a phone is also really nice.

I didn't have my cell phone in Europe, so I feel pretty used to it by now. However, I do miss being connected 24/7. For the short period that I was home I got pretty used to it again.

If anyone knows any travel agents or anyone living in New Zealand or Australia, let me know. I could use a place to stay in some places and some help finding some travel arrangments. Haha. Life is really exciting.

Please send mail! I am working in the office here, so I am the one who sorts the mail. Meaning I get very jealous when little campers and other staffers get packages and letters. Love you all!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Running with The Bulls: San Fermin 2009

Running with the Bulls

I really do not know how to begin this entry. Trying to explain Pamplona during San Fermin is like explaining Mozart to a deaf man. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw and experienced in Pamplona, Spain. Words cannot describe what I saw and experienced. San Fermin is the biggest festival in Spain held once a year for eight days. I am told it is arguably the biggest festival in Europe, and I can stand firm in my belief that it most likely is.

Mitch Kraemer, my travel partner from the Italy Program, and I met his friend and KU Grad, Nate Totten at the Barcelona train station early morning on Tuesday, July 7th. After a little run around at the train station trying to figure out the best way to Pamplona, we found a bus that would take us there. Thank goodness we hopped this because it was the best way to kick off our week.

We met two awesome Americans (yes, I learned there is such a thing as not awesome Americans. Sorry to burst your bubble.) But like I said, these two were awesome Americans. They were a pilot and a flight attendant for US airways. What a great pair. Ashley and John stuck with us all the way to the Stoke travel campsite.

On the bus there were frat boys from UC Irvine and then another trio that will be hard to forget— a Canadian, an Englishman and an Australian who run the Ryan’s Bar Pub Crawl in Barcelona. The pub crawl trio stuck around all night with us Americans. It was a night for the books. We get into town around nine at night to find ourselves in the middle of an insane all-city party. People were chanting, spraying Sangria all over the place, and having a blast. The city was covered with people in the traditional attire: white pants with a red sash paired with a white top and a red scarf. Needless to say, it was really easy to find your friends when you got separated in the middle of the night. Just simply look for the guys in the white pants and red bandanas. Yup, on my first night in town, I lost Mitch and Nate. To my knowledge they were gone forever, never to be seen again until we finally reunited in Barcelona or something. It was pretty terrifying, but I keep my head held high in hopes that my independence would shine in a city I knew nearly nothing about.

The longest night of my life didn’t really ever end. It really just transitioned into walking the streets at seven in the morning to find a place to watch the Bull Run. The bulls are let loose in the city promptly at eight. It is a good idea to arrive early to be guaranteed a spot to run or even to be a spectator. I am walking towards what they call “Dead Man’s Corner” (no pun intended). Then who do I see right in front of my eyes just standing by the fence, Mitch and Nate! It was the greatest discovery. In all the excitement, the pub crawl trio kept walking never to be seen again. To those guys, I would say, happy travels and happy pub crawling. Nate and I sat on the ground near the fence, so that we had a front row spot of the Bull Run. I was happy to have found them.

I can’t even waste my breath trying to describe what I saw that morning: My first Bull Run. It was exciting, exhilarating and mind-blowing. I was just sitting watching and my adrenaline was pumping. Any normal person would watch wild bulls run after people in crowded streets and think, “What on Earth? Why would anyone in their right mind voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way by literally running with bulls through a city?” Well, I guess I am not normal because from the second I saw the first bull, I was set. I was running with the bulls the next morning. No questions asked.

And, I did just that. I ran with the bulls on Thursday July 9, 2009. Then I guess saying you ran with the bulls at San Fermin just isn’t quite idiotic enough(or hardcore, depending on your mindset), so I did it again on Friday July 10, 2009, which sadly was the day the young Spaniard did in fact get gored to death by the bull they call, Cappucino. May He Rest in Peace.

Everyone asks, did you really run with the bulls? How close were you? Well, you really have to see a run to fully understand. But to answer questions: Yes, I actually ran along side a bull. Know that the bulls run at a top speed of 15mph, so obviously these suckers are fast. They start at the beginning of the 850 meter course and run into the arena. Whereas, most people pick about a 50 meter stretch to actually run with the bulls. You are standing there with your hands shaking and your head spinning. Questions are just running circles around your head. Then the first firework shoots off right at eight signaling the gates being opened. A second fire means all the bulls are out of the gate. Meaning all the bulls and steers are running your way whether you like it or not. People are jumping up and down. Everyone’s’ faces say just one universal thing regardless of their language, “@*#&! What am I doing?!” It was almost a comforting and very discomforting feeling to see grown men, usually large Spaniards next to you clad in white with one expression on their aged faces: fear.

The anticipation is what kills you and tears up your insides until you feel like a glob of fret and fear.

Then the anticipation ends instantly as the center of the street clears and men all in matching attire are running for their lives, literally, as bulls ride their tails. Right when men start zooming past you the crowd starts to move, and I mean move. I was booking it trying to avoid the people who trip in front of you as if they are trying to pull you down with them. I honestly felt like the ball in the game pong as I tried to make my way down the straight. Big burly men were pushing me towards the center of the road then back again towards the fence. My goal, other than don’t die, was to stay on my feet. Jumping over people on the ground, avoiding the center of the road while avoiding being trampled or smashed up against the fence was not an easy task.

Then it happened. A bull ran past me. For about a second, maybe three tops, I was able to look to my right and see a bull within arm's reach.

I will never forget this experience. I gained more confidence in those two days than all 19 years of my life. I was on my own. Everyone running had enough to worry about with just trying to stay alive themselves, so I was on my own the first day. Just Stay Alive.

The second day was even more exhilarating. I thought my nerves would be a little calmer. I mean after running with the bulls once, what’s the big deal. Umm not so much. It was even scarier. This time I had put myself in a stickier situation by starting after Dead Man’s Corner. There was no fence or safe exit in sight. Buildings covered each side until you made it up around the corner towards the arena. I had to really run and keep running until I made it to the arena.

This time around I had a wonderful running partner. Bec from Australia was as much hard core as you can pack into a five-foot-three woman. She and I just screamed intensity as we weaved through the crowd and raced towards the arena. May her travels with her fiancé, Dave, always be filled with adventures and excitement.

Running with the bulls was scary, eventful and exciting. This entry does not even begin to give the experience justice or the descriptions it deserves.
Another adventure for the books. Enough said.
Check these out to learn more:

Best Website to See Photos and Videos of San Fermin

Info on what the heck San Fermin is

I saw this man on a stretcher after the Bull Run on Friday. Here is a picture of him being gored. It was a bloody mess.