We’re having a baby!

July 3, 2016

pippa vague the traveling anthropologist

It feels SO GOOD to finally be able to say this! We’ve been keeping our lips sealed for the past 9 weeks – which believe me feels like an absolute lifetime when you’re excited!! Keeping it from friends and family was the hardest! We waited a few weeks after finding out to tell our parents because we wanted it to be a present on my mums birthday, and we waited until after our first scan to tell everyone else just in case we miscarried. I told people that I was doing a ‘dry May’ spell with no drinking – and they actually believed me! I mean, do they know me at all? Haha. And in June I made up an illness and said I was taking antibiotics. It was stressful! It’s silly I know but I felt like I was being really deceitful by not telling people. It feels so good to be able to actually talk about it now.  I think for our next baby we’ll be more open about it at least with close friends.

Due Date: My birthday January 6th 2017.  But I’m really hoping he or she can hold on in there for a few more days cause I kinda want to keep my birthday to myself! 🙂 Gender: It’s still too early to tell, but we can’t decide whether we want to find out or not. I want to wait till the delivery room but Guy wants to know asap.  I do think it’s a girl though – the heartbeat was 170bmp at the scan and that’s apparently indicative of a girl.  Sickness: I’ve been so lucky I haven’t had any morning sickness apart from the occasional wave of nausea that only lasts a few minutes. I have had headaches, cramps and exhaustion though. Cravings: I haven’t had anything major yet except my taste buds seem to be appreciating savory foods more than sweet ones. Some days I’m not hungry and other days I’m insatiable. Sleep: It’s getting better but I’ve been averaging five hours a night these last couple of months. I’ve been having lots of weird dreams too.  Weight Gain: My weights gone up and down this first trimester. I haven’t been sick or anything but I think cutting out alcohol helped me drop a kilo early on, but then I gained a couple of kilos in the middle and then lost them again recently.

pippa vague the traveling anthropologist

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What it’s really like traveling as an introvert

June 22, 2016

the introverted traveler

I got an email from a friend recently that said (in response to my comment that I felt like I wasn’t exploring enough) ‘as long as you’re not staying inside watching Netflix then you’re not traveling wrong‘.

Here’s the thing, sometimes I do stay inside and watch Netflix. I don’t even watch some new thought provoking documentary or the latest critically acclaimed Judd Apatow series – mostly I rewatch my favourite scenes of shows I’ve already seen (Meredith drowning in Greys Anatomy, Tara getting kidnapped in Sons of Anarchy, Lorrie dying in The Walking Dead – I know I’m morbid I can’t help it!).

Other times I read, curled up in the sunshine lost in a book for a whole afternoon. Sometimes I spend a couple of hours in the kitchen cooking using a new ingredient or trying to recreate something I ate on the street. When I do go out, I walk the same streets there and back because otherwise I’ll get lost and end up across the other side of town.  When I go shopping I go back to the same stores because I like knowing where I’m going and [sort of] what I’m doing. I like seeing the same faces and the same layout.

I know it probably sounds like I miss out on a lot. And maybe I do. But I also gain a lot.

When I was in Guatemala (waiting for Guy to finish a three day hike), I spent much of my days walking the streets alone with my headphones in listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks.  Before long I was so absorbed in the story that I seemed to become somewhat invisible to everyone else. This made for some wonderful people watching. I watched teenagers sneak kisses behind their families backs, children playing tricks on each other, old friends catching up and so many other wonderful candid moments.

During my stint teaching English in Laos, I bought pineapple and mango from the same vendor outside my school nearly every day. At first we didn’t speak (I didn’t speak Laotian and he didn’t understand English) but rather pointed and smiled.  After a couple of months though he’d have a bag ready for me, greet me with a cheery “hello miss” and sometimes even wish me a “goo day okay”.  By the time I left Laos I had met his wife and baby daughter and I felt something akin to a friendship between us.

While living in In Mexico City for six weeks I visited the same market every few days to stock up on fresh produce. I always stopped at the same stall just inside the door even though the onions were always a little squishy and the pineapples were soft – because I loved chatting to the old woman behind the counter.  Her face would light up when I appeared and we’d discuss the weather, how handsome Guy was, what I was going to cook that day, and then she’d pinch my cheek and slip in an extra bulb of garlic or apple into my bags.  Next I’d visit the tomato man who’d have a tray ready for me, grill me on my Spanish progress and then wink at me as he threw a couple of extra tomatoes or a bunch of coriander into my bag. Each trip to the market I’d learn something new – a word, a recipe, an ingredient, and each time I’d leave with a smile on my face.

But it’s not just the interactions with the locals – although that’s a huge part of why I travel and why I love it so much.  Some of my best moments have actually been with other travelers.  I’ve had countless conversations with other backpackers in hostels – often the ones who are also tucked up in a corner reading a book, or in the kitchen trying out a new ingredient – and to me that’s all part of traveling. It’s not just about meeting the locals – it’s also about connecting with other travelers. Most of our friends in New Zealand aren’t travelers, or at least not backpackers, so it’s wonderfully refreshing to have conversations with other like minded people. I honestly find people who love to travel the most interesting, the most inspiring, and often just the most fun.

traveling as an introvert

A group of South Koreans en route to Cuba to experience life in a communist country

Having said all of that I have learned some tips over the years to help me on my adventures.  So here’s how I travel as an introvert;

I carry a notebook with me everywhere. I’ll pop into a cafe or bar and order a drink and then write in my journal, or write a letter to a friend, or continue writing my novel (I’ve been writing it for about ten years I don’t think I’ll ever actually finish!).  It takes away that feeling of awkwardness and occasional loneliness that descends upon you as you sit alone, and it also helps me to focus on the now and really absorb what’s going on – what I did that day, how I’m feeling, what I’m looking forward to.


how to travel as an introvert

I listen to audiobooks and podcasts.  I love listening to music especially when I’m cleaning or cooking but when I’m exploring I prefer to listen to an audiobook or a podcast.  This is partly because I can’t shake the feeling of music is sort of wasting a prime opportunity to learn something – but mostly because I can lose myself in a book far more than I can in a song. [When I say audiobooks I actually mean the Harry Potter audiobooks that I’ve been listening to for the last five years]. When I’m listening to a book or a podcast I can walk for hours without tiring, eat by myself in a restaurant without feeling out of place,

I explore a city on foot.  I find exploring a new city intimidating no matter how excited I am to be there so I liked to take it in at my own pace (aka slowly).  The idea of trying to negotiate public transport terrifies me so I like to walk around a city. That way I can get back to where I started without getting (too) lost, I can stop whenever I want to for a snack or drink or to take a photo, and I get some exercise at the same time – which is a good thing because I eat everything I see when I’m traveling.

traveling as an introvert

When in Chiang Mai I walked all around the old city on the remnants of the wall

I stay in my comfort zone (mostly).  This is kind of a paradox I know because one of the reasons I travel, and one of the best things about traveling is stepping out of your comfort zone – and I love that. But, I also like to stay somewhat comfortable.  As I mentioned above, in Mexico City I revisited the same market stalls for over a month – not only did I get to know the vendors but I felt that I got a deeper sense of Mexican culture while also being able to practice my Spanish.  Similarly I’m much more likely to choose a little mom-and-pop restaurant than visit the latest ‘it’ place, and again I feel that I gain a better understanding of the local cuisine and culture as well as actually enjoying myself. That’s not to say that I won’t occasionally join a group of people and go out but that it’s the exception rather than the rule.

I take time for myself. If I feel like going to a movie, or sipping coffee all morning, or having an afternoon nap I will – and I don’t for a moment feel bad about it. I don’t buy into this idea that if you’re not doing something every second of the day then you’re wasting it.  I especcially love treating myself to a breakfast out – I’m not sure why but there’s so wonderfully indulgent about going out for breakfast it’s guaranteed to make me feel happy and refreshed.

an introverts guide to traveling

So I guess I really want to say is that there’s no right way to travel – there really isn’t. And if you wanna stay in bed and watch Netflix while the rest of your dorm goes out to a salsa class then know that you’re not alone! There’s a very good chance I’m doing the same thing somewhere else in the world too!

I’d love to hear any other tips you have for traveling as an introvert! I can always do with some more ideas 🙂

what its really like traveling as an introvert








A Different Take on Traveling to Mexico

June 12, 2016


With more than 32.1 million tourist arrivals, The Telegraph lists Mexico as one of the most visited countries in the world. The 9.6 per cent increase from the previous year mirrors how this North American country puts a premium on this sector, as well as the beauty and diversity of its destinations.

Since Mexico has varied locales, Expedia suggests a mix of anthropological, archaeological, and cultural tours as some of the top things to do in the country. Travelers also have the option to either watch a traditional Lucha Libre wrestling card or enjoy a satisfying food trip in the city. At the back of these usual pursuits, however, Mexico presents a chance for tourists to be part of bigger things, more meaningful endeavours that transcends the customs of traveling.

Even though there are only a small percentage of British travelers in Mexico, the United Kingdom remains one of the few European countries that take volunteering seriously. Close to 29 per cent of adults, or roughly 15.2 million citizens, volunteer at least once a month, based on statistics by the UK Civil Society Almanac. So if you have a hand – a helping one for that – in this number or plan to do volunteer work in the future, here’s a couple of tips on how to travel to Mexico and give back to a greater cause.

Travel Necessities

Truth be told, British tourists – like you – relish the widest range of visa-free travel opportunities. As a matter of fact, there are 173 countries you can visit without ever applying for a visa, including Mexico; you just have to acquire a tourist card, as suggested by In spite of this incentive, UK citizens have one thing that’s not in their favour: airport parking.

travel necessities for mexico

Say you’ve already ironed out all the details of your flight, you’ve utilised online check-in provisions, and you’ve even reserved a seat, you still have to deal with the airports’ congested car bays. Thankfully, major international airports such as Gatwick and Heathrow have invested millions in the improvement of its surrounding areas, as well as accepted the services of parking aggregators.

Parking4Less differentiates these airport provisions as the premium meet-and-greet parking, the efficient airport hotel with parking, and the more common on-airport and off-airport parking. With these, you’ll have one less thing to worry about before embarking on a one-of-a-kind trip to Mexico. As a reminder, be sure to reserve a slot 24 to 48 hours ahead of flight schedule to enjoy maximum savings.

Volunteering Opportunities

After sitting through the more than 11 hours of flight time and sorted your things out in your temporary home, the next on your agenda is to meet with the non-profit organizations of your choice in Mexico. There are groups that promote environmental initiatives like the Mexico Sea Turtle Conservation Project, as well as ones that serve the needs of the less fortunate such as Casa de los Angeles.

volunteering in mexico with children

Considering that country features an extremely diverse location, the whole experience assures there are plenty of things to do. More than the pristine beaches, the biosphere reserves, and the widely popular cuisine, traveling to Mexico means you’ll have an ideal mix pleasure and philanthropy.

*This is a Guest contributed post written by: Donald Johnson





A rainy day on Tiri Tiri Matangi Island, Auckland

June 3, 2016

tiri tiri matangi island auckland

tiri tiri matangi island auckland new zealand

tiri tiri matangi island auckland new zealand

tiri tiri matangi island auckland new zealand

My mum has apparently wanted to visit Tiri Tiri Matangi Island forever, though the first I heard of it was a couple of weeks after I got back to New Zealand. We were walking along the beach eating an ice cream and she mentioned it to me.  Her birthday was coming up so when I got home I booked tickets and gave them to her a few weeks later on her birthday. She was so excited! She spent the afternoon rushing around finding her hiking boots and emergency blanket and packing snacks in zip lock bags haha! The next morning we woke to an email telling us that the ferry was cancelled due to bad weather, so we rebooked for the next weekend.  Saturday night there was a terrible storm that woke us all up and we were certain that the trip would be cancelled but the weather gods were in a good mood and we woke on Sunday morning to grey skies but no wind.

The grey skies stayed with us, and it rained more than once but we had so much fun. We saw all different kinds of birds (thankfully we had a brochure telling us what was what ha) and some amazing scenery including what I am declaring the worlds biggest and weirdest tree.


tiri tiri matangi island auckland new zealand

tiri tiri matangi island auckland new zealand

tiri tiri matangi island auckland new zealand

This little bird! It was seriously the cutest thing on the island – it followed us around the beach flying and hopping just out of reach. When we stopped he stopped, and when we walked he followed along behind us chirruping and hopping around like he was so excited he just couldn’t contain himself.

tiri tiri matangi island auckland new zealand


If you want to visit check out check out this website






May 31, 2016

We’ve been back home for a little over a month now and I’ve been settling back into life in New Zealand slowly and gently. I’ve purposely been taking it slowly and rather than rushing around catching up with everyone I’ve been gradually spending time with each of my friends and spending quality time with them. I’ve also been hanging out with my parents more than usual which I’ve been really enjoying. Normally when I visit Auckland I stay with them but I’m popping in and out and don’t see them for longer than a meal or two.  They’ve also just moved into a new house so I’ve been helping them settle in a little – like planting a herb garden.

the traveling anthropologist

We had some sweet friends from Wellington come and spend a weekend with us at Waipu.

the traveling anthropologist

the traveling anthropologist

the traveling anthropologist

My mum and I went for a hike in the rain at Piha. I love discovering new parts of Auckland!

the traveling anthropologist

These little ‘rams horns’ are my favourite shells!

I got a job this week – it’s just temping in an office for a few weeks but I’m actually looking forward to it. Earning some money, getting out of the house, having some structure to my days – all the things I hate to love but yet I do.

I’m still missing Mexico, and missing our life of travel but I’m trying not to think about it too much. There are so many adventures to be had in New Zealand I know we’re not going to get bored. And now that Guy has finally had his knee operated on we can go away for weekends which I am so looking forward to.

Also, I was looking through some old photos and came across these ones from our last weeks in Wellington last year. Gosh I miss that city (on a good day – on a bad day it’s a horribly cold and windy place where no one wants to be). I’m excited to go back there at the end of this year.

wellington day walks wellington day walks wellington day walks


River. This is quite a strange program and halfway through each episode I thought ‘I won’t watch this again’ but then at the end I always ended up clicking on the next episode. It was only six episodes long but the finale was so good it made it all worth it. Now that’s its’ finished I can’t stop thinking about it.

Marseille. I watched this after hearing that it was the French version of House of Cards – it’s not. But it is wonderfully entertaining, and there’s a love story that got me hook, line and sinker. I actually watched all the episodes twice just to watch the love story unfold again. There were subtle differences between an American show that I loved like the nudity that was somehow necessary rather than gratuitous, and the way that food and wine was always centre stage.

Bloodline. Guy and I just started this so we’re only two episodes in but we’re hooked already. There are so many layers of deceit and deception, and so many characters I just know it’s going to be a good one!


The language of flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. This was a sad book about a foster child trying to figure out her life, but it had touching moments that made me keep reading.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I haven’t finished this book yet but I’m really enjoying it. It details the stark contrast in life between a family of miners in Wales and an Earl in his mansion who lives nearby. There are also lots of other characters appearing briefly which add a wonderful richness to the stories.


Mexico Travel

City Guide: The best of Mexico City

May 23, 2016

I’ve written about my love for Mexico City here and here, but I wanted to write a more detailed guide about some of the best things the city has to offer so everyone can enjoy it. Whether you’ve got just a few days or a couple of weeks in Mexico City here’s my pick of the best things to see, do and, most importantly eat.


There are so many places to see in Mexico City! Apparently it has more museums than anywhere else in the world and I believe it! And that’s not to mention the parks and monuments – if there’s one thing Mexico does well apart from food its public spaces. I didn’t get around to all of them – although I gave it my best shot! Here are my favourite places to see when in the city.

Museo Nacional de Arte (National Museum of Art)

I’m not an art aficionado by any means – in fact to be honest I find a lot of art kinda boring, but this place captured me from the moment I walked through its giant doors and caught a sight of the winding wooden staircase. The architecture and detail in every corner took my breath away.  There’s everything here from ancient Greek sculptures to 18th century Mexican works to modern pieces from throughout Latin America.

museo nacional de arte mexico city

Plaza de las tres culturas (Square of the three cultures)

I didn’t go here until my last week in Mexico City but I’m so glad I did.  If you can, go on a weekday because the queue here on the weekends is crazy long. Here you can walk through the ruins of Aztec temples – some of which have an incredible amount of detail remaining! The pass includes entry to an excellent museum which you enter right after the ruins, and also a couple of other museums that are a bit confusing to find (especially when you’re hungry) but well worth the effort.


Palacio Nacional (National Palace)

I’d heard so many good things about the National Palace that I didn’t really want to go (does anyone else do that?) but I’m really happy I did because it was awesome.  Diego Rivera’s gigantic murals were the highlight – you can seriously just stare at them for ages and keep finding new things that make you smile.  But I also loved the exhibition of masks from all around Mexico and the original courthouse was pretty cool too! To enter someone in your group needs to hand over their passport – it’s kept securely and you get it back upon exiting. The line is super long on weekends so go early in the morning or during the week if you can.

museo nacional de arte mexico city


Visit Teotihuacan pyramids.  These are very cool and very accessible. You can take a tour there which also includes a trip to a village where you can see an ancient church and taste some mezcal – or you can pay a tenth of the price and catch a metro and then a bus there. However you do it, just get there because they’re fantastic.

Teotihuacan pyramids mexico city

Explore Chapultepec Park – and give yourself a whole day to do so! This place is huge, I mean really huge! There’s so much to see and do here – pick up some souvenirs at the markets, feed the squirrels, admire the architecture of the Chapultepec castle, visit the zoo, peruse the anthropology museum (see above), try your hand at paddle boating on the lake, ride the roller coasters at Feria de Chapultepec or just sit under the shade of a large tree and observe the native wildlife and people going about their daily business.

feedign squirells at coyoacan park mexico city

Go up the Torre Latinoamericana (Latin-American Tower) building. Catching the elevator to the top of this building will give you the best views in the city – that may not sound that exciting to you (it didn’t to me!) but trust me, you’ll be glad you did it. You’ll appreciate just how big the city is and how beautiful it is too.

Torre Latinoamericana

Walk or Run at Coyoacan Neighbourhood. Coyoacan is easily my favorite part of Mexico City. You actually forget you’re in the city because it’s so chilled out and peaceful here. Coyoacan Park is absolutely gorgeous. Not only is it a beautiful place to exercise – there is a 4 kilometre walking/jogging track, but there are extremely tame squirrels to feed. And there’s a pretty cool artisan market in the town centre too.

coyoacan park, mexico city


There are so many delicious things to eat in Mexico City – and there really is something for every budget.  I occasionally splashed out on a nice meal but tended to stick to the cheap street food options which honestly really were some of the best meals I ate.

Pozole The best way to describe this is a hearty soup. It’s a thick soup with a base of hominy – giant corn kernels – to which you can add basically whatever you like. Popular additions include shredded pork, tortilla chips, avocado, radish slices, sour cream and various salsas. It is DELICIOUS and very substantial. The best pozole we ate was at La Casa Toña. We actually caught three subways and walked for 20 minutes to get there (cause that’s the kind of thing I’ll do for good food) and we were not disappointed!

pozole at la tona pozole at la tona

Tacos.  There are a few different kinds of tacos you can get in the city – all of which are delicious. The two most common are pastor (pork) and súaderno (beef). You can also get chorizo, goat head, kidney & liver – but these are much less common. Look for a busy taco place as these are usually the best and safest. The best place we found was on the corner of Juarez and Indepencia outside a pizza shop. AMAZING. And I loved that the guy who served us each night was completely unfazed that we were there – other vendors seemed to get a little spooked at having ‘guapo’ customers.

mexico city tacos

Grilled chicken.  Admittedly grilled chicken doesn’t immediately sound exciting but trust me – crispy yet succulent chicken served alongside a crunchy coleslaw and pickled chilies on fresh tortillas – is amazing! Truly.

Quesadillas.  Quesadillas are the perfect snack. They’re tasty, cheesy, small and they cost less than a dollar. And they’re yum!! You can get lots of different kinds although the most common is just a plain cheese one (with the addition of salsa or pickled chillies).  Other variations include cheese with zucchini flower, chorizo and shredded chicken.

quesadilla in mexico city

Tortas.  Mexico’s version of a sandwich, and as delicious as that likely sounds.  You can get pretty much any flavour combination you want – ham & cheese, chicken, chorizo & cheese, beef, tomato & cheese. They’re endlessly customisable, they come toasted and they cost about a dollar.

Pastries and sweets. I’m not entirely sure why Mexico City has such amazing bakeries – because other places we visited (Oaxaca, San Cristobal del las Casas, Tulum, Puebla…) didn’t have anything like what’s on offer in the city. First off the bakeries are huge! You grab a tray and walk around trying not to salivate over all the different options while you load yourself up with whatever you want, take it to the counter where it’s bagged and you’re given a receipt and then you go and pay at the cashier. It’s a slightly complicated process but that’s just Mexico. What’s important is that everything you buy will be DELICIOUS.

mexico city bakerys

patisserie in mexico city


Calle Regina is the best place to go in the city if you’re looking for some bars. It’s where all the cool kids hang out sipping cocktails, glasses of wine or shots of mezcal.  There are interesting murals and some cool art installations to look at too.

calle regina mexico city

If you’re prepared to go a little out of the city then the Condesa neighbourhood is great; it’s a street lined with craft beer bars and American style restaurants. You can do tastings here too.

craft beer condesa mexico city

If you’re just looking for some beers to take back to your hostel then the Oxxo have good prices. They have a deal for 4 regular beers (Tecate, Dos Equis, Indio…) for 55 pesos.


There are too many markets in Mexico City to count. Some of them are specialized like the one in Plaza San Jacinto which sells only artwork.  There are two big ones La Lagunilla Market & Mercado de la Merced Nave Mayor, where you can buy pretty much anything (literally – I saw a guy walking around selling rolls of sellotape – all kinds of sellotape) but they’re very easy to get lost in, and a little on the shady side. In other words don’t go alone, take someone with you preferably someone who has a good sense of direction and a big beard to scare off any would be pickpockets.

For anything you can’t find in a market you’ll find it down the main tourist street Avenue Francisco I Madero.

shopping in mexico city


Massiosare El Hostel

We stayed in only one hostel for the six weeks we were in the city but we loved it – and we talked to numerous people who had stayed elsewhere but told us that for the price it was the best accommodation option in Mexico City.  There’s a rooftop terrace where you can read, sunbathe, practice yoga or drink at the pop up bar on Saturday nights.  There’s free breakfast every morning; fruit, pastries, coffee and juice. There are two adorable cats Luke and Leia who will alternate between attacking you as you and snuggling into you – they’ll also try to sneak into your dorm and sleep in your bed. There’s a tiny but well stocked kitchen to use, clean bathrooms and showers in each of the dorms, comfortable beds and extra blankets if you need them.  There are two common areas – one with beanbags, a table, a large bookshelf, a TV and DVD Player and Nintendo to use. It’s in the middle of an industrial area so it’s quiet at night – two blocks from a busy street food area and two blocks from Juarez metro station. The staff here are lovely – really lovely, don’t hesitate to ask them for anything. Having said that – they’re hardly ever actually at the desk. If you arrive and there’s no one around trudge down the four flights of steps and turn right into the vegan cafe next door – there you’ll find the lovely Gus who is the owner of the hostel. He’ll come right up and show you around.

 Massiosare El Hostal  Massiosare El Hostal

They like to play and fight – and also sleep on you.

Massiosare El hostal Massiosare El hostal

So there you have it – my take on the best things to see, do, eat and where to stay in Mexico City. I love that city so much, it has a vibrancy that I haven’t found elsewhere yet. If you have the chance to go I’m positive you’ll fall in love with it as much as I did!

If you like this post save it to Pinterest to refer to later 🙂

city guide mexico city


A new beginning

May 11, 2016

the traveling anthropologist blog

I’ve been wondering what to do about this blog for a while now. I actually didn’t renew it for a couple weeks when it ran out recently just to see if I’d miss it. I did, badly.

I went back and forth for a while on that and honestly the only reason I didn’t change it was because I couldn’t think of one that I liked, one that summed up everything I want this space to be. Not that The Traveling Anthropologist does but I still kinda have a soft spot for it. And I guess I’ve kept it as a homage to what I initially wanted this blog to be, and more importantly who I want to be. I’ve accepted that it’s not going to happen any time soon, but one day I do hope to truly be a traveling anthropologist.

Anyway, I’ve decided to keep this blog because I really do love it but I’m going to change the direction of it. Since we’re back in New Zealand for the foreseeable future there’s going to be less travel (at least less international travel) and I’m going to share more personal posts, more photographs and videos, more food.

Thank you for sticking with me this far and I sure hope you’ll stick around for the next stage too!


I wish I was still in Mexico

May 9, 2016

feeding squirrels in coyoacan park, mexico

This week I’ve wished we were back in Mexico, I’ve wished it so hard it’s made my heart ache a little.

We’re fighting a losing battle with our travel insurance company to pay for Guy’s knee surgery (he tore his meniscus in a game of rugby just before we came home from Mexico) who say that since he’s back home now the public health system covers it not them – but that could take months and months. So he’s unable to work and hobbling around on crutches as best he can.

The chemo his mum is undergoing is half-working. It’s not shrinking the tumors as hoped but it’s stopping their growth and therefore prolonging her life. Which is good but not great, and she’s trying to decide for how much longer she wants to keep going with the treatment.

I’m spending my days searching for jobs, listening to Guy argue on the phone with our insurance company and accompanying my mother in law to various appointments for blood tests,

I’m happy to be home. I love seeing my friends, spending time with my family. We’re having the mildest winter ever here so I’m still walking around in a t shirt and cut offs. I’m picking vegetables from my little garden every few days and I’m trying to make a sourdough starter.

But, I still wish I was in Mexico. I miss it so much.

the traveling anthropologist the traveling anthropologist the traveling anthropologist the traveling anthropologist



April 30, 2016

the traveling anthropologist april 2016

I said last month was strange, but it was nothing compared to this one. We left our comfortable bubble of Mexico City (admittedly we were ready to leave after six weeks) and had a whirlwind trip of Las Vegas where we eloped, then caught up with some friends in Las Vegas before returning to New Zealand to be with Guy’s mum.  Coming home was bittersweet.  I cried when the plane touched down realising that our adventure was over, but it has been really lovely catching up with our parents and friends and I’ve been enjoying Auckland more than I thought I would.


Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe. I can’t say I loved this book but I did enjoy it and I read it within two days because it kept me interested. I do love reading young adult fiction – partly cause it makes me so grateful that I am no longer a teenager!

Thirteen Reasons by Jay Asher. I really enjoyed this book – it’s part teen angst novel (which I love) and part mystery thriller with an underlying theme of the importance of kindness to everyone in your life.


Virunga. I really really enjoyed this documentary about a wildlife park in the Congo where the last mountain gorillas are. It deals with the conflict caused by rebel groups fighting the Congalese army over mining in the park (which would kill the animals but bring in a lot of money). The imagery was spectacular and it dealt with the opposing sides very sensitively. Plus if you’ve never seen a baby gorilla being tickled – it is the.cutest.thing.ever.

Orange is the new black. I know, I know. I am once again the last to jump on the bandwagon (I STILL haven’t finished Lost or Breaking Bad!). I’m only a few episodes in but I am loving this show so far. I’m loving the diversity in the actresses shown, it never really occurred to me until I started watching this that I very rarely see curvy/hispanic/transgender characters on TV and I am lapping it up.

Would I lie to you? There is a New Zealand version of this which is crap so I’ve never watched the British version (which is SO MUCH better). Lee Mack, Rob Brydon & David Mitchell make my heart melt with laughter.

Clicking On




April 25, 2016

the traveling anthropologist

I’m feeling antsy. I want to do big, exciting, wonderful things. I want to stretch and grow and live. But I don’t know where to start. I don’t know which choices are the right ones to make, which options I should prioritise and which I should leave for another time. I want this but I also want that and I don’t see a way to have both at the same time.

I’m missing Mexico but I’m loving being back in New Zealand. I’m wishing we were still traveling but I’m relishing the comforts of having a home, a kitchen, a double bed.  I want to start my career but I also want to start a family.  I want to go camping every weekend but I need to work and earn some money. I want to live a slow life but there’s so much I want to get done.

I want to be an anthropologist, a writer, a photographer, a videographer, a cook, a mother.

I want to stay and I want to go.

I want to be me and I want to be someone else.

I’m feeling restless as if I have an invisible itch that I can’t find to scratch.  I’m indecisive and quiet, withdrawing into myself to try find the answers that continue to elude me.

I need chocolate, and more coffee. Always more coffee.