Collin hopped on a bike in Maine last summer and biked to California. He's now on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Here's some pictures he just sent us from New Zealand! Make sure to check out his blog, West With the Sun.
Hometown? Christchurch, New Zealand
Current Residence? Why are you there? I’m currently a semi nomadic creature based partially in Adelaide and partially in Brisbane. This is due in part to my job, but mostly so I can accumulate airline status points in the hope that one day I will be so lucky as to experience the thrill of walking on cheap red carpet past my fellow human beans with my nose pointed slightly to the sky, then sit in an enviable seat at the front of the plane like it ain’t no thing.
Occupation? What is your current project? Structural Imagineer, this is similar to an Engineer but I substitute technical ability with bullshitting ability. My current project is a 50,000 bean capacity stadium which will be used for such sports as Cricket and Aussie Rules Football.
Favorite activities? As I write this it has become starkly apparent that my level of senility is worrisome, a matter of months ago I would have answered in quick fashion with cool activities like skateboarding and surfing….and this would have been at least mostly true. Sadly however, my Alue’s have seen naught but golf courses and tennis courts lately.
Favorite cereal? My old friend Dick Field makes a wonderful muesli. Whats the last creative thing you did? What is the last thing you made by hand? Engineers are generally of a pretty dreary disposition, I do nothing to rescind this perception.
What do you find most comical about Australia? Would you recommend Americans and Europeans come looking for jobs down there? I’m from this part of the world so most aspects that one would find comical are normal to me. In saying that, the political discourse here is a comedy. I guess it would be a pretty good place to move to, the mining sector is going gangbusters and Aussie is one of the healthier economies getting about so yes, there is money to be had.
Would you rather watch Aussie rules or American Football? I would rather watch Rugby.
How was your trip to Bolivia and what was the highlight? The Bolivia tour was insane. Taking no advice from anyone and using my ignorance as a guide I decided to champion a road-trip from Santa Cruz to La Paz via Sucre, Potosi, and Uyuni. We hired a 4wd and were told, in all seriousness, to avoid driving at night at all costs. My good friend Jim did what any conscientious, yet foolhardy young chap would do, and based our travel time from Santa Cruz to Sucre solely on Google Maps.
We set out after a huge night on the local grog a little later than desired but convinced it was a leisurely 5 hour drive…..9 hours later we were at around 4000m above sea level, it was pitch black, and the feeble excuse for a road that our Landcruiser, and our collective mental composure had been clinging to, finished abruptly. We were faced with what appeared to be a dried up river bed providing no apparent delineable path and pathetic visibility levels due to whirling dust storms. Fear consumed us and Jim started crying, or maybe it was me that cried….no it was definitely Jim.
There wasn’t really one discernible highlight to be honest, just the collective unforgettable memories of driving through a country that is predominantly untracked past the typical tourist route, with good friends and no map. A country that is brutally poor, geographically diverse, sometimes beautiful, sometimes tragic, sometimes friendly and sometimes dangerous.
What is the best adventure you have taken your Alues on since you have been together? Probably said Bolivia adventure, my Alues and I discovered a special bond on the Uyuni Salt Flats where the glare is intolerable to the naked eye. While others were lamenting their lack of vision I was sharp like an eagle, like a big soaring eagle mildly hallucinating after following the local custom of chewing a billion cocoa leaves and drinking some kind of petroleum based liquor.
How did it feel to win the NZWJA 2011 picture of the year? Do you think you'll be able to repeat? Any secret spots lined up? It felt wonderful, probably the biggest achievement of my life. I definitely won’t be able to repeat such an act as we’re expecting the sport to explode over the winter. And what with the youngsters these days, good lord I’ll be lucky if they remember me. Maybe I’ll have to do another tour to stay on top.
Place you want to move next and why? I just swim downstream. There’s a new rugby stadium in Paris on the cards which I’ll be gunning for.
Name? Lozza Hill
Hometown? Christchurch, New Zealand
Current Residence? Why are you there? Jakarta, Indonesia. To scope as many of the 17,500 islands of Indonesia as possible (I’m up to 25 after a year) and make some money educating rich kids in an international school.
Occupation? Geography Teacher
Favorite activities? Climbing volcanoes, eating really spicy sambal, making sandcastles, bodysurfing (that’s surfing on my stomach not a bodyboard!) and cruising the streets of Jakarta with my lovely Irish fiancée.
Favorite cereal? Porridge (Oats)
Favorite Color? Turquoise
Car, Public Transport, Motorcycle or Bike? Motorcycle Honda Revo Techno 125cc on the filthy & crazily overcrowded streets of JK.
How many pairs of shoes do you own? 4 but lots of jandles.
How many pairs of sunglasses do you own? One, Alue changed my life. All fake Indonesian made Ray Bans were ceremonially biffed.
Whats the last creative thing you did? What is the last thing you made by hand? Built a sand castle prison at a beach in Ujong Kulong National Park and then watched the shell ‘inmates’ get washed away by a tsunami (not real).
What is the best adventure you have taken your Alues on since you have been together? A sweet, virtually undiscovered and untouched village called Sawarna on the south coast of Java. It’s only 180km (111 miles for the Americans) from Jakarta but is a 6 hour drive through congested tollways, followed by narrow, pitted roads destroyed by the wet season rains. It’s a real mission to get to but that’s half the fun. My Alues just dazzle in the tropical sun and the clouds look like I’ve dosed myself on magic mushrooms – that is the power of the Alue lenses!
Place you want to move next and why? South America for salsa, scenery and snow (preferably powder form).
Indo is home to the lair of the Komodo Dragon and I recently saw that a prehistoric human, the Flores Hobbit, was found on the Island of Flores. Have you hung out in the Komodo Lairs with the Hobbits? Have you been to Island of Flores? I ticked off both destinations in June/July 2012. My fiancée, Aisling and I did a 4 week mission starting in the outer islands to the east of Flores called Lembata and Solor where we went traditional whale hunting with bamboo spears with the locals. We then zigzagged our way through the rugged volcanic terrain of Flores itself with the highlights being Kelimutu (a volcano with 3 different coloured crater lakes) and Riung (a mega laid back village that opens you up to white sand heaven in the 17 Islands Marine Park). You can’t see the hobbit (the remains are in Jakarta) but we went to the cave. And Komodo National Park is off the hook! We did a boat trip for 3 days and went swimming with manta rays the size of cars as well as steer out comps with the komodo dragons on Rinca island (we didn’t actually see any on Komodo island itself).
If you had a week to visit Indo, what island(s) would you visit and what would you do? Flores for sure – it’s probably the best place I’ve been to in the world! There’s some gorgeous and crazy beaches on the south coast of Java and Jakarta has to be seen to be believed (a massive city that most of the world doesn’t know a thing about). The next big mission I have planned is to West Timor and an island called Rote. I like eastern Indonesia – the people have a more South Pacific feel than Asian (not racist or anything). It’s just a more laid back vibe. Skin colours get darker, concepts of time get slower, pollution disappears, scenery gets more stunning. With that logic I’ve got to get myself to West Papua before I leave!
It is true that Bali is overrun with Australians? If you had your choice, would you rather hang out with expat Aussies or Americans? F*cken oath mate. Straya nationalism – get it into ya! Don’t get me wrong there are some seriously stunning parts of Bali (Ulu Watu and East Bali) but for the most part you may as well go to the Gold Coast in Australia if you’re looking for that sort of scene. Give me an American anyday!
Do you speak Bahasa Indonesia? Sidikit – which mean ‘a little’. Enough to get from A to B and have an awkward yarn about the heaviness of the rain. I’m big into my weather you see.
Was that too many Indo questions? Any final words? Alue looks to have done the research on where I'm living – most impressive. Much like the glasses I sport thanks to you guys. Alue always on tour with Lozza. Cheers!
We are proud to announce the partnership between the Cheetah II and Alue! The boys on the Cheetah II, Mike and Kim, are sailing their reliable steed, a Chico 30, around the world. They are currently in Langkawi, Malaysia where their first shipment of Alue eye relaxation just landed... Make sure you check out their website, www.cheetahtwo.com, and be sure to track their epic journey!