Please go out and vote – who else can speak your truth but you?

Never a truer word was spoken! Come on people, it’s Election Day, go out and vote! Celebrate the fact that you live in a free country where you actually have the right to vote when so many people across the world have no such privilege!

Jack Monroe

Have you lost your polling card? Me too. I have two children under five, so I’ll find it in a few months stuffed down the back of the sofa with wobbly portraits of me scrawled across it in blue felt tip, or pictures of spiders and imaginative beasties. I can barely tell the difference. The good news is, if you’re registered to vote, you don’t actually need it, spiders and beasties or no.

It’s a curiously British thing, a card dropping through your door with a footnote on it saying it’s surplus to its own requirement, but I suspect it serves as a reminder that there is an election coming up, for those not permanently embroiled in the inner scandal and machinations of the Houses of Parliament. To vote without your polling card, simply find your nearest polling station (link here), turn up, and state your name and address. If…

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New Zealand Inspiration – Part II

After arriving in Auckland, my four month odyssey began…

Leaving the harbour side, after whiling away a beautiful summer’s morning, I found myself plodding the streets of Parnell, the artisan quarter of the city. A small selection of streets bustling with galleries, boutique shops & bistro cafe’s, Parnell has a wonderfully eclectic and bohemian vibe.

I dropped my backpack off at the Chalet Chevron, the only accommodation I had booked beforehand, to ensure I had a roof for the first few days. What a great choice! An antiquated little B & B, oozing with charm and Kiwi hospitality – which is always warm!

I spent the next two blissful weeks doing the tourist thing, visiting Auckland’s Skytower, taking a ferry to the volcanic island of Rangitoto then climbing to the summit (literally breathtaking…i.e. utterly exhausting but worth the effort!), visiting galleries, museums, the sea front & harbour not to mention spending a wonderful day at the Planetarium looking at the Southern Hemisphere.

But amidst my tourist travels, the most wondrous, surprising and inspirational thing I found, was that you could be a wandering stranger, enjoying your own solitude and the sights around you, in complete freedom and safety.

Sadly, I just wouldn’t dare to go exploring city streets alone and after dark in this country.

Wearing a smile wherever I went, I soaked up the sights and sounds of New Zealand’s largest and friendliest city but had my eyes set on the road and adventures ahead…

Little did I realise just how monumental my odyssey would become.