All posts by DJ Baird

My name is Dan. That's about all I'm sure of.

Is Finding Yourself Through Travel for Idiots?

Travel, eventually, turns everybody into an insufferable prick. Maybe at home you are the most level-headed person in the world without the tiniest shred of pretension. But spend a long enough time away and it will happen. You will turn into one of those people. You know the type I’m talking about. The people who “find themselves.”

Continue reading Is Finding Yourself Through Travel for Idiots?

A Horrific Help Exchange on the Banks Peninsula

burlington bay from above

The Banks Peninsula is a small, hilly circle of land that juts out into the sea close to Christchurch. Due to the large amount of beautiful bays and little villages, the peninsula seems to be the perfect weekend getaway for Christchurchers. For the same reason, we thought it would be a great place to base ourselves in our last week in New Zealand.

It’s close to the city, I told myself while typing out an email to a HelpX host. We’ll be able to pop into Christchurch in the day or do some sightseeing on the peninsula. That’s what I thought.

Until we found ourselves sitting in The Bloody Legend looking up on a steep road heading right into the hills. Nothing on the website said anything about this.

Continue reading A Horrific Help Exchange on the Banks Peninsula

Nature Tours on the Otago Peninsula

After weeks spent in rural towns, Dunedin came as a bit of a shock. It seems like most places on New Zealand’s South Island are barely big enough to qualify as towns, let alone cities. So coming into a big city like Dunedin is a bit of an eye-opener.

At night the stars no longer shine, the city lights too bright. The rolling green fields vanish, replaced with wooden houses on tidy streets. The buildings grow upwards, looming over you, covering the sky. For once you’re in a place where people out number the sheep.

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Milford Sound – One of New Zealand’s Biggest Disappointments?

mitre peak milford sound

The more popular something is, the less inclined I am to enjoy it. Maybe I’ve always been a hipster at heart. Snorting with derision at anything popular. Or maybe I can never be satisfied by something with high expectations.

Expectations were the reason I couldn’t really enjoy Milford Sound. Continue reading Milford Sound – One of New Zealand’s Biggest Disappointments?

5 Tips For Taking Clichéd Travel Photos

You’re about to go travelling for the first time, but there’s a problem. You don’t know how to take a photograph! You got a book from the library, but upon inspection it had more words than pictures. Who can be bothered to read nowadays? If it’s not an easily digestible YouTube clip, then it’s useless.

Fortunately for you, I exist and I’ve decided to help you out in your conquest to take the most clichéd travel photo possible. So beautiful that you can literally put them on Facebook every 2 hours for all those people who don’t give a shit.

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Hiking in Arthur’s Pass

What I want you to know – but hope you don’t tell anybody else – is that Arthur’s Pass is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.

Sitting halfway between the West Coast and Christchurch, it’s an easy trip from either. Yet it remains relatively quiet as most people seem to see it as a place to stop-off in, rather than to explore.

Those that only rush through will miss out on so much.

When you escape from the village, you’ll find quiet trails. Few people around to bother you. Despite some of the walks being stupidly easy.

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Getting Annoyed by Tourists at Lake Tekapo

It seems to be a general rule on New Zealand’s South Island, that the further South you get, the more tourists there are. Or rather, the closer you get to a location from the Lord of the Rings, the greater the amount of people you’ll see. Either way, as you travel south the amount of tourists continues to grow.

We got our first real taste of the negative energy of other tourists when we found ourselves in Lake Tekapo early one afternoon. With its turquoise blue water, hemmed in by mountains on almost all sides, Lake Tekapo is an obvious lure for tourists. Add to that the fact that it’s slap bang in the middle of a dark sky reserve – perfect for star watching – and it’s almost too much to resist.

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A Few Lazy Days in Hokitika

hokitika driftwood sign on hokitika beach
When you’re on the road for a while, travelling can start to become a chore. Eventually you need to stop for a breather, which is how we found ourselves lazing around in Hokitika on New Zealand’s west coast.

On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be much to Hokitika. It’s like many of the other west coast towns. A small downtown area with a sprinkling of hundred-year-old buildings and plenty of cafes and souvenir shops for tourists. Nothing amazing sticking out.

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One Year in a Hagwon: The Student From Hell

cute korean kinder hagwon student

To understand the problems of a hagwon, you must first understand the impossibility of teaching in one.

In a hagwon, the teachers wield less power than the children. When an especially bad child comes along they can make your life unbearable. These are more than just children, they’re the babies of Satan. The worst I ever taught was a girl named Serah.

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Health Anxiety and the Ongoing Cycle of Worry

Despite this blog having the name Anxious Travelers, you’ve probably noticed that recently there has been a lot more said about travel than anxiety. There’s a reason for this. For me, anxiety isn’t an ever present thing. It comes and goes. One day it’s on my shoulders, dragging me down. Then it’s gone for a while, waiting for the next moment to pounce.

When we arrived in New Zealand eight months ago, I was in one of my positive periods. Nothing in life bothered me, I was happy – or happy enough. Things were going great. We’d arrived in this new beautiful place, we had healthy bank accounts and everybody spoke English. Hallelujah!

As time has gone on, things have started to take a downturn.

Continue reading Health Anxiety and the Ongoing Cycle of Worry