everything you need to know before going on a motorcycle camping trip


I remember the first time I got on the Ducati 600SS and put my arms around my husband’s waist, helmet and gloves in place, and went on my first motorcycle ride, I was scared but thrilled. It was a cool evening in April, barely any wind, and we went all the way from The Terrace to Seatoun, Island Bay, Lyall Bay and back through Newtown. I was finally seeing some parts of the city I had no idea even existed. I enjoyed it way more than I ever thought I would and, although I’m still a bit scared of riding on my own, I have no problems with being a pillion passenger.

So, when my husband suggested a seven day motorcycle camping trip during our end of the year break, I got really excited. Camping is a great way to save money and New Zealand has a lot to offer to campers. We quickly extended our trip to ten days, and there’s lot to talk about the places we visited in regards to accommodation and activities, but this post is all about the ride. Going on a road trip driving a car has many advantages (you’re not exposed to the weather, you can carry more stuff, etc) but motorcycles are just as fun. Here’s everything you need to know before going a motorcycle camping trip:

1. Educate yourself

First things first: know your motorcycle. Familiarise yourself with the sounds of the engine, understand how it works and how to repair minor damages. Make sure all the papers are in order and everything is working as it should. Study the roads you’re taking, get to know the terrain, the distances. A motorcycle’s tank is smaller and you need to fill it more frequently, so we downloaded an app called CamperMate that shows you anywhere in New Zealand the nearest petrol station (as well as public toilets, police station, groceries and wi-fi spots). It allowed us to plan ahead and decide how much longer we could keep going before taking a break. We didn’t carry any petrol with us and we didn’t have to deal with an empty tank either.


2. Pack smart, pack light

We carried two saddlebags, with a sleeping bag in each one, a gym bag with our clothes, a backpack and a tent. We stayed at holiday parks and DOC campsites and the people camping next to us would always comment on how compact our gear was. The less you carry, the faster it is to repack the next day before continuing your trip. Try to avoid any unnecessary luggage. No matter where you travel to, there’s always some place you can stop and do your laundry along the way. It also prevented us from buying useless stuff during the trip as we simply couldn’t carry any more than what we had brought with us.

3. Improvise

Most places offer shared kitchen facilities but you need to bring your own pans, plates and utensils, which was disappointing as we could have saved a lot more money if we were able to cook our own meals. So we did the best we could, got creative and improvised. We ate meals that required minimal preparation or had picnics (and we had great meals at cafes and restaurants too). We had to park the Ducati on sand and grass, so we found an used water bottle and repurposed it as a side stand pad, to keep the motorcycle in place. We don’t have intercoms in our helmets, so we developed a way of communicating with each other using gestures and taps. It’s important to use all the knowledge you acquired during the planning stage to adapt, change course or come up with a solution.


4. It’s scary

No matter how hard you plan and research, it’s still scary to actually go on the road and ride. There were a couple of accidents involving dairy trucks during the Christmas period and every time one of those large trucks, loaded with logs or milk tanks, drove by us and threw a gust of wind us, it’d hold a breath for a few seconds and hold tight onto Ivan. The weather was on our side and luckily we escaped most of the rain predicted for the North Island. It’s tiresome and uncomfortable at times. Keep calm and well rested at all times.

5. Enjoy the ride

But don’t let fear get in the way of enjoying it and having a good time. When you’re on a motorcycle, you become part of a community of riders that will always acknowledge you and greet you with a quick nod as they ride past you. It’s a great conversation starter and kids are fascinated by two wheels. You’re more exposed and also more connected to the road. You feel the wind, the cold and the warmth all around you. And all those hours in silence, looking out the road alone with my own thoughts, were great to clear my head. The journey becomes part of the fun, it isn’t just about reaching a destination anymore but making the most out of every step of the way.


Now we’re thinking of doing a similar trip, but around the South Island and with two motorcycles. What about you? Would you ever go on a motorcycle road trip?

tag: 50 random facts about me


The 50 random facts about me tag had come up on the Brunch Club group before, and I had tried to write a post at the time but got stuck. Then this week Laura tagged me on her post and I thought it deserved another go. So here’s my long list of facts:

  1. I met my husband 13 years ago on ICQ. He found my ICQ number on a message board, we started chatting, went out, hit it off and started dating.
  2. My favourite colour is red.
  3. I got married in 2009 wearing a red cocktail dress.
  4. My favourite animal is the polar bear.
  5. I almost cried when I saw the polar in the Central Park zoo.
  6. I quit biting my nails when I was 12. It was a New Year’s resolution.
  7. I’ve been keeping lists of all the movies I watch in a year since 2008. It’s organized by date I’ve watched, divided into two categories: at the movies and at home.
  8. The first thing I remember buying online were purchased from the official Buffy the Vampire Slayer web store: a coffee mug and earrings. I still have both of them.
  9. And yes, my wedding ring is a claddagh because of Buffy and Angel.50factstag01
  10. I had a huge crush on Seth Green when I was 13, I even wrote him a letter. He replied with a signed postcard.
  11. Then in 2011 I met him in person. I can’t even remember what I told him, it was probably rubbish.
  12. When I met my favourite author, Neil Gaiman, I was wearing a bootleg t-shirt of one of his characters. He thought that was so cool he even took a photo of me with his iPhone.
  13. My first job was for a Brazilian version of “Hot or Not“. I had to look through all of the photos submitted and delete the ones that violated the terms of conduct (copyrighted material, adult content, photos of celebrities, etc). I worked from home, after school, only lasted a couple of months but I made a lot of money for a 14-year old.
  14. I’ve won a share of the lottery one time, $250. I used it buy a pair of boots and cds.
  15. The first cd I bought with my own money was the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack.
  16. The last time I bought a cd was in 2009. I left my collection in Brazil and told my parents they could do whatever they wanted.
  17. I had massive folders full of photos of the Spice Girls, Hanson and Leo DiCaprio.
  18. I was even interviewed for a newspaper about it. But it was just because my dad knew the journalist who wrote the article…
  19. I created my first blog in 2001 and it was called *wild butterfly* (yep, the star signs were part of the title).
  20. I was even interviewed by a major newspaper in Brazil about my blog. Then I regretted because I got a few prank calls after that.
  21. The first thing I ever made in the kitchen was banana ice cream. I didn’t realise that the recipe was intended for selling and ended up with way too much ice cream in my freezer. It didn’t taste great but it wasn’t that bad, even so no one in my family wanted to try it.
  22. I found my first grey hair when I was 15 and started colouring my hair at 18.
  23. I was blonde in 2013, had the whole Miley Cyrus style going on. I loved it but bleaching ruined my hair.
  24. Now I’m 28 and haven’t coloured my hair in over a year.50factstag02
  25. I’ve already picked my future children’s names and created Gmail accounts for them.
  26. After 5 years and 3 months living in New Zealand, I finally have my residency visa.
  27. The first friend I made online was a girl from Sydney. I almost went to Australia for my high school exchange programme because of that.
  28. But then I got to know more about NZ and ended up deciding to come here.
  29. The first friend I made in NZ was also over the internet, a few months before arriving in Hamilton. We’re still friends to this day.
  30. In case you couldn’t tell, I spend a lot of time online and made most of my friends that way.
  31. I don’t have a car driver’s licence and got my motorcycle learner’s licence last month.
  32. I failed my driving exam three times when I was 19 and never tried to drive again ever since.
  33. I used to be so scared of an animated movie called “The Secret of NIHM” when I was a child. Now I’m afraid of watching it and thinking it’s dumb.
  34. I got really drunk for the first time this year, at my friend’s New Year’s party. Before that I only felt tipsy. I had almost two bottles of wine by myself and welcome 2015 by spending most of the first day of the year vomiting.
  35. I hate buying shoes: I’m a size 11 and it’s so hard to find shoes I like.
  36. My dad wanted to name me Bianca. I’m glad my mom chose Danielle instead.
  37. I used to believe in astrology and read tarot cards.
  38. It’s been years since I read my horoscope for the last time.
  39. Now my only superstition is believing that you must pick up every money you find on the street, even if it’s only 10 cents, otherwise you’ll never come across larger amounts. Trust me, I’ve found a $20 bill in the middle of nowhere.
  40. My character in World of Warcraft was a night elf hunter called Augustine. She had a huge drinking problem and loved going to auction houses in her underwear and make train noises.
  41. Usually after I watch a band play live, I can’t listen to any of their songs for a long time.
  42. Before moving to NZ, the wallpaper on my computer was a photo of Wellington’s cable car, it kept me motivated.
  43. I had a piercing under my tongue for exactly 3 days.50factstag04.JPG
  44. I’ve been to Tokyo Disneyland.
  45. My first mobile was a hand-me-down from my grandaunt.
  46. The ringtone on my second mobile was the Return of the King theme song.
  47. I have a massive crush on Jake Gyllenhaal. I’ll watch any of his movies, even if they’re crap.
  48. I appeared on a TV ad for the school I went to in 1993. My husband claims he remember that ad and he used to be annoyed by it.
  49. I was 13 when I went to my first concert ever, I saw The Offspring.
  50. I have a really hard time figuring out accents and where people are from.

Wow, if you read all the way to the end, congrats! If you feel like doing a post too, leave your link in the comments, I’d love to read your 50 random facts! 🙂

7. sharing is caring: interesting links and finds


In case you’ve missed, I’ve collaborated with two lovely bloggers called Sarah recently: I put together a list of 7 movies to spark your wanderlust for a guest post on The Spanish Bluebell and I was interviewed about my tattoos over at The Laughing Medusa. It made me want to open up my own blog for collaborations too, or maybe start an interview series. Meanwhile, enjoy the links I’ve collected from around the web and have a great weekend!

We Can’t Just Settle‘: Abbi and Iland from Broad City interview Sleater-Kinney.

The Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt is hosting an art and feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon next week, on Saturday 7 March.

Listen to the voice message that Hunter S Thompson left to a customer service. So happy I never got a call like that…

Jeff Bridges and the key to a happy, lasting marriage.

Barbara Newhall Follett was a literary prodigy who published at 13 and disappeared at 25.

30 More Life Hacks Debunked Pt. 3 by John Green.

A guy found a homeless man reading the same book over and over for months so he gave him his kindle.

What happened when Lindy confronted her cruellest troll who stole her dead dad’s identity to abuse her.

J.K. Rowling’s amazing hand-written outline for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Johnny Cash’s birthday note to wife June was voted the world’s best love letter of all time.

The trippiest show on television and why its creator decided to walk away.

John Oliver’s audition to 50 Shades of Grey.

(photo taken in Auckland in 2014.)

eateries: loretta (plus brunch club meet up!)


This past Saturday was a great day of firsts: my first time attending a Brunch Club meet up and also my first visit to Loretta on Cuba St!

When I created my first blog in 2001, one of the things that really stood out to me was how bloggers are such cool people to hang out with. I’ve been blogging on and off ever since and made truly amazing friends along the way who, unfortunately, are far away in Brazil. So when I decided to start a blog in English, I knew I had to find a community of local bloggers to join, share my interests and keep me inspired.


with Georgina and Auie


I had a small taste of a meet up last month, when Katie visited Wellington and some of the bloggers got together at The Library for a chat and desserts. I remember being very nervous that day, but quickly relaxing as we started sharing funny stories and advice on free stock photography. This time it felt a lot easier to strike conversations with so many new faces and discuss business cards, flat mates horror stories, avocados and spam filters. It was a truly fun occasion and I’m looking forward to the next one!


And what about Loretta? I still remember when that location used to be a French cafe and I had no idea the space was so big, stretching out all the way back. The ambiance was lovely, tastefully decorated and so pleasant. The service was impeccable and the front of house staff looking after our table was friendly, never letting our glasses of water empty for longer than half a minute.




I ordered a long black and I have to say that my personal way of “testing” the barista’s skills. Most places tend to burn the coffee, it’s a simple drink but easy to get it wrong. Loretta’s long black was spot on! I had with no sugar, simply enjoying the richness of the scent and flavour. Then, I had an orange juice so fresh and tasty I almost ordered another one.


The menu is varied but not too extensive, which is always a good sign, it shows a kitchen focused on their strengths. And Loretta’s are eggs. I had a croque madame, which is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Delicious! And I could see consistency around the table, everyone’s eggs looked just as good.

Pip, RhianaJenna and Rochelle have also posted about the brunch.

Check out the other girls’ blogs too: Georgina, Larissa, Tallulah, Bridget, Hannah, Auie and Morgan.

6 things i’ve learnt about fear, dreams, success and happiness


This post was originally published in Portuguese last year, on the week of my fifth anniversary of living in New Zealand. It’s one of my most popular posts and because the same topics kept coming up in different conversations ever since, I decided to translate it.

The first time I came to NZ, in 2003, I was only 16 and I lived in Hamilton for six months as an exchange student. Then I went back to Brazil and spent a few years researching and weighing my  options so I could move here with Ivan. I graduated in Journalism, but my relationship with that career had always been like unrequited love, so developing other skills and changing careers came to me quite naturally. My main objective was to come back and I didn’t really care about what kind of job I’d have, as long as it helped me to stay. So I did a few courses, saved what I could, packed my bag, said “see you later” to family and friends, and travelled to NZ. Our three month anniversary was celebrated already in Wellington.

The first few months were not easy. Our budget was very limited and our heads were filled with worry. I’m very anxious and living surrounded by uncertainty left me in shambles. When we managed to change visas and get jobs, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I was finally able to relax a bit. We’re in the process of having our residency sorted, it’s still stressful but things improved a lot.

But even with all of these accomplishments, one question still bothering me: when will I become the person I’ve always wanted to be? I live where I’ve always wanted to live, with a husband I love very much, but I didn’t feel fulfilled because I wasn’t living like I wanted. I didn’t feel inspired professionally, couldn’t dedicate myself to the things that give me pleasure and not even socialise properly with the people I met here. Totally disheartened!

Sure, part of what was bothering was caused by external factors, but the biggest weight was coming all from within myself. And I think that I’m finally close to an answer now. I’d like to share with you the six things I’ve learnt about fear, dreams, success and happiness after giving it much thought about it, all six of them connected and related to the questions and conclusions I reached in the past few years.


1. Failure is subjective, and so is success 

I’ve spent so much time focusing only on what I hadn’t done, or on what went wrong, that I stopped valuing and appreciating all the things I’ve actually done. My definitions of failures were so broad and the ones of success so based on someone else’s victories that I constantly putting myself down. And the internet feels like a depository of achievements where everybody is doing great, except you. But everyone has, or at least should have, their own vision of an ideal life. Therefore, create your own definition of success, without projecting what comes from the outside. Dealing with failure becomes more bearable and you appreciate more what you put effort into accomplishing.

2. Re-evaluating expectations is key

Disappointment is something intimately linked to expectations. That’s why surprises are usually nice, if you don’t know what to expect from a situation, anything positive will be appreciate more intensely. Dosing my expectations is a continuous exercise to me. I like to be prepared to deal with all possible scenarios and I also get really pumped up by things. That’s pretty much like setting up the stage for disappointment. I’ve spent an entire week freaking out over a job interview, thinking I wasn’t prepared enough, and I’ve come back home deeply jaded after going to one of my favourite bands concert because it wasn’t the transcending experience I was hoping for. You can’t control everything! So just take a deep breath and face each moment as they come. Fantasising too much or suffering in anticipation will only get in the way.

3. Dreams will always be more perfect than reality…

There’s an episode of How I Met Your Mother in which Ted is fired and he keeps stalling to kickstart his own architecture firm until he’s confronted by Robin. And he explains that he’s putting it off because while this remains a dream, it will stay perfect and it’ll never go wrong. He had already given up even before starting. And that resonated in me. The list of things I didn’t even go after because I thought it wasn’t even worth trying is huge. The idea of failing paralised me and I even tried to comfort me by thinking that was less painful than defeat, even though it was all my fault! Sometimes you won’t get what you want because of something you did, but if you’re not doing anything at all then there’s no one else to blame. And an imperfect reality guided by a dream is a lot more fulfilling than a beautiful and immaculate dream tucked away behind locked doors inside your heart.


4. … but that doesn’t mean that happinness is just a fantasy 

Happiness isn’t about living every single day of your life in pure bliss as if every second felt like an amazing Christmas day morning straight out of a fizzy drink ad on TV. It’s something possible, for sure, but more fluid, seen not just in the final results but also in the journeys. It’s knowing how to cherish the right things and focus on what helps us move forward, grow and  learn. And, because it’s real, it alternates moments of difficulties, boredom, loneliness and sadness. It’s not denying the existence of the bad stuff, but accepting it’s all part of something larger that goes beyond chance because it is a conquest.

5. So take risks and make your own opportunities

Perfectionism is simply a pretty name for self-sabotage. The kind of perfection we demand of ourselves is so high that not even we are capable of attaining it and sometimes we end not finishing things or not even starting them because of the anxiety this thought causes us. The fear of failing is horrible! And then it’s so easy to convince yourself that your fear is justifiable and larger than everything else because fear turns you into a hostage, and then Stockholm syndrome hits. It’s something that breaks us but then with time it becomes a crutch and we hold on to it and take care of it as if it were a pet. So instead of waiting for the perfect conditions, create favourable opportunities and take risks! You’ll only surprise yourself, be it due to the outcomes or to the things you’ll learn about yourself in the process.

 6. And give yourself a break to celebrate and be thankful

One thing that really helped me organise my priorities was asking myself “a year from now, will it make any difference?”. Over 365 days so many things can happen, so much changes, everything goes by fast… Since we only find out we were living a good time after it’s done, try to enjoy the small day-to-day stuff to the fullest and show gratitude. And registering those moments on photos, journals or lists is a great way of building a “bank” of good memories that you can turn to later on if you ever need a source of strength to move on.

If you read all the way to the end, thank you very much! I’d love to know what you though of my post and what you think about this topic. What was the last fear you faced? And what did you learn from it? 🙂

eateries: on the road in the north island part 2

My last post covered some of the restaurants and cafes Ivan and I visited during the first part of our motorcycle adventure, from Wellington all the way up to Cape Reinga, then down to the Waikato. Here’s the second part of our trip, which took place mainly in Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa.

  • Day 7:

Flavour of India, Napier


We stayed at a holiday park nearby and our plan was to eat at the restaurant on site, but that was closed that day. So we headed out in search of a cheap alternative still open and decided to give a chance to this tiny Indian takeaway. My photo doesn’t do it justice: the food amazing! Possibly the best curry I had so far. The onion bhajis were crisp, the shaved almonds and drizzle of yogurt on top of the curry were a delicate touch that made all the difference, the price was good and service was spot on.

Where: 132 Kennedy Rd, Napier, Hawke’s Bay


  • Day 8:

Bistro Three Eleven, Napier


You gotta risk it to get the biscuit. Sometimes that biscuit is worth the risk, sometimes it leaves a funny taste in your mouth. This bistro was the latter unfortunately. We shared a plate of king prawns tempura and had fish & chips for mains but the food took so long to be served (and the place wasn’t even full!) that we got our drinks for free.


At least Ivan enjoyed his beer, a traditional Hawke’s Bay pilsner made by Independent Brewery.

Where: 311 Marine Parade, Napier, Hawke’s Bay



Lick This, Napier



Just across the road from the bistro there was Lick This. It was a burning hot summer day and we couldn’t resist tasting their home made gelato.




Tiramisu gelato: approved!

Where: 290 Marine Parade, Napier, Hawke’s Bay


Charlie’s Art Deco Restaurant, Napier



To wrap up our second and final day in Napier, we had dinner at Charlie’s.



We both had the set menu: venison steak main and passionfruit cheesecake for dessert. The food was ok, not really remarkable but you could tell there was some effort put into it.


Where: 80A Emerson St, Napier, Hawke’s Bay
Charlie’s Art Deco on Zomato


  • Day 9:

The Coffee Club, Hastings



We left Napier early that morning on an empty stomach and less than 30 minutes after we hit the road, we stopped for breakfast.



When Ivan got his iced coffee, I totally regretted ordering a hot chocolate. It was nice, just not as impressive as his.



You can’t go wrong with poached eggs, bacon, tomatoes and toast.

Where: 110 Omahu Road, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay


Cafe Strada, Masterton



I love breakfast food and will quite often have it anytime of the day. So for lunch in Masterton I went with french toast, bacon and bananas. Quite yummy!



Where: 232 Queen Street, Masterton, Wairarapa



  • Day 10:

Lake Ferry Hotel, Lake Ferry



We didn’t actually stay at the hotel but we ate there twice, first for dinner, then lunch the following day (fish & chips for me, pulled pork sandwich for Ivan both times).



I guess the main reason we went there so many times and will keep coming back was this breathtaking view of Lake Onoke…

Where: 2 Lake Ferry Rd, Lake Ferry, Wairarapa

eateries: on the road in the north island part 1

New Zealand isn’t a country famous for its local cuisine but nonetheless offers great food to be enjoyed, from fine dining restaurants to smalls cafes on the side of the road. Travelling over 3,000km around the North Island with my husband allowed me to find some precious gems that might go by unnoticed by many tourists. Since we were on a budget, we tried to mix it up and cook some of our meals or buy cheap takeaways. But we also indulged a little when possible. Here are some of the places we visited during the first part of our journey.


  • Day 2:

River Run Cafe, Mokau


Mokau is a tiny town 90km north of New Plymouth. We stopped at the River Run Cafe for a quick bite on the second day of our trip, on our way to Raglan, in the Waikato. I ordered a savoury muffin and a mixed berries muffin, both delicious. Fresh and made at the cafe, they were a very pleasant surprise and a nice way to start off my day.

Where: 30 North Street, Mokau, New Plymouth
River Run Cafe on Zomato


The Shack, Raglan


Later on that same day, we got lost on our way to Raglan but still arrived in time for a late lunch. Our friend Tanya took us to The Shack, a funky cafe in the heart of the town. I ordered a Sloppy Jose, a spicy pulled pork and beans sandwich full of flavour.


My friend ordered a salad and Ivan had a burger. We were all really happy with our dishes. Coffee was good, service was very nice, we had a great time there.


Where: 19 Bow St, Raglan, Waikato


  • Day 3:

Mormors Cafe, Kaiwaka


On the third day of our trip, we stopped at Mormors for a snack on our way to Otamure Bay, in Northland. This is the cafe with the creepy doll… There’s a lot to look at but we didn’t stay long. Ivan had a croissant with jam, I had a caramel slice. We ate, used the toilet and left.


Where: 1954 State Highway 1, Kaiwaka, Northland
Mormors Cafe on Facebook


  • Day 4:

The Trainspotter Cafe, Kawakawa


The Trainspotter was hands down our favourite, we stopped there twice! Not only the food was delicious and moderately priced, there was free wi-fi and many power plugs all over. So, even though the cafe was full and our meals took some time to be prepared, we had no reason to complain because it gave us time to charge our phones and check emails, Facebook, etc.


Both days we had the Kawakawa Breaky and the eggs were the highlight, superbly cooked.


The second time we ate there, I needed a sugar fix and shared a regular brownie and a fudge brownie with Ivan.



Highly recommended!

Where: 39 Gillies Street, Kawakawa, Northland


  • Day 5:

Matakana Village Pub, Matakana

This was our most expensive meal but it was Christmas Eve and we felt like celebrating. Our stay in Matakana was a last minute change of plans but we had a wonderful time there. For entrees, we had sundried tomato and bacon arancinis with smoked paprika mayo. Simply perfect!


And we also had chimichangas!


The Matakana “Hand Cranked” Golden Larger, brewed especially for the pub, is a refreshing full malt drop with a clean, crisp finish. I prefer wine, but enjoyed every single drop of my pint with gusto.


Mains were chicken and mushroom pot pie with roast corn and polenta chips. The best polenta chips I’ve had in New Zealand so far.



The Christmas spirit was all around and we had a fantastic time!

Where: 11 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana, Auckland


  • Day 7:

Italian Bakery & Espresso, Tirau


After two days in Matakana, we headed south to Napier. We stopped in Tirau for a light lunch at this small bakery and had a great meal.


Nice coffee and the best brownie of our trip! We also heard an American tourist asking the owners if they roasted and ground their coffee themselves, she left so disappointed when got a sound “no” in reply, but we were very satisfied. We even suggested that they should add tiramisu to the menu and call it “Tiraumisu”. 😉

Where: 35 Main Rd, Tirau, Waikato

Update: check out part 2!