Our stop motion video of most of our trip!

Colorado to Florida, Mexico, North Carolina, Israel, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy, India, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, California and back to Florida! Perhaps it’s disproportionately Colorado, Florida, and Mexico but oh well! hope you all enjoy it!

much gratitude for all of you we got to share our experience with…

tommasina and julian


the Soryl’s Vegan Scottish Pancake recipe

For our first week on the south island, we WWOOFed with Yolanda and her amazing vegan children in Christchurch.  She cooked us delicious meals from scratch every day, we played games and hung out with her and her family (and her cool vegan flatmates!), and oh yeah, we also “worked” as WWOOFers in her extensive home garden. More about that later. For now, I wanted to share their pancake recipe which is in their adorable family cookbook. We made these probably ten times in two months–they’re that good!

yummy breakfast!Scottish Pancakes

1 1/2 C fine rolled oats

1 1/2C soya milk

1 C  flour (this works perfectly with the Simple brand gluten-free flour mix available in NZ)

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tbs sugar

1/2 -3/4 C water to mix

Pour the milk onto the uncooked oats and leave to stand for at least 5 minutes (overnight is best).

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into the oats.

Mix all together, adding enough water to achieve a thick but pourable batter.

Heat the frypan and give a light spray of oil to the bottom of the pan.

Pour in enough batter to cover the pan base and cook until bubbles form on the surface.

Flip to the other side and cook until brown.

Serve immediately with maple syrup or jam.

Make approx. 6 medium sized pancakes or 2 dozen pikelets.


Waffles: this Scottish pancake recipe is just fine for waffle making. To make, heat and grease the irons, then just pour enough batter to cover the plate, spreading to the corners of the grids. Close the lid and bake for a few minutes until the waffles are browned and dry and do not stick to the grids. Makes 6 very substantial and delicious waffles. Uneaten waffles can be popped in the toaster for easy reheating.

hitchhiking rides in new zealand

Here’s a list of our hitchhiking rides in NZ so that we can remember the kind random souls (and whatever characteristics of theirs that stuck with us) who shared rides with us. Thank you!

From Auckland to Kaitaia (took 10 hours)
Nervous young guy who listened to Ratatat (20 minutes in traffic)
Ravi Stewart, realtor (took us 10 minutes to a better spot)
Courier Dude let us ride in the back
Dad guy (took us one exit north of Auckland)
British couple who had a son traveling too
Mom and daughter + their new hairless, scared *ahem*-less cat, gave us their number in case we needed to stay with them
Ukelele shoppe dude who kindly called Gentle World to tell them we were on the way
Mom and spear fisher son, told us stories of them sleeping under bridges while traveling
Farmer couple
Guy to Mungamuka
Spaceship pyramid masseuse guy

Kaitaia-Auckland (took 7 hours)
Father and son who smoked pot and had “business to do” in town
Tamil shipping man, with wise advice

On to the South Island:

Christchurch to Amberley (took 2 hours)
Pre-natal nurse getting off the night shift
Rugby sweater contractor man

Amberley to  Christchurch to watch “Hunger Games,” on Easter
neighbors- Don and Wendy (1 hour) who later lent us their bike
and back: construction guy, Cath (2.5 hours)

Amberley to Timaru (took 6 hours)
blonde woman without kids for the day
half-twin acrobat and engineer with shovels and humanure books in back
Dominique, a fellow vegan!
Dominique’s dad
older woman going to Invercargill.  just back from oz

Timaru to Dunedin (took 4 hours in the rain)
plumber political guy took us whole way

Dunedin to Gore (took 2 hours)
Bev to Milton
Funeral woman all the way to clinic

—Catlins in Tommy, the Camper Van when we got to return the favor and give Marijn and Cai a ride— (2 days)

Gore to Te Anau (took 2 hours)
Dimi, Bulgarian Christian woman who kindly asked if we “had given thoughts to our salvation” and gave us her number in case we needed her to come get us
David and —-, pharmacist, older couple from Dunedin

Te Anau to Milford Sound (took 3 hours)
David and—-, again! so sweet.
Israeli and Aussie young couple going on the cruise

Milford to Te Anau (took 1.5 hours)
Bruno! our Italian rugby player who serenaded us with his favorite Italian opera pieces

Te Anau to Queenstown (3ish hours?)

QT to Fox Glacier (5-6 hours?)

Fox Glacier to Greymouth (6 hours)
German gal#1
German gal#2

Greymouth to Nelson (7 hours)
sweet older local woman who complimented us on our smiles
International volunteer van- mostly Germans
anti-greenies man who wanted NZ to mine the mountains
Matt, the Pink Floyd-loving jokester who kept telling me to pass the gun in the passenger seat glove compartment

Nelson to Lud Valley (1 hour)
builder man

Lud Valley to Christchurch (amazingly only 9 hours):
CSer harley guy
smokey crazy getting hair-dye for his purple haired wife guy
Morris! all the way to Amberley, our new Australian game-playing friend, riddle master!
two musicheads back from a show in Wellington
trying-to-be-vegan guy who was eating chips and went to the Vegan Film Fest organized by our friends!
Back to the North Island:
Wellington to Palmerston North– no luck! we tried for 4 hours at three spots. as dusk was settling in, we paid for a train (the first time paying for transportation in NZ!)

Palmerston North to Fielding– Brent, the corporate man who said not to work for the man, but to let the man work for you (more apt than JFK’s words these days)
Fielding to Kimbolton– Tania, a monster energy drinker who brought us to her house to use her phone, and we got to play with her doggles
Kimbolton to Rangiwahia– Bridge, our WWOOF host came and got us. Phew!

———-much gratitude to all of you! Sorry we didn’t remember all of your names, but we definitely remember your kindness…

our new zealand bird list

here’s a little yellow-eyed penguin who was living right under the penguin hide. don’t worry, he was yelling “hello!” to his friends so raucously (and whipping his hair back and forth, while flapping his wings) there’s no way he heard my camera!

all spotted in “the wild,” with our naked eyes! and confirmed by our Handbook to the Birds of New Zealand:

brown kiwi (heard)
royal albatross
black browed mollymawk
buller’s mollymawk
grey-headed mollymawk
sooty shearwater
cape pigeon
common diving petrel
grey petrel
grey-backed storm petrel
yellow-eyed penguin
blue penguin
black shag
pied shag
little shag
spotted shag
stewart island shag
white heron
cattle egret
white-faced heron
reef heron
glossy ibis
black swan
canadas goose
feral goose (greylag)
paradise shelduck
grey duck
grey teal
NZ scaup
australasian harrier
NZ falcon

OatmeL Raison Cooki Sammi recipe ;)

This recipe is adapted from Vegan Yum-Yum’s “Giant Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies” with Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World’s vegan buttercream frosting.

We’ve made these cookies several times on our trip and once I was even indirectly chastised for not making enough of them! Enjoy!

[confession: all I did was reduce the marge and brown sugar because g-d dayum that’s still a lot of butter and sugar! and no one misses it.]

For the cookies:
3/4 cup vegan margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Egg replacer for 2 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups oats (rolled)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat margarine, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add egg replacer eggs and beat until well blended. In another bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to margarine mixture until well blended. Stir in oats, raisins, and nuts (if using). On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a nonstick cookie sheet) drop the dough by 1/4 cupfuls and pat down slightly. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Let stand for 3 minutes before removing from baking sheet.
Makes 2 dozen giant cookies
For smaller cookies, drop the dough by tablespoons onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Makes 5 dozen

For the vegan buttercream frosting:

1/4 cup vegetable shortening (recommended: nonhydrogenated – Earth Balance shortening)
1/4 cup vegan margarine
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons nut/rice milk
Beat the shortening and margarine together with a handheld mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and nut/rice milk, beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.
Assemble the “cooki sammi” and serve warm with a glass of your favorite vegan milk.

In the misty mornings

I dreamt this morning…

of writing children’s poetry, of leading an effort to convert grazing land to productive foods for human, of being committed to a yoga schedule, of releasing judgments and anger, of applying for a PhD in ecology, of applying for a Fulbright, of knowing adults who respect and support me, of having a clean bright and warm home, of being familiar with a certain set of wilderness, of knowing what it is I want out of life, like it’s something tangible that I could squeeze out with my bare hands.

The career I imagined materializing out of this trip has only become more elusive.