Shakespeare’s Globe Theater: Pop-Up Edition

Andrew and I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Pop Up Globe in Auckland, NZ.

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, resulting in a number of Shakespearean celebrations worldwide. In New Zealand, one of the key celebrations is the Pop Up Globe, located in Auckland, NZ from February to the end of April.

Shakespeare’s plays, first off, were meant to be performed. It is a little bit of a pet peeve of mine that most schools insist on taking his plays and tearing them apart through reading them as books. I have a hard time imagining that Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings would have had the same effect if, instead of books or movies, people were forced to read the scripts.

The Stage of the Pop Up Globe
The Stage of the Pop Up Globe

In addition to being performed, Shakespeare’s plays were written for a different type of stage than what we generally see in modern times. The Globe theater is a 16 sided structure that seats approximately 900 guests, all within 15 meters of the stage. Some of the audience even sits behind the stage, requiring actors to turn and face the audience. Seeing one of his plays performed in the theater it was originally written for was an incredible experience.


The stage even features a ‘groundlings’ area, that in Shakespeare’s time would have been for the peasants and was basically a big party area. In the re-creation, the actors got up close and personal with the groundlings, making the performance come alive in a way that is not normally possible. With the close proximity to the stage, there is also no amplification used or necessary, creating a very intimate experience.

Andrew and I in the Theater

Andrew and I chose seats that were in the bottom tier in the front row, but to the side of the stage, which gave us a very different view from a normal production. I quite enjoyed it!

The Cast of Tempest
The Cast of Tempest

We went to see Tempest, a lesser known Shakespeare play written sometime around 1610. It is believed to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone and was quite interesting and entertaining. It features the sorcerer Prospero, the Duke of Milan, who seeks to restore his daughter to here rightful place by conjuring a tempest to lure his brother Antonio and the usurping King Alonso to the island where he has been banished. It is part comedy, part tragedy, and has some wonderful lines, including:

Hell is empty and all the devils are here.

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.

Watch out, he’s winding the watch of his wit, by and by it will strike.

I have always loved Shakespeare’s language and use of words. He is the master of language and crafts words in a manner that are both beautiful and leave a reader thinking. Not to mention that he is the king of insults.

The play was thoroughly enjoyable and made for a fantastic birthday present from my amazing husband! I would recommend anyone who has a chance to see Shakespeare performed either in the Pop Up Globe or in the Globe Theater in London to do so.


Hoppy Easter from NZ!

Andrew and I want to wish all of our friends and family a very happy Easter weekend from New Zealand!

Easter Chocolate
Easter Chocolate

For part of the weekend we are planning on relaxing, surfing, and enjoying what looks to be an amazing weekend in the sun. For the rest of the weekend, we are planning on doing some prep work on the van, finishing up all the little projects, and getting everything clean and organized for the next adventure starting in April.

Tempting Easter Chocolate
Tempting Easter Chocolate

We are excited to welcome our friend, Jen Roberts from Medicine Hat, to visit us starting Easter Monday and are looking forward to sharing Easter and the next few weeks with her!


WWOOFING: How to Travel for Almost Nothing

What is WWOOF?

Definition: WWOOFING: Willing Workers on Organic Farms

WWOOFing allows volunteers who are willing to contribute to their hosts’s property the chance to trade work for their meals and accommodations.

Andrew and I spent most of our first four months in New Zealand participating in the WWOOFing experience with several different families since we wanted to stretch our finances and didn’t want to have to work until after Christmas. It also gave us a chance to truly experience local culture and customs since, at each point, we were living with our host family as though we were family ourselves.

WWOOFing Improvements
WWOOFing Improvements

Where WWOOFing Is Available

There are a surprising number of countries that offer WWOOFing. Each country has its own WWOOF page that allows volunteers and hosts to find each other. There is usually a nominal fee to join, thus preventing those who aren’t at least somewhat serious from creating an issue.

The site for New Zealand is located here:

Countries that offer WWOOFing include:

  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Peru
  • USA
  • Australia
  • China
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • New Zealand
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Thailand
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Poland
  • …the list goes on!

The Work Involved

Each place is different and each host family has different requirements. No two families are the same and, even within one family, no two days are usually the same!

Trampoline Time!
Trampoline Time!

Most of the time, host families require guests to work for four to six hours each day in exchange for their meals and accommodation. Like families though, this ‘rule’ is somewhat flexible and variable! Andrew and I have stayed where we were required to perform only one to two hours of work most days, but had to prepare our own meals. We have been able to work more hours on one day to earn a day off and we have stayed with families that insist we take one day off per week.

Sheep Shearing
Sheep Shearing

It is important to discuss with each family what their requirements are, what their expectations are, and make sure that communication flows openly both ways. We were also fortunate enough with each family we stayed with that they were willing to teach and instruct us in areas where we weren’t familiar. I know more about gardening, types of plants, types of fertilizer, and how to prune grape vines than I ever expected to!

Picking Up Dinner - Pipi's!
Picking Up Dinner – Pipi’s!

Some of the tasks that we have performed/assisted with have included:

  • Childcare
  • Tutoring
  • Collecting dinner from the ocean
  • Sheep shearing
  • Gardening
  • Orchard work
  • Construction
  • Painting
  • Pruning
  • House sitting
  • Dog Walking
  • Feeding and caring for critters including pigs and chickens
  • Cleaning

The Fun Involved

Guy Fawkes Fireworks
Guy Fawkes Fireworks

All work and no play is, well, rather dull! It is supposed to be a vacation after all!

Each WWOOF place offers unique opportunities depending on the family, the area, and what your interests are! I have really enjoyed sharing our host families lives, getting to know their children, and experience life as a local kiwi.

Guy Fawkes Bonfire
Guy Fawkes Bonfire

We had the opportunity to go trick-or-treating with the kids of our host family and experience the Guy Fawkes fireworks with them. We have also gone caving with a different host family and had the opportunity to go sea kayaking with another.

90 Mile Beach Bodyboarding
90 Mile Beach Bodyboarding

We had the chance to go bodyboarding on 90 mile beach and made some awesome new friends to go hiking and swimming with.

Christmas Pool Frisbee
Christmas Pool Frisbee

We also had a family to spend Christmas with, which made New Zealand feel a little bit more like home, especially around the holidays.

That the family had a pool and absolutely stunning gardens was also a huge plus.  We got to spend our mornings helping in the gardens and our afternoons in the pool, on the hammock, or relaxing in the hot tub.

Another huge advantage of WWOOFing is sharing recipes. With most of our host families, they have done the cooking. There’s nothing like finishing up work for the morning and walking into the kitchen to the smell of a wonderfully prepared lunch. We have enjoyed making dinner for

Abby Caves
Abby Caves

them as well, introducing them to things like sweet potato pie on Thanksgiving and sharing our traditions as well.  I’m not sure I ever would have tried clam fritters, lamb roast on a spit, or fresh caught snapper.

Who Can Do It?

Catan with our fellow WWOOF'ers
Catan with our fellow WWOOF’ers

Nearly anyone! We have encountered host families that have had people of all types from age five to ninety five!

It is important to make sure ahead of time that your host family doesn’t mind if you bring children/pets/spouses though. Some prefer only young-ish single people, whereas some will take anyone with the right skills.


Horseback Riding in Raglan

Horseback riding is something that I have always wanted to learn and, now, I have a chance to do so! When I looked into it in Calgary, everywhere I found wanted me to pay a membership, join their club, and basically lay out a few hundred dollars before I even got to see a horse. While I can see their viewpoint, that just wasn’t feasible as a student with limited funds.

In Raglan, I have been getting lessons through Spirit Rides from the amazing Stephanie (check out her website here).

Riding Quinn on the beach
Riding Quinn on the beach

There are so many options for trail rides in New Zealand that I really wanted to be more confident on horseback than I was. Most of my previous riding experience has been “Here is a horse. Sit on the saddle. Hold the reins. Stay on the horse while he follows the horse in front of him.”

I have been riding weekly for a couple of months now and have progressed to an English saddle (which feels completely different from a western saddle!!) and have worked up to a trot. There’s only been one small mishap when Yasmina, a 17 hand beauty, got a bit spooked and decided she really didn’t want me on her back. I was already a bit unbalanced and she managed to toss me onto the ground. No damage though and I got right back up. Andrew told me I have to get thrown 7 times to be a cowboy, so I guess only 6 more to go!Stephanie started me on a pad, which is basically a slightly cushioned blanket that is shaped like a saddle. The idea is to really feel the way the horse moves and to learn to plug my butt into the horse so that I move with him instead of as a separate entity. It was such an awesome experience that I decided to go back!

Beach Ride in Raglan
Beach Ride in Raglan

Stephanie is incredibly knowledgeable and patient, gently reminding me whenever I forget to keep my legs in position or let my hands drop from the correct position or start to let my posture slip. I know that when we go on a trail ride I’m going to hear her voice in my head correcting me, which is awesome!

I feel a lot more confident now and wonder how I managed on trail rides before. I am a little sad that leaving Raglan will mean leaving the lessons, but at the same time I am looking forward to applying what I’ve learned and seeing some of New Zealand’s amazing scenery from horseback.

Last week I had the chance to ride along the beach, from Ocean beach all the way to Ngaranui beach. I had a bit of a hard time getting Santo to actually trot, but that isn’t a bad thing, I guess! Better to not be able to get a horse to move faster than not be able to get a horse to stop.

I am really looking forward to attempting to gallop/canter along the beach, but I’m a little nervous too. Moving that quickly on something with a mind of its own without a seatbelt or restraint is a little bit intimidating! I’m sure it will be exciting.