You Have Questions, We Have the Answers
After a couple of days on the road, I just got around to checking the DoWhatYouWantTrips e-mailbox and found it overflowing with questions from our loyal readers. Since the questions are very timely I’ll get right to them.
Have you figured out why New Zealand beers are so low in alcohol?
— Big Al, Hanover Park, IL
Yes Big Al, I have!!! It turns out that in New Zealand, beer that’s 5% or less is taxed at a lower amount than those above 5%, which is why we’ve had to search out higher-alcohol beers. But the extra alcohol isn’t just there to provide a buzz, but also to give the beer more flavor, which is why we’ve found many of the New Zealand beers lose their flavor in the follow-through.
Any other fun facts about New Zealand you’ve discovered?
— Jamo, New Lenox
Good follow up question Jamo!! Despite the country being littered with cow and sheep farms from coast-to-coast, it’s difficult to find a prime cut of beef or lamb in New Zealand. Turns out, the good stuff is typically exported and fetches a higher price elsewhere.
Why are you always making that stupid peace sign in pictures?
— George, Ketchikan, Alaska
Hello George!!! Great to hear from you!!! Hope the twins are doing well. Anyway, the answer to your question is that the peace sign is something we took away from our time in Cambodia (and the rest of Asia as well). In Cambodia it’s actually the letter V for Victory after the Khmer Rogue was defeated. In Japan and other parts of Asia, it signifies peace.
Speaking of photos, why do Jill’s jeans always look so baggy in pictures?
— Sylvia, Ketchikan, Alaska
Hello Sylvia!! Glad you asked. Both Jill and I lost a bit of weight while we were in Asia. And while I did the prudent thing and bought a belt, Jill merely talked about buying one for three months. But right around the time your question came in she actually bought a belt at a second-hand shop for $2. She’s so excited.
Are you really going to spend 35 straight days sleeping in a camper van?
— Kristina, Walnut Creek, CA
Sadly, we are not. After 15 nights in the camper van we decided we needed a short break and upgraded to a room in a hostel for three nights. But after the first night Jill claimed she missed the camper van and can’t wait to get back in it. The camper van has been great and if the cushions were a bit more comfortable I’d have no issue with it at all. Great way to see New Zealand.
What’s been Jill’s favorite thing in New Zealand?
— Caryn, Chicago
We’ve driven from the furthest point south of the South Island almost to the furthest north point and have witnessed beauty we have never seen before. The country is unbelievably beautiful and its mountains, lakes and coast are spectacular. That being said, Jill admits her most favorite thing so far has been the piece of carrot cake she got from an organic store/restaurant in Wanaka. True story.
What is it like to be with the same person 24/7 for days on end?
— Beth, Glenview
Great for the most part. Really. But also a challenge. Jill is a fairly private person who values “alone time,” and there’s very little of that on this trip. I try to give her some time to herself in the morning by staying in the van while she goes and has coffee, but that’s often less than an hour since we’re usually trying to get somewhere. No real issues from my end, though Jill is not much of a morning person, another reason I give her a little extra time to herself first thing.
If we promise to make you pancakes/ribs/cookies will you come home soon?
— Mona/Babs/Patti, Chicago/Hanover Park/Oakhurst
I will digest this information and get back to you.