Update, Links, and The Next Step
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  • Post published:19/05/2021
  • Post last modified:19/05/2021

Spring has finally arrived in Queenstown.

The days are getting longer, warmer, and it’s becoming very obvious that this would be an excellent place to spend the summer. Gone are the days of winter sports and I’ve been busy working with NZbyBike developing the preeminent marketing website for cycle tourism in New Zealand.

Creative Commons: Nicholas_T
Creative Commons: Nicholas_T

Two weeks ago I jumped head first into the world of mountain biking and rode the Rail Trail Classic – a 150 kilometer (100 mile) mountain bike ride that stretches across Otago on the Otago Central Rail Trail. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. Training? Nope. I hadn’t been on a bike since wine tasting in Marlborough ten months ago. It was brutally painful – nine solid hours of pedaling with a nasty headwind for the final 30 miles. I hit the wall three or four times and somehow kept going.

It was an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment to finish.

It has been a busy month in terms of mentions and guest posts elsewhere on the web. Over the past month Backpackingmatt was featured in the blog posts listed below:

  • Adventurous Kate included me in her “Best Blogs of the Week“
  • CollegeScholarships.org named Backpackingmatt.com as one of the “Top 150 Travel Blogs for Students“
  • Amanda from DangerousBusiness.com listed me in her “Best of the Week“

Lonely Planet retweeted two of my posts and after only a couple weeks they’re now two of my Top 10 viewed posts of all time. It’s always great to see @LonelyPlanet pick up a post as it results in a quick increase of views, Twitter followers, and RSS subscribers.

  • New Zealand’s Top 5 Backpacking Destinations – 94 retweets & 1,427 page views
  • 20 of New Zealand’s Best Views – 83 retweets & 1,012 page views

I also contributed two posts over at the Flightster.com blog:

  • Benefiting from the Internet While Traveling
  • Travel Tips for Wellington New Zealand

The Next Step …

Creative commons: Elycia
Creative commons: Elycia

I’m going on 11 months in New Zealand. I’ll remember these 11 months for some of the greatest times in my life – and also for some of the most challenging. The last two months specifically have been extremely difficult and I’ve decided I’m in need of a change of scenery – a chance to clear my head, experience new places, and again be challenged by travel.

One week from Saturday I’m catching a series of flights that will ultimately land me in Thailand.

I have serious mixed emotions about leaving NZ, but I’m excited for the next step in my journey. This trip will mark a series of firsts – namely my first time in Southeast Asia and my first go at solo travel.

I have three quick nights scheduled across the Tasman in Australia. I’ll be in Sydney the night of the 17th and on the Gold Coast for the 18th and 19th. The Surf N Sun Backpackers has offered to host me for two nights and hopefully I’ll get to give surfing another go.

I’ll then be catching a cheap Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur where I’ll spend the night of the 20th before flying into Bangkok on the 21st. The plans end there. I’ll take the days and weeks as they come and see where I end up.

If you’ll be around any of these places, get in touch with me and we can meet up.

In the coming weeks look forward to fresh new content on Backpackingmatt. I’m excited to again face the unknown, be pushed out of my comfort zone, and experience the joys that come with traveling to new places.

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