Ah this take me back, all the way to 2012 ha. As a integral part of the immensely talented and triumphant #TeamPurple who dipped at the line to win the lowcostholidays.com blogger relay competition last summer, this epic blogger hails from a land I am chomping at the bit to explore, and has spent a fair old amount of time in another country I would relish the chance to head back to one day. If you do anything this Monday, it should be to read the below and become inspired.

HI, AND WHO MIGHT YOU BE?

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1. Name? Kate Clarke

2. Age? 27

3. Travel Blog? www.canuckiwikate.com

4. Twitter Handle? @Canuckiwikate

5. Home Town? Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada

6. Current Location? Ahipara, New Zealand

7. Your current location, business or pleasure?

Being a primary school teacher means that even though I do spend more time than you’d think in the classroom during the school holidays, I did a bit more flexibility and free time to travel. I love the way the New Zealand school year is set up – four 10 week terms, with a 2 week break in between each, and 6 weeks over the Christmas/summer holidays in January. I was lucky enough to have my grandmother come over and visit me from Canada in January, and we road-tripped all the kiwi-hotspots.

8. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re up to at the moment? Best bits, worst bits etc.

Over past 4 years I’ve been bungy jumping, sky-diving, white water rafting, zorbing, kayaking in Milford Sound, Marlin fishing, camping on secluded beaches, 4 wheel driving, getting PADI certified, and haven been on the host side of a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony, the powhiri. And teaching 6 year olds to read, write and add. Now it’s time for a new adventure!I’m currently 2 weeks away from finishing up my last term of teaching before my Kiwi boyfriend, Thom, and I begin an epic road trip across Canada. We’ll be spending the summer taking our time driving from Vancouver to Halifax. I left Canada in January 2009, and have only been back home once since then, which was an unexpected 11 day whirlwind trip for my Grandad’s funeral in January 2011. So it’ll be nice to travel my own country, and finally be able to relate when people say they’ve been to Vancouver.

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LETS TALK TRAVEL

9. First travel experience?

I traveled around eastern Canada and the US with my family as a kid during summer vacations, but my first solo experience was doing the Summer Work Student Exchange program funded by the Canadian government when I was 16. This was a 6 program, in which 16 and 17 year olds from English speaking provinces were able to swap families with a French speaking in Quebec. We worked and lived completely immersed in French. It was a bit of a challenge, as I’d only taken a standard French course through high school, but it was that trip that the travel bug bit me. I’ve been jumping in the deep end ever since!

10. Future travel plans?

Thom and I have both quit our jobs and are just waiting out to finish up working. We’re about to road trip across Canada over the summer, catching up with friends and family along the way and even doing our first-ever housesit job in Toronto. We don’t have a “plan” as such, but a few guidelines, including driving up to Yellowknife if we can swing it! We should arrive in Nova Scotia towards the end of summer, and hopefully get jobs to replenish our savings.We have tentative plans to ditch winter shortly after Christmas. Not exactly sure where we’ll go after, but it will be somewhere in the southern hemisphere to chase summer again. We’re contemplating doing some yacht training at Mahurangi , but who knows. Thom’s an electrician and I’m a teacher, so we’ll see what kind of jobs we can find somewhere abroad.I’ve just spent the past 4 years doing heaps of planning, each day excessively in my classroom, so at the moment I’m relishing the thought of not having to plan anything and being able to roll with the punches.

11. If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?

I’d be on a plane to Africa, to overland from Kenya to South Africa. The more I read, the more I need to see for myself. I haven’t actively planned when or how it will happen yet, but mark my words, it will.

12. If you could avoid going anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?

There isn’t really anywhere that I don’t want to go. Sure there are places like South Korea and China that are sitting lower in priority on my must-see list at the moment, but I’m sure even those would amaze in me some way.

13. What 5 items would you not go travelling without?

*iPhone -mine is unlocked and ready to lead me wherever my heart desires, providing maps, music and internet access as necessary.

*camera- my waterproof Lumix has been great for the past 2 years, it’s Kate-Proof, but I’ve just bought a dSLR that I’m enjoying experimenting with

*passport – must always be put in the exact same spot, or else who knows where it will end up!

*sarong – instant cover up, blanket for a picnic, and I’ve now mastered the art of changing while wearing it (convenient skill at the beach when there’s no change rooms handy)

*diva cup – to keep lady problems a non-issue…

14. Best bit of advice you’ve received?

“Surround yourself with people that build you up.”

Life is too short to have your energy drained by negativity, so make it easier on yourself by being around people who empower you, make you feel good, and inspire you to chase your dreams and make them happen.

15. Worst advice?

That was a tricky one, as nothing came to mind straight away. But on my first overseas trip to Honduras, I was told to pretend to be a vegetarian and not eat meat while we were there… So silly!

16. Best bit of advice you can give readers of this interview?

Whether you believe you can or you can’t you’re right. Don’t limit yourself with your own attitude. I’ve banned my class of 6 year olds from saying “I can’t do that” for the past 3 years, and it’s amazing to see the results when they give things ago. The same applies for everyone regardless of your age! You won’t know what you’re capable of until you try, and don’t give up until you get what (or where) you want.

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RANDOM

17. Favourite ice cream flavour? Mint Chocolate Chip is an oldie but a goodie – but I’m all about trying new kinds.

18. Apple or Andriod? I’m now all Apple.

19. Blogger or WordPress? Started out on blogger, have just moved WordPress and loving it.

20. Hostel or hotel? Over the past couple years we’ve used some good deal booking sites to score nice hotels at a decent price, but we stay in hostels too. I’m all about getting a bargain.

21. Guilty pleasure? I got sucked into watching New Zealand’s local soap opera, Shortland Street. One of those train wrecks that are so bad, but you can’t help but watch.

22. Your chosen super-power? Teleportation, please! I always leave things to the last minute, and cutting out commute times would make life soooo much easier.

23. Airplane seat – aisle, centre or window? When I began travelling alone, I was ALWAYS keen on the window seat. Then I caught on that I should get up and walk around on long haul flights and was all about the aisle. Now that I travel with Thom, I usually end up in the middle, which isn’t ideal, but okay because I don’t mind leaning on him for a pillow or stepping over him to get to the toilet.

24. What song/album are you listening to right now? Lately I’ve had Jayson Norris’ album on the go. He’s a local from the Far North, who’s been over in London making a name for himself. I saw him in a concert at a winery on a random sunny afternoon 2 years ago, and have loved him since. He’s returning to Kaitaia in two week, with Tiki Tane, which is very exciting.

SHAMELESS PLUG

25. Thank you for answering my questions, as a gesture of thanks I allow you one whole paragraph to shameless plug of your website …

My travel blog www.canuckiwikate.com is a collection of travel stories mainly from my experiences as an expat and traveling in New Zealand and will document crossing Canada coast to coast. From getting food poisoning and kicked off my flight home from Thailand, to putting my passport through the washing machine, with a whole lot of mountain climbing and cooking in between, I can only imagine the adventures to come!