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With bright sunny skies one day and wind that will (literally) blow you away the next, finding the right activity to do in summer isn’t always an easy pick for Wellingtonians.

Spending a few summers here, I’ve found that if the weather isn’t playing ball, there’s always something to do around town or elsewhere. Most of all, the locals tend to always be out and about no matter what.

This creative city, or the coolest little capital, has so much life that is often forgotten under the haze of Auckland’s city lights and the mountainous ranges of Queenstown. Don’t let it fool you, Welly is beautiful and thriving, and a summer must-do for visitors to New Zealand.

Drive to makara for hiking

Makara Beach is a stunner, and just a short drive from Karori (Wellington’s largest residential area). Above the beach is where the real magic happens. You can drive to the top to scour the cliffs or hike up from the beach to reach unbelievable views to the South Island. If you are going to hike, wear appropriate footwear, a windbreaker, and bring plenty of water — on a sunny day, it’s a tough one.

Enjoy a pint at a wellington brewery

The craft beer in Wellington is seriously good. Along with the beer, comes brewery spaces that rival any of the bars in town. When the sun’s out, head to a brewery over one of the pubs in the centre of town.

Some of my personal faves around Welly:

go for a park stroll

(And wear water shoes!)

Even on the foggiest of days, Wellington has amazing community areas which are quite lacking where I’m from in Sydney. Walking paths and bike trails galore. Down at Karori Park (pictured), there’s a decent loop for walking and cyclists or if you’re up for more of a challenge, the mountain biking trails at Makara are very close by.

Adventure & travel shoe company Aleader kindly gifted me a pair of water shoes for summer, and I’ve been wearing them as replacement walking shoes as it’s so wet here in Welly. They’re light enough that you can go for a leisurely stroll, but also durable enough to go tramping through water and damp fields.

Get 15% off your own pair of Aleader water shoes using the code AMIE15.

Take in the view at Mt. Vic

A Wellington classic. This is probably the only weather-permitting suggestion as it is so incredibly windy up at the lookout. It is 196m above the city after all, but you can literally see everything about this special city from coastline to mountain ranges.

grab a skateboard and roll around the Treetops

The Treetops is known as Wellington’s best skate spot… and it’s all a DIY project by locals. Even if you don’t skate, it’s worth a look. The purposefully-built skate area is in an old carpark with towering trees surrounding the jumps. It’s also a great lookout point for the Wellington Zoo’s new chimp exhibition.

go in search of new zealand coffee

Like your coffee strong? New Zealand is the place for you, with every brew a double shot. Whenever I need a good cuppa in the city, it’s Mojo Coffee that I’ll gravitate towards — it’s everywhere and the coffee is in pretty greeny-blue cups, plus it’s good coffee.

Other coffee hotspots in town:

  • Fidel’s Cafe on Cuba Street
  • Flight Coffee Hangar
  • Midnight Espresso

Basically, just head to Cuba Street and you’ll find delicious coffee. Or a Mojo sign will always mean above-average coffee.

roadtrip to the Kapiti Coast

Around 60 kilometres north of Wellington City is the town of Waikanae, home to a stunning beach, gorgeous holiday homes, and cute brunch spots… and the weather is warmer. Much, much warmer. Escape the Wellington chill without driving all day and night, even just for a day trip to walk along Waikanae Beach.

Hike from karori to the otari-wilton bush

We set out to hike the Skyline Walkway above Wellington for around 5 hours, but the bad signposting meant we ended up in the Otari-Wilton Bush. We still don’t know where we went wrong.

Instead, the walk went for around 3 hours, ending back in Karori at the Cemetery. Try for a clear day so you can really soak in all the views; I’m sure we missed the best of them, but it was still a lovely stroll up the mountain with views stretching over the harbour, cityscape and suburbs.

Despite the pretty average weather all year round (Wellingtonians don’t lie), this city has the perfect mix of urban and country life. It’s unbelievable how one moment you can be in the heart of the CBD and the next, by the sea or up in the clouds looking over the mountains.

Have you been to Wellington? If so, where do you like to adventure during the warmer months?

When I packed up my life in late 2017 to move to South East Asia and now with my move back to Sydney for summer, I’ve found myself living out of my suitcase.

For digital nomads, I imagine you’re often in the same predicament of constantly moving around with ‘stuff’. It’s not until you begin to pack that you realise how much stuff you actually have and nowhere for it to go. This is for any nomads or jetsetters ready for their next adventure… minus the stress.

Minimalise

Decluttering your life before you are constantly on the move is essential. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving overseas, moving states, or even just suburb to suburb, minimalising your belongs will speed up the packing and unpacking process.

Take a thorough look at your furniture, clothes, kitchenware and everything else, and decide what you need and what you don’t. Before I moved out of my Sydney apartment, I sold much of my furniture on Facebook Marketplace and any old or unworn clothing items went straight to goodwill. Minimalising makes moving homes — or countries — much easier to deal with in the long run.

Store

My partner and I had a few items that we weren’t ready to part with before we moved aboard, e.g. a record player, records, bikes. Whether it’s antique furniture handed down through destinations or if you’ve downsized temporarily and your furniture just won’t fit in your new home, the option to hire storage space is always there. This way you can return to these items when you’re ready to settle down after all the years living life on the go.

Hire Help

Some items are too much for you to deal with. The giant couch, the fridge, the washing machine… Hiring a professional removalist company, such as Hire a Mover, will save time and help you get all the large items and boxes out of the way. Make sure you distinctly label each box with the room they belong in and also make use of ‘FRAGILE’ stickers to the items that need to be handled with care.

Keep Decorating to a Minimum

We all love to style our new home, but paintings, candles and knick-knacks are all extra items that mean more things to pack. If you’re not planning on staying in one place for more than six months, keep decorating to a minimum. And if you’re planning to move overseas, like I did, you have to forgo the scented candles and beautiful mirrors unfortunately.

You can still add personality and style with essential items. Strategically coordinated crockery, bath towels, pillows and cups all add their own elements of style to a space. Think ‘Scandinavian-minimalism’.

Create an Inventory

Constantly moving abroad teaches you that stationary items have a tendency to grow legs and run away. In other words, I’ve lost too many of my belongings to count in the process. The easiest way around this is to create an inventory of all the things you own so that when you pack and unpack, you know you’ve got everything. I usually don’t realise I’ve missed something until a week after I’ve unpacked and I’ve got nothing to iron my clothes with. Work room by room and number each box as you go along. Happy Moving!

This article was written in collaboration with Hire A Mover Sydney, a professional removalist company & Influencer Management Service – #AsSeenOn.

One of the most common questions I get asked as a digital nomad is, first, how I make money online, then, how the hell do I stay healthy in Asia?!

The first time I travelled to Asia I was terribly unhealthy, so I understand the concern and the frustration around full-time travel and living a healthy lifestyle.

I am different now. I was 19 then, I am 24 now. I have more balance in my life and more drive to live and feel good in my body & mind. But, along the way, I have picked up some healthy travel tips & tricks that have helped me from transit to daily life to everything-in-between.

What to Pack for the Plane

Healthy Food for the Plane

Yes, you can bring food on the plane. A common misconception is that you HAVE to eat the slop that they serve you on planes.

As long as you’re not bringing soup or some other kind of liquid, you can pack your meals beforehand and avoid nasty plane food.

I generally only do this if I’m flying from Australia, as I can make the food in my own kitchen and refrigerate it up until I need to leave for the airport.

Some healthy travel food to consider packing:

A veggie falafel wrap
Healthy fried brown rice
Hummus and carrot sticks
Nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios)

Nothing too messy or smelly should be your main point of concern here. By packing your own food, you know exactly what’s in it.

If you’re tight on time or don’t have access to your usual healthy snacks, I suggest one of two options:

  • Pre-book a vegetarian or vegan meal for your flight. They’re generally healthier than the standard meals, some even coming with brown bread instead of white, and fruit instead of subpar dessert.
  • Pick up a Subway (veggie) sandwich at the airport and bring it on the flight. We tend to do this a lot in Asia, as it’s an easy way to get brown bread and a tonne of salad in to keep us full on the plane. Cut out the cheese & the heavy sauces.

Health and Skincare Necessities

On every flight, I never wear makeup. I’d love to look pretty on a flight, but it’s not worth the gross, tight, dried-up skin from flying. Instead, I stay (overly) moisturised. I make sure I have some rosehip oil on me and a good overall moisturiser. Pack some baby wipes too if that helps your skin feel fresher.


Healthy in South East Asia: What to Do When You Reach Your Destination

When travelling overseas, it’s pretty standard that you can’t drink straight from the tap. That’s one of the incredible parts of living and travelling in your own country that you just don’t get when you’re abroad.

Stock up on water ASAP.

If you know you’re going to be somewhere for a while, buy your water in bulk from the local 7/11 or Family Mart. Try to get a big carton so you’re reducing your plastic waste. We also tend to grab soda water in bulk as, despite being wrapped in plastic, they’re in glass bottles so your single-use plastic usage is much, much smaller.


Where and What to Eat

The food in any foreign location is brand new — you want to try it all. Does Thai food take the same as what it does in your home country? What are those weird fried buns? I must have them all!

A balance between your usual diet and the delights of travel will keep you on track. Finding the balance? That’s the hard part.

Opt for one meal of the day to be the SAME each day if you know you can get off track. Decide on a healthy muesli and almond milk for breakfast, the same tofu salad for lunch, or a healthy curry & brown rice for dinner… whatever it is, be consistent with ONE meal.

Find the ‘healthy eating’ spots in the area. Every city (note: city, not town) will have some form of health culture that you can dive into. We’re blessed with all the fresh fruit in Phuket, and of course, all the health nuts that come here to experience the destination gyms. You’re never too far from a healthy meal over here.

QUICK HEALTH TIPS

  • Cut out the unnecessary sugars. Instead of ordering a Sprite or Coke, change it up with some water, sparkling water, kombucha or tea. We DON’T need soft drink to thrive, you can cut it out & use it as a special occasion treat… say for Friday night or Saturday lunch. The more you rely on the sweetness of soft drink, the less you’ll be able to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Choose the veggie option. I know I’m already a huge advocate for plant-based eating, but especially when travelling, it can be simply the smart thing to do. Depending on where you are in the world, the meat can often be transported for DAYS on end. It’s not always as simple as it is in Australia or New Zealand where it virtually feels like farm to table.

Travel & Fitness: How to Commit on the Move

Walk everywhere. You have fully-functioning legs — use them. If you can walk there in 20-60 minutes, lace up your sports shoes and get going.

Book your hotel (if that’s the route you’re going) based on whether there’s a gym. It doesn’t matter about the quality of the gym, as long as you’ve got access to the gym floor, some weights and a treadmill, you can do a pretty good workout.

For holiday-goers, relax and don’t pressure yourself — even three times a week will get you in a good physical and mental place to take on the day. For digital nomads, sticking to your regular routine is crucial, so do keep in mind whether you will have access to a fitness facility, either in your hotel or close by.

GYM ROUTINES & PROGRAMS

In any city, you can do a daily drop in at a gym. Any good gym will offer you a bottle of water, a towel and a locker. Rates can be anything from a few dollars to $20+ per day here in Asia. Not a gym lover? No worries, I get anxiety too when it comes to working out next to buff dudes. I have NO CHILL when it comes to dealing with machines, etc. I often search for classes or let my partner lead the workout, otherwise an in-room workout will do the job.

We stay in hostels quite often, so it’s not possible to do your own workout in a dorm room, but if you can, I would suggest downloading an app such as Kayla Itsines’ Sweat or Keep It Cleaner, by Steph Claire Smith & Laura Henshaw. Find a workout on YouTube, there’s so many for free and only take around 20 mins per day. Easy!


To sum it all up, stress less. Keep your health a top priority and you won’t feel the need to worry about when / if / how to get it done. Just do what suits you and your body, whilst nourishing your mind at the same time. I focus on my health so I can think clearer, feel fit, see all the sights, and be content within myself at the end of the day.

My name is Amie Finlayson and I am a storyteller, online business nerd, and adventure seeker. I travel to live, and I live to travel.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Born in Sydney, Australia, not far from the coast and national parks, I was spoilt with the potential of adventure. Life and nature, right on my doorstep, yet I wanted none of it. I wanted skyscrapers and inner-city cafes and industrial offices. Or so I thought.

I worked hard in school. My identity tied to my dream to get out, see the world and make waves as a journalist in New York or London. During my three-year degree, I had my first taste of a different world. South East Asia for six weeks. It wasn’t at all what I expected. Anxious, scared, tired and unhealthy; although I had a wonderful time, my mental and physical health pulled me down. I was ungrateful, out-of-balance, and the unstructured days sent me crazy.

This negative attitude followed me to my first job. An office job, a structured 9-5, like I had dreamed of. Finally, where I belong.

Plot Twist

An office job was the exact environment that my creativity felt stifled and my depression thrived.

For two years, I held on so tightly to a story that the world owes me something. That I was better than this. That there was more than this life. In some ways, this was true, but mostly, I was using my negative mindset to blame anyone but myself for my unfulfilled life plan.

Online business was my way out, but it turned into my purpose.

Forever searching for a way out. Whenever in a situation that felt unnatural or uncomfortable, I would retreat, quit or even ‘ghost’ the person or opportunity.

After spending a few years writing in university on a blog, I called it quits halfway through my full-time job as I was embarrassed someone would discover a hidden part of me. In truth, it felt more like me than anything else had prior.

At the time, I had bills to pay. 21-years-old and living way above my means on the lower north shore of Sydney. My apartment looked over the Harbour Bridge, yet I would eat packet noodles in bed most nights.

My housemate at the time was running her own business, something I had considered but not fully committed to. I had an in, I was already freelance writing. A few months later, The Creative Blog Co. was born…

Working on my business was lonely and lacked direction.

“How do you stay motivated?” The question friends, family, and strangers would ask when I told them I was a freelancer. The true answer was, “I don’t”, but a lie would always flow instead.

I spent much of 2017 self-sabotaging. Working here-and-there. Living without purpose. I had thought the problem was my office job, but in reality, it was my mindset.

Changing my mindset and working towards good health.

In August 2017, it became clearer than ever that I had built walls so high around myself that even I couldn’t see my ‘out’.

That month, after some serious wake-up calls, I booked in to see my GP about my anxiety. I soon figured out, with the help of a psychologist, that I was in a deep state of clinical depression and I just had an anxious personality, rather than anxiety.

Following a dream I didn’t know I had.

I had once told my boyfriend that I could never see myself as someone who could travel full-time, a year was too long, as it was way out of my comfort zone.

At the same time, I craved adventure. I wanted to be someone who saw risks as an opportunity, failure as an experience, and dreams as a reality. I’d done my fair share of travel over my year working for myself, and I found that, surprisingly, the road was where I was most at home. By September, we had moved in with my parents and sold all our furniture. Our new life would begin early December, first stop, NZ, then onward to Asia.

Full-Time Digital Nomad

From stuck in a cycle of being incredibly unproductive, to travelling and creating inspired digital content for brands and online businesses.

Since December 2017, I’ve wrestled with my deepest fears and challenged myself to seek out adventure in every way possible.

Not only did I build a stronger mental state, but I started to do life differently. Do things I never thought I would do. Think in ways that ‘happy, positive’ people thought. Document my life with rawness and consistency.

This fresh air I breathed back into my life manifested in all areas of my life, not just my business.

▽ Braving my fear of heights and riding rollercoasters for the first time at Universal Studios, Singapore.

▽ Meeting new people in hostels and travelling via scooter around the waterfalls of Ella, Sri Lanka.

▽ Trekking for two weeks in-and-out of Everest Base Camp, Nepal. No showers, 8 hours of hiking a day.
Spoiler alert: it ended with a proposal.

▽ Training Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand, and receiving a punch to the face within moments of my first lesson.

 

What’s next for me?

This. This moment right here. Pouring my creative energy back into what I love most: words. Welcome to my digital home, where I share my perspective on living an alternate lifestyle, earning a living via my laptop, as a design studio owner and content writer for health, travel & design brands.