Settled in Wanaka, needing a job. My bank account was drained from my “luxurious” life on campgrounds on the north. Not make concessions on my choices of dinner, I remember making a red wine lamb stew in the back of my van. And off course I had lost the van and invested in outdoor tenting gear. With New Zealand being a quite expensive country I saw the numbers in my account drop by the day.

I opened this weeks Wanaka messenger, with job offers throughout it’s pages. I wasn’t searching for something in particular and one phone call later I was hired to do next weeks function as waiter for a catering company. With only a few hours in the weekend I wouldn’t be able to sustain myself. Browsing trough the pages I found a vacancy as recycling help in the yard. Cheeky as I was, instead of calling, I walked to Wanaka Wastebusters. Rewarded for my effort, I was hired immediately, so immediate that I was dressed up in hi-ves and safety boots to sort out the recycling 20 minutes after my arrival.

Wastebusters is an understanding in Wanaka. Renowned for it’s environmental mission leading the way to zero waste and create awareness about our rubbish. Not only a recycling center but also a second hand goods paradise. With a continuous flow of stuff coming and going, you’ll find yourself hours browsing trough things you thought you didn’t need.

The joy of working at Wastebusters always makes me smile.

Working there a while, I got the hang of juggling the cans and bottles in their designated bins. One day a man came into the yard, unlike others he was not bringing recycling but instead started to sift trough the treasures we found in the rubbish.

“Are you looking for anything in particular?” I ask.

in a speed-train of words he answered

“looking for nice cans to present cutlery, I’m the new owner of Waterbar, do you know it? By the way nice place this is, I just found an old CD player I used to dj on. Very oldschool the CDJ100. I’ve got the CDJ1000 at the bar but I want to upgrade. Anyways cans, that’s what I need”

Showing him the finest out of our can collection, I reply.

“Well here are some nice ones, think they would do. About the CDJ, funny story I DJ too, I’ve started on Gemini CDJ’s without the jogwheel. Only the pitch-bend buttons to learn beat-matching”

Looking with awe at the superior collection of cans, he continued.

“Splendid, I’ll take them. You’re a DJ! You should come for trial, I haven’t contacted anyone yet. Are you available Friday at about 10? I’m Adam by the way”

Off course!

After working the recycling I rushed to paper plus to get some empty discs to engrave with my setlist of Friday nights music. My gear was still in Auckland so I had to improvise. Borrowing some headphones of a friend I was ready to roll.

Friday evening I took place behind the wheels of steel. I didn’t prepare enough because the adapter needed to connect the headphones to the mixer was missing. I asked, but such a thing was no-where to be found. No panic, the hard work on my beat matching pays off. Confident I perform my first transition into the next song. Playing remixes of Earth, wind and fire, Chic, The Shapeshifters and Daft punk I got the crowd going. Adam thanked me for an awesome night and proclaimed me as resident DJ.

Waterbar crew winter 2016

Posted by Sebastiaan Castenmiller on Saturday, June 18, 2016
Techno night at Waterbar

Meanwhile I had settled for a bunk bed at mountain view backpackers. A small hostel with a room dedicated for the long stayers. As it goes in hostels we, the long stayers, became a hostel family. It’s a coming home where the hard days of labour are celebrated with beers, a bottle of wine and family dinner.

Family dinners at Mountain View

I persevered the long days of work, drink and DJ to rise in the early morning to do it again, and again and again. Weekends where mixed with DJ, if not, work at the catering company and indulging in Wanaka night life. Life on the train, rotating it’s wheels of work and fun.

Living in a hostel there’s always someone who will set out on the routine hikes. I’ve done Roy’s peak (personal record; 1 hour to the top), RobRoy Glacier and Diamond lake so many times I lost count. One of the most memorable one being the Roy’s peak journey where we decided to stay and camp and continue the skyline trail the following day. It was freezing on the top, a layer of ice covered my tent. We made a little fire with little we found to burn. A few branches dead plants and a deserted sock was all we had. Finally the fire going we saw headlights coming up the track fast!

Put out the fire a ranger is coming!!!

As soon as we extinguished the flames, the light traveling up came to a stop. Waiting for a couple of minutes and then turned in the other direction.

I had pretty much been awake all night, meditating to spread my core temperature trough my Popsicle body. Getting up watching the stars and the milky way, photo’s that I seemed to have lost but the memory still vivid.

Campside on Roy’s Peak
Ice on my backpack and thus also on my tent.
Sunrise over Wanaka

Well the Wanaka story is far from finished, let alone the whole New Zealand adventure. Brace yourself it’s a freaking long one!

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