Category Archives: Oceania

A-Z Challenge: Guinness World Record Holders… after 36 hours

Well, they did it.

My boyfriend James and his dad Brett are the new Guinness World Record holders for the longest squash match!

On Sunday evening at 5p.m. they set the new bar, playing 36 hours and 2 minutes in front of a massive cheering crowd. It was incredible.

If you want to know more about the event, check out my previous blog post, A-Z Challenge: For Michael Clarke & the Child Cancer Foundation!

Hours 35 of James and Brett Meyers' Guinness World Record attempt via

There is so so much I could say about this experience but I’ll do my best to keep it simple.

It truly was an honor to watch these amazing athletes do what they do best, in the name of such an incredible charity that works to help young cancer sufferers and their families.

It was an even bigger honor to be apart of the support team that helped pull off such a feat!

James and Brett Meyers beating the Guinness World Record in squash via

My weekend consisted of baking banana muffins and cooking up pikelets and making smoothies and mixing up Gatorade + coconut water drinks.

I changed James’ plasters (Band-Aids for you Americans!) on his blistered hands and feet.

I massaged his sore, exhausted muscles and offered up pep talks and was on-call for eye drops and lip balm and pain meds.

I dressed up with friends and wore a dragon onesie outfit – which won the adult onesie contest!

I played squash (terribly) with Tessa and our friends in the next court over.

I danced for hours and hours. In part to entertain the guys during their toughest hours – between 2AM and 6AM – and in part to pass the time and help myself stay awake.

The crowd at the 36-hour squash Guinness World Record on April 12, 2015 via ZaagiTravel.comThe support crew at the 36-hour squash Guinness World Record on April 12, 2015 via

Because I didn’t sleep. For more than 40-something hours. And people, sleep deprivation isn’t a joke! haha

But every dash to the kitchen, every delirious dance move, every lost bit of sleep… it was all beyond worth it.

James finishing the 36-hour squash Guinness World Record on April 12, 2015 via ZaagiTravel.comThe crowd at the 36-hour squash Guinness World Record on April 12, 2015 via ZaagiTravel.comThe crowd at the 36-hour squash Guinness World Record on April 12, 2015 via

Please consider donating whatever you can afford to the Child Cancer Foundation!

Click HERE to help support the Meyers’ world record!

The Meyer clan after the 36-hour squash Guinness World Record on April 12, 2015 via ZaagiTravel.comThe Meyer clan after the 36-hour squash Guinness World Record on April 12, 2015 via

Before I sign off, I’ve added a few pictures from our trip to the TV ONE studios on Monday morning!

The troopers woke themselves up at 6am in order to make their live interview on the Breakfast program, and they did an incredible job in front of the cameras!

It was such a blast standing behind-the-scenes watching them discuss the weekend in front of a national audience!

Once again, congratulations James & Brett!!!

James, Alexa and Brett in the green room at TV One NZ via ZaagiTravel.comJames and Brett Meyer on TV One NZ set via

Check out the guys’ interview on TV ONE Breakfast at…!!

A-Z Challenge: For Michael Clarke & the Child Cancer Foundation

James and Brett Meyer's Guinness World Record attempt in the Howick and Pakuranga Times newspaper via ZaagiTravel.comAs I write this I am sitting in the Howick Squash Club.

It is 6:45 in the morning on Saturday, April 11.

We are less than 2 hours into James’ 36-hour-long squash marathon.

He is playing with his dad Brett in hopes of setting a new Guinness World Record!

The first five minutes of James and Brett Meyer's Guinness World Record attempt via

In 2008 the athletic Meyer men set the same record, playing 25 hours and 55 minutes.

However, the record has been broken numerous times since… and it currently sits at 33 hours. So they’ve set out to smash it again!

Today, like 7 years ago, their grueling challenge is in the name of raising funds for the Child Cancer Foundation.

James prepping for the beginning of the 36-hour-long squash world record marathon at the Howick Squash Club in New Zealand via

Tessa, James’ sister, pointed out to me that the squash record-breaking community is supportive of each other.

“The vision from the beginning has been to do this for a good cause and every successive record breaker has also raised money for their chosen charity. The greater effect of the challenge transcends their singular effort”, she explained as we sat courtside Saturday morning.

James and Brett Meyer wearing their Child Cancer Foundation T-Shirts as they gear up for the Guinness World Record attempt via ZaagiTravel.comThe Meyer family gearing up for the Guinness World Record attempt via

The goal James and Brett have set is $36,000. As of right now, they have reached $16,602.

Like last time, they are pushing their bodies and spirits to the limit, in honor of their very dear friend Michael Clarke.

Three days before the 2008 record, 13-year-old Michael passed away after a 16-month-long battle with bone and then ultimately lung cancer.

His bravery, courage and strength was and is immensely inspirational.

His memory motivates James and Brett today as they fight for children that show such brilliant strength as they fight cancer.

The Meyer family gearing up for the Guinness World Record attempt via ZaagiTravel.comMaterials ready for the Meyers' Guinness World Record attempt via

You can donate to the Meyers’ world record at their official Everyday Hero account HERE. 



Hour three – We’re one hour away from the guys’ first break. They earn 5 minutes of break time for every hour they play. They’ve elected to play their first four hours without a break. For their first break they will only take 5 minutes, saving the other 15 minutes for later on when they really need it.

Hour five – TV ONE NZ came to interview the guys. They were able to answer some questions during their short five-minute break, while also scarfing down pikelets with jam and banana loaf.

James and Brett Meyer being interviewed by TV ONE NZ during first break of their Guinness World Record attempt via

Hour six – Some blisters and back pain but overall their energy and spirits are high. Your support is crucial so come on down to the Howick Squash Club and get loud for these amazing athletes!



TVNZ OneNews:

Howick & Pakuranga Times:

A-Z Challenge: Exploring the Coromandel & Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Hahei Beach in Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand via

Speaking of my favorite places in New Zealand… I fell absolutely head over heels for the Coromandel.

This gorgeous place on the eastern coast of the North Island is truly not to be missed!

James and I took a road trip and stopped in the Coromandel for a few days, staying in Hahei – a good central location to explore the region.

Hahei Beach in Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comIMG_8272

Every corner of the Coromandel offers up a breathtaking view.

There are so many things to see and do as well – from hiking to snorkeling to eating ridiculously good fresh seafood.

While on the beach in Hahei, James and I came across a rope swing, which offered a good hour of free entertainment.

In fact I pretty much had to pry James off of it. In this post I’ve included a couple pictures from his joyous discovery.

Hahei Beach in Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comTree swing at Hahei Beach in Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand via

The beaches truly are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The volcanic New Zealand coast offers up exotic rock formations in the form of islands, which can be seen while lounging on soft sand, staring out at brilliant turquoise waters and bright blue skies.

As a girl from California, it struck me how serene the area was, considering how stunning!

I’m so used to crowded beaches – I feel so spoiled to enjoy such awesome nearly entirely private destinations.

Tree swing at Hahei Beach in Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comIMG_8354

Like most visitors, one of the highlights of our time in the Coromandel was our hike to Cathedral Cove.

The one-hour walk (each way) offered a massive pay off with one of the most mind-bogglingly beautiful views. It was hard to even believe my eyes.


Hike to Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comHike to Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel, New Zealand via

The cove’s marine reserves covers 9 square kilometers and can be enjoyed by kayak – something we tried to do but had to omit from our itinerary due to rain.

We did rent some snorkeling gear from the local snorkel hire shop… and then spent a rather chilly 15 minutes trying to navigate the murky water, which was caused by the former day’s poor weather.

Heads up! Parking at the entrance to the hike is quite congested, so many people have to park at the bottom of the hill and take a shuttle up to the top. We were able to squeeze in to a spot with the help of parking attendant who charged us extra.

Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel, New Zealand via

I would love to HIGHLY recommend the place where we stayed – The Church Accommodation.

According to their website, “The Church building was originally the Methodist Church from Taumaranui in the Central North Island,  built in 1916”.

We stayed in a beautiful studio unit with abundant natural light, but they also offer separate cottages as well.

Unfortunately, I don’t have great pictures of the adorable cottage we stayed in because I was so distracted by the beauty surrounding us!

The Church Accommodation in Hahei, Coromandel, New Zealand via

But even if you don’t stay at The Church, you absolutely HAVE TO go for dinner at their restaurant!!!

I usually find most hotel restaurants less than impressive – however that is absolutely NOT the case here. It is so so so good!! One of the best meals I’ve had in a LONG time.

We had the Patatas Bravas tapas, the Lamb Kifta meatballs, and the evening’s special – a delicious serving of mussels in a butter white wine broth.

The restaurant’s atmosphere is great, the food is amazing… just go. Seriously!

The Church restaurant in Hahei, Coromandel, New Zealand via

A-Z Challenge: Duder Regional Park & Maraetai Coast, New Zealand

Alexa Rae on the Maraetai Coast in New Zealand via

Serious slacking on my A-Z blogging challenge so trying to catch up as much as possible tonight!

I knew I’d be busy the first week of the challenge, with moving across the world and all… but wow! It’s been hectic.

But no excuses, back to blogging!

Alexa Rae on the Maraetai Coast in New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comThe Maraetai Coast in New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comJames on the Maraetai Coast in New Zealand via

In January this year James and I visited Duder Regional Park – one of my favorite places (so far) in New Zealand!

It is only a 20-minute STUNNING drive away, along the Maraetai Coast Rd., from where we live and is an absolutely gorgeous place!

A flying seagull bird on the Maraetai Coast in New Zealand via

Pohutukawa tree and children playing on a Maraetai Coast beach in New Zealand via

A summer day on the Maraetai Coast in New Zealand via

The regional park – located in East Auckland – was created in 1995, after it was sold by the Duder Family, who had owned the land for 130 years.

It is a working farm with many adorable herds of sheep, which we saw being herded by a shepherd dog as we trekked our way through the fields and trails.

Views of the Hauraki Gulf are truly breathtaking as you hike (or tramp) the Farm Loop Trail, which is about 4 km in length or approximately 1.5 hours long.

Entrance to Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via

Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via

James and sheep at Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via

We went at a leisurely pace, bringing along a little picnic to enjoy amongst the turquoise ocean views.

For the day James and I packed little sandwiches that we had stuffed with ham, lettuce, tomato  and spread.

Sheep at Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comSheep at Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comJames helping out a lone sheep at Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via"Sweet As" sign at Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via

And then, a hike on a hot day is not complete without an ice cream, right?!

James and I finished up our memorable first day of 2015 by stopping for some hokey pokey deliciousness – a very Kiwi treat – at a dairy on the way home.

Alexa Rae at Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via

James at Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comView from top of Duder Regional Park in New Zealand via

Hokey Pokey is now my new favorite! It is basically vanilla with bits of honeycomb toffee throughout. They taste like crunchy, chewy little pralines and they are to die for!

To visitors (and locals too!) I very highly recommend a morning or afternoon at Duder Regional Park, taking in the unbeatable scenery New Zealand is known for.

Because what’s better than vibrant sea views, ridiculously cute little lambs and some mouthwatering ice cream to top it all off?

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream on the Maraetai Coast in New Zealand via

A-Z Challenge: Customs (Global Entry & NZ Holiday Working Visa)

View from Air New Zealand flight over Manakau Peninsula in Auckland via

On Thursday evening I flew to New Zealand.

I arrived on Saturday morning due to time changes + the amount of time in the air (almost 13 hours).

For this blog post I thought I would tell you about my experience with Customs & Immigration — including my new Global Entry membership as well as which visa I am on here in NZ!

Flight Map via


I applied for the Global Entry program back in February.

The program, run by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection agency “allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States”, according to it’s website.

Applicants “undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment”.

The benefits of using Global Entry include…

  • shorter waiting times at both major American airports as well as many International airports as well
  • TSA PreCheck eligibility (cutting the line at security!)

Passport and Boarding Pass via

Basically, you’ll spend approximately 30 minutes and $100 on the application, and if you travel often it is something you should consider looking into.

The membership will last me five years, and being that I’ll be traveling internationally often, I personally feel that it is very worth it!

In order to be fully approved, first, I had to await the acceptance of my online application. I was then told I had to schedule an interview at my nearest enrollment center, which happened to be at the LAX airport.

The interview was very simple and to the point. I met with a U.S. Customs Border Patrol agent who asked me questions about my traveling habits, if I had a criminal record, etc.

After only 15 or so minutes I was told I had been approved and could immediately begin using my Global Entry membership!

Alexa and James via


Now, on to another immigration matter!

In order to live and work in New Zealand I am using a special visa, which is referred to as the Working Holiday scheme.

The rules of the visa vary, depending on where you are from.

But for Americans, you can apply for this visa if you are between the ages of 18 and 30. It will last me 12 months and allows me to do any work that I would like, as long as I abide by universal New Zealand employment laws.

The application ended up being absolutely FREE! And I was approved in less than a week!

It went in to effect the day I arrived and will last for 365 days.

When I arrived at the airport in New Zealand I only had to show my passport to the NZ Customs officer. I had copies of my work visa & proof of the amount of money I have (in order to show that I can support myself until I find a job and can afford a return ticket at the end of my visa’s covered amount of time).

The entire process (of getting and using a visa) was incredibly simple and straight forward. Moving internationally – not so much. But I can get into that in another upcoming post.

I’m a tiny bit behind on my daily blogging challenge, which defeats the purpose, I know!

But I have been so so busy the last few days. Trying to catch up now!

Cheers from NZ,

Alexa & James

A-Z Challenge: Boyfriend

James and Alexa Auckland Skyline via

How did a girl from Los Angeles, California fall in love with a boy from Auckland, New Zealand?

Where in the world do I begin?

I met my boyfriend James in February 2014.

James and Alexa in Huntington Beach via

But before that… in the summer of 2012 I met his sister Tessa. You can spot the gorgeous blonde gal in this post.

Tessa became one of my closest friends when we met while traveling with Contiki around Europe for 4 weeks.

Nearly two years later I spotted a Facebook/Instagram post of hers. A picture of her with a really attractive dude.

It read: “Adios brother! Enjoy the great continent! #USAbound #adventures #luckybugger #hugelyjealous

Said photo…

James and Tessa Facebook Post

Now, to make a long story short enough to read…

I offered to show him around my neck of the woods. And on February 23 of last year I took him around to Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. And life was never the same.

Mirror Selfies

Months after we met our friendship evolved. It didn’t take me long to realize that James is the most incredible person I’ve ever met.

He’s the definition of genuine, kind, thoughtful, honest, hilarious, intelligent, adventurous, strong, brave, hard-working. He is so happy, he brings so much positivity to every single situation and makes even the simplest of moments gleam and mean something.

There was just no comparison. He was the macaroni to my cheese. And how cheesy is that?

Airport Selfies via

Road tripping via

I sincerely didn’t know relationships could be this amazing. I couldn’t be more proud that this is mine.

We didn’t have the most typical/average beginning. What we have is better.

Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand via

It’s been 65 days since the photo below was taken.

It was taken at the Down Under Bar & Cafe in the Auckland Airport terminal minutes before I left to return to Los Angeles.

It was taken in the same spot as Tessa’s original Facebook photo, the first time I ever laid eyes on the person who would give my world a new glow.

The countdown to seeing this face again is nearly over. Now we’re just days away from the next chapter of this insanely amazing adventure.
Airport selfies via

A-Z Challenge: America to nZ

Alexa Rae on Waiheke Island in New Zealand via
Well, if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you already know I’m moving to New Zealand.

If you didn’t know… now you know!

And I’m moving… this week.

I’ll keep this post relatively brief because there will be some lengthy ones to come.

In the month of April I will be blogging EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Ok wait. That’s not true.

I’ll be blogging every single day of the month aside from Fridays or Thursdays if you’re in North America. Technically the rules of the challenge I’m completing (more on that below) include breaks from blogging on Sundays. However, I’m a rebel so I’m choosing Fridays.

Keep Calm And Move To New Zealand via

Basically… while researching blogs about Americans that have moved to New Zealand I came across Albom Adventures, a blog written by a female American expat living in Auckland.

She has completed the A-Z Blogging Challenge for the past four years. I was inspired. And being that this will be one of the biggest months of my entire life thus far, I want to document it the very best I can.

My blogging lately has been pitiful, and that’s being kind. But I feel extremely motivated to complete this challenge.

Some of my upcoming posts will include information pertaining to travel, including my experience with Global Entry as well as the special visa I’ll be on.

But most importantly, it will follow the shenanigans I get up to with the best sidekick in the world, my boyfriend James.

Upcoming topics include…

  • On April 11-12 James and his dad Brett will be attempting their second Guinness World Record, for the longest game of squash, playing 36+ consecutive hours to raise $36,000+ for the Child Cancer Foundation.
  • I’ll also be discussing Kiwi food, Kiwi slang, and some of my favorite places I’ve already traveled to around New Zealand.
  • Some of the most fun you could ever imagine!

Flag Of  New Zealand via

And! As it turns out… Rhonda from Albom Adventures has themed her A-Z posts ‘AmaZing Auckland’! I look forward to discovering more about my new backyard through her blog as well!

Please feel free to follow this journey I’m about to partake on.

And buckle up. It’s gonna be a crazy beautiful ride (on the left side of the road… Oh goodness!)

Land of the Long White Cloud

If you haven’t already heard or read somewhere………..

I’ve booked flights to my 40th and 41st countries (which happen to be apart of my SIXTH continent!)

CAUTION: Major milestones ahead!



So are you wondering where exactly I’ll be traveling to next?

Drum roll, please!!!






In 90 days I will be traveling to New Zealand and Australia for this first time!

Auckland, New Zealand from the summit of Mt. Eden by Harrison Gulliver
Photo by Harrison Gulliver


New Zealand is less commonly referred to as Aotearoa, which in its native Maori language, means ‘land of the long white cloud’, hence the title of this post!

In New Zealand I will be spending time in Auckland, Omaha Beach, the Coromandel Peninsula, Waiheke Island, Rotorua, Taupo, and more!

You will get to meet my James ❤ and get a first hand look at what is considered one of the most beautiful countries on our planet.

I can’t wait to share our upcoming adventures with you!

This is just the beginning……..