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something new, something sacred.

the girls have moved on and left their mini ponies to graze alone. it’s now off to a hostel in queenstown where they will be bunking with 6 other travelers. already they’ve met some incredible people. one being the man behind this marvelous video: pop&me.

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peatree and dexi will be taking something from new zealand a little more permanent. yes memories.. but also tattoos.



ta moko - traditional māori tattooing is ataonga (treasure) to māori for which the purpose and applications are sacred.

every moko contains ancestral / tribal messages specific to the wearer. desiree’s has over ten different symbols in it representing something special to her.  mostly having to do with family and safe travels. whereas peatrees moko is worn for strength.

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maori moko in queens town new zealand. women of wanderlust get tattoos




rose garden at hagley parkIMG_1676 IMG_1675 IMG_1674 IMG_1677 IMG_1678


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paul insect


antony micallef


artist unknown

most of the art is by banksy. there’s a couple i am unsure of but i will have the girls clarify when they can. IMG_1603 IMG_1601 IMG_1597 IMG_1596 IMG_1595 IMG_1594 IMG_1593 IMG_1592 IMG_1591 IMG_1590 IMG_1588 IMG_1587



memorial for the 185 people in christchurch who lost their lives to the earthquake in 2011. visitors were encouraged to choose a seat that spoke to them and remember the loved ones lost. most of the buildings are still crumbled and abandoned. this part of christchurch that was once a busy city is almost like a ghost town now.

more random yet very interesting art at the canterbury museum.
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aka mithra. yes, peatree is the little pterodactyl from the land before time movies. and also a nickname i gave this woman when desiree would tell me about her – because i could never pronounce her name. they met at work a couple years back and formed a bond that is rare. peatree is one of the most genuine people i have ever met.IMG_1662




so peatree gets two birthdays this year. yesterday was  a celebration in new zealand – january 24th and TODAY is a celebration in the states!  they’re 21 hours ahead over there so right now for them it’s already tomorrow. so happy birthday sweet peatree!

on to the next

the women of wanderlust have left auckland and are now residing in christchurch for the rest of the week.

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dexi brit jessi

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lauren mithra

auckland treated them well and their last hostess treated them even better. in fact, she was their favorite part about auckland. brit was so incredibly generous to let the four of them stay with her. jessi has been friends with her since middle school. brit, who is a hair stylist, was also nice enough to brighten up desirees little mermaid hair for her! she is also responsible for showing them one tree hill & mission bay beach. two of the most beautiful spots on the north side of the island. thanks brit for your hospitality and making auckland more beautiful.  


      these ladies found a wonderful little airBnB. for anyone that is unaware of what airbnb is – its a company based out of sanfransisco california that was founded in 2008.  if you’re not looking to spend over $100 a night on a cliche hotel than this is the site for you. it’s an easy way to rent a unique place in over 192 different countries for any amount of time at any price point. the place they found is a two bedroom guest home on a beautiful piece of land. a woman and her daughter reside in the main house. the first day the girls were there basking in the sun enjoying a little picnic on the lawn photo 1

the owners brought out their mini horses to play. photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5


they made the wise decision to rent a car for the remainder of their stay here. this way they’re able to see much more of the area without relying on public transport or people they meet. christchurch is the largest city in the south island of new zealand and the locals have proven to be much more friendlier here. that being said, i’m sure we’ll get some fun stories to share soon. peace for now. 


maybe you’re wondering who’s behind the blog that is keeping you updated on your friend or family member? and maybe you’re curious how they got this website? or MAYBE you don’t care at all and i’m being presumptuous.  either way – i’m here to fill you in, just as i am here to keep you aware of what the women of wanderlust are up to this year.

i’m desirees sister brandi. she’s the traveler with the bright red ariel hair. my husband, darin built this website a couple of years ago when we had plans to travel.  as you can see we didn’t get too far with that. i thought it would be awesome to use desiree’s 12 month backpacking voyage as an excuse to get this thing up and running. now if we’re being completely  honest, i was also using it as an excuse to guarantee that i would be hearing from her at the very least once a week. and so i offered up my services to her and her friends. “send me your photos! send me anything you want the world to see” this way i can keep track of you little women.. heh heh. am i sounding like an over protective big sister yet? cause i am. i am terrified that my sweet desiree is out in the world doing who knows what and meeting who knows WHO. but at the same time i am exhilarated for her to experience life outside of the united states. oh to be free. no job, no bills, no relationships, no nothing. just the earth under your feet and the air in your lungs.. and of course the backpack on your back. but that’s it !

we’ll be posting places we go as well (that is, if we get any opportunities). but mostly we’ll be following the “women of wanderlust” around the world for now. and hopefully meeting up with them at some point this year.

haventbeen everywhere

pub crawl

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mithra dexi jessi

what’s more fun than doing a pub crawl?  doing a pub crawl in a foreign country.

photo 3 every saturday sign up sheets get taken around to most of the hostels around the city where fellow travelers sign their life away. for $10 each they were able to go to four different bars and receive a free drink at each of them. amazing deal considering you can’t get even ONE drink for less than $10 anywhere. the crawl started out at the camel bar and at some point got them to cassette9,  a preferred palace of perennial partying. a definite recommendation to anyone traveling to auckland.



dexi mithra claire jessi


lauren & dexi

they met claire from england who is also traveling, except she has condensed her world exploration into five months. almost everyone they met had been traveling from five to fifteen months.  they were able to obtain some great advice from the ones that had just come from somewhere on their future itinerary. and also make plans to meet up with a few that are headed their way next. turns out the majority of the people in auckland are just visiting just as they are.

a journey to k road

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dexirae with her amazing burn

with a population of only four million people it’s also gloriously uncrowded.

the women of wanderlust have jumped in to this country head first and are discovering the sun is a lot more powerful than it is in los angeles. just from walking around town they all had blazing sunburns on their backs.. new zealand is a victim to ozone depletion giving rise to significantly increased levels of UV near the surface. unfortunately for the girls they were shared this piece of information only after they turned themselves in to a walking tomatoes. hence the extreme sunburns.

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bread and dips



@ malt

they had their first dinner out at MALT and are also discovering how expensive it can be to go out in an overly tourist centered town. they had bread & dip with a side of prawns, AKA large high class shrimp.  they’ve turned to buying groceries and cooking in.  it’ll be all about the pb&j with cheap bottles of wine for awhile.

homemade lunches





there was a music festival happening this past week – BIG DAY OUT in western park. tickets were PRICEY so the girls sat in the park with some drinks of their own and enjoyed the tunes. i’ll have you

Screen shot 2014-01-18 at 4.59.30 PMknow, the authorities in auckland are quite lenient {to say the least}. let’s just say the girls received four different warnings from four different officers about drinking in public. and that is all i will say about that.  they did get to hear guys like pearl jam, arcade fire and the lumineers so it was well worth the risk. whatta surprise that was.

yesterday was a day spent on karangahape road  commonly known as K road - a place covered in immaculate art.  also once known as one of aucklands premier shopping streets has turned into a run-down red light district - from the 1960s onwards. now considered to be one of the cultural centers of auckland known for it’s cafes and boutiques. they found some very interesting thrift stores and 100% vegan shops.

photo 1photo 3they went there looking for queens arcade mall with the impression they’d be playing arcade games for the day, only to find out it is one of aucklands last standing victorian shopping malls. 5photo 4photo 2it was now off to the beach to soak up more sun rays, since their burns were finally mellowing out. mission bay was a beautiful place to finish off this day.. where the waters are warm and the salty seas are much less saltier.

the women of wanderlust on mission bay in auckland new zealand.

dexi jessi mithra lauren

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mithra lauren dexirae

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city of sails



” paris may be the city of love, but auckland is the city of many lovers, according to its maori name, tamaki makaurau. In fact, her lovers so desired this beautiful place that they fought over her for centuries.

the 135, 000 pleasure crafts filling auckland’s marinas have lent the city its most durable nickname: the ‘city of sails’. ”
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alright –  ready to get a glimpse of the most delightful little hostel you’ll ever see [and then to feel this unexplainable desire to leave everything behind and jump on a plane]?  they are in auckland for a few days staying right in the heart and soul of the city at – the attic backpackers.  they have


a temporary roommate; he’s traveling alone from argentina. it’s something to get use to that’s for sure, bunking up with strangers in a foreign place.  but oh what a thrill.  here’s a few shots pulled from the website of this incredible placeauckland-skyline-backpackers1








public transport is pretty different over there, it took them a minute to figure out where they were going but only because they aren’t familiar with the area. here they are riding around the city on the local bus route:photo 1 photo 2a $1.90 fare on the inner city circuit “link” bus puts you in touch with all of auckland’s fantastic inner city suburbs and destinations, stop located 1 minute away from their hostel. how convenient.

a few incredible shots from their firsphoto 5t couple days of explorationphoto 3  photo 4

as soon as all of the recent photos are done streaming in i will post another update. peace.