Ever have one of those experiences where you reflect and truly understand why people say that it’s a small world? While I often feel this way, it could never be truer than when I was travelling through New Zealand. I’ve met tons of people from Australia and New Zealand while living in the UK. During our trip we fully expected to meet up with quite a few of them. What I didn’t expect, however, is to get a random text from a former colleague from my very first job, Eric Bacolas, stating he and his partner were also zipping through New Zealand. After comparing itineraries we found that our routes overlapped for one night in Queenstown, the South Island’s adventure capital. Considering we were both as far away from home as possible, it truly was an awesome coincidence.
After not having seen each other for almost a decade, we took the opportunity to sync up – and what a fun evening it was. We had delicious food paired with tasty wine at V Know, followed by cocktails at ultra cool lounge Bunker. Combine that with lots of catch up travel chat – what more could you want on night out in gorgeous Queenstown, New Zealand?
It’s time to meet Eric – Urban Gardener & World Traveller.
Name: Eric Bacolas
Home Base: DUMBO (Brooklyn), NYC
//WHY DO YOU TRAVEL?
I’m an adventure junkie (but not the jump off cliff kind). I love to experience other cultures, have amazing new adventures, and take in other points-of-view, food, and customs.
//DEFINE YOUR TRAVEL STYLE.
Immersive – want to see how the locals live when I travel (doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate luxury or creature comforts, but that’s not what does it for me).
//WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE PREPARING FOR A TRIP TO NEW ZEALAND?
Prepare yourself for a LOT of travel if you want to experience it all. NZ is spread out and requires a fair bit of bus, car, and/or boat, plane travel to see all the amazing parts.
//WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE TRAVEL MOMENT?
There are so many, but Cuba always comes up for so many reasons. We were eight gay men on a travel bus riding throughout all of Cuba – felt like Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Each stop was memorable in and of itself. Having the locals roast a whole pig for the group was great and then we got to dance with the locals in the town square. Phenomenal.
//WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING TRAVEL STORY?
In Thailand. We wanted so badly to spend time with the monkeys so we were told to bring “bugles” chips. Apparently the monkey’s LOVE them – so much so that we almost got attacked in an intersection where we dropped our guide books (yeah it was that long ago), camera and ran. It took a local woman on a moped (who had more guts than us) to ride into the middle of monkeys and retrieve our stuff.
//WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL THEMED BOOK & WHY?
I enjoyed “Havana Nocturne” by TJ English. I often read a book that takes place in the city I’m about to travel to so I can experience the city in a different way and through someone else’s eyes. This one was about Cuba and the rise Fidel Castro.
//WHAT ADVENTURE IS NEXT FOR YOU?
Colombia. I’ve been there before but that was over 20 years ago. I hear it’s an amazing food city (was the last time, but this time more gourmet) and it’ll be great to see how the some of the cities have transformed over the years.
Eric and his partner Michael love exploring the world and are blessed to have been able to see so much of it. While their travel bucket list is getting smaller, it is not yet fully exhausted.
These boys are looking forward to checking out the pyramids in Egypt, getting up close to the Great Wall of China and letting their senses take over on a trip through Morocco.
To keep tabs on the scrabble loving Brooklynite’s adventures, be sure to check out the following: