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TALL SKINNY KIWI | My Big 50 and 50 of my favourite things
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My Big 50 and 50 of my favourite things


My Big 50 and 50 of my favourite things

Today is the day I turn 50. I didnt really expect to see this birthday, living a precarious life in some very dangerous countries, but there you go. Ohhhh . . . and I have a little gift I want to give you but first let me waffle on a bit.

Today, our truck is parked in Christchurch at Pascoes Park. If you live in Christchurch, come over and say hello and share some of my favourite foods. If not, feel free to say hi in the comments or, if you have yet to subscribe to my feed and the tallskinnykiwi newsletter, sign up (below).

I turn 50 today. Here are 50 of my favourite things.

andrew-Naked-Baby.jpgI am having some of my favourite foods today. A good coffee with real cream. Biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Hawaiian burgers (with pineapple)  for dinner which I will cook on my awesome camping grill and serve to the families where we are staying (its a trailer park). I like a hearty red wine (Aussie shiraz tonight) and the occasional crisp white (NZ sauvignon blanc from Marlborough). IPA is my favourite beer but I am partial to a porter on a cold winters night.

Favourite cities I have lived in include Prague, San Francisco, London, Auckland, and Portland, OR.

My favourite country as an exotic and mystical location is Morocco which beats both Turkey and China, also interesting but not as memorable as Morocco. Favourite city in Morocco is Fez.

Most of my favourite things have to do with travel and mobility, the kit of nomads. I like old backpacks, canvas tents, open fires, bbqs, old sleeping bags, old leather toiletry bags, and if I owned a car, it would be a Land Rover with a canvas roof tent.

I like motorhomes, camper vans and caravans. Especially old ones. We bought our first camper van, a 1969 Ford Transit, in California in the early 90’s and have lived in many of them since then. We still live in one. Here’s a photo of us and our truck with our family of 8. More about the family on our travel blog


I like taking photos and I am very lucky to have three awesome cameras. My iPhone 4 which I use all the time, a hasselblad medium format camera from the 1980’s that takes a bit more effort to use, and even more to process the film. And a 5 year old Canon D40 which was a gift from a dear friend and it is SO my camera – it feels like mine and I don’t intend to upgrade.

I get attached to things. Especially my favourite things. My wife has to throw out my shoes without me knowing because I would keep them forever. I keep things too long. They wear out and I keep wearing them past their usable life. I probably shouldn’t.

I wish I could dress like David Livingstone, with his gaberdine jacket and beige cargo pants, and when I am a little older, I probably will.Yesterday I found a pith helmet and almost bought it. Shoot! Maybe I should have.

Most of my clothes, including all my favourite clothes, are from second hand shops. I like old fedora hats. I bought my first one in 1988 at an estate sale in Portland Oregon and it just felt good on my head. I have been wearing them ever since. Since I tend to lose them, I am also always finding replacements.

I like black tea with milk. Loose tea in a pot, not a tea bag. Its the one luxury I will enjoy when I am really old and poor.

I like woollen clothes. I wear icebreaker woollen underwear which is great for traveling. I also have woollen shirts, socks, hats and even the linings in my boots are wool. Sometimes, when I dress up to give a presentation, I am wearing all wool. And on those special occasions, I wear my great grandfathers cufflinks (c.1890).

I like lollies (sweeties, candy) from New Zealand and one of my gifts today will be a “mixture” from a NZ diary (general store) which I hope will include pineapple lumps, jet planes, eskimoes, wine gums, milk bottles, jaffas, and those yummy coconut mushrooms things.

My favourite people in the world are either missionaries or monks. I could start to name them but I think I have reached 50 already.

Thanks, dear blog readers, for being a part of my 50th birthday and part of my life.

This is where you bless me by signing up to embarrassingly irregular newsletter. And that gift I told you about? I am working on a little book thing called “50” which I was hoping to release today and give to you but its not ready. When it is, I will send it on to you through the newsletter.

Sign up for the TallSkinnyKiwi newsletter.


  • Matt / 7 September 2013 7:54

    Blessings on you Andrew. Always good to follow you as you follow Christ.

  • Damien Tougas / 9 September 2013 12:47

    Happy birthday Andrew, I always perk-up when I see a new post here. Your faith, family, and life is an inspiration.

  • Marek Mudrik / 9 September 2013 9:35

    Andrew, I don’t know anyone else who holds on to their life in this world as lightly as you. And I am richer for knowing you and your family!
    We miss you! God bless you today (and all the days ahead). Happy birthday! Greetings to all from all of us and see you soon.
    I’ll have some of the Laphroaig quarter cask in your honor tonight!
    Love from prague

  • Jen Mick / 9 September 2013 11:43

    Happy birthday dude, wish I could have cooked you a wok full of dessert but you will have to make do with nice thoughts and an aversion to pineapple lumps all the way from blighty xxx

  • Krzysiek Slabon / 12 September 2013 9:16

    Hi Andrew ! Bit late – happy birthday. 50 – yeah it looks good :)

  • Dana Ames / 17 September 2013 5:33

    Belated birthday wishes, and many happy returns of the day.

    Andrew, I don’t know if you remember, but I wrote you a letter that my friend with long red hair delivered to you at the retreat in New Mexico a few years ago. I want to reiterate that the kindness that comes from you through your writing has been a great blessing for me, and I still check on the blog from time to time. In the meanwhile, my journey has led to Eastern Orthodoxy; I was received in 2009, and am entirely at home there.

    May the Lord continue to grant you and your family every good thing.

    in California

  • Anna / 19 September 2013 1:56

    Hey there everyone. U seem to be a happy bunch. Came across here in a search for information. Maybe someone can help out. Are in a tight spot, me and my girls(dogs). On the way to the Desert in marocco, long road, been on it a year. Have a lovely caravan, and a radical four-wheel-drive
    ,but it doesn’work.. trying hard to get another one. Been working with chemical tomatoes, got sick, no income for long time before that. Won’t be able to get it all together before the window of going there closes, the temperature and all. Thought there might be a helping hand somewhere, looking for it. Have a whole text and photos ready. Will give back, with a positive presence and actions. Someone maybe has a recommendation of where to turn? If I’ve bothered u all with unappropriates, then please accept my appologies, are in deep panic over it all. Thanx.

  • Anna / 19 September 2013 1:59

    Oh yeah, and happy birthday man.

  • Michael Hutcheson / 20 September 2013 1:13

    Belated birthday greetings from Virginia Beach VA! Keep rambling, gathering partying and sharing! Many of us live vicariously through you all!!!

  • Rob Speirs / 25 September 2013 4:37

    you and I r separated by only one mth…. I turned 50 last August… another 62 er I see

    welcome to the club u ol’fart :)

    ohh I just realised – it’s ’13 that makes u a 63 er…. I’m so in denial