“Why don’t you walk your own country first?” was the question posed over a conversation with some fellow adventurers. And so we did! Half of it anyway. Straight after the tandem cycle ride across Canada!
The touching of the light house at the furthest northern tip of New Zealand signalled the start of taking the first steps towards the bottom. Within the first two kilometres, the personal locator beacon was nearly needing to be set off due to not wanting to be washed out into the Tasman Sea!
We humped it south one foot in front of the other (with the odd hitch hike and canoe paddle) to touch the monument that marked we had reached the bottom of the North Island. It took us 2.5 months to cover the 1,600 kms and it would be fair to add, we were absolutely buggered.
The awe of our beautiful country with its precious citizenships and cultural identity strengthened the ‘aroha’ for Aotearoa. Postponing the South Island was easy so as to rejuvenate. The minds are already walking the Mainland … all we have to do is get the bodies there.
With our personal locator beacon of course!
Ending up in Accident and Emergency before taking the first pedal; staying upright on Fatty 29 the whole way; encountering Bears; Canadian hospitality; avoiding skunks and ticks; the prairies aren’t flat; we were not alone as idiots; trying not to get de-capitated in Brandon; a lightning bolt isn’t an option; kissing a cod; and spending a long time in the saddle as a married couple, is enough for anyone to grimace and grin.
It was in tune with our life philosophy of ‘Dream it – Design it – Do it’ as much as it was our passion to continue to adventure before dementia!
With 2013 being the 60th anniversary year since Everest was conquered, Sir Eds’ quote of “it is not a mountain that we conquer but ourselves” became a very poignant mental effigy as he dealt with altitude, weather and body weariness.
Where earth meets sky, the mana of the Sherpa is re-known for Ghurka respect and Yak trains are the kings of all mountains – the echo of
“Wow” will be heard long after the ascent back to sea level.
Working to improve their lives because they have the right to co-exist on the same planet as we fellow beings, involvement focused on aiding the centre in terms of husbandry, enrichment and infrastructure so that the centre could focus on rehabilitation and release.
Hopefully, the small percentage of contribution made a large percentage difference to the Orangutans.
Little did we understand that what reads well on paper was to be so different in reality – this was one of the toughest adventures that we have ticked off that had us learning lessons about attitude, perseverance and accomplishment.
To do a Kiwi ‘haka’ (Maori War Dance) at minus 10º C on Africa’s roof top whilst exhausted, was the pinnacle.
Cycling it from East to West first (the correct direction) was amazing; to reverse walk it from West to East (in the opposite direction to the norm) was even far crazier.
But we did, a total of 1600kms distance covered in both directions … and that isn’t counting the 1km ran with the bull running in Pamplona !
Walking the 360kms from Istanbul to the Gallipoli Peninsula to attend the 2011 Anzac Day service and participate in the
remembrance of all the soldiers who fought there was a humbling experience.
The route taken took us into raw Turkish countryside and villages culminating in welcomed respect held between two historical warring foes. Lest we forget is now always to be remembered.
Covering 2,700kms by bike, it exposed us to moments of solitude where a balance of mental toughness and physical demands went hand in hand.
Activity with an attitude was our motivation to peddle the landscape and weather the conditions New Zealand had to offer.