We have spent the last few months planning, buying gear, sorting resupply, studying trail notes and consulting an amazing online community of Te Araroa enthusiasts. We now have less than two weeks to go until we leave our home and head north to start the Te Araroa. This will be the end of an era of sorts for Jack and I as we have lived in our home for over two years and will be leaving a job that I have been in for the same amount of time. Both of these simple things have provided me with both security and ease.
As time dwindles I find myself juxtaposed. Part of me just wants to start. I’m so tired of waiting for the adventure to begin but I also feel fear in the pit of stomach. Will we make it? Why are we doing this again? It was easy for me to answer those questions a few weeks ago but as it comes to the crunch I am filled with nerves and a sense of worry about the unknown.
I am most worried about my physical ability and my mental resolve. I recently did a 10k run at Iron Maori in Wairarapa. It was brilliant for me as I needed to know I could keep going at something that makes me uncomfortable. I’m not a runner and I often get overwhelmed with running, particularly with breathing and I always end up walking. I had something of a revelation though and realised that I could run for as long as I wanted as long as I ran slowly and thoughtfully. The 10K gave me a lot of confidence but the next day I was completely wiped out. It dawned on me that i would have to do 20 kilometers on average on the Te Araroa everyday carrying 10-15 kgs. Would I have the energy? Can I get my body to work with my mind and vice versa? There are sometimes too many questions. More recently I have been asking myself what I will do after the trail? This is where I try to be present. I will not be able to control everything that happens before, during or after the trail. It would be unfortunate if I continual worried about what came next when I should be enjoying the current experience.
As we have prepared for our journey the last couple of months I feel as though I’ve been living out the ethos of the ‘worried well’. I met with my renal specialist in August who was both jealous and excited about my hike. We agreed to keep my dosage of cyclosporin relatively stable while I’m away as to not prompt any sort of relapse. As prescription medication in New Zealand is rationed by 3 month prescriptions with collection of only a month’s supply given at a time my specialist kindly wrote two prescriptions with another gained from my G.P. I set about placing each prescription at a different pharmacies around Wellington City. Once I collected my meds i meticulously started counting out cyclosporin into tupperware containers and marking them for resupply boxes along our route. Along with my elaborate medication swindle I have consulted a podiatrist who took one look at my big Maori feet and exclaimed “I think your feet will be just fine!”.
I am definitely more excited that what I am nervous. Like being in suspended motion I’m waiting and counting down the days. It’s been hard continuing life as normal and continuing to work. I do feel like screaming out “ I don’t have time for this! I have 3,000kms of hiking to plan!” If I’m honest I’ve been disengaged from work for a few months. I started resenting management for doing all of the cardinal managerial mistakes, namely always rewarding the wrong people for the wrong things. Its no surprise that an unhappy work life has been a large contributor to me just saying “why not walk the length of New Zealand?”. But a recent office renovation is tipping me over the edge. While my home life has been disturbed with packing and boxes everywhere so too has my workspace, the difference being I have no control over what management decides. From 1980’s partitioned cubicles we have gone to 1990’s call center style office space. I am now jokingly referring to my colleagues as ‘pen friends’ but it really isn’t a joke as i currently feel like a battery hen both mentally and physically.
Upon reflection this disruption to my norm is probably good mental training for our adventure. After all what days will ever be the same and when will we ever be comfortable on the trail? As I’ve been trying to keep myself peppy and motivated amid the chaos I recently saw ‘I am not your guru’ the Tony Robbins documentary on Netflix. He makes some good points, my favourite being “you can’t just blame people for all the bad stuff that’s happened to you, you have to blame them for the good things too”. I totally get that. Without my unhappy work place I would have never entertained the idea of the Te Araroa. It would have been unlikely that I would have challenged myself to this degree. So for now, Cluck cluck.