I’m freaking out. I bought a plane ticket to New Zealand. So what? That’s nothing to freak out about. I know, but I’m planning to hike there. Yeah, of course, New Zealand is a hiker’s dream come true. Well, I’m going to hike the length of New Zealand for 5 months continuously. From Cape Reinga in the north to Bluff in the south, following the Te Araroa Trail. Can you see why I’m freaking out?!
Last time, I shared my best bits of the West Highland Way, the first long-distance trail I’d ever hiked. Sure, it was amazing or ‘awesome’ as everyone keeps telling each other nowadays. I’m an optimistic person, but I don’t believe that long-distance hiking is continuous happiness. I mean, come on! For me at least, hiking – as life in general – is with ups and downs.
“They made me a heartless murderer – although I plead self-defense: it was them or me”
Trolls, the giant creatures from Norwegian mythology, are said to orginate from stone. They usually avoid sunlight, as the story goes that sun exposure will turn them back into stone. Once upon a time, there was an adventurous (or rather a stupid!) troll living in the mountains nearby the West coast of Norway. In a rebellous attempt to test if the story was true, he showed himself to the sun. First, nothing happened, so he thought to taunt the sun by sticking out his tongue. Provoking the sun was not his smartest move, and soon he turned into stone.
Winter turns me into a couch potato. You’ll find me on the sofa with lots of blankets, surrounded by candles and chocolates, watching Love Actually. Preferably together with my boyfriend Aaron, but unfortunately he can’t appreciate the predictability of those happy love stories as much as I do. So he suggested that we should hike instead. Yes, shocking, isn’t it? I almost choked in my chocolate when I heard it. Hiking when it’s cold. In the snow!!
[For English, continue reading below. For Dutch, click HERE]
If I tell my colleagues that I got my nice tanned skin from bathing in a natural hot spring in Iceland after having walked through rain, snow, and rivers, they look a bit lost, not knowing what to say about my idea of having a proper summer vacation. I even surprised myself this summer, as I’d never expected that I could enjoy a 20km walk in almost continuous rain. I did not only perceive it as a good preparation for heavier adventures in the future, but I actually still enjoyed the hiking.
After our trip, I had muscle aches throughout my body. For a “normal” person, this would probably be a sign of never doing this again and having a beach holiday next year. For me, the muscle aches tell me that I have to exercise more to be better prepared next time. Of course, there was a moment – as in every hiking trip I make – that I thought: “What on earth am I doing here? I’m cold, I’m tired, I’m dirty, and I have to eat shitty food and sleep in a tent”. I started thinking of our weekend in Paris this year, where we stayed in a nice hotel and had dinner in all those amazing restaurants… Luckily enough, these moments never last long and now I’m back home again, I can only think of going again.
Am I infected by the hiking virus? Definitely. Are you?
Let’s do the checklist. Yes=1 point, no=0 points. You can get a final score between 0 (not infected at all) to 10 (join me, we’re lost causes).