The Rurus

Adventure Before Dementia

Author: Brent (page 1 of 30)

29/3/17 I Love Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate?

An early morning drop off to the airport for another Te Araroa Trail walker Rob, who completed the whole distance by foot.

We met Rob half way down the North Island and then played ‘cat and mouse’ on route till Wellington.

If you want to be fascinated by his keenness to capture life at it’s most starriest … check out some of his night shots of the solar system over New Zealand on his fb page photos.

‘I have chocolate’ was his signage used to hitch a ride from the deep south to Christchurch. We ate what was left over so as to make room for the three books we donated to him so as to de-clutter some more!

Keeping us in focus to work smarter, not harder was welcomed. Adventure before dementia … eating heaps of Caremello naturally!

Cheers Rob, loved the visit.

25/3/17 The Blind Leading the Sighted

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to speak at a Mentee/Mentors evening for The Blind Foundation.

The contact there had heard us speak a month earlier whereby we shared some tools around goal setting and how that contributed to our adventure before dementia travel lifestyle – especially the tandem ride across Canada.  She wanted us to share our dream it, design it and do it 3-3-5-3 Best Year Ever tool to help participants focus on their dreams they want to realize.  Excuse the pun but they have an amazing sense of humour when able sighted folk mistakenly refer to anything to do with the ability to see things and they can’t!

There was no point in showing our power point image presentation.   Instead, we adjusted our narrative to use more descriptive words and worked hard to describe the illustrations we wanted them to picture in their minds.  It went well.

Whilst mingling with them and their guide dogs afterwards, we learnt volunteers take some of the group for cycle rides on the back of tandems.  This resonated with us somewhat and how easy was it for us to sign up to be a volunteer a couple of mornings a month.

One couple present had a tandem.  With Chris (fully sighted) on the front and Nicola (visually impaired) the stoker on the back, Chris was not confident on sharing the tar seal with other traffic.  With a goal to travel around New Zealand to ride as many of the off-road mountain tracks as possible, they hadn’t yet taken to some of the mountain bike tracks in our own back yard, Christchurch.

We arranged that we would chaperone them around McLean’s Island mountain bike track and give them some coaching on manoeuvring a tandem with all the bells and whistles of staying up right; negotiating an incline and/or decline; navigate sharp bends; and slalom the natural obstacles of a protruding rock or tree root or stump.  Nicola warned that coarse language is sometimes necessary to remind the fella on the front of the pillion passenger on the back.

The experience was one of the blind leading the sighted.

Their tenacity to get out and blat the ten kilometres was beautiful.  And with only one swear word moment!

They have a re-kindled enthusiasm to get on with their training because they took the leap of faith.  In us.  But more so in themselves.

Our reward, to watch Chris and Nicola achieve something they have procrastinated in doing for however long.  We couldn’t but help rouse the ducts to well up and weep a smidgeon.

Damn those tears of happiness.  Now we had impaired vision!

Well done Chris and Nicola.  The New Zealand mountain bike trails beckon.

20/3/17 A Leaf from the Maple Visit – Two of Them

From the blog post 1/7/16 Licking Limes, Vermilion Bay to Wabiggon – 68.1. kms

“It’s Canada Day here in the land of the Maple Leaf today.

After yesterday’s acclimatisation to the inclines and declines, we encountered a number of folk who made the day seem to go so much faster yet taking longer.  But it wasn’t over yet.

As we came out of the local store, up rode another cyclist.  Her name was Sheri and she too was going in the opposite direction.  Marcus (out other biker mate up ahead of us) had told Sheri about the Kiwi’s on a tandem so it was like we just picked up a conversation like long lost friends versus being total strangers.  So much so that we all purchased a beer (or Claire a Licking Lime) and microwave dinner each, went back to the hotel (Sheri booked in also) and spent the remainder of the sunshine rays conversing about life, blended families, dreams and sore arses.

What a fantastic way to celebrate Canada’s birthday with special people met.

Must have been a little de-hydrated somewhat as we didn’t see the fireworks go off as part of the festivities.

Just the bottom of the eyelids.”

Who would have ever imagined that this one encounter with a total stranger would have the same person whom we now call a friend, sitting in our lounge down under in the land of the long white cloud?

Sheri is visiting New Zealand and has been cycling the landscape of the South Island.

And to think that Marcus from the same blog post had laid his head down on our lounge floor only last Thursday, just four days before!  He too has been cycling the landscape of the North Island.

A couple of maple leaf visitors of special people met where encounters began on the other side of the planet to now be rubbing noses in our part of the world.

Cheers Sheri and Marcus for visiting – it was just magic to see you both again.

Keep coming people!

5/3/17 The Christmas Tree Is Up, Ho Ho Ho

Our days of living out of a back pack or suitcase have come to an end!

For the time being anyway.

During the week, we relocated back into our 80m2 abode after a month of putting the heads down at various locations.  There is something to be said about finding the contours of your own mattress or the smells of your pillow comfort.  The ability to walk naked when one wanders to the bathroom or to make a cup of tea under the cover of night is just a relaxed feeling.

Remembering to shut the curtains before turning the lights on is a habit to be re-mastered.  We will get there, ahem!

It too has been a month of backyard pace doing activity conducive to working our plan be get back to again adventuring this beautiful landscape we have.  And to eventually get lost in another’s.

Attending a travel expo does that to you.  Collecting magazines with images of hinterland and adventure does that to you.  You only need to affix one image of a destination you want to explore to your external fridge door to remind you to take daily action toward realizing it.  It does that to you.

But alas, there is a heap of work still to be done first.  In the now.

I have picked up where I left off with my previous employer doing family dispute resolution mediation co-ordination and Claire has picked up a role sorting freight for CourierPost in the evenings.

Claire has launched her Bookkeeping services to small to medium businesses.  I have launched my availability to be your Celebrant whether for matching people (marriages) or dispatching people (funerals).

Our mentor Jim Rohn says it well, “wages will make you a living, profits will make you fortune.”  We don’t need much fortune to travel how we do.  And our little piece of residence contributes to that, 80m2 of space means less dusting and minimal gardening.

Getting our belongings out of storage and unwrapping our possessions has been like Christmas.  Putting up our Christmas Tree (although artificial and who made up the rules to say you can only do it at the merry time of the year?) has been fun.  Placing the decorations reflective – the sandals from Vietnam; the figurines from East Africa; the turtle from Sri Lanka; the calendar from Egypt; the piece of rock from Mt Everest Base Camp.  Nothing artificial about these.  Just heartfelt reminders for us to stay focused on what has mattered most, collecting experiences.

An impromptu message via Linkedin yesterday from a couple visiting Christchurch whom Claire worked with in Dubai all those years ago, and becoming friends, was the best house warming surprise we could have ever imagined.  Having them over for a meal and converse about life that was, life that is and life that is to be, priceless.

These are the type of experiences we refer too.

And timely to communicate that we are back on deck and now settled.  Ready for those wanderers looking for a place to rest THEIR heads.  It may be tiny however, it will be homely.

Naturally, family and friends too!

Ho, ho, ho.

Do What You Love, Love What You Do

What’s with the change of title from ‘Kiwi Minimalists’ to ‘Adventure Before Dementia.’

Can’t remember!

Oh!

It goes without writing that one of our passions is travel.  Adventure travel while the bodies still can and, while we still have our marbles!

The recent blog journaling posts have been to capture and share our recent travel escapades.  Its intent was to hopefully stimulate you too to perhaps go visit lands of distant far or even within your own borders.  To travel is to live and to live is to travel.

There was bugger all posts on the ‘why’, ‘what’ or ‘how to’ essentials of living a minimalistic lifestyle.  Something else we are passionate about and will continue to incorporate into our daily life.

Plus, there is loads of stuff to inspire you on living with less to be, have or do more of what matters most at the end of your screen there for the reading.  Joshua Becker’s www.becomingminimalist.com or ‘The Joy of Less’ e-book by Francine Jay are fantastic places to check out if simplifying your life interest’s you.

Which brings us back to our interest on travel.  Our passion.  (Cripes, we are starting to repeat ourselves … it this the start of dementia?)

Travel nor the nomadic lifestyle is not for everyone.  We respect that.

We too love the creature comforts of a fresh change of clothes versus the same old same old day in and day out; the fragrance of perfume or cologne versus the odour of underarm or smelly socks; a toilet seat versus a squat, balance and hope the wind is blowing in the right direction!  Nonetheless, we love that too.

What matters most is to do what you love and, love what you do.

Ours is to adventure travel.

While we still have our marbles!

Hence and in conclusion, adventure before dementia.

27/1/17 Te Araroa Trail North Island Refection

The smell of walking the Te Araroa trail still lingers on our clothes worn even after we have stopped walking a couple of days ago.  Even after they have been machine washed.  A couple of times.  Some would grimace.  We don’t.  We grin.  It keeps the memories alive.  The landscape.  The food.  The connections made.  The hitch hiking rides.  The animal life encountered.  The homestays.  The lost toe nails.  The times we didn’t enjoy the moment. The scabs from itchy bites.  The messages of support and well wishes.

They are all part and parcel of a journey of our North Island.  From end to end.  We’ve loved it.  How could we not?  We have said farewells to the Te Araroa family with sadness as others continue across the waters to the South Island.  But, we are excited about saying “Kia Ora” to our families and mates whom will be at the end of the gangway when we arrive back home into Christchurch.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to our journey.  As we have mentioned before, it’s the people connected with in the flesh and the conversation had in the person that remain long after the boots come off.  Priceless experiences you can’t capture in a photo.

Since we departed for Canada, we have scripted over 295 daily blog posts.  It too has been a gratifying ritual that we hope you have enjoyed as much as we have in posting them.  This is the last one as we now transition back into suburbia habitat for a short breath of fresh air.

For a short while naturally.

It’s been a hoot.

24/1/17 Wellington Botanical Gardens to Island Bay – 17 kms: Not All Who Wander Are Lost

We retraced our route by bus back to where we ended yesterday’s walking and bumped into Ben from the Yukon whom we met at hut two up in the Tararua Ranges.  He too was doing what we were at finishing the North Island part today and joined us.  The more the merrier!

Nick and I had this crazy idea of doing a pie-athon across the city.  This is where you eat as many pies along the way and so started with one before we trudged out the last of the steps.  It was the staple diet we missed when chomping continuous tuna and two-minute noodles and so downed a mince and cheese Irvines pie without hesitation.  It was delicious!  Claire and Ben were non-participative.

We entered into the Botanical Gardens themselves, only to get lost.  Yep, we had followed a route map all the way down the island without issue and now struggled to getting the path right to exit the thing.  It was not only ridiculous but embarrassing!  We had to back track and criss-cross and sometimes ask for directions.  Setting off the Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) did become a topic of conversation at one point.  When we eventually did exit, it was a little longer than anticipated.  If you were to ask what we saw in foliage and fauna – have no idea.  The focus was on getting out of the damn thing!  A consolation was that the view from the top of the cable car was nice, white caps on the harbour water indicating it being a little blustery.  It’s not called Windy Wellington because of farting!

There we were, TA walkers in grungy apparel walking up a main street of downtown toward finely dressed pedestrians.  Being polite later that evening, my cousin mentioned that we were kind of smelly before we left this morning.   That would have explained some pedestrians over taking us walking in the same direction quite rapidly.  Jeez, I wondered if the old work colleague we bumped into felt the same.  I think it was a smile to see me versus a grimace from the hug I gave him, and being stinky!

The buzz of city busyness with folk going about their life was just manic.  Somewhere along the way here, we lost Ben.  So too did the pie-athon evaporate!  We reached the waterfront and it too was active with people jogging the bay.  Already thoughts of keeping the fitness level sustained beyond the trail are on the radar so as to keep the tube around the belly from expanding.  The mountain bike seat is beckoning …

But there was plenty of fitness incorporated in the last 10 kms.  We peeled off the bay and climbed up on to the slopes of Mt Victoria following Wellington’s ‘Southern Walkway’.  We crested the ridgeline to view Wellington City from yesterday’s opposite bearing; thunder from the airport to the left where planes were coming and going; and to the front, the open blue sea got closer.  Mt Albert was ascended for a last altitude photo from the trig before the descend down to the coastline for the last time.

It was timely to read some graffiti on a public toilet block, ‘Not all who wander are lost.’

There is a ship’s propeller positioned as a monument to a naval ship that was scuttled off the coast after it was de-commissioned.  Nick had served on the thing when it was in active service up in the Gulf and as he stood there, he was in deep thought of reflection.  Pollen in the eyes he said before we continued.

We reached Shortland Park and our last steps magnitised to the sea boundary fence.   We found what we set out to do at the start of today.  Huh, we weren’t lost afterall.

A stone cairn memorial marking the end (or beginning) of Te Araroa in the North Island.

23/1/17 Porirua to Wellington Botanical Gardens – 31 kms: The Best of the Worst

The weather bombs over the past ten days have been unbelievable.  It’s supposed to be our summer and it would be fair to script that this has been the best of the worst summer one can remember.  The amount of rain has been phenomenal and has caused havoc up and down the country.

There was a forecasted break today although at 8am this morning, you would think we were in for another layover.  At 9am, we decided to take the risk and with all our wet weather apparel on, we stepped out into the puddles to be rained on.

The track up to Colonial Knob was under cover from ferns and Nikau palms and there were a number of steps to ascend.  It wasn’t long before the sweat beads rolled down the forehead so stopping to disrobe apparel made it more comfortable.  To our astonishment, the rain had certainly abated and when we broke undergrowth cover, the clouds had dispersed somewhat providing us with spectacular views of Porirua City proper.

The 14 kms walked to Mt Kaukau was just a smorgasbord of 360° views.  Bumps from the Tararua Ranges on the northern horizon; the Rimutaka Ranges more prominent being closer; Wellington City a haze of houses and skyscrapers; giant wind propellers adorned the southern horizon.  Out to the west, the mighty landscape of the top of the South Island.  We were below it now latitude wise; and finishing the directional clock, Kapiti Island stood motionless in a distance form of blue.

Sheep and cattle grazed the pastures; the man-made pine forest was aged as the trunks of the trees rose high into the sky.  Ohariu Valley introduced more habitat with a huge equestrian community tending to the care and maintenance of the horse’s present.  Every now and again we gave way to woman and beast sharing the tar seal being walked.  They never get told off for fouling the roads!  Mind you, the fresh stuff was probably a sweet smell better than our body odour after the haul trodden so far.

The ascent up to Mt Kaukau itself was gradual encountering day walkers.  The telecommunications tower a beacon from all angles and it was out last altitude to be summited in the North Island.  We could make out more distinctive features of the Capital City itself and although the legs were feeling the distance, the adrenalin of the end being in sight carried us some more.

Close to the Botanical Gardens, a call was made to a cousin seeking a resting place for the night.  Our attempt to reach Te Papa Museum fell short by approx. 4kms; the bodies were ready to lay down in protest.  Another 31 kms today.  Tomorrow, we will finish for sure and bring home the closing of the North Island leg.

We sat eating our evening meal with family to experience the sun slide down behind the silhouette of the South Island.  You felt like you could reach out and just touch it.

It won’t be long before we do.

22/1/17 Porirua Layover

It rained. It poured.  It blew.

We had a layover day!

21/1/17 Raumati South to Porirua: We Cracked One

“Do you have any cabins available?”

We sat in Countdown in Porirua asking the question of the camp site operators still another kilometre away.  The weather had turned crap again during our walking and to tent with the weather to sour worse, we weren’t in the zone to test the canvas water proofing grade.

They did and with our plastic bags of grocery items, we hobbled the remainder of what was our longest day distance walking on the whole of the North Island part.

The day started with Denise and Chris walking with us as far as Paekakariki.  It was overcast but pleasant, an on-shore wind enough to keep the body temperature just nice under the pump of back pack carriage.  Stopping for a cuppa at a café in Paekakariki was where we met up with someone we had met at the hostel in Paihia – Gordon.  He had been following our journey and our paths managed to cross again today.

Pie shops are an addiction and we just had to savour one for the road before we parted company with Gordon, Chris and Denise.  It had been an amazing three days with folk, it kind of felt our start towards the transition back into suburbia habitat.  People, food, beer and pies.

Walking the remainder of the trail will be our final salute to the North Island generosity imposed on us throughout the adventure.  The next bit we encountered was the Paekakariki Escarpment.

It’s a relatively new track from Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay and runs high above State Highway 1 and railway, reaching 220 metres above sea level.  There is gradient with the help of wooden stairs; two swing bridges to maintain height; and sometimes fencing to negate track erosion or human tumble!  The views are spectacular and although the wind was sometimes blustery along the 10 km stretch, we would rate it as being a fantastic part of the Te Araroa Trail.

After reaching Pukerua Bay, we made the decision to keep pushing forward until Porirua.

It was on this section that we passed the Taupo Swamp.  The 30-hectare wetland area is the largest remaining swamp where harakeke (flax) is harvested, surviving more than 150 years of human-induced change.  We tried to imagine all the flowers in full bloom.

It wasn’t long before the drizzle started to descend from the sky above.  Generally you would pick up the pace somewhat however, given the distance we had already walked, just moving forward was the focus.

The relief to un-shoulder our back packs was a tremendous feeling.  We had cracked the 35 km distance in a day’s walk.  Consider that the closest to this was when we did the 30 kms on Ninety Mile Beach.  We were happy with the achievement and know part of the adrenalin is because we are only two days out from finishing.

The orange street lights of Porirua ignited the city.  It wasn’t long before they too became hazy as the drizzle became more solid rain.  There is something to be said about the pitter patter of droplets on a roof.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a bl..dy canvas one!

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