The Rurus - Adventure Before Dementia

Adventurers l Author l Speakers

Author: Brent (page 1 of 31)

15/7/17 Arrrrrrrreeeeeeeeooooooooyyyyyyyeeeeeehhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeee

The snow was over knee deep in places.

Disaster when your gumboots only came up your lower leg half way meaning the white powdery stuff broke off like an Antartic ice berg to drop into your galoshes.  It didn’t take much longer for it to become liquified.  Even the thickest of socks weren’t enough to protect the cold moisture nipping at your toes and the soles of your feet.

Laughter was frequent for the short arse in the party.  Alannah’s step had the snow just about touch her butt cheeks.  We took shorter steps to help.  Every now and then, the undulation beneath meant a face plant.  Laughter was then shared.From a distance, the slope to be conquered looked shallow.  At the bottom, the paradigm as was sharper with steepness.  However, this didn’t deter.  Up we stepped using the footprints left behind by other adventurers seeking the same adrenalin of sliding back down.

As altitude was reached, a cool wind whipped from left to right.  The sun beaming down in the cloudless sky did nothing to warm.  It did however, make the landscape crisp as far as the eye could see.  It was absolutely stunning to see the back bone of the South Island carpeted with snow.

Hordes of like-minded beings had made the most of what mother nature had dumped to create a play-ground so natural and free – there were little specs of bodies in all directions.  It was fun to watch from above the number of people who ventured out onto the frozen ice of the lake below.  As confidence grew, further out toward the middle they wearily trod.  No one plunged through during our observation.There was no paper, scissors nor rock as to who would go first.  Pick on the big guy!

As one looked down sitting on their toboggan moments before the grasp of the handle tightened and the feet lifted so gravity did its thing (nothing to do with a share slope at all, yeah right), you were zoned into the reality of what was.

This could either go tits up or plain sliding to the bottom.

A deep breath, a pause, and then feet lifted.

There was no yodelling ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’, that’s for certain.

Some might describe it as a scream.  Whatever it was.  It just was.

“Arrrrrrrreeeeeeeeooooooooyyyyyyyeeeeeehhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeee”

9/7/17 One Expected A Bear to Appear – Washpen Falls

We had seen the giants before in British Columbia, Canada. The goliath Douglas Fir tree.  They were competing for supremacy over the Radiata Pine tree and, the Southern Rata tree which is one of New Zealand’s showiest and most beautiful of native plants when in blossom.

Even the largest lily in the world contested the landscape, the Tikouka.  Commonly known as the Cabbage Tree, early European settlers used the hollowed-out trunks for chimneys for their huts.  On the other hand, the dead leaves of cabbage trees burn readily, giving off intense heat.  People either hate them or they love them.  There is no in-between.

In the thick of either forest as the trail meandered from sea level elevation and back, one expected a bear to appear.  But this wasn’t Canada.  This was the headwaters of the Washpen Creek which is the longest tributary of the Hororata River.

The canopy was alive in song from the Bellbird.  Their notes echoed throughout the gorge which reminded us of a call to prayer in surround sound.  Fantails and sometimes the infrequent flit of a Tomtit guided us on the path trodden.  The same earth once used by Maori to trap and kill the giant flightless New Zealand bird, the Moa.  Some species grew to three metres and once an important source of food, they were all eaten as they have been extinct for three or four hundred years.

Erosion too carved out the rock into wave breaking shape formations.  Tree seeds can prosper in the slightest of soil.  This was evident with shades of green disrupting brown rock cliff faces.

The Bluff lookout allows for one to view the Canterbury Plains, 250 kms in length and an average of 60 kms in width.  The Rakaia River streaks across the flatlands.  The Washpen Falls would contribute to the water level somehow.

 

A place in history where sheep once tarzan swung into the stream to wash the wool before shorn.

That past time has long gone as well.  Go see for yourself.  The breath of fresh air above the giants is exhilarating.

 

 

 

21/6/17 Find Your Purpose …

Training has started with a blat on the Fatty 29 tandem last Saturday and a blat on the mountain bikes on the Sunday.

It’s been a while since butts rode in tandem … all the technique was still there, yay!

And what better way to be inspired when we stopped for a rest, to be reminded of why we do the adventuring before dementia!

Sunday, minus 2 degrees celcius … the smiles say it all.

Find your purpose, your ‘why’ … and magnetise towards that.  Plus 4 degrees in the sun was enough to magnetise toward, ahem!

5/6/17 Timing Isn’t As Important As Finishing!

So, the girls front up to the 10 km part of the Chch Marathon in the inclement weather with only one support person in toe.

No running from the support, just supporting.

The estimated time it would take to finish debatable – actually they had no idea!

The support person missed them finishing!

Don’t understand why they just couldn’t go around the block one more time for the support person to snap them finishing!

The end.

30/4/17 Becoming an Orphan

On the 31st March 2017, my father passed.

I became an ‘orphan’.

It’s been a long tough year and a bit.

We had been at peace with him closing his eyes for a wee while as the quality of his life had degenerated to being bed ridden most days or on a good day, propped up-right in a lounger with head hung down toward his chest, asleep.  Sadly, dementia is a terrible existence to have to bare witness to.

The heartfelt gratefulness toward the nurses, doctors and more so my Step-Mum Margaret whom provided for my Dad in the most exemplary manner right up till the shut eye is solace to know that they would have helped with his happily ever after, where ever that may be.

Actually, I do know.  It’s on a hillside overlooking the Koukourarata (Port Levy) harbour on Banks Peninsula.  I helped dig the grave.  I also helped my older brother David with getting out when he couldn’t from the depths after his turn at digging!  Hah, I had his back.  Or more like a foot hold!

The spot is tranquil, serene and my Dad’s Tūrangawaewae – his place to stand.  Or now, his place to rest.

The beauty of such an event was the coming together of family to celebrate his life.  Especially those young nephew and niece family members that were just face book relationships and whom I never knew personally.  A dysfunctional family does that.  So too a sibling with issues who carries a pet rock, unfortunately.

Nonetheless, stories of yesteryear flowed.  Bad and good.  Whether a tear of sadness or a tear of laughter.  Reflective and re-framing.  Noses rubbed.  Some rubbed off!  Certainly, a transitional experience.

My extraordinary memory will forever be the fortunate experience of sharing a tandem with my Dad.  Watching him hobble (he had had five hip replacements so was lop-sided) down to the ebbing waves on the shores of Sumner Beach on the east coast of the South Island; to then rotate the pedals across the flatlands of the Canterbury Plains; to free wheel the down-hill sections of the South Island Alps backbone to the shores of Greymouth with the might of the Tasman Sea on the West Coast.

Made priceless with him telling one and all that he had cycled the ‘Coast to Coast’ when in fact, he rode what he pushed himself to do and then we threw the bike on the back of the van to drive some way’s up the road to then have another session of staying upright.  Probably only 30 kms all up!

My Dad once gave me a ‘pounamu’ pennant that had an imprint of an Owl inscribed into the greenstone.  In Maori our name ‘Ruru’ means Morepork which is a native New Zealand Owl.  Before I gave the same pennant to my daughter Claire on her 21st birthday, I had the exact imprint tattooed on my right arm.

Being a minimalist, the tattoo has more personal depth to remember him by as our adventures to explore the planet will continue, eventually.  Better than anything materialistic such as a medal or a wooden stick.

And, made extra significant when my son Cameron, daughter Claire, older brother David and his wife Janice, nephew Morgan Moa and niece Rebecca Moa too followed suit and had a similar tattoo inked on their person.  Dad was so proud of them.

My half-brother John once gave me a piece of wisdom that become a mantra I’ve carried with me and lived by since all those summers ago.  “Once your Dad is gone, it doesn’t matter what you want to say or what you don’t say, it’s too late.”  Sure, I banged heads with me ole man, who doesn’t?  But at the end of his days, we had a close relationship as any true son would have with his Dad.  I just didn’t need to keep feathering an ego every day with face book postings that was more about ‘look at me with Dad, I’m the favourite’ to solicit ‘likes’ or smiley face images.

Everything that needed to be said to him, was said.  Everything that was said by him to me, was said.

That’s the lesson I want to share with you.  Own what you want to say; own what you don’t want to say.  Do both before you become an orphan.  And when you do become an orphan, let go and move on to leave the departed at peace versus continuing to use their name for further vanity purposes.

Except for when brother David returns to New Zealand of course and we play our golf game like we used to do as father and sons.  Dad will no doubt be listening for the bullshit banter and get mentioned in there amongst it!

I’ll miss my Dad but don’t stress.  The step-side of the family have adopted me.  Yay!  Something lost was something gained.

Let the arguments begin as to who the favourite step-sister is.  Will come down to the best present on Christmas Day.  As family.

Cheers Dad, you tough old bugger.  Now may you R.I.P.

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.

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