Why am I doing this?

For those of you that don’t know, Te Araroa is about 3,000km (1,860 miles), walking the whole length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga in the north to Bluff in the south (or less often, in the other direction).  If you want to see the exact route, each day’s blog post has a map of the entire route along with what I walked that day – see Day 1 as an example.

I’ve been thinking about walking Te Araroa since I walked the Queen Charlotte Track in February 2019 with my friends (which was about 90km).  We kept seeing that in the shelters we came across, in the register of people passing through, lots of people walking had written their destination as “TA SOBO” (and also occasionally “TA NOBO”) and we couldn’t work out what it meant.

Our group met up with a guy called Miguel while we were walking and he was walking the trail, and we heard a bit about it from him.  Suddenly it became clear that “TA SOBO” meant Te Araroa Southbound.  Clearly quite a lot of people were walking this trail, judging by the number of times we saw it in the registers!

I thought it was an intriguing idea, and after the Queen Charlotte track my friends and I were talking about it on the way back to the airport.  My friends largely scoffed at the idea. But in my head I was thinking “I could do that”.

Since then I have been reading blog posts and planning it. But now with only two months to go, and now that I’ve actually started buying gear and planning to take time off work (and started a blog), I realise I actually have to go through with it… There’s no turning back now! Uh oh…

Scariest things for me… will there always be somewhere to sleep?  Or go to the toilet?  And river crossings… the trail has a lot of river crossings.  I’m not much of a water person.  Oh yes… you’re also stuck in a canoe for nearly a week down the Whanganui River.  I’m kind of looking forward to that part, but mostly it scares the hell out of me.  And I’ve only ever camped for two nights in a row before, and definitely never by myself.  And I hardly ever do any cooking on a normal day… so what am I going to eat?  I feel like I might be living off nuts and couscous every day.

But I love being outside with nothing and nobody around, it’s a great feeling.  And it’s been a long time since I’ve been way out of my comfort zone.  I’m sure I’m going to love it!

And I realised that I never answered the original question – why am I doing this? I guess the answer is… because I can.

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6 thoughts on “Why am I doing this?

  • Hi Matt,
    Best of luck with your planning and adventure ahead! The TA is awesome – I walked SOBO 2018/19.
    Looking forward to following your journey. A sense of humour, going with the flow, and looking after your feet will get you far. Enjoy!

  • Good on ya Matt! I did TA during the 17/18 season… you’ll settle into it in no time. My blog post on ‘how to go to the toilet in nature’ was my most read blog post I think 🙂 haa haa.. Looking forward to following your journey. Be careful on those river crossings and don’t be a hero. If it’s too sketchy to cross – don’t cross. Don’t be afraid to double up with a buddy and use the ‘mutual support’ method to get yoursleves across. Good luck! Jules (Tinytramper)

    • I’ve read your blog post you referred to before! Thanks for the info, I wanted to do a river crossing course but they started too late in the year. I have watched at least 2 hours of river crossing videos – very informative.

  • Hi Matt! I am going to start my TA SOBO next week (South Island only). Your adventure inspired me a lot! Thank you! And I have a strange question. Did you wrote all this texts on the phone? Or did you use mini bluetooth keyboard? If so, maybe you know the place in Aucland where I can buy one? I ask because in my country I can’t find them in any store and there are already no time to order it in Amazon or Aliexpress. Thanks!

    • Hi Alex! Good luck with your hike! I initially started off just using the phone but after two weeks I did end up buying a small bluetooth keyboard. I couldn’t remember where I got it but according to this post (Day 13) I got it from The Warehouse in Whangarei (picture in the post). I’m not sure if they still sell them there, The Warehouse has never had a very good website to look up that sort of thing. If I search for “bluetooth foldable keyboard” I see Jaycar also had them but they’ve been discontinued. My suggestion, if you’re in Auckland’s city centre, would be to try The Warehouse and also PB Tech to see if they have them – I think those are your two most likely places. Hope you have a great hike!

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