A Typical Sunshine Filled Saturday in New Zealand...
Words by Suzie Crowther
Back in 2010 I spent a year in New Zealand, it wasn't the normal travelling experience - I explored when I could but was settled in a house share and working as a personal trainer. I was based in Hawkes Bay which is on the East coast of the North Island.
'A little extra planning can go a long way'.
My friend Madi and I had spent weeks training for a 30km walking challenge, training meant long day walks, slowly building up the distance we covered.
On this particular day I was given the exciting task of route planning, under strict instructions to plan a 20km circular walk from the front door.
I have always loved walking but back then I didn't posses the map skills I have today.
I switched on the computer (this was 2010) and a visit to "map my run" was in order as I proudly sat back after plotting our route for the day.
We left with high spirits in anticipation of our longest training walk to date.
Our journey started off well, we planned that the walk would take us about 4 hours and we spent the first 3 hours happily unaware of the full length of the journey ahead of us.
I didn't have a map of our route; we were in rural New Zealand with just a few roads available it was really unlikely that we would take a wrong turn.
After the 3 hours of walking, with the midday sun burning down and our water starting to run low; I began to wonder as to why we were not closer to home.
I knew which road we were on but, for some reason, it was turning out to be a lot longer than we thought. The road was undulated up and down and we tried to reassure ourselves that the end would be over each horizon, but it just wasn't happening.
Energy Levels and Dehydration
At this point, our energy levels had started to plummet and dehydration was setting in - we had started to ration our dwindling water supply.
Out of nowhere, a house appeared on the road ahead. Relief swept over us when we reached it and saw a little old lady sitting out front.
It was a badly needed opportunity to refill our water bottles.
We chatted to the lady, we were surprised at her disbelief at how far we planned to walk - she was really firm that the way back was "a lot further than we thought".
She disappeared back into the house and returned with a large milk bottle full of water for the remainder of our journey.
We parted ways and, a little more refreshed, continued our trek - grateful for the gift but dismissive about her thoughts on the distance we were yet to cover.
After all, I had mapped it myself, I knew exactly how far we were walking! We simply put it down to the fact that she was a very kind, but slightly crazy, old lady.
The Long Road Ahead
The long undulating road eventually ended and had now become a long winding road. We were still a long way from home. Our spirits were now very low, our legs and feet tired and aching.
It was then that Madi had a lightbulb moment - she asked me a question that I probably wont forget...
"Suzie, when you used the "map my run", you remembered to set the distance in kilometers didn't you?!"
The realisation that I had actually planned us a 20 MILE walk, adding an extra 12 kilometers to our Planned route, sent us into stitches of laughter, followed by a swift phone call to her husband to pick us up.
His car approaching down the road was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.
What's the moral of my story?
Preparation is everything.
Be thorough, check thing carefully and stay safe.
Oh, and also that some old people aren't quite as crazy as we may believe...
Words by Suzie Crowther