Wilderness

THE JOY and TRIBULATION OF LONG OUTDOOR TRIPS

Long, human-powered journeys have been romanticised throughout history. Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian desert journeys through the Empty Quarter in the 1940s have long captured our collective imagination. More recently, in 2012, Turkish-American Erden Eruç completed his five-year-long solo circumnavigation of the Earth. A bit closer to home, the lure of a remote, unsupported journey prompted three Kiwi adventurers – Graham Charles, Marcus Waters and Mark Jones – to undertake a world-first 800km traverse of the Antarctic Peninsula by sea kayak in 2001.

My first longer trips were in Nepal when I was 18, but they were not far off the beaten path. Yearning for a solid chunk of time away from the stress and speed of modern day life, I returned a few years later to do an 80 day trek across a chunk of the Nepali Himalaya.

On this journey, I found myself becoming part of the landscape. The wilderness was not merely a backdrop, it became my home. I went to bed with the sun, woke with the sun and never wore a watch. Time was measured in high passes,

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