Te Araroa Trail, North Island – 1,620Kms walked

It was when we walked 360+km from Istanbul to Gallipoli in Turkey (April 2011) that started an intentional shift to downsize our footprint, possessions and consumption to take up smarter habits to live a more simplistic lifestyle.

Living with less has provided us with more freedom to pursue more of what matters most, with more meaning and more substance.  Most importantly, it has allowed us to travel a heap more whilst the bodies still can.  Before we truly do lose our marbles!

Our lives have been significantly enriched, for the better.

“Why don’t you walk your own country first?” was the question posed over a conversation with some fellow adventurers.  And so we did!  Half of it anyway.  Straight after the tandem cycle ride across Canada!

The touching of the light house at the furthest northern tip of New Zealand signalled the start of taking the first steps towards the bottom.  Within the first two kilometres, the personal locator beacon was nearly needing to be set off due to not wanting to be washed out into the Tasman Sea!

We humped it south one foot in front of the other (with the odd hitch hike and canoe paddle) to touch the monument that marked we had reached the bottom of the North Island.  It took us 2.5 months to cover the 1,600 kms and it would be fair to add, we were absolutely buggered.

The awe of our beautiful country with its precious citizenships and cultural identity strengthened the ‘aroha’ for Aotearoa.  Postponing the South Island was easy so as to rejuvenate.  The minds are already walking the Mainland … all we have to do is get the bodies there.

With our personal locator beacon, of course!

Across the Maple Leaf on a Tandem – 7,500Kms Cycled

In May 2016, we landed in Vancouver and purchased a Fatty 29 tandem cycle and together taking 4.5 months, we rode 7,500 kilometres from west to east across Canada to St Johns, Newfoundland.

Ending up in Accident and Emergency before taking the first pedal; staying upright on Fatty 29 the whole way; encountering Bears; Canadian hospitality; avoiding skunks and ticks; the prairies aren’t flat; we were not alone as idiots; trying not to get de-capitated in Brandon; a lightning bolt isn’t an option; kissing a cod; and spending a long time in the saddle as a married couple, is enough for anyone to grimace and grin.

It was in tune with our life philosophy of ‘Dream it – Design it – Do it’ as much as it was our passion to continue to adventure before dementia.

Mt Everest Base Camp at 5,364 Metres

Annapurna mountain range trekking developed the stamina to follow in Sir Edmund Hillary’s boot treads and climb the Himilayan Range some more, up to Mount Everest Base Camp at 5364 metres.

With 2013 being the 60th anniversary year since Everest was conquered, Sir Eds’ quote of “it is not a mountain that we conquer but ourselves” became a very poignant mental effigy as he dealt with altitude, weather and body weariness.

Where earth meets sky, the mana of the Sherpa is re-known for Ghurka respect and Yak trains are the kings of all mountains – the echo of “Wow” will be heard long after the ascent back to sea level.

Volunteering in Borneo

A travel goal established to hug an Orangutan in Borneo after the Rwandan Gorilla experience resulted in a volunteering stint at a Wildlife Centre for Orangutans and other animals.

Working to improve their lives because they have the right to co-exist on the same planet as we fellow beings, involvement focused on aiding the centre in terms of husbandry, enrichment and infrastructure so that the centre could focus on rehabilitation and release.

Hopefully, the small percentage of contribution made a large percentage difference to the Orangutans.

Kiwi Haka on Mount Kilimanjaru, Africa’s Roof Top

Mount Kilimanjaru peaks at 5895metres above sea level and was a throw in additional adventure that we decided to treat themselves to on the way to trek with the Rwandan Gorilla’s.

Little did we understand that what reads well on paper was to be so different in reality – this was one of the toughest adventures that we have ticked off that had us learning lessons about attitude, perseverance and accomplishment. 

To do a Kiwi ‘haka’ (Maori War Dance) at minus 10º C on Africa’s roof top whilst exhausted, was the pinnacle.

Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Walk in Spain

– 1,600Kms Cycled/Walked

Cycling it from East to West first (the correct direction) was amazing; to reverse walk it from West to East (in the opposite direction to the norm) was even far crazier.

But we did, a total of 1600kms distance covered in both directions … and that isn’t counting the 1km ran with the bull running in Pamplona!

To Anzac Day Gallipoli By Foot – 360Kms Walked

Brent’s Grandfather was a World War 1 Māori ANZAC soldier who survived the Gallipoli campaign.

Walking the 360kms from Istanbul to the Gallipoli Peninsula to attend the 2011 Anzac Day service and participate in the remembrance of all the soldiers who fought there was a brazen experience.

The route taken took us into raw Turkish countryside and villages culminating in welcomed respect held between two historical warring foes.

Lest we forget is now always to be remembered.

As was the excitement of finding accommodation that was a brothel and only discovering such after the lights went out!

Cambodia Mutiny

Our experience with long distance cycling was the length of New Zealand, from Bluff to Cape Reinga, a whopping 2,400 kms.

So, we were under every illusion that signing up with an Intrepid Journeys Adventure package tour to cycle 300+ kms ride across Cambodia was going to be a doddle.

Until we fronted up and discovered that the Intrepid Journeys chaperone had never led a cycling tour prior, nor even cycled the distance to be pedaled, let alone wanted us to cover 150 kms of the section in one day!  Furthermore, most of our tour bunch were novice cyclists meaning none had ever cycled more than a couple of kms at any one time.

With temperatures into the mid-30° Celsius every day and 100° humidity, we led a mutiny and split the longest distance with bums on bike seats traversing the gravel dirt road distance, into two days.  And unfortunately for the tour leader who was way out of his depth, it was also a case of rescuing him from physical exhaustion.

To experience a sunrise over the Ankor Wat Heritage site evaporated the emotion felt visiting the Cambodian Killing Fields.

And our disillusionment mutiny of Intrepid Journeys.

The tour leader has become a global mate too.

From Bluff to Cape Reinga – 2,400 kms cycled

In 2007, with the family, we cycled the length of New Zealand fundraising $10,000 for the Child Cancer charity.  Over six weeks, we covered 2,400kms by bike, weathering the conditions our back yard had to offer.  Both in topography undulation and mother nature.

Longest and toughest day was by far the rotation of the pedals between Napier and Rotorua.  It exposed us to moments of solitude where a balance of mental toughness and physical demands went hand in hand.  So too the importance of sticking at it as a unit to get each other to the final kilometre ridden, which was under the cover of darkness.

Forgetting to inform daughter Claire not to ride over road-kill when it was raining resulted in her tyre flicking up a chunk of hedge hog that landed fair smack into Brent’s mouth.  Caused a few wobbles while trying to spit out the moist covered solid!

An adventure always reflected upon, as family.

We Used To Play With Children

During 2001, we took the plunge to follow our hearts and started a business from scratch, providing a home based primary aged childcare business.

Called Outaskool, we provided both before/ after school, and school holiday programme care.  One child became three to become eleven to become twenty five to then over the next seven years, a whopping 750+ kids whom experienced our philosophy – allowing kidz to be kidz, and parent to do adult stuff.

We pioneered a new way of taking care of kidz to become recognized experts in the OSCAR (Out of School Care & Recreation) industry.

Mind you, when we expanded to our second location, we had to endure an encounter with a neighbour who took us through a long resource management consent process that nearly bankrupted us.

The outcome, a multi-coloured fence constructed after we gained consent and faced the neighbour and, still stands as an iconic neighbourhood feature.

Even after two decades.