Runaway Travel Stories

Another hole in the belt

They just don’t fit. I’ve adjusted them twice now but still they come down. I pull out the ‘Leatherman’ again, a Christmas pressie from N which has engraved into the handle ‘MAT VAUGHAN – Co Adventurer’.

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The “Co” indicates that N has included me in her team. I have a 50% stake and she holds the other 50. The “Adventurer”, well, we are taking on New Zealand’s South Island, adventuring across, through, up and down the Te Araroa, and it is this that was causing me to make yet another adjustment to my belt. The Leatherman punched another hole in the belt, and voila – my pants stayed up.

It’s simple mathematics: you put into your mouth what you intend to burn during the day and you try to make the numbers balance, but when both members of the Co-Adventuring party cannot physically carry any more food with them for an eight day hike, of which we are averaging about 8-9 hour days – 22km up and down, then the maths formula is subtraction. Don’t get me wrong I’m not starving, we are eating three times a day, and drinking litres of water, we are even allowing ourselves a row of chocolate each from a block of Whittakers every night before we crawl into our bunks and drift away into a deep sleep.

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Then up again in the morning, a bowl of muesli and some water, and we’re away walking to our next destination with a couple of breaks along the way. Conversation drifts in and out, and my mind wrestles between annoying ear worms complements of Kyle Minogue, ideas for art projects, “this bag is so heavy I need to stop and adjust it”, to wondering what they’re doing back home. All the while just amazed by the landscape we are wandering through.

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That pretty much sums up my day for the last 15 odd days and the remaining 40 days will probably be something similar. I may have to buy a smaller pair of pants to finish the trek though.

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