I am hiking the Te Araroa, a long distance hiking trail which spans the length of Aotearoa (New Zealand).
This blog post covers the following sections of the trail on the south island: Rakaia river to Rangitata river; Rangitata river crossing; Two Thumb Track. (We did not attempt to cross the Rakaia river on foot, and we met no other hikers who did this). You can also read part 1, part 2 & part 3.
Chris and I spontaneously decide that we’re going to walk a hiking trail which spans the length of New Zealand – or Aotearoa in Māori – some 3,000km. The trail is called the Te Araroa. One month later, we arrive in Auckland.
I don’t know that much about New Zealand, except that my favourite comedy duo, Bret and Jermaine of Flight of the Conchords, are from there. And that Lord of the Rings was filmed there. And that my favourite computer game of the 80s, NewZealandStory, was based there. And that it was colonised and screwed over by the British.
So speak out loud of the Things you are proud And if you love this coast Keep it clean as it evolves Cos the way that it shines May just dwindle with time With the changes it will confront Xavier Rudd – Messages Some of your people can’t hear it The cries of the Earth … Continue reading Paradise Almost Lost
Beautiful Laos!! It’s wonderful to be back here. Everything’s how I remember it: small wooden houses, smiley and friendly people, and the happiest children in the world.
Within a few hours of being here, I’m troubled by the language and attitude that some backpackers have towards Laos: an attitude of western superiority, so ingrained in us that we don’t realise that we have this attitude at all. I explain to someone that his use of the words ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ is condescending. Another person says, “These people [Lao villagers] don’t want to continue living in the Stone Age.” Someone else talks about a western organisation that is “helping Lao people tohelp themselves.” Does this westerner think that Lao people are in such a dire situation that they can only “help themselves” out of their pitiful existence with the help of western institutions?
Luang Namtha is a town in the north of Laos, famous for the Nam Ha protected rainforest and river. I meet some other backpackers and we hire out motorbikes and explore the beautiful countryside and villages. Children smile, wave, and shout “Sabadeeeeeeee!” and adults greet us kindly.